But, back to the question at hand. As far as cheap pants go, the Marmot Precips ($89 for full-zip model; www.marmot.com) are fine. More than finethey're waterproof, windproof and breathable, enough to keep you healthy. Plus, they're very light and packable. True, not quite as breathable as some higher-performance fabrics, nor are they super durable, so they won't last long if subjected to a lot of bushwhacking. But the Precip jacket ($99) and pants have really changed the math on rainwear. No more $500 rainjackets appearing on the market, I'll tell you that. Everyone is now trying to prove they can offer value.
Of course, other pants exist that are good buys, too. L.L. Beans sells a very respectable Gore-Tex pair of pants for $125the Stowaway Gore-Tex Pants (www.llbean.com). REI's Convergence Zone Pants, very light non-Gore pants, are only $99 (www.rei.com). You might also find some good buys on close-out salesCampmor has The North Face Gore-Tex pants for $125, but you have to fit into a small (www.campmor.com). After that the prices ramp up pretty quickly, from $200 upwards. But you have some good choices here, I think.