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Discussion: Pants/tights recommendation for long legs, thorny terrain

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Jul 13, 2021 5:39 PM # 
Howdy everyone,

I've been training for an orienteering + endurance test in September. Loving it, but so far all the mock tests have taken place in very rough terrain, the barbed wire and thorns have shredded my hiking pants.

Thinking it might be time to invest in tights or pants designed for orienteering. Here in Europe Decathlon sells orienteering tights reinforced for rough terrain, but they're notorious for not catering to long legs (I'm a 34 inseam).

And I've seen products where the only way to get long legs is to get an XL, which doesn't suit me as I'm slim.

Would some of you have recommendations that might suit the slim / long legs profile?

Thanks in advance for any insight. :-)
Jul 13, 2021 6:15 PM # 
Get reinforced socks (like these) and wear pants that are short.
Jul 13, 2021 8:08 PM # 
Yes, then you just shred your skin...
Jul 13, 2021 8:12 PM # 
Or gaiters.
Jul 13, 2021 8:14 PM # 
Thigh skin that is. Calves are protected.
That can work, depending on how high the thorns and/or barbed wire is and what your tolerance is.
I generally wear lightweight nylon o' pants, standard stuff, and while they're not perfect and they can rip, they generally offer some protection to my skin.
Jul 13, 2021 8:18 PM # 
I just meant durable pants that are short by a couple of inches (get ones that fit in the waist and don't worry about the fact that they don't reach your ankles), not bare thighs.
Jul 13, 2021 8:19 PM # 
I've seen you in various lengths so ... Yeah, covering the thighs is better for thorns IMHO. Also knees, which, because they lead the leg, tend to get the worst of the abuse.
Jul 13, 2021 8:20 PM # 
Shorts and knee socks only in the Mountain time zone. :-)
Jul 13, 2021 10:44 PM # 
Treklite has a variety of gaiters. The ThornRunner series are incredibly durable and protective, with a removable insert (which I never wear).
Jul 13, 2021 11:35 PM # 
I'm 34 inseam and the Trimtex long tights I get from this source fit well in the length. Gaiters / O socks optional.
Jul 14, 2021 6:55 PM # 
Wow, so much great advice! Thank you all so much.
Luckily I already own orienteering socks and gaiters, that was after bashing my shins on branches on my first course. I'm sure you know all about that.

The idea that thanks to o-socks and gaiters, tights/pants that fit the waist but may be too short in the length would actually work had not occurred to me. Duh. :-) Thanks for the jolt, jjcote.

Since Decathlon sell these orienteering tights for €40 I'm going to try that first, and if those don't work out, try importing the model fossil mentioned.

Thank you all again so much, wishing you a great week.
Jul 14, 2021 7:12 PM # 
I like 3/4 running tights coupled with Zensah calf compression sleeves for lower leg protection. Or in warm weather, regular running shorts with the Zensah's, though I risk taking damage in the upper leg/knee area under those circumstances. Clothing decision usually comes down to having some idea of the sharpness of the expected vegetation. Lots of pointy stuff gets the tights..
Jul 14, 2021 7:48 PM # 
Great post reentrant. I too have a slim / long legs profile.

The gaiters I have are all too short. Likewise for the Orienteering tights / pants and 3/4 tights & pants--all too short.

I can barely tuck my Trimtex 3/4 O-Pants (incidentally from the O-Store) into my gaiters and therefore they never stay in place once I move.

My wife cringes when I don a pair of O bottoms because they are always too short.

Hopefully someone will know of a tall size option or a custom length option, etc.

jjcote, your reinforced sock link did not work for me.
Jul 14, 2021 8:02 PM # 
Link fixed. (There are other such socks, that was just the first hit when I did a search, and coincidentally the same seller that had been referenced in the original post.)
Jul 16, 2021 8:01 PM # 
Does anyone know if any of the orienteering manufacturers do tall sizes or custom sizes/longer lengths?

Does anyone know what the material is called or where you can source the material that orienteering manufactures use?
Jul 16, 2021 8:09 PM # 
The pants I wear were made by Compass Needle (no longer in operation), which made all clothing custom to order. They're some variety of dacron, though there's a lot of variety in the available kinds of dacron. Other people prefer other fabrics.
Jul 16, 2021 9:49 PM # 
Compass Needle used Supplex nylon, didn't they?

I think wearing long O pants that don't come down to your ankles is perfectly fine for tall people. No one cares. :-) Just wear tall enough socks to cover the gap to protect your lower legs. I personally like the Noname 3/4 pants with knee-length socks, but have Noname longer pants for winter and/or gnarlier forests.
Jul 17, 2021 2:20 AM # 
Well, somehow I had dacron in my head, but anybody with any textiles credentials probably knows more about this stuff than I do. (I could be mixing it up with hang glider sails, which I know are dacron, or something similar -- Dacron® is a registered trademark of DuPont.)

The last two pairs of pants I got from her (part of the very last batch) were made from some heavier fabric that's quite tough and durable, compared to the earlier ones. At my advanced age, I don't care so much about the possible disadvantages.
Jul 24, 2021 5:22 PM # 
Following up: bought the Decathlon pants in XL (tried the slimmer/shorter version but they really were too short).
Used them for two days in scrubby terrain.
I like them a lot, especially the thorn protection. Regarding sizing,
- too short with the foot straps, I just cut them off, as jjcote suggested too short is not a problem once you add the o-socks or gaiters
- not snug in XL (obviously) but I wasn't going for that 1980s disco look anyhow. :-) With the drawcord they're comfortable.
Thank you all again very much for helping me think this through.
Wishing you all a fun weekend.

This discussion thread is closed.