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4 Best Kühl Pants for Men: I Tried Their Most Popular Styles

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. We received compensation and courtesy product from Kühl in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own. Learn more.

Matt Gulielmi
Expertise:

Style, Jewelry, Watches, Skincare, Brand Activations

Matt is a NYC-based merchandise planner in the luxury space and moonlights as a retail documentarian through his TikTok blog @retailecology. His fashion career has waltzed through styling for Michigan State's VIM Magazine, translating brand copy into Spanish for cosmetic startups, to managing inventory for some of the biggest retailers in the US. Read full bio.


Last Updated: May 14, 2024
11 min read
Model wearing different tpyes of Kuhl pants collage

Kühl makes hiking pants (in addition to casual and workwear styles) using the inspiration from their tagline, BORN IN THE MOUNTAINS. Not everyone is a free-soloing daredevil, so their broad range of options vary in fit, fabric, and feature matter for me.

I took extensive field notes testing four pairs of their pants to help you decide which one you’ll need on your next trip, whether it’s a jolly stroll through the woods or a nail-biting summit.

Kühl makes hiking pants (in addition to casual and workwear styles) using the inspiration from their tagline, BORN IN THE MOUNTAINS.

Not everyone is a free-soloing daredevil, so their broad range of options vary in fit, fabric, and feature matter for me.

I took extensive field notes testing four pairs of their pants to help you decide which one you’ll need on your next trip, whether it’s a jolly stroll through the woods or a nail-biting summit.

Before I started hiking to decompress from the stress of corporate America, I wore jeans on the trail.

The seasoned hikers out there want me in the gulag for this, but hear me out. They were tough enough to conquer the coasts, forests, and dunes of Michigan.

Now I live in New York, and man, did I take my home state’s geography for granted.

What used to be a thick canopy of pine trees above my head are now stark buildings and pigeons with an upset stomach.

The pressure of a big boy job doesn’t come without its benefits. Now I get to fly out west to enjoy the wilderness, but it’s a different ball game out there.

My old, scrappy ways simply don’t cut it west of the Mississippi.

I always knew Kühl was an authority in outdoor gear, but I never gave them a shot.

Channeling the explorer I am in another universe, I bought four of their best sellers to see which brings me National Geographic-level preparation.

And if they’re just as good in the city? More power to me.

My Recommendations

Best Overall: Deceptr Pant

Model Wearing Deceptr Pants

The Deceptr Pants’ aspiration is all in the name—outdoor prowess in a modern cut.

There wasn’t anything remarkably rugged about them at first. The ripstop fabric has a slightly coarse feel that I would expect.

Close up of Deceptr Pants

I wasn’t expecting microfiber-soft decadence, as it’s meant to handle cuts and scrapes. However, I’d shift your expectations if you think they’ll feel like commuter pants from trendy lifestyle brands.

The fit sets the Deceptr Pant apart from the others on this list. It takes a page from the athleisure book—fitted with a taper through the leg.

Deceptr Pants Rear View

I always spring for straight-fit pants, but the slimmer fit was surprisingly flattering on me. For slimmer gents, I think it’d look even better.

They have a slight squeeze around my calves, though. The ripstop is made from a polyester-nylon-spandex blend, so while the spandex doesn’t make it feel tight, it is always touching my calves. Slightly annoying, but it might loosen with more use.

Deceptr Pants lower area close up

The slimmer fit doesn’t make them as breathable. Even with the more “plastic-y” feeling of the Renegade Pants, the extra leg room allowed air to circulate better.

Kühl states that the length is supposed to hit at the ankle, so the length will actually be ½” longer than the selected inseam.

At 6’1”, the 32” inseam looks great with low-top shoes, but these are part-time hiking pants. The opening is too narrow and high for thick heavy-duty boots. I could potentially see water seeping in during heavy rainfall or trudging through puddles.

While there were a few fit-related aspects that didn’t sit quite right on my frame, I’m still a fan of its casual demeanor. I can totally see The Deceptr Pants as a daily driver for the guy who wants active pants that moonlight as a trousers for the town.

Close up of Deceptr Pants Lower area

There aren’t as many hiking-specific features as The Renegade or Outsider Pants, but the UPF 50+ sun protection will always be a welcomed line of defense.

Outside of the rear and hand pockets that come standard on most pants, you get a coin, cell phone, and drop-in pocket.

