Are Rain Pants Necessary?
I have my top shell sorted but almost forgot about my pants, do I need rain pants or do you just let your regular pants get wet in the rain?
Skin and bone...yep, that's me. And I soon learned not to dress like everyone else but as Gaiters says experience will teach you but not the hard way, hopefully.
The OP poses a question; are rain paints necessary? The simple answer is no. The length of your top shell has been implicitly mentioned several times now. A lot of modern top shells only come down to the waist or just below. This is nice because it saves a lot of weight, but it's crap because now you really need a pair of over trousers to cover your arse. Literally. As several very experienced posters have pointed out, overtrou are not nice things. They're a pig to get on and off, awful to walk in and damage easily. And while they can be very useful in exposed unpleasant conditions, that really doesn't make up for all their other deficiencies. On balance I'd be looking for a system that eliminates them, they are not 'necessary' most of the time. Again most very experienced trampers look for rain shells that come down to mid-thigh, then polyprop tights and high gaiters. Other combinations work; for some years I carried pair of wool knickerbocker style pants that stopped just below the knee. Worked well but a bit heavy. JMeyer's suggestion of a waterproof kilt is something interesting as well. After all it worked for the Scots who lived in a very similar climate to the NZ mountains.
as i mentioned, if you become imobilised they can be a very important piece of clothing because they keep out the wind and rain, providing more warmth, even if you don't use them much everyone is different on how much clothing they need for various weather conditions, a lot of seasoned trampers get by with relatively little clothing in circumstances when others need a lot more. definitely need either a waterproof bivy bag or rainpants. depnds on the conditions, and where you are in cold alpine conditions i've been in situations where i did need rainpants to stay warm enough even when moving, i wouldnt dare be without them in that situation...
I just let my pants get wet in the rain. They are quick-easy dry, as are my underpants, so good again for the next day. I have spare to change into at the hut. Choice of clothing/gear can vary with the forecast or type of trip. edit: Might take some Warehouse pants-in-a-bag if I think I might need some overtrousers for sandfly country or such. https://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/dw/image/v2/AAWO_PRD/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-twl-master-catalog/default/dwf437e7ad/71/d1/R1799195_40.jpg
@waynowski I fully agree that exposed, cold alpine conditions can easily require the need for some form of wind protection for the legs. Whether overtrousers are the best or 'necessary' way to achieve this is not so clear. For instance in the case where I was immobilised I'd be much happier if I was in a bivvy bag. But most of the time trampers shouldn't be on the tops in the kind of conditions I think you have in mind. Rainpants are certainly not something I'd regularly use, nor are they any real use at keeping you dry. At best I regard them as emergency kit, and from that perspective there are better options.
most of the moisture inside waterproof clothing is from accumulated sweat and not from water getting in as a lot of people think. some of the latest waterproof technologies aren't bad at moving sweat out of the garments... a lot better than earlier generations..
Yep, often alot of the moisture inside waterproof clothing is indeed sweat trying to escape, and often there's a big difference in the performance of that from some of latest waterproof fabrics than your cheapest plastic waterproof. These days I don't do much in full on winter conditions, but even in summer & not on the Alpine tops, often there's proper downpours, and being wet and cold is no fun and can be dangerous. Unlike a few above I am fan of more lightweight and shorter waterproof jackets, and lightweight gear generally, however I also take along waterproof bottoms, but usually either waterproof shorts or 3/4 trousers rather than full length, both of which are easy to put on and take up little room in the pack. I first started using waterproof shorts and 3/4's when cycling, and then tried them out tramping. I wouldn't go back to full length ones now, except in winter conditions.
If you do decide to wear rain pants (overtrousers) and they are uncomfortable to move in, then wearing bowyangs can help. As a phlebotomist I have no shortage of disposable tourniquets to employ. Not flogging equipment from work, just recycling ones from immunocompromised folks. I'll have to check out those cheap Rivets.
My overtrou zips are connected at the top,so no issue in high winds as one person commented.Thought they were all like that... If you have overtrou without zips(which I wouldn`t recommend) they can serve a useful purpose-cut `em off above the knee & voila,waterproof short overtrou.Light & keep your shorts reasonably dry.
sandfly country or such. or Ruahine nettle country
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