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Gear Guy

What’s my best bet for a light backpacking pant in rainy conditions?

I hiking the West Coast Trail this June, which is typically a rainy season for the trail. What would you recommend for a good set of backpacking pants that can fend off at least a couple days worth of rain? Reagen Calgary, Alberta


Yeah, rainy is right. As in, air that’s as much liquid as water. Are you sure you can’t wait a few weeks and make the trek in July? It’s much drier then. (For those of you not familiar with the West Coast Trail, it’s a lovely—albeit rugged—trail along the coast of Vancouver Island). But, June can have dry spells. And it is less crowded then, too.

Marmot’s Precip Full-Zip Pants

Precip Full-Zip Pants

I’d probably wear pants made with Pac-Lite, Gore’s lightweight waterproof/breathable laminate. They’re not the most rugged pants in the world, but they’re very light and packable, and they’ll keep you adequately dry. Arc’teryx makes a nice pair called the Alpha SL that sells for $199 ( Mountain Hardwear makes something similar called the Typhoon Pant ($185; Both are pull-on style pants with short zippers at the ankle to help get them on and off over boots.

On the “bargain" front, Marmot’s Precip Full-Zip Pants ($90; use a polyurethane-coated material for waterproofing and add full-length zippers for really easy on-off. It’s not quite as breathable as the Gore material, but not bad. REI uses a similar material in its Ultralight Pants ($79;

Be sure to take gaiters to keep rainwater or drips on vegetation from getting into your boots. Outdoor Research Rocky Gaiter ($30; would be fine.

Have a great trip!

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Filed To: Pants
Lead Photo: courtesy, Marmot