This post is part of the Backpacking Gear for Beginners course.
Why do you need waterproof pants?
Just as you need a waterproof jacket for your hike, you’ll likely need waterproof pants. When we’re in town and a rainstorm comes through we can run into work, the shops, or back to the car. When we’re out backpacking we won’t have that luxury.
The easiest way to stay dry is to just have waterproof pants and jacket. You can hike through nearly anything without having to worry about getting soaking wet and cold.
Often you can get away with wet shorts or pants out hiking. But when you get into camp and you’re not moving as much, the cold sets in. Waterproof pants will keep you warm and dry.
You’ll likely be wearing the waterproof pants over regular hiking pants or shorts. Make sure there is space underneath so you can still move your legs.
As with waterproof jackets, inexpensive pants won’t be very breathable. They’ll keep the water out but the moisture inside won’t be able to escape easily. Spending a little more on waterproof pants will get you something more breathable. Gore-Tex and eVent will be the best but the most expensive. I don’t typically wear my waterproof pants a lot so I just use less expensive models.
They often have zippers on the side to help get them on over large boots. Some can zip all the way up from the top to the bottom. Full zippers like this will make them less waterproof but make them easier to get on and off.