|RailRiders Bone Flats pants in 80+ degrees and saturating humidity in Southern Vermont.|
I wore the Bone Flats pants for much of my Long Trail Side-to-Side trip in the spring, but switched to shorts once the weather hit record highs in Vermont. Then, during my trip-leading experience this summer I wore the Bone Flats pants every day during a 6-day canoe trip, along with my Railriders Adventure Shirt. The Adventure Shirt had already had extensive testing on the Pacific Crest Trail as a desert-hiking shirt, and I’d been mostly successful with that.
As hiking clothes, the Adventure Shirt and Bone Flats Pants were pretty great. Normally, I can’t stand any kind of summer heat, so shorts and short-sleeved shirts are all I can handle. Since both the pants and shirt have long strips of RailRiders’ eco-mesh along the sides for venting, they are considerably less hot than most pants and long-sleeves. The light fabric also helps to keep them from overheating quickly. The Bone Flats material actually feels very soft against the skin, so that was a nice added touch. The Adventure Shirt was soft enough to the touch, but not as much as the Bone Flats.
Both the Adventure Shirt and Bone Flats Pants reached the upper limit of their comfort during my hiking, though. In Southern California, the Adventure Shirt became especially sweaty between my back and my pack, since the fabric doesn’t soak up sweat as well as softer, wicking shirts. If I had worn the shirt in the humid New England air, I would have been a mess. On the other hand, the Bone Flats Pants were fine for hiking in Vermont up to almost 80 degrees and soaking humidity. After three or four days of the really high heat and humidity I had to switch out to shorts or I would have sweated myself to death, but for a few days at a time they were fantastic.
Where the RailRiders outfit really shined, however, was in the canoe. No surprise there, since RailRiders started as yacht-racing clothes. But it was pretty surprising just how much better they seemed to work in the boat. My clothing for the canoe trips was simply a wide-brimmed hat, the Adventure Shirt, the Bone Flats Pants, and a pair of Chacos. I didn’t change at all for the full five days, not even into swimming trunks for swimming. I found that the pants and shirt were reasonably cool in the heat of the day, but whenever they got just a little too hot I could jump into the water, fully clothed. Once out of the water, the light fabric would dry in no time– less than twenty minutes. While drying, they would keep me nice and cool, even in direct sunlight. To top it all off, I looked like a total badass jumping into the water in my long-sleeved shirt and pants. Or maybe like a total dork. I don’t care!
|Dork! RailRiders Adventure Shirt and Backpackinglight Thorofare Pants (discontinued, but no matter).|
A final note about the Bone Flats Pants. I was worried when I first purchased them that the mesh on the inside of the legs would fray and tear with prolonged use. After only a few day hikes in them there were a few snags that showed up on the mesh, but so far there hasn’t been any more damage to them. I’m pretty pleased.
To sum it all up, the RailRiders mesh is fantastic for high sun-exposure activities like paddling and desert-hiking. For lower exposure activities it’s better than long clothes without the mesh, but it can still get too hot in high heat, especially with Eastern humidity. As far as trekking pants go, I’ll probably never use anything else. For shirts, Railriders will come with me any time I’m in a desert.