If you’re on a hike, and it starts raining, the last thing you want to do is spend the time to find a place to sit, undo your hiking boots, put on a second layer waterproof pant, and get your hiking boots back on.
Given that, I was looking for a second layer water proof pant that was able to zip fully, so I can get into and out of them without taking my hiking boots off.
There are a few companies making these, and I happen to choose the Sierra Designs Cyclone because I wanted something truly waterproof, durable enough for years of storage and use as needed, and light enough to stow well in a back pack.
Sierra Designs Cyclone wins on all three counts.
There’s various velcro strips along the pant leg to help hide the zipper lining for extra rain protection. part of the waistband is elastic with an elastic draw string to help adjust waist size, and there’s two additional flaps at the waist and the heel to give extra durability around those two areas. The heel even has a metal button to really ensure that it wraps around your hiking boot and doesn’t come off. As far as i can tell, it runs neither small nor large, so whatever you are, that’s the pant size you should get. I got the Medium and it’s a tad big on me, though works okay. It does run long though.
last week it was raining hard in the Bay Area, and I jumped at the chance to try these out. The rain continued to fall when i got to the trail and I climbed up (maybe a two hour climb) Mount Diablo in these and a cheap rain coat from CostCo, as well as my hiking boots.
Talk about a full test. It rained hard enough and long enough for my “weatherproof” waist pack with some snacks and some emergency gear to get completely soaked (I should have had my rain jacket over that waist pack). Maybe two hours climbing and an hour descent, it rained the whole time.
Through it all, the rain coat and pants and hiking boots combined kept me completely dry. I did sweat a little on the tougher parts of the climb, but while I noticed condensation in my jacket along the lining and on my shirt from sweating, I noticed none on my pants, telling me that the pants were highly effective and breathable, much more so than my rain jacket. Not only were my jeans completely dry, but my feet/socks stayed completely dry too. Even my gators never completely blocked out water from getting into my boots.
Now, given, these are by no means as effective or durable as true waterproof pants or overalls. Those are built to be rugged for an entire season of wet weather, possibly multiple seasons. But then again, true waterproof pants are thick, heavy, don’t fold up small, and can’t be zipped on.
For emergency wet weather gear when hiking or to put in a bugout bag, these ultra-light, yet highly durable, and completely waterproof pants are hard to beat.