Long Pants

Posted by: 4evrplan

Long Pants - 08/04/17 04:04 PM

I see an overwhelming number of hikers in person, in pictures, in videos, and on forums who wear shorts. It probably has a lot to do with where I hike, but when I'm in the woods, I wear long pants exclusively. I feel much more protected from bugs, thorns, and sun that way (but especially bugs!). Are there any other weirdos here that hike exclusively in long pants? And if so, and be honest with yourself, is it more for practical reasons, or for psychological benefits?
Posted by: JustWalking

Re: Long Pants - 08/04/17 05:34 PM

I hike in long pants (and long sleeved shirt) exclusively. I burn easily, and don't wish to put on sunscreen, so I wear covering garments instead.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Long Pants - 08/04/17 07:52 PM

Nope, lifelong shorts guy here - but I recently switched from "pure" shorts to zip-leg pants. As I've gotten old(er), I've found myself occasionally wishing I had long pants on a cool morning, a damp morning when I'm walking through meadows or underbrush, or in the evening when the bugs come out.

I've also never really been happy with gaiters - strictly personal; I know the advantages, but just never got comfortable wearing them. The zip legs seem a nice compromise.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Long Pants - 08/04/17 11:14 PM

Zip legs for me. But while hiking I'm in shorts 95% + of the time.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Long Pants - 08/05/17 07:36 AM

Alway wear long pants but I never wear shorts when not hiking either.I guess that I am strange in that I do not even own a pair of shorts. Probably mostly due to working where I did a lot of welding etc.
Posted by: Pika

Re: Long Pants - 08/05/17 10:51 AM

I wear long pants when I'm hiking in Arizona to protect my legs from the intense sun and all of the thorny bushes. When I'm in places such as the Sierra I wear light running shorts and carry a light pair of ripstop overpants as sun and bug protection.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Long Pants - 08/05/17 10:28 PM

Originally Posted By GrumpyGord
Alway wear long pants but I never wear shorts when not hiking either.I guess that I am strange in that I do not even own a pair of shorts. Probably mostly due to working where I did a lot of welding etc.

Now that you mention it, I only own one pair of shorts, and I rarely wear them.
Posted by: wgiles

Re: Long Pants - 08/06/17 07:32 AM

I used to wear shorts a lot, but, over the years, I have gotten to where I almost never wear shorts. It's mostly to protect my legs, mainly from the sun, but also from hot surfaces in the sun. I learned a long time ago to wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt when canoeing to prevent severe sunburn.
Posted by: GrumpyGord

Re: Long Pants - 08/06/17 08:03 AM

I am somewhat baffled by the use of shorts. I see people here in Michigan wearing shorts and winter jackets in cold weather. My legs are not the part of the body which gets warm for me. I think that shorts are more of a fashion thing than utility.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Long Pants - 08/06/17 08:32 AM

I somewhat disagree about the utility factor. (I strongly agree about the fashion aspect of shorts and winter jackets. I see the same thing here in southwest Ohio, and have the same reaction you do: these are folks who don't really spend much time outdoors in the winter - maybe just long enough to hurry from the car into Starbucks because they don't want to wait in the drive-thru line.)

I stay cooler in shorts when I'm hiking in the Ohio Valley forests in the summer. I do admit that I have to be more careful about thorny bushes and ticks than I might have to be in long pants, but the direct sun and hot surfaces aren't a real issue in the forests I frequent.

I still hike in shorts in winter, over mid weight long johns, because I find them less restrictive than long pants when stair-stepping up a steep pitch, or climbing over deadfall. However, the last year or so, I am drifting toward long pants in cool and cold weather - the zip legs seem to be good compromise, since I can start a winter's day in long pants over long johns, then zip off the legs as the temperature rises (if it does) or terrain challenges kick in.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Long Pants - 08/06/17 02:06 PM

The last time I hiked in shorts was back in 1987 when I encountered an extremely overgrown trail--the vegetation was mostly stinging nettles!

I also developed an allergy to sunscreen about that time, so I have no alternative to long pants, long sleeves, dorky Sunday Afternoons Adventure hat. Above timberline, I wear shields over the backs of my hands, which otherwise are prone to bad sunburn thanks to my trekking poles.

Since then I acquired huge scars from extensive surgery on my left knee and additional varicose veins, so I prefer to keep my ugly legs covered up anyway. No more skirts, unless reenacting in the 19th century.
Posted by: Jester

Re: Long Pants - 08/09/17 12:14 PM

Zip-off pants for me, which seem more versatile.

