There is a sick logic to this
My single most hated piece of luggage is the pair of rain pants. Not only does the necessity to pull them out of the panniers mean that you’re about ride into less than favorable weather, but they’re bulky, heavy and always end up sagging like a gangsta when they’re wet. So, as I was unable to deduce any obvious benefits for carrying rain pants, other than not getting wet and slowly succumbing to hypothermia and eventually death, I got to thinking about options. Rain shorts!
I do realise that rain shorts as a word is a bit of paradox, but if you ride in a modular setup like me, hear me out. My Sidi Crossfire 2 MX boots go high, up to the knee and are somewhat waterproof. To be honest, after a couple hundred hours of use they do tend to spring a leak on the inside and outside of the ball of the foot, but at that location the rain pants offer no protection anyway. Furthermore, the boots tend to be wet due to profuse sweating, water crossings and rain anyway, so IMHO it’s somewhat pointless trying to protect yourself from the knee down from rain anyhow. So I might as well lose the trouser legs from the knee down.
Cutting the trouser leg offers minimal weight and volume loss to the luggage, but it has other advantages. First of all shorts are much easier to put on while wearing MX boots. Secondly, shorts do not sag when wet as they do not catch on to all the buckles and hardware on the boots which continuously drag the rain pants down, aided with the increasing mass due to being soaked in water. And finally, with shorts your won’t look like a little boy that mummy reluctantly let out to play in the puddles, but only in rain pants, with only the tips of the boots peaking out under the awful trouser legs. At least with the shorts you can portray an image of questionable sanity and a mild threat of violence, as opposed to a moping toddler.
As no reputable manufacturer of riding gear sports the rain shorts in their portfolio, I had no other options, but to make them myself. The process was extremely complex, but with great foresight I documented it extensively. So without further ado, I present to you the Detailed Instructions for manufacturing your very own pair of the Ultralight Hobo Rain Shorts. You’re welcome!
Going all in
Since the idea of butchering my Klim Forecast pants, on a whim seemed rather hasty, I decided to get a pair of Quechua hiking rain pants from Decathlon. It was a whopping investment of 12,99€ and in my excitement I accidentally had bought a pair of women’s pants. To be completely honest, it was my much better half who sourced the pants for me, so it could be that she was just careless. Another option is that it was an intentional attempt to mess with my head, which pretty much fits the pattern of her never failing to bring up Brokeback Mountain when I leave on an expedition with a mate.
Anyhow, after butchering the ladies pants, I added an elastic loop into the waist band to hold the rolled up pants nice and tidy for storage. They tipped the scales at 135 g (4.8 oz), resulting in a whopping 447 g (1 lb) weight reduction from the Klim Forecast pants. The size is also incredibly compact and the rolled up package fits neatly into the palm of my hand.
I’m about to leave for an expedition for a month and a half in the Caucasus Mountains next week, and the rain shorts will get their first proper test run there. I’m going all in of course, and not taking the Forecast pants. We’ll see how it goes.
Anyhow, let me know what you think. Am I alone with this?
No, definitely you are not alone ! Here in reining-gray London we got a whole army of “butchered” rain trousers.Two years a go, i get the idea from a cyclist stoping in a front of me at the traffic light.I thought, this is god demn genius ! My B’TWIN 500 Urban Waterproof Cycling Overtrousers (a men model..;) got originally sewed elastic loop.
Since then, this option works pretty well for me, as a bucycle courier in London. But for ultra light adventure enduro,I’m also curious to hear feedback from experienced riders.
Hey Ivaylo! Many thanks, I’ll look into those pants next time, and preferably the men’s model. I’ll do a post on how the shorts performed on a longer expedition, although it looks like pretty hot weather in the Caucasus 😉
I like your low tech approach! Decatholon has some fantastic gear for what you pay. I use a cheap Laett jacket with plenty of pockets for ridig instead of expensive Klim stuff. But that requires rain equipment.
I with you here…been wearing waterproof shorts on my Mountain Bike for years!
I like the idea but I guess for a RTW trip they are not enough? You will probably need that extra wind protection on your lower leg if it gets colder.
Or probably cut them a little longer so you can stuff them into the boots for cold weather as I remember my SIDIs to be pretty wind proof.
I don’t feel any draft in my Sidi Crossfires, so I wouldn’t consider wind protection an issue. As far as RTW goes, my kit is not optimal for it in any case, as it’s a full MX setup. Also, AFAIK RTW is a bit of a seasonal undertaking, so I’d expect the gear setup to change quite a bit during the migration from season to season and continent to continent. And finally, I guess RTW is for the most part slogging along roads, instead of trails, so an integrated suit will probably a better option than MX gear anyhow?
With the layered clothing the rain layer has always been bugging me. I’ve recently been scouting for goretex paclite gear and if you keep your eyes open you’ll come across some pretty nice prices (as in 45,- euro for a paclite jacket). Paclite weights next to nothing; jacket around 240 grams and pants around 220 grams with a water column of 30k. If you would shorten a paclite pants it would be even less weight. Most of the stuff has ribstop as well so not entirely fragile.
Hey Janus, I’m with you on Paclite. However, I tend to gravitate towards SilNylon or equivalent due to the fact that it’s cheap and gear gets trashed on most expeditions. So cheap to replace. For MTB bikepacking I usually use the same shorts and a Mac In A Sac jacket. Low cost and weighs close to nothing with an extremely small packing volume. Not ripstop tho….
Unfamiliar with SilNylon but used multiple equivalents when backpacking and bicycling. They all missed the spectacular 20/30k mm water column of goretex gear and eventually gave in during the worst of the worst. Leaving me wet, cold and miserable. Of course I could have gone for shelter and safety but my time in outdoors is very limited so when I’m out there I want it all hahaha.
Still looking for paclite trousers deal so might give the mac in the sack pant a go and shorten the legs to be as fashionable as the Rolling Hobo #instantstreetcred
Sounds great! =D
Let me know how it goes.
In case you stumble on a pot of gold during your travels and start to feel the burden of cutting your own rain shorts, the industry got you covered: https://www.gorewear.com/eu/fi-en/gore-c5-gore-tex-paclite-trail-shorts-100574.html
Ooooh! Looks like the luxury standard of rain shorts 😉
Hi Janus and Jugi where do you source the cheaper paclite stuff most of what I find is still €100+.
I’m currently running the same setup with a rain pants from the decathlon I picked one out of the hunting section in a store in France, I first made one at home with an old nylon/pvc cycling rain pants from my sister but that was too tight around the thighs with the protective gear when sitting.
The hunting one seemed already a bit more rugged than the cycling stuff.
I also saw a hiking one which seemed neven more durable but this was only available bin a size 4xl which was way to big. Now have an XL which fits great over my klim Dakar pants in size M with protection under it.
But for my next trip from Netherlands to Mongolia I maybe want to upgrade it to something a bit more robust.