Rain pants can be used for hiking, as they provide lightweight, waterproof protection. However, for skiing, rain pants may not be ideal due to the lack of insulation and warmth, and a less durable construction compared to snow pants. Ski-specific pants are better suited for the cold and demanding conditions of skiing, as they offer insulation, durability, and additional features designed for the sport.
Rain pants have been around for a long time… and there’s a reason for that: They keep you warm… dry… and comfortable when the weather turns foul. But are they worth it for backpacking or other forms of hiking? And what about when you’re skiing?
Rain-resistant pants are ideal for those who want extra protection from wind and cold but don’t need the breathability of a waterproof membrane. For example… people who hike on rainy days or walk their dogs on rainy nights may appreciate a little extra protection from the elements while remaining comfortable and dry enough to return home before getting out of the rain.
The good news is that many manufacturers make rain-resistant hiking pants with great features like built-in belts… functional pockets… and adjustable waistbands that allow you to layer with ample room for comfort and mobility.
If you’re thinking about buying some rain pants… here are a few things to consider:
- Are you looking for waterproof rain pants or just water-resistant?
- Do you need good breathability?
- Do you want to look fashionable or go with the classic look?
- Will they be warm enough?
- How much do you want to spend?
All of these factors will help determine which rainpants are best for your needs. Now let’s look at what situations you can use rain paints or can do without them.
Can You Use Rain Pants for Skiing?
The truth is that you can use rain pants for skiing. The problem is that they’re not made to be used in the snow… which means that they won’t do a great job of keeping you warm… and they’re not particularly effective at repelling water.
You’ll have to accept the fact that wearing them will make it more likely that you get soaked from the snow and packed down snow than if you were wearing snow pants.
Trying to ski in rain pants is a sure way to get cold and wet. Rain pants are heavy and cumbersome… they’re difficult to put on while wearing skis… and they restrict your range of movement. They also are not breathable and trap moisture close to your body.
Can You Wear Water Resistant Pants for Skiing?
Yes… but your ski pants must be made of the right material and they have to fit properly. If they don’t fit well… you might find yourself getting wet even though you’re wearing the right kind of clothes. Water-resistant gear is not the waterproof gear… and water can get through if fitted loosely or made from the wrong material.
If you’re facing inclement weather… bring some rain gear that’s designed for skiing. This includes pants with water-resistant shells and waterproof zippers… along with waterproof boots and a jacket. Ideally… you want gear that breathes well so that perspiration doesn’t build up inside your layers.
Are Rain Pants the Same as Ski Pants?
Rain pants are not the same as ski pants. This is a common misconception… especially among those new to the sport of mountaineering. While both are typically waterproof… ski pants are made to withstand extremely cold temperatures… while rain pants protect from the precipitation alone.
Tightly woven and with a full lining… ski pants (Available at Amazon) can be worn over multiple layers of winter clothing for maximum warmth.
They also feature an elastic waistband and drawstring for a perfect fit… adjustable boot gaiters that seal around your ankle to keep snow out of your boots… and a stow pocket that allows you to tuck away excess length in order to prevent tripping.
As such… they are a critical component to every climber’s arsenal – particularly if you plan on tackling colder climates.
Rain pants are made with lighter weight fabric than ski pants and usually have adjustable cuffs at the bottom that ties around your shoes. Many mountaineers who regularly climb in wet environments swear by them due to their lightweight and breathability.
They are best suited for summer months or areas where the temperatures may rise above freezing during the day but fall below it at night. Rain pants should never be worn in lieu of proper winter weather gear. They should be worn as an additional layer
Do I Need Rain Pants for Hiking?
Rain pants (Available at Amazon) are great for hiking… and for other cold-weather activities. They tend to be less expensive than snow pants too… which is a bonus if you want to keep your costs down.
Rain pants are designed to repel water from your legs… not keep them warm. While they aren’t necessary for every hike… they can make for a more pleasant experience on wet hikes.
