KUHL's outreach team shipped me a pair of renegade hiking pants to review.
Since then I have been extensively hiking in the usual mixture of conditions that we laughingly call "summer" here in the UK. This has included some very hot and sweaty days, some thunderstorms, and some temperatures way below what you would normally expect at this time of year.
I have also been using them for the other stuff you tend to use outdoor pants - mowing the lawn, pushing old cars, and carting junk around, to test how they handle the rough and tumble.
So what do I think of them, well...
Kühl Renegade Convertible Cargo Pants TL:DR Review
Kühl Renegade Convertible Cargo Pants Ratings
I really like these Renegades – they are so comfortable that I wear them for all manner of things including traveling.
Apart from a few, minor niggles, these are some of the best hiking pants I have used.
Features of the Kühl Renegade Convertible Cargo Pants
- Discrete STEALTH zip off legs, to keep you cooler in the heat
- DURALUX - a great feeling, slightly stretchy fabric offering water resistance and sun protection.
- 6 pockets - 2 cargo, 2 hip and 2 rear, the latter are mesh lined to improve airflow
- Great fit (for me at least!), durable and easy to care for.
Waist Sizes 30", 32", 34", 46", 38", and 40"
Inseams 30", 32", and 34"
Material Kuhl DURALUX - 95% nylon, 5% spandex
- Extremely comfortable and durable.
- Well thought out pockets that offers excellent organization.
- Superior sun protection, good water resistance and quick drying
- The main fastener popper can pop undone at inopportune moments.
- The pockets could be more securely fastened.
- The legs could do with some way of telling which leg goes where when zipped off.
Design and features of the Kuhl Renegade
Kuhl Renegade cargo convertible pants are part of Kuhl's men's hiking pants range. They feature 6 pockets including, as you would expect, a pair of cargo pockets.
The right cargo pocket is compartmentalized and both are secured with a pair of poppers on the fabric flap. Both cargo pockets are large enough for most of your hiking paraphernalia such as phone, snacks, or gloves.
Both the pair of hip pockets and rear pockets are mesh-lined. The mesh is designed to maintain good airflow, keeping you cooler, and it seems to work. The hip pockets are also deep enough that stuff does not easily fall out, but not so deep that you find yourself rummaging around trying to recover whatever you put in there.
The back mesh pockets are wide, but not that deep, and are secured with a velcro fastener. Because of their width, I thought things might be able to escape, but so far the velcro fastener has kept everything in check.
Naturally, being convertible pants, you can zip off the lower legs to turn these into shorts, which I cover later.
Fit and Feel
These pants are described by Kuhl as "Full Fit" (the other fits they have are Klassik and Tapered) I usually fit around a 34" waist in hiking pants, and these 34" Full Fit Kuhl Renegades fitted me well so I would say that these Kuhl's are pretty much as you would expect size-wise. So just order your usual size, no need to order up or down.
They feature a zipper fly, with a small popper to secure the waist. This popper is a little stiff when you first put them on. It soon becomes a lot easier to pop, but the downside is that they can pop open occasionally. If you are wearing a belt this is less of an issue, but I would like a more substantial popper.
With their gusseted crotch and articulated knees, the fit is fairly relaxed compared to many other hiking pants I have seen recently. While many seem to design their hiking pants with an eye on the current fashion for a tapered leg, I actually like the spacious fit of these. While not so good if you want them as fashionable casual wear, it makes it much easier to get over gates, stiles, and the occasional bit of rock-climbing and bouldering.
Apparently, the pants are made from DURALUX™, which is made from a mixture of 95% nylon together with 5% Spandex with a water-resistant coating of DWR. What that means in the real world is that they feel nice to the touch and are just a little bit stretchy.
Along with their water resistance, these hiking pants are also pretty good at being warm when the cold wind blows and not overly warm when it is hot.
They sit really nicely on my hips and the 32" pant legs are slightly longer than I was expecting, so it fits me well as I am about 6'2" (I also have a pair with 34" inseam and have to roll those up slightly) Kuhl also tell me that the waistband peached for increased wicking performance, quick drying time and unmatched comfort. Well, I can definitely vouch for their comfort, we'll look at the rest later...
In fact, they were so comfortable that when I had to make a long car journey, I immediately reached for these Renegades! Overall, they gave a very good first impression when I put them on.
Since these are the Kuhl Renegade Cargo Convertible Pants, they do feature zip-off lower legs to turn them into shorts.
The zippers are well hidden by what Kuhl calls their STEALTH technology. Some people have complained that these rub on them, but I had no issue with them at all.
