Lightweight, packable shell pants take little space in your pack but are easy to pull on in case of rain. At the other end of the scale, the toughest shell pants in our range serve ice climbers and skiers on winter tours. Shell pants are made with two, three and 2.5 layer structures. Two layer pants have a separate liner fabric or mesh, while three layer pants have the liner material laminated tightly to the membrane, making for superb durability. 2.5 layer pants tend to be the lightest, with a surface fabric and a membrane plus a superlight, usually printed pattern of protective material on the inside.
In years gone by it was common for hikers and trekkers to wear a rain coat and rain pants, or a poncho and rain legs in the rain and an entire other set of jacket and pants. Thanks to modern materials, it is now possible to stay comfortable in most conditions wearing shell apparel.
Shell apparel needs to be washed, as the oil and minerals from your skin block the tiny pores, decreasing breathability. Always use a liquid detergent, preferably one made specifically for technical apparel. Never use bleach, or fabric softeners. Do not use the centrifuge. Wash with all zippers and Velcro tabs closed.
After washing it pays off to give your shell a bit of heat treatment: using either a drier or a hair drier, you can reactivate the DWR treatment.