I’m totally cool with the amount of pocket space here given they’re hybrid pants. If there was as much storage as the Outsider Pants, the Deceptr would completely lose the slender presence that differentiates it.

If chinos and hiking trousers had a baby, it would be The Deceptr Pants, and the casual traits are dominant. The tapered legs and familiar pocket arrangement resemble pants I reach for when I’m trying to look good doing everyday things.

Deceptr Pants Waist Area

They aren’t decked out in features, but the ripstop fabric and extra storage are handy for my unchallenging woodland strolls.

What I Like

  • With a tapered leg and above-the-ankle inseam, they’re stylish enough for everyday life, unlike hyper-utilitarian outdoor gear.
  • The stretchy ripstop fabric is surprisingly durable for how stretchy it is.
  • I struggle to find stretch pants that don’t squeeze every part of my leg, but the spandex and slim fit combine to flatter without constricting me.

What I Don’t Like

  • The raised inseam and taper don’t fall over mid or high-top hiking boots.

What Other Reviewers Say

Plenty of reviewers say that they’re on their third or fourth pair. Not because they don’t last, but because they can’t find such well-fitting hybrid pants anywhere else. Customers who bought them for casual occasions love the dual phone pockets, whereas avid hikers appreciate the lightweight feel.

The Verdict

All things considered, Kühl made a great attempt at pants that transition between paved streets and uncharted earth. The overall fit is better than most dedicated office joggers I’ve worn. Outside of the ripstop fabric and extra pockets, there aren’t any features that lend themselves to hiking, but state park frequenters in the reviews seem to find them enough.

Best Overall
Kühl Deceptr Pant

These bad boys are a great attempt at pants that transition between paved streets and uncharted earth. The overall fit is better than most dedicated office joggers I’ve worn. Outside of the ripstop fabric and extra pockets, there aren’t any features that lend themselves to hiking, but state park frequenters in the reviews seem to find them enough.

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Best Value: Renegade Pant

Close up of Renegade Pant upper area

Kühl is in the upper echelon of outdoor brands, so when I saw the Renegade Pant priced under $100, I was pleasantly surprised.

When I realized that they aren’t a bare-bones budget option? Flabbergasted.

The Renegade Pant is made of a nylon-spandex fabric.

It’s thin, which is great for hot weather when heavy fabrics can trap too much heat. But, it might leave you wanting more if you prefer substantial material that takes friction to the chin.

Moving around in them is effortless otherwise. The spandex presence is obvious and the articulated knees are noticeably unconfined.

Renegade Pants waist view

The nylon felt like some of the water-resistant fabrics on the market, but I quickly noticed dark splotches where raindrops landed soon after a rain cloud passed over.

On the other hand, Anything with a treated exterior loses its mojo. The Renegade Pant doesn’t sign you up for quarterly applications of waterproofing chemicals.

They dry quickly thanks to the thin nylon fabric. If I’m not using the rear hang loop to sun them against a tree, I have no qualms with walking them dry given the UPF 50+ protection.

In my opinion, the Renegade Pant’s pocket situation delivers the most value, both to my wallet and my hiking trips.

You get eight pockets in total. Two velcro pockets in the back, two hand pockets, two slide-in phone pockets, and two zippered security pockets.

Renegade pants Rear

The phone pockets are fine. I’m not stowing my lifeline in an unsecured pocket out in the wilderness. They’re okay for urban commutes, but the zippered pockets are my go-to for valuables, and they have two of them.

Typical cargo-style pockets swing stuff around with each step, but The Renegade Pant’s interior pockets keep my supplies close. Easier to move in, sleeker design, and less fabric that can get snagged.

Renegade Pants lower pocket view

The Renegade offers what most hikers need in a pair of pants for less than $100: Flexibility, convenient storage, and a few helpful details to protect against the elements. Callous-handed pros and map-reliant beginners can find common ground in this bargain.

What I Like

  • Eight total pockets hold a lot of stuff, and the different types of closure provide security and convenience options.
  • The lightweight material, spandex content, and articulated knee stitching harmonize together for yoga-like mobility.
  • A rear hang loop, UPF 50+ sun protection, and quick-drying fabric are relevant enhancements to most hiking expeditions, and I see myself getting a lot of use from all three.

