I just bought another pair of Railrider’s Eco Mesh Pants. This will be my tenth pair and the 9th year in a row that I plan on wearing them for hiking and backpacking trips.
Going through one pair of hiking pants per year may seem a bit extreme to you, but I really beat the heck out of my pants on 3 season, multi-day backpacking trips. Over the course of spring, summer, and fall I’ll wear one pair of pants for about 80 backpacking days covering about 1000 miles per year.
That’s just for overnights. I also do a lot of long day hikes, so add another 20 days per year to that. So by the end of each year, my pants are so filthy that no amount of washing or soaking can get the mud or sweat stains out of them.
The reason I love RailRiders Eco-Mesh pants is the venting. There are 27″ long zippers that the run along the outside of each leg and can be opened to ventilate your more delicate parts if you start to sweat between the thighs or along your calves. RailRiders is the only manufacturer that I know of that makes pants with these vertical vents.
I started wearing these pants in 2008, when I decided to give up wearing shorts for hiking to avoid tick borne illnesses. I know too many people who’ve contracted them. During those first two years, I sprayed Permethrin on my shirts and pants at the beginning of each season to kill mosquitoes and ticks that landed on the fabric. Sawyer sells Permethrin by the bottle and it really works.
Starting is 2012, RailRiders came out with Eco Mesh pants that are pre-treated with Insect Shield. This is a longer lasting, commercial version of Permethrin, that lasts for 70 washings.
In addition to bug protection, their pants are extremely soft and quick to dry, making them great hiking pants. They’re worth every penny I’ve spent on them over the years! 6 years later, I’m still wearing them!
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
Written 2012. Updated 2018.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate 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 and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
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