They zip off really easily and one of the benefits of their slightly looser fit is that when I am wearing hiking shoes, rather than boots, I can just slip them over the shoes. I did manage this with boots too, but it was a bit more of a battle, but I definitely couldn't do this with my Patagonia's.
When zipped off, the zips are hidden behind a flat, making them look better and the zipper does not rub on your legs.
The one issue with the looser fit is that they make my legs look a bit skinny in the shorts...but this is probably more down to my legs than these pants!
Venting and Breathability
Both the front and rear pockets have mesh liners, which gave some degree of breathability. The fabric is not the most breathable I have tried, but this is what you get when you give it a water-resistant finish. However, I think Kuhl has got the balance about right for most conditions.
The gusseted crotch and looser fit also helped with airflow and keeping cool. Also, since these pants are convertible you can remove your lower leg, but they also allow you to partially unzip without needing to remove them entirely, for even more ventilation.
On The Trail
As mentioned before, Kuhl designed these pants with articulated knee ligaments and a ribbed crotch to prevent bunching in these areas during a hike. The peached waistband was also designed to absorb sweat and wick it away from your body and I have to say, I found them perfectly comfy to wear for long periods of time, even when it was very hot and sticky.
Kuhl claims these pants offer a sun protection rating of 50 UPF, which means you will have to unzip the lower portion if you want to get some color into your legs.
The water-resistant finish did a pretty good job of stopping light rain from soaking through to my skin. Even when they did get wet enough that the fabric became sodden, they dry quickly.
I saw some reviews saying they were heavy, which is to be expected with the zippers in this style, but I really didn't notice this out on the trail compared to other lighter-weight pants.
When you wear them, the pair of hip pockets are just the right depth that you put your hands into them and you reach the bottom. You can then rest your arms in them (or is that just me?) and they are at just the right depth that you can put your hand in and find things at the bottom. Some other pants I have tried have a much deeper pocket, which is a pain as you have to delve down to find anything.
The two cargo pockets are big enough to hold stuff for day hikes, but they are not these cavernous cargo pockets you see on some other designs. They are positioned at just the right height on my legs that they don't fling around with each step.
I was initially slightly concerned that they should have zippered cargo pockets, but the poppers worked perfectly well to keep everything in and are probably much lighter (not to mention cheaper to make!)
When I first put them on I thought that the interior compartment to the right cargo was a bit of a gimmick. However, I soon discovered it is a great fit for my lip balm and a protein bar and really useful.
Durability and Care
I have had these for long enough now to put them through a few decent hikes, including getting snagged on rocks, brambles, and the worst my local trails could throw at me. I also wore them when moving some rusty and oily bits of old cars around and they have shown barely a sign of wear, so they look to be pretty durable.
They need to be washed on a cold wash, with no bleach. Kuhl says you can tumble dry them, but they dry so fast that you can just hang them out and save the planet a bit more.
What I didn't like
When you do up these pants, there is no button, just a popper. The first time you put them on, this is a little stiff, but very soon loosens up...and I have looked down to find it has popped open a few times!
Also, while it is very easy to zip the legs back on, it is a little tricky to determine which leg goes where when you come to zip them back together again. It would be a useful change to have the convertible zipper a different color on each leg or some other sort of visual cue as to which is left or right.
Colors and sizes
The Kuhl Renegade Cargo Convertible comes in a range of colors, waist, and inseam sizes.
There are three colors - Khaki, Buckskin Khaki, and Koal (reviewed here)
They come in waist sizes from 30" to 40". The inseams vary from 30" to 34".
With their relaxed style, these Kuhl Renegade Convertible Pants are really comfortable to wear indoors, clearing the yard, or their primary purpose of hiking and backpacking.
The design is pretty durable too and the features are generally well thought out, although maybe zippers instead of the poppers on the cargo pockets would be a better choice, although this may sacrifice the lighter weight.
The cargo storage is OK for day hikes and weekend use, but I would like zippered side pockets for hiking on challenging hikes. However, the smaller pocket makes the Renegades more aesthetically appealing and comfortable off the trail.
The DWR coating gives a decent amount of water resistance and they dried rapidly once the rain stops. The SPF 50 sun protection is also pretty good for most purposes.
Overall these KULH Renegade convertible pants are well-suited to as many situations as you could reasonably expect. These pants are ideal for hiking or backpacking and feature enough storage for everything you need on most hikes, plus you get to show off those toned hiker calves!
- 1 Kühl Renegade Convertible Cargo Pants TL:DR Review
- 2 Design and features of the Kuhl Renegade
- 3 Fit and Feel
- 4 On The Trail
- 5 Durability and Care
- 6 What I didn't like
- 7 Colors and sizes
- 8 Summary