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
|Outdoor Research Helium II||Ankle||5.4||119|
|Columbia Rebel Roamers||None||11||50|
|Precip Full Zip||Full||12||100|
|Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic||Full||10||150|
|The North Face Venture||Half||8.1||80|
|Arc'teryx Beta SL||Ankle||9.2||199|
|Outdoor Research Foray||Three Quarter||10.7||175|
|Frogg Toggs Ultralite Pants||None||5||25|
|Red Ledge Thunderlight||None||8.9||39|
|Red Ledge Thunderlight Full Zip||Full Zip||12.5||55|
|Red Ledge Free Rein Full Zip||Full Zip||13.3||80|
|La Sportiva Hail||None||5.9||179|
|Arc'teryx Alpha SL||Ful Zip||12.9||269|
|Helly Hansen Voss||None||14||35|
|Montbell Stretch Full Zip||Full Zip||10.8||149|
|Montbell Rain Trekker||Half||8.6||89|
|Montbell Peak Shell||None||4.6||119|
|Montbell Convertible Rain Pants||None||6.1||119|
|Mountain Laurel Designs Rain Chaps (Silnylon)||NA||2.2||45|
Updated 2018.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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