When I'm hiking in desert environments, there's not an inch of skin showing, because I am a pale and pasty person. So: long pants there.

And long pants as well in buggy environments, or on unmaintained, overgrown trail.

But shorts when I can get away with it, which tends to be quite often on the usually shady and relatively well-maintained AT.
Posted by: aimless

Re: Long Pants - 08/09/17 02:30 PM

My strategy is similar to Jester's for similar reasons. I burn easily enough that I must measure out my sun exposure carefully. As with many here, I dislike sunscreen and much prefer to cover up with lightweight clothing to prevent burning my skin. However, I do 'spend' my limited exposure time for part of each hiking day by wearing shorts, usually when I am hiking uphill under a load. I also prefer clothes as a shield against bugs and try to minimize my use of deet.

That's why zip-off pants have been the right choice for me. I know some people have problems with chafing and irritation at the hem where the lower leg zips onto the uppers shorts, but I always check this out carefully before I buy a pair and haven't had problems in that way. I'm happy with my system. it is flexible and is lighter weight than taking separate long pants + shorts, while delivering the same end results.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Long Pants - 08/10/17 02:01 PM

I would imagine it's also a lot more convenient to zip off/on the legs than to change, though I've never tried myself.
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: Long Pants - 08/11/17 11:41 AM

Used to hike in shorts exclusively, rain or shine, but a lifetime of scars, sunburns, bug bites and debris down my shoes has me using long pants 100%. I miss the comfort on hot days but otherwise it's simply a better solution. For years I bought convertibles but found I never used (unzipped) them and don't bother buying them anymore.

At home I live in shorts from March through October.

Posted by: bobito9

Re: Long Pants - 08/26/17 07:18 PM

I almost totally use zip-offs, and then choose them short or long according to weather, brush, and poison oak. Oh, and I often spray them with permethrin, so if there are skeeters or ticks, I wear the legs.
Posted by: vdeal

Re: Long Pants - 09/01/17 01:40 PM

Another zip-leg pants user here. I'm in shorts 80+% of the time and yes, I do change them on the go. The pants part are a necessity if I hit a patch of stinging nettles but bugs are seldom an issue. In really cold weather I have a pair of Arborwear Tech pants I love. I never wear long underwear - my legs get too hot - it would have to be -20°F for me to wear them.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Long Pants - 09/01/17 07:42 PM

Totally long pants for me! I also quit wearing zip-offs because I do not like the feel of the zip area. If I want air on my legs, I roll up my pants. I also like my pants to be loose. No leggings for me!

1) I need the protection of pants because I do mostly off-trail
2) Do not need to use sunscreen, DEET or other chemicals.
3) My legs stay cleaner
4) At my age, who wants to see my legs? And who cares about looking fashionable?

At NOLS, and doing snow climbing, I got in the habit of always wearing knee-high gaiters. I like loose pants on my thighs and knees, but not on my lower legs. If your pants are too tight in these areas, you will probably prefer shorts. Gaiters give the knee freedom of shorts. The gaiters also protect my pants from getting ripped. And no sand or dirt into my shoes. Cleaner socks at the end of the day. So I look like one of those WWI British soldiers! Very funky, but very pragmatic. The only down-side is that gaiters get hot. But I hike at high altitudes so heat is not a bit problem

Most UL PCT hikers also wear gaiters, but those ankle high stretchy ones (like the Dirty Girl brand).
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Long Pants - 09/01/17 10:55 PM

Oh, those leg zippers are torture. I bought a pair of zip-off leg pants for a trip in which I had to do a lot of fording. Believe me, it wasn't worth the bother. The pants (lightweight nylon) were half dry by the time I manated to get the zippered legs back on. And the zippers chafed my legs. The pants went to Goodwill after a couple of trips.

Even on trail in the Pacific Northwest, where brush grows apace and trail maintenancce (where it exists at all) is minimal, I want long pants!
Posted by: enthusiast

Re: Long Pants - 09/02/17 09:49 AM

If we're still in discussion about this, put another one down for the zip-leg pants.

Even though they're zip leg pants, they're never turned into shorts. Ever. I do like that if I have to walk through water, or even if the tall grass is wet, you can take the legs off to hang dry. I normally do that at night and can sleep in the shorts while the legs dry for the next day.
Posted by: enthusiast

Re: Long Pants - 09/02/17 09:51 AM

To add to this, if you like those zip pants, Gander Mountain going out of business had A LOT of them left, I scored a nice bunch of them before they were gone.

Might be worth a check if you still have any Gander Mountains around you.