Are Rain Pants Meant to be Worn over Hiking Pants?

Hiking in the Rain with Joe
Hiking in the Rain with Joe

Rain pants. Now there’s a topic that I am sure many of us have different opinions about!

I almost always wear my rain pants over my hiking pants, except when I am doing laundry in a trail town and rain pants are the only pants I am wearing!

Joking aside, I wear my rain pants over my hiking pants because it’s much easier to put them on and take them off when it starts and stops raining. Think about what a hassle it would be to switch between the two every time it started or stopped raining during the day.

I also wear hiking pants under rain pants because they slow body heat loss when my outer layer is wet. It’s the same reason I wear a fleece sweater or mid-layer under a rain shell in the rain, because it keeps the cold shell fabric off my skin where it can rapidly chill me.

I know a lot of people who don’t hike with rain pants at all. This is really a regional issue; New England weather tends to be much wetter than many places in the western USA where it doesn’t rain or doesn’t rain enough. That’s why I always carry rain pants on hikes, even on day hikes.

Lightweight Rain Pants

ModelVentingWeightMSRP
Outdoor Research Helium Rain PantsAnkle-Zip6.7 oz$119
Columbia Rebel RoamersNone11 oz$50
Marmot Precip Full Zip PantsFull-Length12 oz$70
Marmot Precip Eco Boot Zip PantsAnkle-Zip8.1 oz$80
Patagonia Cloud Ridge PantsAnkle-Zip10.9 oz$179
Kuhl JetstreamAnkle-Zip8.8 oz$175
Arc'teryx Beta SLFull-Length13.2 oz$275
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L PantsMid-Thigh11.8 oz$119
Montane Atomic PantsMid-Thigh10.7 oz$175
Montane MinimalistAnkle-Zip5.3 oz$140
Frogg Toggs Ultralite PantsNone5 oz$15
Montbell Stretch Full ZipFull-Length10.8 oz$149
Montbell Versalite PantsNone3.2 oz$139
Montbell Convertible Rain PantsKnee-length6.1 oz$119
Enlightened Equipment Visp PantsAnkle-Zip4 oz$160
Editor's note: If you’re thinking about buying gear that we’ve reviewed or recommend on SectionHiker, you can help support us in the process. Just click on any of the seller links above, and if you make a purchase, we may (but not always) receive a small percentage of the transaction. The cost of the product is the same to you but this helps us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides. Thanks and we appreciate your support!

One comment

  1. I always bring rain pants (my current ones are OR Helium) because they are an integral part of my cold weather layering system even when it’s not raining.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *