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#116381 - 12/18/07 08:38 AM Survival.........Pants?
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
Generally, I've always worn jeans, but jeans are horrible when it comes to staying dry. They get wet and they stay wet until I get the chance to hang them near a fire. Even then they take forever to dry. The rest of my clothes are either wool, synthetic, or a blend...and they all dry fast and retain heat even when wet. I'm worried that one day SAR might find me out in the cold not wearing any pants. whistle

With that said, short of old wool suit pants or military BDU's, what options are out there? What do you guys wear?

#116388 - 12/18/07 01:55 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: Paul810]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
I've been thinking about this recently too. Right now I have a rather light pair of khakis stuffed into my bag with a set of pants from my golf rain gear. I thought I would be able to be dry with the rain gear on and warm between the two layers. There is also a set of long underwear for a third layer, if needed. I'd like something better than the khakis, but I have yet to figure out what.

#116390 - 12/18/07 02:08 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: Paul810]
atoz Offline

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 144
Loc: Nevada
BDU are cotton popular, cotton will burn and not stick to the person. Wool would be the best pants, or synthetic long johns with a windshell over top. Layerin is best.

#116391 - 12/18/07 02:38 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: Paul810]
Frozen Offline

Registered: 01/07/05
Posts: 86
Without a doubt, when I ride my bike in cool to cold weather, when I hike or ski (cross country or downhill) or snowshoe, or when I do arctic and sub-arctic field work (I work with the Geological Survey of Canada), trousers made with Schoeller Dryskin material are the best. It has a tough and hard wearing exterior, it's relatively wind and water resistant, it stretches, and it wicks. The only drawback is the price.

Here's a relatively cheap example, still $145

“Expectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity.” Umberto Eco

#116392 - 12/18/07 02:41 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: Paul810]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1953
Loc: Colorado
I have microfleece pants and waterproof-breathable rain/windwear I can put over that.

That being said, I've never used either of those on a hike. Even when it's chilly my legs stay warm in synthetic shorts if I'm moving, maybe with the legs zipped on in windy conditions. I don't go hiking when it's bitter cold. I never wear cotton (jeans or shirts) when hiking, even in the warm. Only synthetics. Weather can change too fast.

#116393 - 12/18/07 03:03 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: atoz]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada

I agree with atoz, I wear Cotton/Poleyester BDU type pants in warm weather and wool pants of different thickness in the cold seasons. I find that as heavy wool pants wear they get thinner so I use those on days when it is not too cold. I also usually travel with Goretex overpants so if it is raining or the snow is sticking to my pants I put the Goretex shell on.

Something I use often when it is cold and windy is a Goretex Windstopper layer between my wool pants and poly long johns, it really turns the cold wind.

If I am snowmobiling or ice fishing I wear a insulated "Ice Rider" floatation 2 piece snowmobile suit.


#116396 - 12/18/07 03:28 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: SwampDonkey]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
I have a few pairs of Columbia Sportwear cargo pants for hot weather climates. They are synthetic, light but tough. They were what I predominantly wore while in Baghdad.

For cold weather climates, I have a couple pairs of synthetic waterproof breathable rainsuits (coat and pants) from Walls for the wet times, and for the really nasty stuff I have some composite over pants that are waterproof, breathable, but well insulated. I also have a pair of waterproof fleece pants from Rivers West, which I've worn in the coldest environments in comfort.

I try to avoid cotton in survival clothing because I've found it to be inferior for both hot and cold environments. It is great for casual wear, but useless when wet, whether hot or cold, unless it is treated so as to make it waterproof.

Woolies aren't bad for hiking. I like the old swedish army wool pants, except my wife hasn't figured out yet that wool has to be washed in cold water and dried without excessive heat.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#116404 - 12/18/07 04:01 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: benjammin]
joaquin39 Offline

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Philadelphia,Pennsyvania, USA.
I wear wool pants with army poly underwear. The pants are washed in cold water and hang to dry without using the drying machine at all.

#116405 - 12/18/07 04:01 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: Paul810]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
I am currently experimenting with pants. I have tested MEC's River pants. They are made of Supplex nylon, they are really quick drying. Apparently bugs can't bite through them. They do break the wind, they are really tightly woven. But they are not warm at all and below freezing, I wore them with a pair of wicking long johns. When they lay flat on my skin, I feel the cold conducting and chilling my legs. So you need to layer a decent pair of insulating pants underneath it. There are also nylon athletic wind pants that have a polyester lining like the Nike brand that I would like to try out.

Now I'm looking for wool pants. I checked out dress pants on the market but they don't make medium weight serge wool pants anymore. It's all super 100, super 130 extra thin italian tropical pants. For colder wheather they recommend flannel pants but they don't shed the snow well and are not that thick.

So I'm looking at Filson and Cabela's whipcord pants, they are midweight and have a twill weave (diagonal ribs) which help shed snow. Ideally I would wear them with suspenders so that the warm air produced by the upper legs can flow freely to the upper body. One advantage of wool is that they are fire retardant, which is a benefit when you work with fire. On the other hand, you can't launder them the same way you do with other fabrics. Cabela's whipcord have a SW100 finish so that you can machine wash them. I'm not sure what it stands for, maybe steel wool 100g? I may ask them for more information about their miracle finish.

I'm also looking at moleskin pants, which are made of heavy cotton fabric, woven and then sheared to create a short soft pile on one side. Apparently they are very warm but I would wear them in dry cold conditions since they are cotton. The military pants like the BDU always have cotton fibers in them because they need to be quiet.

The lower body requires less insulation than the upper body generally. Just look at the scottish people wearing kilts and skirts. In fact Mountain Hardwear makes a technical kilt. It seems like a good idea, given how easy it is to put on and remove:

Choosing the right clothing is such a complex topic and I find myself asking questions about this most of the time on this forum. ¾ of your survival relies on the clothing you wear.


#116406 - 12/18/07 04:03 PM Re: Survival.........Pants? [Re: benjammin]
CityBoyGoneCountry Offline

Registered: 11/04/07
Posts: 369
Originally Posted By: benjammin
I like the old swedish army wool pants, except my wife hasn't figured out yet that wool has to be washed in cold water and dried without excessive heat.

After many a shrunken piece of clothing, I've learned that it's best to do my own laundry.

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