10
votes
2answers
3k views

What makes nylon an effective material for hiking pants?

I often see 100% nylon pants a lot in stores. What properties does it have that make it effective when hiking? Is it effective in all seasons or just under certain conditions?
16
votes
3answers
830 views

Why don't we apply the principles of layering when it comes to pants?

Whenever I see clothing articles geared toward hiking and backpacking that discuss layering (base layer for wicking, mid layer for insulation, etc.), they always seem to discuss these things in terms ...
4
votes
1answer
239 views

Can a PVC rain jacket also be used as a windbreaker?

I have a Columbia 100% PVC rain jacket. It has a nylon lining. Can PVC material be used as an effective windbreaker? Are there any side effects (such as making me sweat a lot more) that could ...
6
votes
3answers
508 views

Is department store merino wool less effective than branded (i.e. SmartWool) merino wool in staying warm and wicking moisture?

At my local Costco, I see a Kirkland brand 100% merino wool quarter-zip sweater being sold for $25. On EMS, I see a SmartWool 100% merino wool half-zip sweater costing $140. Would I be potentially ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What natural (non-synthetic) fabrics are good for the winter?

Which natural (non-synthetic) fabrics are good for hiking winter weather? I know cotton will generally trap moisture and invite hypothermia, while wool is warm but heavy. What other natural fabrics ...
9
votes
1answer
453 views

Material of shirt for Desert hiking

I have pretty much always worn 100% cotton shirts when hiking but I have been reading more and more about the amazing "wicking" properties of other fabrics. Is there one that will keep me cooler ...
12
votes
2answers
371 views

Long or short sleeves on a hike in the Desert?

I have heard different things from different people, but here in the South West we do a decent amount of desert hiking. Protection from bugs is usually little concern because most of the time in the ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

Where to find hiking shorts that last more than a few months?

I'm one of these crazy people that tend to wear cargo shorts all year round, and do a lot of hiking and general outdoor activities in them. However, because of this they tend to wear out relatively ...
11
votes
2answers
565 views

What is a buff?

What is a "buff", how is it used, and why should I have one? I've seen them advocated in numerous places, but I'm not sure why a tube of cloth is better around my neck than a scarf, etc.
11
votes
1answer
472 views

What should you look for when buying hiking socks?

A quick search online shows there are dozens of different types of hiking socks, with different materials, thicknesses, and properties. In general, what should you look for when shopping for hiking ...
17
votes
3answers
567 views

What do I need to look for in good, quality hiking boots?

My wife and I are going to buy some hiking boots as we've been using regular tennis shoes anytime we go on a hike. What are the things I need to keep in mind when looking for a good set of quality ...