I’m often asked what to wear on my legs for summit night, especially for 7000m peaks? I’m not normally a very cold person, however, I have the problem that if I stop, even just for a short time, I get cold quickly and then I find it difficult to warm up again.
Unlike your top half, it is much more awkward to quickly pull layers on and off, even with full length zips. As a result people often wait until they have got cold to then start faffing around to get layers on, and sometimes that’s too late.
I take 3 layers to wear on my legs for summit night:
I start with a base layer; there are lots to choose from, but I always opt for a merino base layer. These are slightly more expensive, but I find that if you are wearing them for multiple days, then merino is by far the best! I use icebreaker (coming soon) or Rab
On top of this I then wear my primaloft pants like Haglofs or Rab. Make sure the primaloft pants have leg zips, I use these mainly for venting but also on the descent so I can get them off over my boots if I get too hot.
I then have a pair of Rab waterproof trousers, I don’t always put the waterproof layer (my third layer) on unless it is very windy, but I always have them with me as a just in case, again I make sure these have full leg zips to make putting them on over either boots or boots and crampons much easier. Just make sure that everything fits on top of each other and that it’s not so tight in the layers that you can’t then move on the mountain.
And it’s not just summit night primaloft pants are good for, they are great for sitting in base camp. I try not to get cold at any point on an expedition as it just uses up energy that I could be saving for summit night!
Back home I also use them if I’m marshalling at a race, there is no better test of a piece of clothing than to stand on a Lake District top in all weathers, especially when you are standing still.