The Zpacks Vertice rain pants are one of the lightest possible options for anyone looking for rain pants that are both breathable and packable without sacrificing durability. It uses a single drawstring to fit snugly to your waist, and ankle snaps to stop those pant legs from catching under your heels. These pants can also add a layer of wind protection for those cold/windy days. It can serve many functions for a thru-hiker, from having something to wear while doing laundry in town, to keeping you dry during a downpour.
✅ Dries quickly
❌ Loud in the wind
❌ Not very warm when wet
- Weight: 3 ounces
- Material: 3-layer Vertice Waterproof Breathable Fabric, 7D ripstop nylon outer
- Water resistance: >20,000 mmH₂O
- Shock Cord at the waist: Yes
- Ankle snaps: Yes, ankles will fit over shoes up to size 12 Men’s
Performance Test Results
How We Tested:
I have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, bikepacked the Ring Road in Iceland, and done many smaller weekend hikes all using the Zpacks Vertice Rain Pants. I tested the Vertice in all seasons, from temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit, all the way up to the mid-nineties. I had a particularly rainy thru-hike, so these pants were used almost every single day for five and a half months, and then used most days in Iceland undergoing high wind and constant rain.
Depending on the weather, the Vertice rain pants can deliver a solid amount of warmth, but on those 30–45-degree rainy days, you will get cold. Even though you will stay nice and dry when it rains, the temperature of the water will go right through the fabric, and you will definitely feel it. These pants work extremely well between 50, all the way up to the mid 80, above that, it is tough to use rain pants in general when you are hiking in 90+ degree heat.
On the other side of the spectrum, when it was cold enough to snow, I stayed very warm even hiking in the single digits. I would hike in long johns, hiking shorts, and these rain pants, and along with repelling the wet conditions.
These pants blocked the wind extremely well. Even when it was not raining or snowing, I would use these as wind pants, and they kept me nice and toasty while I was moving. Keep in mind that I said, “while I was moving”, because when I would stop moving and start setting up camp, I would start to get cold again, but you just can’t win them all!
The Vertice rain pants can provide a good level of warmth and can effectively block the wind.
When it comes to the durability of rain pants, it is far more important to find pants that fit you well and won't be bunching up or stretching in any particular areas. For me, I am 6’2 and weigh about 150 pounds, and these pants fit me very well, even with my hiking shorts underneath.
The main issue that I have had in the past was having pants that were too long and would catch underneath my heels when I walked and would rip. When it comes to biking with rain pants, I usually just cram the end of the pant leg inside of my socks on my crank side leg.
These rain pants held up very well against high wind and would glide across most sticks and brush instead of grabbing on and tearing. Over the course of a full thru-hike, and a long bikepacking trip, the only damage sustained by these pants is a very small hole starting on the outside of one of the pockets, it does not go all the way through and remains very water resistant.
I bought these rain pants right before starting my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and I am so glad that I did! My shorts and the upper half of my socks stayed completely dry for the first 4 months of this journey. It rained approximately 40% of the total time that I was hiking up until my last month and a half on trail, this is when the pants finally started to soak through.
Looking back at it, I should have dropped the money to re-waterproof these pants once I realized that they were starting to lose their rain protection (so in other words, what I talk about next is completely on me.) In the last month and a half of my journey, it rained closer to 80% of the total time that I spent hiking, and I honestly would have been better off just wearing my shorts and no rain pants, because when they got wet… it got cold!
These rain pants lasted the longest out of any pair of rain pants that I have owned before losing their waterproofing. Eventually, everything that was once waterproof will start to soak through and need to be retreated. Personally, I was being stubborn and did not re-waterproof these pants until right before I left for Iceland. I was in Iceland for 3 weeks and used them every single day in the wind and rain, and these pants kept me dry throughout the entire trip.
Compared to other pairs of rain pants I've owned, these have kept their waterproofing the longest.
This is where things start to get interesting about these rain pants. They cost $149.00, which is about double the price of most rain pants. With these pants, however, I do believe that you are getting exactly what you are paying for. They come in right at 3 ounces, which is at least ¼ the weight of most other rain pants, they pack down to the size of my palm, and they are just as durable as most other options out there.
One final thing to add to why these are worth the price is that they dry quickly, which is incredibly important when backpacking. I met many other hikers with bulkier rain pants who would stay warm and dry the first few days in the rain, but once they soaked through, they would stay wet for several days. I would just hang these in my tent for a few hours, then move them into my quilts footbox and they would be good to go the next day.
At $149.00, the Vertice is roughly twice as much as the average pair of rain trousers.
Will I keep hiking in them?
Yes! I plan on bringing these pants along with me in almost all conditions. The only time I will look into another option is if I choose to go on a hike where I can expect 30-40 degrees and rain. Other than that, these are a must-have for me.
I would often forget that I even had them in my pack because of how small and lightweight they are. I never had to worry about not being able to do all of my laundry at once, because I could just throw my rain pants on while I washed my shorts. These also ended up being what I would slip into at night during the summer to walk around the camp to keep the mosquitos off of my legs.