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
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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.

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