Coming out of a Laser, where many sailors are wearing stiff battened hiking pants/wetsuits, especially in colder climates, I am wondering what Sunfish sailors are wearing for hiking pants and if stiff battens are a help or hinderance?
None of the sailors in our fleet wears the battened hiking pants. Some of us have wetsuits that we wear when the weather calls for it. My favorite hiking shorts are nylon shorts with a built in nylon web belt that I got last year at Bass Pro. They dry quickly when you get them wet and they stay up when you hike. In windier and colder weather, I wear my breathable foul weather bibs over the shorts. I wonder if the battened hiking pants would be a problem with tacking since you have to duck lower in a Sunfish than you do in a Laser. I don't know.
A bunch of sailors in our fleet wear battened hiking pants. I wear padded shorts that dry quickly, the battened hiking pants were a little expensive at the time, but I know of a bunch of people that wear them.
The battened pants do two things: First, they prevent the edge of the deck from digging into your behind - in effect they make sure you are always on a flat surface. SEcond, they help cantilever you out a bit and provide a bit of support as you hike. So you end up sitting out a bit farther with a bit less effort and less pain They are not cheap, so be sure you will sail in a good breeze often enough to make the $100 or so worth it. If you do not need to hike really hard, they don't provide much benefit.