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What Kind Of Pants To Wear?

Eric K
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First off, I'm not a professional hiker so don't need anything very expensive or fancy.


Second, I usually just wear sweatpants as jeans seem to heavy and hot to walk in, sweatpants are a little better.


Three, I live in Ohio and in the summer besides worrying about thorns cutting up my legs I'm scared to death of ticks so hiking in shorts is out of the question for me.


Thanks in advance

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Here in the uk we have a material called rip stop that most walking trousers are made out of, from the budget ones to the top of the range ones. It's nice and cool in summer, not cold in winter and doesn't rip if you catch yourself on brambles or anything like that.


Might be worth looking around to see if you can find the same kinda thing.

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Although as a kid I assumed all people who wore pants in the summer must be crazy, I have turned into one myself, for the reasons you mention -- ticks and thorns. My favorite pair of summer caching pants are a lightweight but very strong pair that I got from Eastern Mountain Sports. I just checked the tag, and the brand is "Gramicci". Did a quick Google check and apparently they make all kinds of hiking pants, including some lightweight summer ones.

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Most of my pants have zip off legs so if it is warm out I can wear them as shorts. I usally buy the Columbia brand or North face, I am close to a north face outlet were they have some very good deals, my last long pair from them was $10.00. I also have a pair of dark green Ben Davis pats, when I wear these with a kaki shirt people tend to think I am a park ranger.

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Personally, I prefer 100% cotton for hiking. I found some really wonderful, very lightweight Prana cotton pants at Adventure 16. They were on sale . . . otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford them. However, the fabric is so durable, they will last for years.


My other favorite pair of back-country pants are zip-off "convertible" pants/shorts.


I found one pair of those at my local Thrift Store for about $6.00. :laughing:

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Might want to check out some summer weight Battle Dress Uniform trousers like what the military wears in the field, you can get them in solid colors as well as camouflage. They also have button-close rear pockets and cargo pockets. Check out websites like rangerjoes.com and uscav.com.


You can usually pick them up for about 30 bucks a pair.

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Here in the wet Pacific Northwest, I usually wear Karhartts Jeans or Overalls. They protect my legs from the brush and nettles. If you don't wash them too often they will protect you knees when you knell down looking for a cache under a stump or log. I also usually wear some type of boots. I think I am the only one I have seen dressed like this. Dick, W7WT

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I have a pair of the military-style field pants that I found at WalMart on clearance. They had badly-stained cuffs, but were too long for me. I figured that for $1 I could cut them off, hem them up, and they would do. They're not stylish, but they have lots of big pockets for carrying stuff, and they do the job. For summer use I have a couple of pairs of zip-off nylon pants, but regular jeans are about as good as any of these most of the time. My primary requirement is that they protect my legs from briars and thorns, which are rampant down here.

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I usually go to Goodwill stores and buy some seconhand cotton pants for around $4 bucks, they are cool and comfortable, and if they get ripped on some thorns I'm not out any $$$. Light color is the best in the summer, ticks don't like the light colors and they are cooler in the sun. When it comes to winter time I find some old dress wool slacks for around $6 and they work just fine.

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I like rip stop fabric for actual hiking. For geocaching - - where I often find myself bushwhacking near thorns - - I like a mid-weight work pant made from the same fabric they use for fire hoses. This is some tough, but comforable fabric.


You can get them at Duluth Trading That link is for the mid-weight version, but they also have a heavy weight version. To give a comparison, I think the mid-weight are lighter than jeans, while the heavy weight are comprable, but more comfortable. Because these are work pants, the pockets are excellent for carrying caching stuff.


This is an interesting thread.

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I find light weight nylon to be the best for hiking. Nylon pants are cool, durable and they dry very quickly. Cotton is comfortable, but I find jeans to be too heavy and restricting for hiking and cotton stays wet for a long time.


I picked up several pairs of Ex Officio pants from Sierra Trading Post that I wear almost exclusively when hiking. In the summer they are so comfortable I often wear them instead of shorts if I know I'm going to be headed off trail. In the winter (unless its really cold) I simply throw a pair of long polypro underwear underneath and I'm set.

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I know others have said this already, but I think BDU, military battle dress uniform, pants work best. They are loose enough so you can wear sweat pants under them when it gets cold. They are tight enough so they do not get snagged on brush when you are hunting caches. Most of the time when I am caching I wear a pair of urban camouflage BDU pants. However, if the weather is nice and you are not going to be getting into thick brush I would go with the kilt idea.



Edited by Fergus
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I too wear the BDU pants. There are two types, summer and winter. The winter weight BDU's are like a light denim, where as the summer weight BDU's are like a very light breathable fabric I beleve it's rip/tear resistant as well. I don't think they'd be too expensive at the local military surplus store. I was active duty air force so I still have all my old uniforms that I use...

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Check out Campmor.com. They have very good, competitive prices on all kinds of outdoor gear including clothes. They have Hot Deals that are hard to beat and web specials that are updated each week.


Great service. Never been disappointed with anything I have bought from them including pants.


I realize I live in the great Mid-South, Memphis, home to Cotton Row, but outdoorsmen will tell you that 100% cotton is not the way to go. Once you start sweating, cotton stays wet. Check out some hiking bargains on line at Campmor.

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With the weather I've not been making a lot of long hikes to snatch a cache. Lately I've been wearing flannel lined jeans on my cache trips. Not only are they warm, but they also provide protection from the many thornes I've encountered recently. If they get wet, the day is pretty much over.


I will also 2nd the opinion of Campmor. I have purchased from them for nearly 10 years now. They have great prices and excellent customer service.

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Carhart "canvas" or heavy jean material for me. I'll gladly endure the extra heat in the summer vs. the shredded skin I'd have otherwise. In the winter it's no contest. BTW, I still manage to shred and tear jeans with thorns and the occasional fall. What would my skin look like without at least that much protection?

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I love my fjallraven trousers.They are made of G1000 material wich is very strong,yet nice and cool in the summer,you can wax it to make it water repellent,musquitos can't sting through them and all the pockets you'll need.Second place would be for The North Face and Lowe Alpine.

Greetings from Holland...

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