Seeking waterproof hiking pants

29 Apr 2019 14:02 #74958 by Calvinragg
Hi Everyone.

I'm looking to purchase a pair of waterproof hiking pants. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I can find some, other than at CUM which I think is a bit over priced.
I'm also interested in a second hand pair in decent condition (size 32/34) in the Hillcrest (KZN) area.
Any info would be appreciated.
Thanks. :-)

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29 Apr 2019 14:58 #74959 by vivo101
Hey Calvin 

Unfortunately decent waterproof clothing is expensive, not getting around that. I have a pair of Black Diamond Stormline-stretch pants which is very durable and lightweight, I'm very happy with them. Drifters and RAM mountaineering stocks them (Roughly R1600). Had a pair of Solamon Bonatti WP pants, but sacrificed them to the mountain during a race, they worked well regardless (Also about R1300). There are a couple of local brands that offer WP pants, but all above R1000 (see the trend?). Highlander and "Mac in a Sac" has some reasonable priced pants(below R1000), I doubt if they will last however. 

These are all reasonable priced when compared to the Mountain Hardware Quasar Lite ii pants for instance, which are $200 (Santa better be starting his list already and taking notes). Anyway when looking for pants make sure they have boot zips, as it's a hassle to take off your shoes to put the pants on/off. Also make sure the seams are taped, this prevents water from seeping through the micro holes left by the stitching. Try to look for something with a waterhead rating over 5000mm , anything less will only keep you dry to the shop and back (3000mm is not highly waterproof as stated by one of our local brands...its starts with a Hi). Also look for something that is breathable (5000g of more), this will ensure that you don't get soaked from your own sweat. 

In my opinion if you're budget allows, buy a decent pair, otherwise you will just be spending again.

Hope you find this helpful

"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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29 Apr 2019 15:02 #74960 by Calvinragg
Thanks for the info VIVO. I'll have a look at some of our local brands.

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02 May 2019 12:44 #74973 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Seeking waterproof hiking pants
this might be a good time to help you avoid wasting your money..

Waterproofing is only half, in fact less than half the equation for outer shell gear. if you research "breathability" which is a bit of a misnomer anyway, you will find that for any strenuous activity including hiking the recommended level of breathability required is 20 000 mms... see a copy of a basic rating scale below.

NB. Basically if you wear pants with low breathability you get a plastic bag effect that causes you to sweat too much, which leads to dehydration and hypothermia in high cold conditions.

Breathability Ratings:
  • 5,000 – 10,000g/m²: This jacket would work fine for resort skiing, urban travel or hanging out in camp while it’s pouring rain. However you would get pretty clammy if you had to do much hiking.
  • 10,000 – 15,000g/m²: This jacket would be ok for more adventurous travel, hiking, and back country skiing. Again if your bush-bashing straight uphill, breaking trail through snow or travelling in highly humid locations you may feel a bit clammy.
  • 15,000 – 20,000g/m² & above: You definitely want something in this range if you’re heading out into the hills for an extended trip, travelling through South East Asia with a plan to trek or any other trip where you can see yourself working hard and perspiring heavily.
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]NB. Unfortunately almost all local options fall into the first category and are a waste of money if you plan to go harder than walking the dog. You better off with a Poncho as Riaan mentioned. Hope I save you some wasted cash..[/font]

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02 May 2019 18:51 #74975 by Herman
I have a pair of cheap K-Way waterproof pants. They are basically plastic bags shaped to fit your legs. The problems mentioned with boots and condensation are there. That said, they are pretty useful for around the camp when it rains, to keep the wind off, etc. But don't expect to hike in them.

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03 May 2019 06:17 #74977 by vivo101
Good point ASL. Most waterproof garments however tend to have the same " breathability" rating as waterhead (10K 10K for instance), therefore you cant have the one without the other. Waterproof ratings should also be taken with a grain of salt, as it's more a question of what material is used rather than waterhead. Best is to find something that is air permeable, does not need to build up vapor pressure on the inside in-order to let vapor through, like conventional waterproof materials. I invested in a Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite ii Jacket which uses air permeable material, I can confidently say the performance is astounding. Air permeable materials like Dry.Q elite used by mountain hardwear is truly "breathable" .

"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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06 May 2019 09:30 #74991 by AdrianT
I had a pair of First Ascent pants for over 10 years that I used. I found them bulky, heavy, and not very breathable. Around camp they were warm but actually hiking in the rain with them was a pain. In warm weather I rather opted to just get wet.

Then last year I went on a long mission to find the right pants, I failed. Well not entirely. The North Face store had a great pair but if I recall they were around R3500 and I felt I couldn't justify that. All other pants (like my First Ascent) have this mesh inside which is rubbish. It adds weight, bulk and only serves to keep the sweaty material off your legs. The one pair of K-Way pants had slits at the top which looked like pockets but were just slits - to let out vapor. Again a cheap and nasty solution to material that does not breathe. And yes the price corresponds accordingly but still I rather not fork out the cash for a bulky, ineffective item. The second I read the words, "2 layer" I move on swiftly. As ASL pointed out, if the pants don't breathe you end up being wetter wearing them than without. 

By luck I went to Austria for a wedding last year and at the end we spent a night on Vienna. Time was extremely limited (and my wifes desire to trawl through the streets) but I found a massive store (I think it was Sports Direct - they have serious specials and a great online store too) and got a super light weight pair of Karrimor pants which fold up to the size of my fist, ok a bit bigger plus my hands aren't spades. They use the WTX technology (  https://www.karrimor.com/technology  ) Also, they were on special and I think I paid just under R1000. Karrimor is considered a cheap but trusted brand overseas and it's a real shame we don't get it because these pants are fantastic. They are Elite something, I forget. The only major downer it that they did not have large so I think in due course they pants will split during a hike - they're size medium. But still, they are way better than anything I found locally, even what shops import. They also have waterproof zips down the entire length of both legs so getting them on with boots is simple and quick. The material feels the same as a Kokatat Rogue Gore-Tex kayaking dry top. Soft, pliable and thin. Fantastic. 

So after that long story I have yet to find water trousers in South Africa that are decent. Despite my "skinny jeans" trousers I am still relatively happy. They survived a trail run up Kasteelspoort and down so I guess they may not die that easily despite the snug fit. The best port of call remains to find a friend heading overseas and bring your item(s) back. Much easier than our post office never mind customs... 





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The following user(s) said Thank You: tonymarshall, GriffBaker, Calvinragg

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07 May 2019 16:39 #74999 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Seeking waterproof hiking pants
That's good feedback on the Mountain Hardwear jacket thanks.. I'm looking at getting a new jackets soon and it's interesting to see the industry changes in USA and Europe with new fabrics. The same a logic that applies to jackets will apply to pants.

After doing my research it appears that breathability is a bit of a redundant term and your word, "breathability" is what actually matters if you want something that performs. Active venting does not require you to start overheating but starts breathing right away. eVent seems to be the best of the bunch from the older concept which sandwiches a layer of PFTE while Neoshell by Polartec is easily the most air permeable fabric I can find that is still very waterproof.

Another thing I am keen on is the new concept of Stretch Hardshells. Some MHW and all Neoshell jackets have a good level of stretch and feel more like a softshell than a hardshell. Also no chip packet vibe or sounds! So in my head it's best of all worlds if it's more comfy more stretchy and protects you without generating unnecessary moisture. Stretch fabrics are also more abrasion resistant for climbers.

There is Pertex + which is quite breathable is has good stretch but seems to fall way short of the others in absolute performance. Bottom line for me after over 20 years of outdoor activities is that gear performs it's function effectively. I don't care about the label on it if it doesn't, and certainly don't want to pay for something should protect me in a life threatening storm but can't. Hypothermia is a common killer even on less extreme trails and we have plenty of risk areas in our mountains.
PS. Hypothermia can occur in temperatures anywhere below 10 deg.

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07 May 2019 17:36 #75000 by vivo101
Up until recently Goretex was the go-to material in waterproof clothing, however the material market is making huge strides. MHW incorporated eVent into the Dry.Q elite fabric which makes it air permeable. They claim that its 2x more breathable than industry standards (claiming to have a 40k rating). Mix that with vents to dump excess heat and you have winning combinations. I can really recommend the MHW Qausar Lite ii jacket, its a 2.5Layer stretch hardshell with a 40k/40k rating. It has pitzips on the back of the triceps (odd place I know), which helps dump heat. Weight is about 300g and it seems very durable, although I will not bundu-bash with it, but it should hold up to some climbing (it was developed with feedback from Ueli Steck). I Borrowed it to my girlfriend over the Easter weekend hike, it rained the whole of monday, I was drenched in my Salomon La Cote (10k/10k) within about 2hours, the MHW was bonedry after 6hours of heavy persistent rain. 

I can only assume that the Quasar Lite Pants will have the same performance and will definitely be investing in some in the near future.  

I agree with you in regards with the hypothermia. The consequences of a jacket/pants wetting out in the more remote extreme locations are far worse than for instance on a short 5km dayhike in your local nature reserve. I believe that this justifies investing in some proper waterproof gear, not necessarily the most expensive, but what ever makes sense for the situations you commonly find yourself in. 

"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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