What I Don’t Like

  • I’d have more confidence in their longevity if they were made of a slightly thicker material.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Renegade Pants have an accomplished 4.8/5 star rating from 1600+ reviews at the time of writing. Plenty of customers find the lightweight fabric exceptional for summer time activities outside of hiking, like yard work, fishing, and golfing.

The Verdict

If the articulated knees and pockets didn’t give them a sportier charm, I’d bestow the title of “Best Overall.” The Renegade Pant is down for just about anything. Still, Kühl managed to jam key features into a sleek, “out-of-the-way” profile. I’ll need long underwear for winter wearing, but spending less than $100 on a capable pair of hiking pants for every other season is a no-brainer.

Best Value
Kühl Renegade Pant

This pant is down for just about anything. Still, Kühl managed to jam key features into a sleek, “out-of-the-way” profile. I’ll need long underwear for winter wearing, but spending less than $100 on a capable pair of hiking pants for every other season is a no-brainer.

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Best for Hiking: The “Radikl” Outsider Pant

Model Wearing Radiki Oursider Pants

My idea of summit-ready hiking pants look pseudo-military: Straps, buttons, adjusters, pockets-a-plenty, and some zipper pulls hanging about.

Pants that embody survival, and they look the part.

The Radikl Outsider Pants are just this.

Style takes a backseat with trousers like these, but I think they’re rad. The espresso colorway I picked up contrasts nicely with the black zipper covers, but the black colorway with electric-blue zipper covers is just as cool if you prefer athletic aesthetics.

Utility trumps every other category when I’m scouting hiking pants. The Outsider Pants spoil me rotten.

Kühl placed zippered vents on both thighs for improved circulation. I find myself using them a lot because they’re thick pants, but the mesh window avoids looking like a gaping hole. The looser fit boosts airflow as well.

Close up of Radiki Outsider Pant

If you’re waiting to know which pants hold the most goods, The Outsider Pants have the most storage and security of any model I tested.

Eight pockets in total provide more than enough room for my adventures. The two front thigh and right rear side pocket have “hypalon zipper garages”, which is basically a rubber canopy that guides water over the zipper. I wish all Kühl pants had these, but they’d get priced closer to the Outsider Pants’ ~$200 cost.

Fit wise, The Outsider Pants have room throughout the leg without bagginess à la M.C. Hammer.

Model Sitting Wearing Radiki Outsider Pants

The adjustable leg straps are also a huge bonus. I can loosen them if I need extra airflow, or I can tighten them around my boots’ shaft to keep water from entering. I would’ve loved if The Renegade Pants had this adjustability.

I wish the waistband had some adjustability as well. Without any elasticity like The Deceptr Pants, I’m left with a slightly loose fit unless I slap a belt around my waist.

You see those bands of fabric across the knees and down the side? Those are stretch fabric panels. These might be their most robust pair of hiking pants, so I doubt they’d be nearly as flexible without them. Nicely done, Kühl.

Close up of Radiki Outsider Pant lower area

Paired with the hypalon zipper covers, the wax-treated cotton ripstop makes The Outsider Pants resist moisture better than any option on this list.

I spent 30 minutes walking around in the rain to see if I’d feel any wetness from the inside. I couldn’t detect a single H2O molecule.

Radiki Outsider Pants rear view

The adjustability, zippered air flow vents, and multiple water-countering measures is, dare I say, “peak” feature density. They’re the best choice for high-octane biome browsers, and maybe even overkill for an over preparer like me.

What I Like

  • Even with a heavier feel, the zippered air vents provide enough ventilation to feel just as breathable as The Renegade Pants.

  • The wax-treated cotton ripstop and hypalon zipper covers keep my possessions and my skin dry under heavy rainfall.

  • The Adjustable leg straps help achieve a proper fit, but they serve as additional water-deterrence or airflow support that other Kühl options lack.

What I Don’t Like

  • I’m stuck with a slightly loose fit around the waist unless I use a belt, but Kühl offers plenty of sizes.

What Other Reviewers Say

“Worth every penny” is what one wetland-trudging, field-frequenting Appalachian customer has to say about The Outsider Pants. Across 147 reviews at the time of writing, most of the reviews I checked out had nothing but compliments for the air flow vents, stretchiness, and comfort.

The Verdict

To keep it short and sweet, these are my favorite Kühl pants out of the four covered here. Nothing comes close to the water-resistant chemistry between the wax coating and hypalon zipper covers, and the airflow vents raise the bar even further. A loose waist was the only drawback, but that can be fixed with my next purchase.

