9 Reasons to Bring Full Zip Rain Pants on Your Next Hike

Full zip rain pants are a considerable piece of gear that will transform your ability to stay dry outside. Traditionally, this is a gear accessory used by motorcyclists who negotiate driving or steady rain and need to stay outdoors most of the day. But full zip rain pants are an easy on-easy off clothing solution that can keep a hiker entirely dry, whether it’s a sudden half-hour downpour or a slow drizzle that lasts from morning till afternoon. We've the top reasons to make full zip rain pants a central part of your gear arsenal, whether you're a hiker, biker, or occasional outdoor enthusiast. 

It's an easy, lightweight option for staying dry. 

Hiker with hiking poles, full zip rain pants, and a rain jacket makes their way through the woods.

Typically, full zip rain pants are portable and come in a small mesh bag. They weigh an astounding 13.3 ounces, including the bag, and couldn’t be easier to throw in a pack. Because these pants have only two zippered (waterproof) pockets, a zippered fly, and side zippers they are made as lightweight as possible while still 100% waterproofing your lower body.

 They're an easy, storable layering option. 

These rain paints can be folded and stuffed, or encased entirely in the reversible back pants pocket. Once the full zip rain pants are contained, it is a breeze to toss it into daypack or backpack. The final package is no more than several inches wide.

Rain pants double as dry seating.

Hiker in full zip rain pants stands in the foreground in front of an icy peak.

Gear that serves multiple purposes is highly prized in backpacks, especially daypacks. The full zip rain pants can be unzipped to make themselves into a seating area when conditions are moist. If you have to hunker down for awhile or get stranded overnight, this piece of gear provides warm and keeps moisture at bay.

Added insulation, anyone?

The shell material is T-Core, 2.5 layer DWR mini-rip stop, both durable and waterproof/breathable. The extra layer helps warm hikers up by adding a bit of insulation, should rains cool down the trail and air. They aren’t made for winter, as three season is their billing, but they will create some warmth when needed.

They're the perfect pairing with a rain jacket or poncho.

Hiker in full zip rain pants and a rain jacket overlooks a vista.

These pants take dryness to the next level and are ideally used with rain jacket. Together, jacket and pants will keep most hikers 100% dry, especially with hooded rain jacket or poncho. Unlike a jacket, these pants are so portable you will like never choose to leave them at home if there is the slightest chance of cloudy skies.

Great for wearing over shorts!

If rain is in the forecast but you are up for a quick hike with limited gear, these full zip rain pants will offer the perfect protection. Over shorts, they insulate and dry hikers who won’t have to pack extra clothing to ensure a full day of comfort on the trail.

They allow you to change with the weather.

Close-up shot of full zip rain pants on a hiker crossing a stream.

Intermittent rain, especially in summer, is part of hiking. With full zip rain pants, there is an added level of security and the possibility of rain won’t keep you from taking that long postponed day hike.

Great rain pants don’t restrict movement.

These zippered rain pants include elastic at waist and articulated knees, so you can move freely on hills and over obstacles. They are also designed for breathability, so they won’t create an inner heat wave when hiking steadily in rainy conditions. 

Rain pants allow you to dress and go.

A photographer-hiker dressed in full zip rain pants and a waterproof shell photographs the surrounding landscape.

Full zip rain pants are designed to quickly don and just as quickly doff, like a well-loved pair of loafers. The full side zips with both exterior and interior flaps make it easy to change on the trail if you need to. The elastic waistband and adjustable Velcro side tabs make these pants super fast for reacting to rainy or stormy conditions while hiking.