If you're going out in the boonies in a cold, wet climate where you'll be exposed to the elements, it's extremely important to wear clothing that will stay warm if you get wet. Cotton, the staple of modern comfort wear, does not, and can get you killed in cold weather more easily than you think.

In such conditions, "army surplus" wool pants are one of the cheapest and best ways to clothe your bottom half. They're sewn from thick wool cloth that provides excellent insulation, even if it gets soaked. They're far cheaper than synthetic "ski pants" in most locales.

Althought they're wildly popular in northern Search and Rescue outfits and Boy Scout troops, they won't make big fashion points. They're usually made in drab colors (gray or olive), a bit baggy in fit, sometimes with big cargo pockets. Most of the wool pants that I've seen are imported from western Europe (Germany, Switzerland, etc.). Occasionally you'll find a pair with an old train ticket in the pocket.

They can be a bit itchy. If wool against your skin bothers you, consider wearing long underwear underneath; the polypropylene variety, which wick moisture away from your skin, are the best.

Look for 'em in Army surplus stores and sport and outfitter shops. The last pair I bought (circa 2000) cost me about $15.

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