Some people think that they need waterproof hiking shoes or hiking boots… but they really don’t. Hiking in the rain is still possible without waterproof hiking boots.
It’s best to hike in light-weight waterproof shoes instead of heavy boots when it’s raining though. Some people even wear water socks instead of using waterproof shoes. Water socks are blue-toe socks. They are not only water-resistant but also comfortable to wear.
You can even use rubber boots if you have them… but there’s a slight risk of getting your feet wet because you can’t control your foot positions as well when you walk through mud or water puddles.
Are Rain Pants Worth It Backpacking?
Rain pants are an unnecessary weight and add extra bulk to your pack when you are backpacking. If you’re going to spend the money to get lightweight backpacking gear why would you want to add something extra?
Rain gear is needed for very specific conditions… but unless you live in the Pacific Northwest or somewhere where it rains A LOT there’s no reason to bring them on every trip.
That being said if there’s a chance of rain on your trip then yes bring them along. Backpacking in the rain sucks but if it’s going to happen it’s better to be prepared.
Rain pants are a great piece of kit for backpackers. They can be used both on and off-trail… and their versatility is well worth carrying an extra ounce of weight into the backcountry.
Benefits of Rain Pants
- Rain pants are relatively inexpensive and lightweight compared to other types of hiking clothing. They are designed to stretch over your boots and stay snug against your body while allowing plenty of ventilation to keep you dry and comfortable.
- They usually feature elastic bands around the ankles and waist that keep them from shifting out of place or blowing up around your legs when the wind picks up. Some models also have drawstrings at the waist for adjustment if needed.
- Rain pants help protect your skin from irritation caused by wetness and exposure to sunburn.
What Do You Wear Under Rain Pants When Hiking?
Do you wear long underwear under rain pants? How about socks? What about a liner? And do you have suggestions for what to do if it’s raining and you only have shorts on… but your rain pants are miles and miles away?
Rain pants are made from waterproof material and are designed to keep the rain from penetrating your clothes. Unfortunately… waterproof material is not breathable.
You will want to wear clothing that is lightweight… breathable… and quick-drying. This will help keep you dry and comfortable during your hike.
The result can be that your pants will keep water out of your clothing on the outside… but trap moisture on the inside. This can lead to clamminess and discomfort.
Because of this… people often suggest wearing a pair of breathable shorts or underwear under your rain pants. Some even suggest wearing both a liner and a second pair of socks underneath their rain gear.
Underneath the shell… it is best to wear synthetic fibers like polypropylene or polyester. These fabrics will wick away moisture quickly.
- A cotton T-shirt or a wool sweater works well under a rain jacket or fleece jacket.
- If you are wearing a poncho as your outer layer… then layers of synthetic fabric are not necessary underneath because you want your sweat to pass directly through the outer layer so that it can evaporate into the air quickly.
- When hiking in colder weather… be sure to wear layers of clothing underneath the rain suit for added warmth.
- A long underwear top with a fleece shirt works well for this purpose.
In summary… a good pair of rain pants should completely cover your legs when you’re standing up. That means there should be no gaps between the top of the pant and the top edge of your boots.
The back should also have a decent amount of coverage from the waist down so that water doesn’t run along the backs of your legs into your boots. If designed properly… this will ensure that any water that rolls off of the pant will hit the ground instead of running down into your shoes.
You may also be interested in. Do Gaiters Go Over Waterproof Trousers?
Louise Wilson is an accomplished author, passionate textile historian, and renowned fashion enthusiast with a rich background in the world of apparel.
Graduating with honors in Fashion Design, Louise further expanded her skills and knowledge by completing a master’s degree in Textile History. Her academic pursuits have led her to explore the fashion capitals of the world, including Milan, Paris, and New York, enriching her insights into the global world of fashion.
As an author, Louise’s passion for fashion has found its way into her writings, where she intricately weaves narratives of style, design, and fashion history.