Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) Rain Chaps review

MLD produce gear for ultralight backpackers. Their most well-known product is probably the Trailstar but they do make packs, rain gear and other shelters. I’ve found their products and customer service to be excellent.

The Rain Chaps are essentially two trouser legs made from Silnylon that are held up by a shockcord belt. The inside leg length is adjustable. I have a 30 inch inside leg and they fit perfectly. I think they would fit an inside leg of 33 inches. Mine are the Regular size for people up to 5ft 10 inches but there is a version for taller people. NB: there is a Cuben Fibre version but I’ve not tried those.

In practice, the Chaps are a delight to wear, even in hot and humid conditions when it is raining. I was amazed how little condensation formed when worn all day despite Silnylon being non-breathable. I suspect that the action of walking means the legs act as bellows thus carrying perspiration away. Whether I’m correct about that doesn’t matter; I was totally dry, comfortable and cool all day long. There was no build-up of an internal atmosphere whatsoever. After walking, a quick shake and an airing dries them very quickly. They weigh very little and pack away to a very small size. The build quality is excellent.

There are a few disadvantages to them. As they are essentially crotchless trousers you need a poncho or rain jacket long enough to cover that area. I used my Golite Poncho and the combination worked extremely well. The second disadvantage is that the Chaps have to be put on first; once I had the poncho on it was very difficult to see how to step into the legs and belt. The third disadvantage is that anyone wearing is most definitely not going to look very fashionable! However, I am more than happy to have a completely waterproof suit for under 300 grammes. Even happier when the poncho can be turned into a tarp as well.

I’ve not owned the Chaps that long so I can’t comment on their performance in winter as yet but I think I would probably prefer a full trouser for the extra warmth.

Below are some technical details that I’ve copied from the MLD website where you can also see pictures of the Chaps.

Weight Legs Per Pair (size regular)
SilNylon 1.35 – 2.2 oz (63g) Gray
Cuben FIber – 1.4oz (40g) White

• Foot hem side loops to use bungee for securing the bottom under the foot gaiter style to keeps socks and part of the shoe dry. Functions like a light gaiter. 
• Double stitched flat felled inside leg seam for strength.
• 4″ long waist daisy attachments for a length range with three loop pockets.
• Waist bungee of 3/32″ shock cord and two mini clips. + approx .3oz
• Ankle opening circumference slides over mens size 12 trail runners.
• Hemmed top and bottom. -Well made for long service life and trail dependability.

Regular: Fits users from 5’6″ to 5″10″
Large: Fits users from 5″11″ to 6’2″


About ReidIvinsMedia

After working for many years in Higher Education I've decided to drop out and join the real world. Here I blog about my interests which include education, politics, backpacking, poker, photography and real ale.
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