Monday, July 28, 2008

Take a hike.

I always have pants-related issues, but at the moment I am having issues related to very specific pants that I cannot find.

We're driving to Montana on Friday and will be spending the week rusticating in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness next to the Boulder River. We are actually going To Camp rather than going camping, by which I mean we are staying at a camp in cabins with a main lodge where they serve meals on cafeteria trays. They actually ring a big bell in the morning to tell you it's 8 AM and breakfast is on. It's not quite Wet Hot American Summer, but it will do.

There's more to say about going to camp, obviously, but the point is this: my main activity there, besides chilling next to the river with a book, will be hiking, and I cannot find any damn hiking pants. I know there were many years when people hiked quite happily without any tech gear whatsoever, but we now live in an age of tech gear surfeit and I feel that I should be able to find exactly the pants that I want. They need to fit my legs ass AND waist. They must be made of some tough yet breathable fiber that dries quickly. They cannot have tapered legs. I prefer capri length but will take what I can get at this point.

We were at my folks' house on Friday night, visiting and shopping for gear in their basement (there is so much gear in the basement), and my mom handed me some hiking pants to try on. I dropped trou in the living room, which is just how we roll, and was laughing pretty much as soon as I pulled on the hiking pants. My sister was like crying and shaking her head "no." I asked Jude how the pants were and he said, matter-of-factly, "bad. The color's bad." They were North Face hiking pants and they were elastic in the waist which means bulging in the bum and gut, a little too close in the thigh, and seriously tapered to the point of being pegged. There was a pleated, billowing cargo pocket directly under the widest point of the hip, which prompted Mol to wonder what self-respecting woman would carry anything in such a pocket. I pushed up the legs and wondered if I could wear them as knickers, and everyone just said No. The Brit was embarrassed by the pants and couldn't look at them.

With the free pants vetoed by all parties, I tried on about thirtyleven pairs of pants at REI over the weekend and not one of them fit properly. Then I bought $170 hiking boots that fit like a dream, and I went home and promptly found the identical boots online for $85. That's half price, in case you're not quick with the maths. While it's true that I fully endorse the co-op model and appreciate the customer service at REI, this is America, dammit, so I obviously ordered the cheaper boots and I'm considering the remaining $85 available for hiking pants. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Another thing about camp: apparently they have wi-fi now. It's kind of disappointing. Last time I went, I was totally unreachable for a week. Now I have to decide whether or not to bring a laptop. I think they're still out of cell phone reach, though. That's good.


  1. I have found some Columbia sporty capris at Marshall's, although I think they are just stretchy cotton versus some kind of tech pants.

    At Goodwill I've found two pairs of men's REI zip-off hiking pants/shorts. But they are tapered, and Goodwill can be a crapshoot, as you know.

    What about the Midwest Mountaineering sale area?

    Had a nice chat with your parents at AB's wedding this Saturday!

  2. Wendell, I've had no luck at Marshall's so far. But I am planning to go to Goodwill today, so you should all pray for me.

  3. Say, I'm not sure what a hiking pant is, but from your desciption, would these work:

    They also have these which apparently wicks away moisture:

  4. I feel you so much on this that I almost feel like I don't even have to type it.