Friday, April 2, 2010

RailRiders Zipper / Mesh Vented Hiking Pants

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes” - Pooh

About a month ago a read a post from Earlylite over at Sectionhiker.com.  For the past couple years he has been using RailRiders Eco-Mesh pants for hiking and backpacking trips rather than shorts.  He started wearing them to avoid ticks.  This made me start thinking about a backpacking trip I did last fall on the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey.  It was a three night trip and most of it was fantastic, but there were a few hours in a few spots where the bugs were driving me freaking crazy!  I was wearing convertible pants as shorts and didn’t want to change them into long pants since the temperature was well over 85 degrees and I was already overheating.  I used DEET bug spray, but didn’t think to spray it up my shorts!  The next day I had dozens of bits on my upper thighs. 

So I thought I’d give these RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants a try.  They are not convertibles.  Instead they have zippers running up both sides (27 inches) with bug mesh inside.  This lets in plenty of air to keep you cool. In addition they are treated with “insect shield” (Insectshield.com) which is a Permethrin treatment that should last through 70 washings and still keep the bugs off.  They are made out of 2-ply 3-oz. Duralite nylon.  This material seems to me to feel softer and not as stiff and most hiking pants.  On the RailRiders web site these pants are listed at 9.7 oz; this must be the small size. I have the medium 30” inseam and they weigh 12.4 oz (351 grams).

So far after one very long day hike and a few hours on a bike with them; I am liking them quite a lot.  There is no way they are as cool as wearing shorts, but considering the sun and bug protection I think it is a good compromise.  They are very comfortable and the material feels tough and should last.  I did notice a couple things that need improvement.  First, the minute I stepped out of the care to go for a day hike I realized the pockets have no “key clip”.  Almost all my other hiking pants do (including my shorts) and I have gotten used to using it for my car keys so I don’t have to worry about losing them.  I put the keys in the security pocket with my wallet – it was OK but I miss the clip.  I also noticed the back pockets are cut straight across with zippers.  I have a couple other pairs of pants (Mountain hardwear and LL Bean) that have these but also have additional back pockets cut at an angle so you can reach into them even when wearing a backpack.  I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping my map back there.   To bad these pants don’t have pockets like that since straight cut back pockets are not all that useful when you have on a backpack.

Overall, I like these pants and I’m glad I bought them. I may even experiment with some other RailRiders products. RailRiders is a small company so the products are not available in many stores.  I ordered these on line directly from their web site and the service was fine, I had no issues.  A few more details on these pants:

  • Sun protection is UPF 30+
  • 2-way zippers on both sides with mesh
  • 2 zippered back pockets
  • All pockets are mesh
  • 1 side zippered security pocket
  • Removable belt

 RailRider Pants












Disclosure: BackpackBaseCamp.com does NOT have any affiliate links to RailRiders.  RailRiders is at: http://www.railriders.com

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