Rain Kilt vs Pants: Which Is Right For Your Thru-Hiking Trip

Rain gear is essential to any outdoor trek, whether day-long or thru-hikes, especially when the weather forecast predicts rain. Whether ... Read more

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Josh Koop

I live with my wife and daughter in Katy, Texas and my local trail is the Lone Star Hiking Trail which is an amazing way to experience the Sam Houston National Park!

Man wearing a ULA equipment rain kilt for rain protection.
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Rain gear is essential to any outdoor trek, whether day-long or thru-hikes, especially when the weather forecast predicts rain.

Whether hiking, camping, or running errands, being caught in a downpour without proper rain gear can ruin your day.

One of the biggest dilemmas is choosing between rain kilts and rain pants. Which one is the better choice?

Are rain pants worth the investment? In this article, we’ll compare and contrast rain kilts vs. rain pants to help you make an informed decision.

Rain kilts are lightweight and provide excellent ventilation, making them a great choice for warmer weather. Rain pants, on the other hand, are heavier and offer more protection against the elements. The main advantage of rain pants is that they keep you dry from head to toe, while rain kilts can only protect your lower body.

However, rain kilts are easier to put on and take off, making them a more convenient option.

Now that we have briefly discussed the differences between rain kilts and pants let’s dive deeper into their pros and cons.

We will also highlight the key features to consider when choosing between the two. Whether you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast or a casual adventurer, this article will provide valuable insights into making the right decision for your next rainy adventure.

So, without further ado, let’s explore the world of rain gear with the help of expert advice and research.

Man wearing a ULA equipment rain kilt for rain protection.

Rain Kilt: Overview

Rain kilts or skirts have become increasingly popular as an alternative to rain pants in the ultralight backpacking.

This waterproof rain kilt protects the area from the waist down to the shins from rain and scratchy scrub.

It secures around the waist with a drawstring and has side pockets to keep your hands warm and dry.

The breathability and circulation of the kilt are often much better than pants, making them ideal for warmer climates and sweaty activities like hiking.

Although they may not be as warm as pants in the cold, exposed environments, they are easier to put on and take off, lighter, and more breathable.

Rain Kilt: Pros and Cons

Rain kilts come with a lot of advantages over traditional rain pants. For starters, they provide superior breathability and ventilation. This is particularly important in warm and humid climates, allowing moisture to evaporate more easily.

They also offer a much lighter weight, making them easier to pack and transport on long hikes or trips.

They are much cooler than rain pants, so you won’t have to worry about feeling too hot and sweaty.

On the downside, rain kilts don’t provide much protection in colder climates. They also don’t offer the same level of durability as rain pants, so they may not stand up to the roughest weather conditions.

Additionally, they don’t provide much coverage for your legs, so you may need to wear additional layers underneath.

Finally, they can be more expensive than rain pants, so budget-conscious shoppers may want to opt for the latter.

Rain Pants: Overview

Rain pants, like these Vertice rain pants from Zpacks, are an excellent option for staying dry in bad weather. They are usually made of waterproof material such as nylon or polyurethane, which helps keep the rain and wind out while maintaining breathability.

Most rain pants also come with a drawstring waist, adjustable cuffs, and sometimes even pockets.

Rain pants can be worn as an outer or middle layer over a base layer for extra warmth. They are lightweight, and perfect for hiking, running, or other outdoor activities.

They also provide superior protection from mud and other elements, making them an ideal choice for those who need to stay dry in wet conditions.

Rain Pants: Pros and Cons

Rain pants are popular for wet weather because they keep you dry and warm. The most obvious pro of rain pants is their waterproof and windproof abilities, allowing you to stay dry and warm even in extreme weather conditions.

Rain pants are also usually made from heavier, more durable materials than rain kilts, making them ideal for more rugged activities like camping and hiking.

Rain pants also provide great coverage, which can be beneficial in areas with a lot of rain or wind.

This can be especially helpful if you wear shorts or a skirt and don’t want to expose your lower half to the elements.

Additionally, rain pants can be taken on and off quickly and easily, making them a great option for those needing to transition between wet and dry environments quickly.

On the downside, rain pants can be quite bulky and restrictive. The heavier materials they’re made from can also cause them to be quite hot, making them uncomfortable to wear in warmer climates.

Additionally, their bulkiness can be difficult to carry around and take up more space when packing.

Material Comparison: Rain Kilt vs. Rain Pants

Regarding materials, there is a clear difference between rain kilts and rain pants.

Rain kilts are usually made of lightweight and breathable silnylon, while rain pants are usually made of thicker, more waterproof materials like nylon or polyester.

This means that rain kilts can be more comfortable in warmer climates, as they are more breathable, while rain pants are better suited for colder climates, as their thicker materials provide more insulation.

Additionally, rain kilts are usually less expensive than rain pants, as their more straightforward construction makes them easier and cheaper to produce.

Cost Comparison: Rain Kilt vs. Rain Pants

Regarding cost, rain kilts like this one from ULA Equipment are much more affordable than rain pants. On average, a rain kilt will cost between $20-$50, while a pair of waterproof rain pants can cost between $50-$100.

This makes rain kilts a great option for those who are on a budget and want to stay dry without spending too much.

Also, rain kilts are much more compact and lightweight than rain pants, making them easy to pack and carry. If you want the most rain protection possible, Zpacks makes a DCF Rain Kilt version to help merge ultralight and ultra-protection!

Style Comparison: Rain Kilt vs. Rain Pants

When it comes to style, rain kilts and rain pants both have a unique look. The rain kilt provides a great way to show off your legs with a stylish and functional design, while the rain pants offer a more traditional, practical look.

Rain kilts can be found in various colors and styles, including some with designer prints, while rain pants are generally only available in solid colors.

Also, rain kilts are usually lightweight and breathable, while rain pants are generally made with heavier, more water-resistant fabrics.

So, if you’re looking for a stylish way to stay dry and comfortable, a rain kilt may be perfect.

Durability Comparison: Rain Kilt vs. Rain Pants

When it comes to durability, both rain kilts and rain pants offer an incredible amount of protection.

However, rain pants come out on top when comparing them side by side. Rain pants are thicker and more durable than rain kilts, which can withstand more wear and tear. You can also buy rain pants with reinforced patches in areas prone to wear and tear.

This means that rain pants can last for a longer period. On the other hand, rain kilts are made from lighter and less durable materials, meaning that they will not last as long as rain pants.

Additionally, due to their lightweight materials, rain kilts are more prone to tearing and ripping than rain pants.

Breathability Comparison: Rain Kilt vs. Rain Pants

Breathability is an important factor to consider when choosing a rain protection option.

Rain pants are made of waterproof materials, which can be non-breathable and cause you to sweat.

On the other hand, rain kilts are made of lightweight and breathable materials, such as silnylon, which allow air to circulate more freely and keep you from overheating.

This makes rain kilts a much better option regarding breathability and keeping you cool in warmer climates.

It is also important to note that rain kilts are much lighter and more portable than rain pants, making them an excellent choice for travelers and hikers looking for an easy-to-carry rain protection solution.

Portability Comparison: Rain Kilt vs. Rain Pants

When comparing rain kilt vs rain pants in terms of portability, it’s essential to consider the size and weight of each.

Rain kilts are typically much lighter and more compact than rain pants, making them easier to pack with the rest of your camping or hiking gear.

Rain kilts can also be folded into a small package, making them easy to carry and store when not in use. On the other hand, rain pants are usually heavier and bulkier, making them more clunky to carry.

In addition, rain pants are often more difficult to take on and off, making them less portable than rain kilts.

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