I have Fox Launch knee pads/guards. They are excellent. Lightweight and are perfect for the type of riding that I do (and by the sounds of things you too). They are a lot lighter and a hell of a lot more comfortable that the more beefy DH type jobs. they feel pretty much like wearing knee warmers. Don’t shift at all and provide decent enough protection. http://www.pinkbike.com/news/fox-launch-enduro-knee-pad-review-2014.html
I recently bought them and was looking at these and ones made by POC, Raceface, Troy Lee, Specialized, Alpinestars, iXS and Seven.
The Fox were on the cheaper end of the scale and lack the impact foam you get with the more pricey options. But were a bit more robust (and unfortunately warmer) than a lot of the other Enduro style pads which I know first hand can rip very easily on harder dirt trails - namely Alpinestars Paragon, Specialized Atlas and Seven Transition.
Thoughts on the others I also liked the iXS Flow, RF Ambush and POC VPD 2.0 and while I liked them, they were overkill for what I needed and that bit more pricey (POC especially - which I guess stands for Posey Overpriced Crap).
Anyways make sure to buy them local as the sizing varies massively from brand to brand and style to style.
I tried some soft lizard skins pads but found them annoying. They’re known to be pretty comfortable because there’s no plastic but the wide straps and short length meant I only wore them once (see how the straps come together when the knee bends). If you want to try them they’re yours for the freight cost.
I got some dainese trailskins the other day. Tried em on but not yet used em, will chuck em on when pushing on well known trails. I say pads are a good idea, the improvement curve will be steeper when you’re more willing to lay down in the dirt.
Report on the trail skins is that, like many others, I put them on and thought I might have bought the wrong size. But after maybe 15hours in them I reckon they’re right. I like em, definitely not hot or restrictive, but they are a little sensitive to strap tension, I need to crank the top strap on the elbows to stop them shuffling down on very rocky and fast sections. Still haven’t crashed in them, which is a little embarrassing.
A three month ride report on the Fox Launch Enduros. The fit great. Aren’t hot or restrictive (can ‘happily’ pedal up 500m vert without feeling the urge to pull em down or off). They’re essentially leg warmers with a silicon gripper at the top, so no strap to worry about. Dunno what they’d be like with hairy legs doe (what with shaved pins and all). And having no straps means that you’d probably want to try them on before buying them. Suprisingly cool considering the thickness of the fabric.
I just received these in the post, they do feel kinda bulky but I’m used to not wearing any pads at all. Hopefully having straps instead of silicone will work for me ('cause Wookie). I might go totally 'ndubro on my commute home tonight to see how they feel on.