As of right now, I own 3 different pairs of hiking pants. I have a pair of BURKA's, SEA, and Rooster hikers. All of them are 3/4 length.
BURKA: These are some of the most expensive hikers you can get. They are designed and made by Daniel Birgmark and his father in Sweden. They are very unique in that the battens are removable. The battens velcro on the inside of the pants, allowing you to place them where you need them, or to even get a different length in battens if you need. These hikers are very thick and are good for colder weather sailing. They are the most comfortable hikers I have worn, but they are a little heavy too.
SEA: These hikers are pretty much the same as the Queensport ones. They are practically the same price (I paid 150 Euros for mine from Brendan Casey, and Michael Blackburn was selling his for 140 Euros). These are a little lighter than the Burkas. I have used mine heaps this summer and I just love them. They are durable and relatively comfortable. With some grip on the knees, it makes it nice for those windy downwind legs.
Rooster: The rooster hikers are made with a neoprene that is alittle more stretchy than in the other hikers I have mentioned above. They feel quite similar to the SEA hiking pants, though they are just a little more tight in the knee area. There is a nice amount of padding on the knees for protection. The battens are just as stiff and comfortable as the SEA pants. I only just got mine a few weeks ago, so I do not know how they last, however I would imagine that they hold up well from the way that they look.
So... in the end, I like all 3 of my hikers. They all get the same job done and they range in price. for comfort the Burkas are definitely the best but that is not to say that the others are uncomfortable. Generally, all the designs are very similar, no matter what brand you go for.
I am firm believer/user of the old style Musto strap-on hiking pads, the design cut always left plenty of room in the crotch no matter what you were wearing, from wetsuits to board shorts the strap-on pads were the best. And they never really soaked up much water or held any inside, all around a good piece of equipment.
i tried the strap-ons once-- i found them extremely uncomfortable, as I could never get the battens to sit right.
i have the magic marine above the knee neoprene ones, and i like them but if i could get new ones i would definitely get 3/4 ones. a lot of my friends have the SEA ones (mainly the airprene ones, with the little holes in the neoprene) and love them, but my coach works for SEA so...
my problem is that i can't pull mine up high enough without the strap digging into my shoulder adn cramping my shoulder muscles. the battens dig into the back of my knee and oftentimes downwind cut off the circulation to my legs, putting them to sleep. that makes for a fun first 10 minutes after the leeward mark...
I've never used hiking shorts, but am seriously considering it after sailing last Sunday. The backs of my thighs are really aching due to a serious day iof hiking. Is this what hiking shorts are designed to stop? As well as essentially extending the deck a few inches..
As it's now wetsuit weather here again (London) is is the strap-on style ones that will work?
I just got the SEA 3/4 Airoprene hiking pants for christmas....tried them on and they feel really comfortable and allow tons of movement and don't weigh me down that much at all. Haven't tried them out on the water yet but love them so far!
Well it is a proven fact that SEA eqippment r the lightest and most durable hiking pants in sailing, but dont get the ones with the little holes as it is like little weak points throughout and they rip.
nup rooster are best! i have two pairs, one 1/2 and one 3/4! half is for winter when im wearing a thick shortie, the other is for summer! have had the 1/2 for 2 1/2 years now and they havnt worn out at all.
Geoff, I think you would need to try the Musto "Strap on" type for over a dry suit or wet suit. The others fit tight like wet suits and don't leave room for anything underneath except for lycra.
Keiran, I just got some SEA Airtech pants as well. I followed the size guide which recommended XL for me, (6.2" height and 190-200 weight). Mine slide on and off pretty easy. They actually start to slide off if I do not have the suspenders on. I would like for them to be tighter, but I think the most improtant thing is the fit on the length. Mine end just above the knee and the crotch area seems to be in the right place. If the crotch area on yours is too low, like does not fit then your pants are too small, but if that fits in the right spot and the pads are not too high on your thighs then you are probably fine.
Thanks. That's what I was assuming, but I wasn't 100% sure. I'll probably go with the ones from GUL since they look adequate, and after spending the multi-$100 on a dry-suit I'll probably be feeling a bit poor for awhile.
When we frostbite in CT, the majority wear their wetsuit hiking pants inside their drysuit. 1st layer is something like polypro that passes moisture away from the skin, then hikers, and if it's really cold (below freezing) another layer on top of the hikers, then the drysuit.
I sailed with the strap on's long ago, while they were easy to throw on and off, I found two issues that made them less then ideal for me:
1. The material in the legs had no stretch, so if I put them on tight, I had poor circulation. If I put them so that I had decent circulation, they would slide around and the pads would work themselves to the side of my legs instead of the back.
2. The waist belt cut into my hip bone
These were a pair from the late 70's/early 80's, so the material may have changed somewhat.
On the positive side, the strap on's were very easy to alter so that you could get the pads exactly where you wanted them, height wise, on your leg, with simple takeups or darts sewn in the material. Doing that with the wetsuit models requires trying different brands to find the best fit..... I'm not positive, but I think the Burkka hikers may have adjustable pads for that reason...
Interesting. I'd not thought of that (althought it's not uncommon for people out here in Wisconsin wear some kind of wetsuit under their drysuit as a last-ditch survival backup in case the outer layer gets ripped...).
One reason I was thinking of wearing the hiking pants on the outside was to reduce abrasion on the drysuit's seat. Do you wear anything outside, or just rely on the drysuit's reenforcement?