In trying to stick with my goal of 1 post here per month, this is my slightly delayed February post. Another post for March can be expected later in the month!
For many years, Powerpads were the only hiking pad option available from world-leading sailing apparel brand Zhik. However, with the help of 9-time Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt, Zhik released the “Robert Scheidt Hiker” in late 2016. I was personally quite slow to adopt these hikers as I initially didn’t see the need for them, but having been using them for over six months now, my opinion has changed completely.
These hiking pants feature fixed 4 batten hiking pads with the option to add an additional foam layer for extra hiking height. They come in either a Microfleece model for warmer conditions, or a Superwarm model for when it gets colder. The pants are full length with shoulder straps to adjust the height of the suit. The placement of the pads seems to be pretty good, but this can be dependent on the proportions of your legs. As for the sizing of the wetsuit, I would recommend erring on the smaller side (especially for the Microfleece model) as the neoprene tends to stretch with age and water. For example, I know sailors who would suit an L on the Zhik size chart, but wear an S in this wetsuit.
Powerpads vs Robert Scheidt Hikers
Now that Zhik have two options for hiking pants on offer, which one is the best for you? Personally, I’ll be using the Robert Scheidt hikers from now on. However, the original Powerpads still have a place for those who enjoy the flexibility of them. Powerpads can be used with any combination of sailing shorts/wetsuit, whereas Robert Scheidt Hikers lock you in to one of two models. This can be a nuisance in extremely warm conditions when even a Microfleece wetsuit is too warm. However, the lower profile of the hiking pads and the fixed nature of them in the Robert Scheidt Hikers is more important than the flexibility, at least in my mind.
To wrap up, the new hiking pants offering from Zhik, the Robert Scheidt Hikers, are an eye-opening product well worth considering when looking for a new hiking solution.