April 9, 2010

My Favorite Jungle Pants

It’s Not Just the Pants: My Favorite Travel Gear

As a certified wimp ( in my husband’s view, anyway) with a bad back, my general attitude toward ‘gear’ is: the less the better. My No. 1 packing strategy is to keep the weight down. But I do have my favorite stuff that helps keep me going and comfortable on the road.

Jungle Pants (AKA Hiking Pants)

Here I am at a stream crossing in Burma, wearing my Columbia hiking pants and my favorite Helen Kaminski hat. I’ve always hated log crossings! Jack is far ahead. Two of our travel mates hang back with me, liking my slower pace.

For rugged places–so often found in hot climates–I prefer extra light-weight, breathable hiking pants that are cool and dry quickly. Ex-Offico offers good choices  for slim, athletic hardbodies. Their “buzz off” brand has built-in  insect repellent–great for malarial zones.

Those of us not blessed with perfect shapes might find that Columbia and Mountain Hardwear offer  roomier fits. Zip-off convertibles are fun if you like shorts – which I don’t. Too many opportunities for cuts, scrapes, bruises and sunburn! But I still have a few pair. They come in very handy if you need to wade across a creek.

I’ve had good luck shopping for hiking pants – and other gear as well – at REI and on-line at Sierra Trading Post and Mountain Gear.com.

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Anne Sigmon

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