I recently went on a search for some good hiking blogs, and found some poll that was conducted of hiking blogs and it had picked a Top 10 list (with an additional half dozen or so runners-up.) I looked at them, and hated the formatting of almost all of them. In addition, most of them were literally crying about the election, because in the catechism of their bizarre, nihilistic Green cult beliefs, the election of a Republican is a sign of the End Times.
Sigh. It was a nice try, I suppose, to find some good hiking discussion. The best one of the ones I saw was pretty nifty, but it was specifically relegated to southern California hiking locations. If I could find a similar blogs for various spots in the Rockies, I'd be very happy. But I didn't; so since I'm lacking in good hiking sites to read, I guess I'll keep writing about it. I don't have anything in particular to write about right now, so let me continue, I suppose, my series with regards to gear that I'd like to get, starting with more clothes. My last post was on boots. I'd also like a bunch of new hiking pants, and as with the boots, I'd like to wear them day to day even when not hiking as part of a "wilderness chic" look. Which are some of the ones that I'd really like to have?
Cabela's XPG Trekker Pants: This is my first pick. I'd love all four colors. For the last several months, supply has been limited in my size. They're sold out of most colors in my size for the season, but they should be back in action in a few months. Grr...
Cabela's Great Trail Pants: Although I'm not necessary a big fan of zip-off pants, and the zip-off feature isn't one that I'd use very often (if at all) these are still pretty darn nice looking pants, and they do have all of the other technical features that I'd want (with one exception: insect defense.)
Cabela's Grand Mesa Trail Pants: Cabela's, curiously, has a lot of pants that I wouldn't ever want to actually take into the backwoods, because they're made of thick, jean-material like cotton or canvas. These are some good cargoes that I could use, however.
Cabela's Guidewear Insect Defense System Pants: The last of the Cabela's pants that I'd want. Although I still tend to shy away from the "trendy" brands like Columbia, The North Face, Patagonia, etc. whenever possible, I do have to admit that Cabela's doesn't meet my needs quite as well as I'd like in regards to pants to hike in. Sigh. So, I have to dig a little deeper for this category.
Luke Bryan's 32 Bridge Huntin' Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day Performance Pants: OK, I'll probably not seriously consider these. I'm not really a country music fan, to be honest, and even if I was, it's even more dubious that I'd be a Luke Bryan fan. And the name is so cheesy. But, performance pants are performance pants, right? And I do like to patronize Cabela's whenever possible, rather than hippy places like REI. In this case, I think going to REI is probably for the best, though—I'm iffy on these pants.
prAna Stretch Zion Pants: OK, so the roll up and snap your pants in place is pretty gay unless you're walking barefoot on the beach or something, but these otherwise look like decent, if over-priced, hiking pants. In fact, they seem rather stylish for a functional article of clothing. If your idea of style was formed when parachute pants were in. Which isn't actually meant to be an insult, because it applies very well to me. Their Brion pants are a bit cheaper (although still overpriced) and have the look of a pair of jeans that are made of a nylon and spandex blend rather than cotton.
REI Classic Sahara Convertible Pants: Sigh. Yeah, convertible pants. These are kind of the classic. Good price, too. I still don't care about the convertible function, but what can you do?
REI Screeline Pants: These are just good pants and reasonably well priced. As much as I find the aggressively hippyish REI to be grating as a corporate entity, I have to admit that they've got the goods when it comes to the kinds of outdoor clothes that I'd really want to wear.
Kühl Renegade Jeans: Are a bit misnamed; there's no cotton in them thar hills. I really like the look of these pants, though, I have to admit. Kühl, which is a horribly pretentious name, since they're from Portland or some place like that, not Europe, also have some grossly over-priced convertible pants. (UPDATE: Turns out that the company is actually based in SLC, UT. And it's probably the Renegade Pants that I want more than the Renegade Jeans; the only difference being the "full" vs. the slightly more tapered "klassic" cut.)
Marmot Arch Rock Pants: Another pair of pants that I could conceivably wear to work in my "business casual" environment are these Marmot Arch Rock Pants. I actually prefer my outdoor pants to have a cut that makes them look different than regular pants; some kind of "utilitarian" vibe; extra pockets, or zippers, or a cuff that opens up so they can be pulled on over shoes, etc. And if Patagonia, The North Face and Columbia are trendy, Marmot is one of those brands (along with Arc'teryx, maybe ExOfficio, Mountain Hardwear, and a few others) that is just over the top trendy among the hiker set, which I find a turn-off. These don't look like bad pants, though, and it's not a bad price. I should confront the possibility that in my anti-snobbishness I've actually developed a kind of reverse snobbishness that's just as ridiculous.
Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Pro Pants: A friend of mine, who's also into hiking and other outdoor sports, has some of these and loves them. In fact, I think he loved them so much, he went back and bought more of them. I've actually put them near the top of my list for desired pants, to be honest with you. And they come in several colors, which means I could get 4-5 pairs of them without feeling like I'm just stuffing my collection.
L. L. Bean Cresta Hiking Pants: Growing up, I always thought of L. L. Bean and Eddie Bauer as similar; even comparable. The Cresta Hiking Pants seem to be their best competitor to the Guide Pro pants—and they're cheaper! These also come in several colors, making the idea of stocking up with several not a bad notion.
Railriders Bushwhacker Weatherpants: These have great reviews, but they may be the priciest of the bunch, and I really dislike that style of sizing (just give me regular waist and inseam measurements please!) Still, I can't argue with their reputation.
As with the footwear; what will I end up settling on here? I'm kinda thinking of getting some pairs of the Cresta Hiking Pants, the First Ascent Guide Pro pants, the Kühl Renegade Jeans and the REI Screeline Pants. One of each, first, to see how they fit and how I like them, and then more colors of the ones that I really like. And then maybe a pair or two of the XPG Trekkers.
Ideally, I'd replace my entire casual and business casual wardrobe with pants from this list: Of the Kühl Renegade pants, I'd pick up Carbon, Khaki, Breen and Gun Metal—four pairs (all except the Pirate Blue.) Of the L. L. Bean Cresta Hiking Pants, I'd get another four—Classic Black, Dark Driftwood, Dark Loden and Granite. Of the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Pro Pants, I'd buy another four or five—Aged Brass, Dark Smoke, Saddle, Slate Green and maybe Black. Of the Cabela's XPG Trekker Pants, I'd buy three—Foliage, Timberwolf Grey, and Gunpowder (all of them except Baltic Blue) and I'd buy both Army Cot Green and Burlap of the REI Screeline pants. That's eighteen pairs of pants; close to twice what I wear on a regular basis right now, so that's certainly overdoing it. But... man, I like them all.