I had a very interesting, and somewhat surprising, conversation with a Guy at the weekend about the subject of how to wear rain pants. That is, he struck up a conversation with me on whether they should be worn as standalone pants or combined with other hiking pants.
I have to say, that even considering this, really took me by surprise as I only ever wear rain pants in one way, and that is over my regular hiking pants.
However, he contested that he had read of people who do wear them as standalone hiking pants and hence, this was why he was asking me about it.
I started to think about it and couldn’t see how wearing rain pants as a single pair of pants would be a good idea.
However, after we had this conversation, when I got back home, I Googled it and I found that some people do seem to wear their rain pants as standalone pants, or at least there was talk of people doing it.
Is it comfortable?
Now, I have to say that I can’t imagine how this would be too comfortable, and I also can’t think of many advantages with it. The only thing that came to mind when thinking about it, is possibly in very, very humid environments that have heavy rain (maybe a jungle or such).
In that kind of environment, maybe normal hiking pants would just get soaking wet on the inside from humidity and possibly uncomfortable to wear.
You might still want protection from heavy rain from the outside. Even then though, I assume convertible hiking pants would be the way to go. Just zip off the bottoms to turn them into shorts and put your rain pants over on top.
I haven’t been in a jungle as yet so can’t say if this could be an advantage in terms of wearing rain pants only. However, given that there are so many lightweight and quick drying hiking pant options available on the market today, again I am not sure I see how this would be advantageous.
I only ever carry my rain gear in my pack to be put on as outer shell layer over my layers for warmth and protection, it is always my outer layer in my layering system for wet weather. However, when it’s very warm, even when it rains, I might not necessarily put my rain pants or rain jacket on.
As mentioned, some hiking pants available these days are, broadly speaking, very quick drying so if it’s warm enough. So even if I get wet, my normal hiking pants will dry in a relatively short period of time so I won’t bother with the outer layer.
So, there you go, It’s an interesting one, and I never thought I would be considering alternative ways of how to wear rain pants! Thinking about it now though, it has certainly made me reflect on alternative possibilities I guess.
As already mentioned, I only ever wear my rain pants over my normal hiking pants as an outer shell when needed.
However, if you find it practical and functional to wear them as standalone pants, relative to the conditions you hike in, by all means go for it. I never like to say never in terms of gear, so whatever works is the name of the game at the end of the day.
What do you think? Do ever wear hiking pants as standalone pants? If yes, where are you hiking and in what conditions? I’d be fascinated to hear about it in the comments below!
We are doing a drive /day hike trip to Iceland. Late April is our two week window. I too wondered about using OR Gottex pants for all day wear. What does everyone think?
Iceland is quite chilly in late April, 37 – 41F (3 – 5C) looks like the average for April. With that in mind, my recommendation would be to use a solid pair of hiking pants with water resistant capabilities, but have a pair of rain pants with you as well, to wear over your hiking pants, should you need them to protect you from heavier blasts of rain, wind, etc. I would look for the rain pants to utilize Gore-tex or a similar waterproof fabric. That’s what I would run with. Also, although I don’t utilize them myself, but if you tend to feel the cold, it might also not be a bad idea to have base layer leggings with you too. Hope that helps.