by Diane Spicer
This Kuhl hiking pants review has one purpose: to take you through what this particular piece of hiking clothing has to offer you when you're looking for a great pair of hiking pants.
My goal is to make shopping for the best clothes to wear on a hike a lot easier.
This Kuhl hiking pants review focuses on the Freeflex Roll-up Pant, waist sizes 2 - 16 with inseams available in 30, 32 and 34.
They look like this when they are rolled up (and unroll to full length hiking pants):
I've been using Kuhl hiking clothing for a long time, so I was enthusiastic when a pair of them was headed my way at the suggestion of Kuhl.
While I did not pay for these pants, I did wear them in various settings and terrain (rocks, mud, stream crossings) to see what they have to offer for female hikers.
All comments and photos in this Kuhl hiking pants review belong to Hiking For Her.
You pay nothing extra for these pants if you purchase them here, while HFH makes a small commission for sharing these details with you, win-win.
You can see the full line up of Kuhl hiking clothing here.
Skip this part if you don't care about the construction and materials in your hiking pants.
But I urge you to think about them, because good performance and durability are what you're buying with your money.
Hiking clothing comes in various grades of quality, with the price tag reflecting how the item is designed and made using various fabrics and materials.
Here's what these pants offer you as a female hiker:
I picked a really juicy hike to give these pants an initial test:
I was determined to get these pants as dirty and wet as possible, and I think I succeeded!
The day started off cool and cloudy, and the first rain shower hit about a mile into the hike. I donned my rain jacket but not my rain pants in order to see how these pants handled the windy rainy spell.
They dried quickly, even when the sun refused to come out. The mud patches dried a bit more slowly but I was able to brush off the dried dirt within an hour or so.
About three hours later, a more vigorous rain squall hit and the pants were dry within 20 minutes afterwards.
Mud patches kept accumulating, due to the wet footing, so were still wet when I got back to my car.
Remember, these are my personal opinions and might not matter to you in the slightest.
But I'll share them anyway, in my attempt to give you a complete picture of these hiking pants.
Kuhl describes the fabric as "lightweight softshell with stretch", and it's exactly that.
The stretchy material is lovely against the skin and so useful when lifting legs to clamber over a muddy pile of rocks.
I never had a sense of being encased in fabric working against my movement. Rather, the fabric flowed with my movements.
Can a hiker ever have too many pockets on her hiking pants?
These pants give lots of options for stashing your snacks, personal items, phone, and trail finds.
The two back pockets snap shut, in case that's where you want to securely stash a wallet or phone.
I love how these pants are available in three different lengths:
Because I'm short, the 30 inch inseam was the perfect length while wearing my high rise hiking boots.
They also worked well with my post-hike sandals, not too long or too short.
And I expect they'll look good with my low cut trail shoes, too.
Stream crossing coming up?
The sun finally came out and you're heating up?
There are just two quick things I'd like to note in this Kuhl hiking pants review.
These hiking pants are lightweight, as stated.
The downside? They probably won't stand up to week after week of abrasive rocky trail work where you're scrambling around on boulders or rock climbing up to summits in the backcountry.
Ditto for winter trails.
You'll be cold in these pants unless you have a base layer on underneath them, and probably waterproof rain pants over them.
I share these comments as a four season hiker and snowshoer, with both a summer and a winter clothing layering system.
Bottom line: If you're sticking to moderate summer trails, these pants will perform splendidly for you.
I'm not picking on Kuhl in particular, just a general comment on all women's hiking clothing:
The size range could be extended beyond waist size 16 so more women can enjoy these pants.
I love the comfort and adjustable versatility of these pants.
The relaxed fit allows for free leg and hip movements.
The stretch/rebound material won't get saggy around waist or knees.
They dry quickly after rain showers or stream fordings.
Plenty of secure pockets!
They come out of the wash looking great (line dry them for longevity).
Although they are too thin to wear for winter hiking, these pants will be a great addition to your three season hiking gear lists.
Kuhl Hiking Pants Review