KÜHL kindly sent me three pairs of shorts to review: one pair for me and two pairs for friends, both of whom are women.
I’m not a shorts person. Neither are my friends. I’ve been wearing long hiking pants for years, even in summer. And my friends normally hike in leggings.
But we thought it would be fun to test some high-end hiking shorts. Would they live up to their own hype?
What Are Hiking Pants?
One of the key things about hiking pants and hiking shorts is that they are not cotton. It’s a safety thing. When cotton gets wet, it holds onto water — putting the wearer in danger of hypothermia.
Warning! Reminder that denim is cotton, and cotton is dangerous to wear on any mountain hike. Cotton kills.
Hiking pants also need to be extremely durable, considering how much wear and tear they get on rugged mountain terrain; rock scrambles and bushwhacks really put fabrics through the mill.
Finally, these days, we also expect our hiking pants and hiking shorts to be lightweight and stylish.
These are four key things to consider when selecting hiking shorts.
KÜHL Men’s Hiking Shorts
For my pair, I chose the Ambush™ Cargo Short in driftwood (brown).
These shorts are constructed from the lightweight and quick drying ÜberKÜHL® STRETCH fabric, which also provides UPF 50 sun protection.
This is the pair of shorts I wore up Giant Mountain in the photo above. Turns out, I really did appreciate the cool mountain air on my legs!
But these shorts were also very comfortable, which I really appreciated on that tough hike.
Since then, I’ve been wearing these hiking shorts on all my hikes. They’re now my go-to summer hiking pants.
If I had one small complaint, it’s that these shorts do not have a dedicated cell phone pocket. I don’t actually need a cell phone pocket on hikes as I have a shoulder pouch for my phone. But these shorts are so great, I’d wear them off-trail too — and then a pocket for my phone would make them absolutely perfect.
In fact, KÜHL’s Silencr™ Kargo Short does have a stealth cell phone pocket. (I simply chose poorly. Noooooooo!)
My friends chose the Trekr™ Shorts in inkwell (blue).
These shorts are cut from KÜHL’s exclusive and quick drying REKOIL™ fabric. They provide a comforting stretch that rebounds to keep you in form. They have a feminine fit that delivers a casual style perfect for the trail or the back deck.
Tara: “I really like the length of these shorts, especially as someone who dislikes most shorts and typically hikes in leggings. They have just the right amount of stretch, and the slim fit is super comfortable and flattering. While I love the rear snap pockets, I wish they were a little deeper so I could slip my phone back there if needed. They’ve designed the rise really smartly — higher in the back to prevent the dreaded gaping.”
Kristen: “If the website’s description of these doesn’t include ‘feels like a second skin’, it should. These shorts are not only the perfect length, they fit perfectly, they’re lightweight without feeling any less durable, they’re packable, they move with the body and allow for a full range of movement when climbing steep terrain and scrambling, they don’t sag after a lot of use, and they’re so super soft. I’ve worn them on mountains, I’ve worn them to garden in, and they’re cute enough to wear out in the ‘real world’. I’ll definitely be ordering many more pairs and will be recommending them to all of my hiking friends.”
Hiking Shorts a Big Win
After wearing these shorts for several weeks, all three of us are now firmly on the far side of the hiking shorts skeptics-to-converts pipeline. It’s good to try new things.
Thanks again to KÜHL for these shorts.
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