So, I'm a bigger guy and usually hike in shorts and a fishing shirt. I have some wool socks, wool long underwear and a wool top to sleep in and a 20 degree bag. I'm usually good sleeping down to the low 40's at night. I'm itching to do a few winter section hikes on the AT (looking at an overnight Springer to Hightower at the moment) but it looks like pants may be the best option. I'm a 42x34 (or, during the holidays, 44x34) with pretty thick legs. What are some good options for lightweight pants for winter hiking?
As a bigger guy myself, I find that pants with 4-way stretch are really helpful on the trail. They are comfortable, which is the most important, but they also give a bit for those technical sections of trail that require a bit more flexibility out of me (and my pants). In terms of winter, I find that soft-shell fabric is my favorite as it isn't too hot, breathes well, and provides really decent water repellency for light rain and snow. Here are a couple of options for you to check out:
The REI Co-op Activator and KUHL Silencr pants are made with soft shell fabric, the KUHL Disruptr are much lighter and breathable. You'll want to keep that in mind if you're concerned about being too hot, or potentially buying a pant that you can use year round. All of these pants come with a gusseted crotch and four-way/360° stretch.
Hopefully this helps, thanks!
@REI-JohnJthanks for the info! I saw the REI Activator and liked them but was concerned about the size. I wear a 42x34 normally in blue jeans but, during the holidays, my old [stretched out a bit] blue jeans tend to get a little snug. May be worth ordering them to see if they run a little big. Thanks for the info!!
In my experience they run fairly true to size, however, the four way stretch does allow for a bit of flexibility. I look at it this way, when I put them on and they begin to feel a bit more snug (whether because of the holidays or because pizza night), it means I need to get out hiking more!
Let us know if they work for you, thanks!
@nathanu Look at the Paramount Trail Convertible Pants from North Face. I'm a bigger guy like you and I'm always looking for a roomier cut when I backpack as well. I just got some of those North Face pants, and they're fantastic! I've had them out on a few hikes already and they move so well with me. There are a few products out there that are lighter weight, but with these I don't have to worry about ripping them out from the slimmer cut. Plus I'm a big fan of convertible pants, they're very versatile. Full pants or full shorts, or you can even partially unzip the legs to dump heat but still keep on the pants legs. Check them out. I got mine from Amazon and I'm very happy.