Ultimate pants for people who wear a knee brace under their pants, and want to take the brace on and off.

WeekendWarrior

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Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
70
Location
United States
I used to be a climbing guide in my younger days, didn't take care of my knees, and sustained a series of knee injuries and subsequent surgeries to address the issues. I now wear knee braces when going down hill with heavy loads, but I hate wearing them all other times on a hike or hunt. I prefer to take them off. This poses a problem because I often can't pull the cuff of my pants above my knee to pull a brace on, and my braces are not designed to work over a pant either.... I end up taking my boots and pants off a lot. I don't mind taking my boots off and letting my feet cool for a moment, and I tend to pause and re-lace my boots before going on a longer down hill section anyway so taking my boot off is not an inconvenience for me, but I hate taking my pants off.

After many years of being annoyed by this inconvenience I have found my perfect solution. I contacted stone glacier (https://www.stoneglacier.com/) about their Havilland LITE pants, and asked it they could make a version in which they extended the zippered thigh vent all the way to the cuff of the pant, thus allowing me to unzip the pant from the cuff to above my knee to pull a knee brace on and off. To my surprise, they obliged for an extra $100, and I now have the pants you can see in the photo below. I have tested them with the knee braces and they work perfectly. I couldn't be happier. If you are in the same situation, there is a solution.

Happy hunting.

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M77Fan

Active Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Messages
37
Location
Wyoming
That is similar to what I have been doing with hunting pants and even regular jeans for years, at less cost. While I do have one pair of Cablea's whitetail Series Scentlock pants with zippers that go to just above the knee as manufactured, most of my pants I altered by sewing zippers into the outside seams.

Before I got my knee replaced I was wearing a heavy duty aircraft aluminum brace that needed frequent adjustment depending on what I was doing. It was way better not to have to dump my daypack and disrobe every time I needed to cinch a strap, or take the thing off.

Most pants have a simple outside seam, rather than the double inside seam as in jeans, and it is a simple matter to rip the stitching out to a place above the knee, then stitch in a zipper. The way that seam is constructed lends itself to adding a zipper easily. Anyone who sews can do it, and if you can't sew, a wife, sister, girlfriend, or mother can probably handle a couple straight seams to get a zipper in place. Barring that a tailor or seamstress can do it for less than $100, I am sure. Any number of weights and lengths of zippers can be found with simple Internet searches. If having a zipper touching your skin is annoying it is easy enough to add a lightweight cloth cover strip (like a storm flap on a jacket) to cover the inside of the zipper.

I only needed it on one pantleg, but no reason you could not do it with both. A side note: while you could do this using velcro it is very abrasive on skin, and less inclined to stay shut when wading through heavy brush.

If you do it yourself, you can use a pair you have, or buy about any pants and make the alteration. For me that was a great option since I have particular likes and dislikes, and demand quiet in hunting pants. It also allowed alteration of my regular jeans that I wore out on hikes, etc. As long as I didn't get a ladies light dress weight zipper, I never had any problem with zipper failure. A super light zipper would not likely stand up to the stress. I have even salvaged zippers out of old jackets, etc. as a source.
 

Hopalong

New Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
3
Location
Tulsa, OK
I used to be a climbing guide in my younger days, didn't take care of my knees, and sustained a series of knee injuries and subsequent surgeries to address the issues. I now wear knee braces when going down hill with heavy loads, but I hate wearing them all other times on a hike or hunt. I prefer to take them off. This poses a problem because I often can't pull the cuff of my pants above my knee to pull a brace on, and my braces are not designed to work over a pant either.... I end up taking my boots and pants off a lot. I don't mind taking my boots off and letting my feet cool for a moment, and I tend to pause and re-lace my boots before going on a longer down hill section anyway so taking my boot off is not an inconvenience for me, but I hate taking my pants off.

After many years of being annoyed by this inconvenience I have found my perfect solution. I contacted stone glacier (https://www.stoneglacier.com/) about their Havilland LITE pants, and asked it they could make a version in which they extended the zippered thigh vent all the way to the cuff of the pant, thus allowing me to unzip the pant from the cuff to above my knee to pull a knee brace on and off. To my surprise, they obliged for an extra $100, and I now have the pants you can see in the photo below. I have tested them with the knee braces and they work perfectly. I couldn't be happier. If you are in the same situation, there is a solution.

Happy hunting.
FYI, as a Below-the-Knee or BK amputee, it's common to have that same issue as the prosthetic or the stump needs care and quick access is also a need at times! I had learned that a zipper from the cuff of any pant is a Great help and hidden in the inseam, and have had them inserted over the years now multiple times. Here, to have a zipper put into a pair of jeans from the cuff to the crotch is only $18-25 by a business doing alterations and clothing repairs/changes. I must have this at almost all times, vs on occasion, and that price I can afford easily with them supplying the zipper! I hope this advise helps someone as it's a Blessing for amputees who wear prosthetics and also those in wheelchairs!

Thanks for posting how you handed the issue!
Hopalong
 

chindits

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Messages
77
I’m confused, wouldn’t convertibles solve that problem without modifying. I wear prana convertibles even in winter. I never take off the bottom of the pant leg anymore, I just use double sided Velcro as a strap and keep the leg bottoms as a kind of open bottom gaiter.
 

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WeekendWarrior

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
70
Location
United States
I’m confused, wouldn’t convertibles solve that problem without modifying. I wear prana convertibles even in winter. I never take off the bottom of the pant leg anymore, I just use double sided Velcro as a strap and keep the leg bottoms as a kind of open bottom gaiter.

The zippers tend to split over time on fully convertible pants. Zippers on the sides don't experience the same stress unless you are fitting them tight like yoga pants. If you don't wear your pants often, or aren't particularity hard on your gear, the convertibles are probably fine. Also, for a knee brace, you still have to fuss with getting the lower part of the pants over the brace too, which is quite inconvenient if the pants are fitted at all.
 

M77Fan

Active Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Messages
37
Location
Wyoming
Convertibles might work in some situations, but you are limited to what they offer, which are mostly summer weight. I have never found a pair that fit well and left room for a brace. Taking regular clothes and adding a zipper has given me the ability to wear light hunting pants, regular jeans, mid and heavy weight wools, all with the ability for adjustment or removal without taking off boots or pants. Unless the material is stretchy, you do need extra space for a brace so you don't bind it up and make walking harder.

For those who have other issues, like one mentioned above on caretaking, there are also a few brands of clothing that are designed for post surgical use that could be helpful. Some have snaps, velcro. or zippers that access full seams so a garment can be "wrapped" onto a limb without struggle. Depends on the meed and the joint impairment. Having had several joints replaced, I was in the position of looking at pants and shirts from some of these suppliers, but in the end, because I sew and have been in the mode of adapting clothes and gear myself, I modified some of what I had.

Although I recommended putting a zipper into the outside seam, because it is less complicated from the sewing standpoint, I can see how Hopalong's solution also works, and might be better in his situation.
 

MNbogboy

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Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
927
Location
Northern MN
Antelope hunting in cactus country often requires hard knee pads that i carry in my day pack. Easy access to putting them and taking them off could be accomplished with a custom pair of pants. Some knee pads fasten with Velcro straps and are very uncomfortable. Pants with reinforced knees or "built-in pads might be more ideal for stalking/crawling.
 
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