Great Answers to
Questions About Everything


Whenever I see clothing articles geared toward hiking and backpacking that discuss layering (base layer for wicking, mid layer for insulation, etc.), they always seem to discuss these things in terms of things you wear on your chest. How come we don't apply the same principles to our pants? How come I can't seem to find base layer and mid layer pants when trying to select gear for cold weather hiking?

{ asked by Ryan Jarvis }


  1. Your legs aren't as sensitive to temperture extremes. Right now it's winter here and I'm walking around outside with a regular shirt, a wool sweater, and a wind breaker on my torso. Inside I take off the windbreaker an sweater. However, inside or outside, I'm wearing the same single-layer pants and it's not a problem. My legs don't feel hot inside or cold outside. If I had that same single layer on my torso, I'd be pretty cold outside. Legs just don't care that much.
  2. Changing layers on your legs is more of a hassle, especially with shoes on, and you can't take it to the same level in public without getting arrested.
  3. We do have layers for legs, it's just that most people don't think the extra bother is worth it for most conditions. Consider long underwear, various types of regular pants, and special wind/rain/snow pants.
{ answered by Olin Lathrop }