What pair of pants will get me around the Everest trekking circuit?
I'm looking for a pair of pants that will be good for trekking the Everest circuit in April. I tend to overheat easily, so they have to breathe fairly well. The trail will be rocky, so they have to be able to take a few of my inevitable slips. Oh yeah, and I'd rather not spend more than maybe $150. Ideas? Craig Brooklyn, New York
I think we can manage that. What won’t work will be the usual nylon travel pants, which are perfectly adequate but won’t be warm or versatile enough for a trip like the one up to Everest Base Camp and the Gokyo Valley. Instead, I’d recommend something such as REI’s Mistral Pant ($100; www.rei.com). They’re made with Schoeller Dynamic, an excellent high-tech fabric that combines Lycra and Cordura to create a pant that’s tough and versatile. You’ll find they keep you reasonably warm in cool, windy weather; won’t make you steam when it’s warmer; and will shed light rain (they’re not made for downpours).
You also could look into Mammut’s Courmayeur Pants, which use Schoeller Dryskin, an even better fabric for mountain conditions (L.L. Bean used to make a superb pair of pants with this stuff, but alas, they quit doing so). The only rub is the Mammuts cost $179 (www.mammut.ch). But they’re great pants!
A cheaper solution is Mountain Hardwear’s Winter Wander pants ($80; www.mountainhardwear.com), which have a nylon and polyester blend and are a little heavier than the usual travel pants. A pair of Patagonia Silkweight tights ($32; www.patagonia.com) would provide a warm layer for cold days, without making you feel as if you’re wearing fur leggings.
My other choice would be something in wool, but the cost issue comes up here, too. Ibex makes a beautiful pair of rugged wool pants called Guide Lites. They’d be excellent due to wool’s all-around versatility, toughness, and warm-when-wet capability. But, at $185, they’re a bit dear (www.ibexwear.com).