Best for Hiking
Kuhl Radikl Outsider Pant

These are my favorite pants that Kühl makes. Nothing comes close to the water-resistant chemistry between the wax coating and hypalon zipper covers, and the airflow vents raise the bar even further. A loose waist was the only drawback, but that can be fixed with my next purchase.

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Best Everyday: Rydr Pant

Model Wearing Rydr Pants

The Rydr Pants aren’t nearly as technical as The Renegade or Outsider Pants. They’re probably the closest things to jeans within Kühl’s lineup.

The denim-head inside me doesn’t mind.

The fabric blend is pretty simple—just cotton with a bit of spandex. It felt rigid on the first wear, but softened up after a few washes as I’d expect.

Rydr Pants Close up from side

You trade in breathability for durability with The Rydr, though. Without any optional venting like on The Outsider, they can get pretty sticky in warm weather. The fabric also lacks any water-resistant properties.

These are garment-dyed, too. I highly recommend washing with like-colors for the first ten wash cycles.

I’m really happy with the wide-leg fit of these. You can see for yourself that my size 34×32 doesn’t look like a pair of wide-leg jeans. Honestly, the spandex gives it more of a straight-leg fit, but they could widen with more wear.
I’m a huge fan of selvedge denim jeans. They’re indestructible. (Why haven’t I found any jeans with the reinforcements that The Ryder Pants have? I should add that Kühl offers denim as well.)

Model Wearing White T Shirt with Rydr Pants

The double-needle bar tacks (high-density stitching, put simply) were something I was glad to see, especially because cotton blends typically aren’t as strong as pure cotton.

Kühl placed scuff guards on each pocket and around the bottom hem. It’ll be a while before these show signs of abuse, but for such high-contact areas, it’s a meaningful addition from Kühl.

Rydr Pants lower area

These share a tenacity for chill social events like The Deceptr Pants. The articulated knee stitching gives them more of a laborious character than regular jeans, but every dude in NYC is rocking painters jeans these days. In my opinion, they can do anything besides black-tie.

When I examine The Rydr Pants in a vacuum, they’re a thoughtfully-crafted pair of work pants. A Kühl newcomer might expect dedicated features to resist nature’s wrath, but I think the heavyweight fabric and scuff guards demonstrate that same expertise.

What I Like

  • Heavy-duty fabric and strategically placed scuff guards will keep these pants in working shape for ages.
  • I usually prefer 100% cotton, but I can’t deny that the spandex makes The Rydr Pants much more comfortable.
  • Despite the wide-leg design, they look more like the straight-leg trousers I like.

What I Don’t Like

  • The durable cotton-spandex blend is durable, but lacks breathability.

What Other Reviewers Say

Browsing testimonies, it seems like Kühl dudes that bought The Rydr Pants were hands-on professionals who recognize them as the workhorses they are. There weren’t as many outdoorsmen as there were in other review sections, but both camps agree on their love for the durability.

The Verdict

Would I go hiking in The Rydr Pants? Only in ideal conditions—around 60° with little precipitation. On the other hand, these are a prime candidate for applying the elbow grease in the workshop, back yard, or under the hood.

Best Everyday
Kuhl Rydr Pant

Would I go hiking in these? Only in ideal conditions—around 60° with little precipitation. On the other hand, these are a prime candidate for applying the elbow grease in the workshop, back yard, or under the hood.

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How Do Kühl Pants Fit?

Kuhl Pants lower area view with white sneakers

Kühl pants don’t share the same type of fit across all models.

For instance, The Deceptr Pants have a slim, tapered fit, whereas The Outsider Pants have a roomier fit. However, most Kühl pants have a looser fit for breathability and ease of movement.

How to Wash Them

Most Kühl pants can be machine washed, but you should always refer to the specific wash instructions, as pants treated with a water-resistant coating can break down under certain conditions.

Which Is Right for You?

The right Kühl pants for you depends on your lifestyle. If you’re an experienced hiker that needs ample pocket space or effective water resistance, something like The Outsider Pants would fit the bill. A model like The Deceptr Pants have a few outdoor-oriented features, but the casual styling makes them an equally good garment for everyday wear.

Renegade Klassic FitDeceptr“Radikl” OutsiderRydr
MaterialDuralux nylon/spandexTufflite nylon/polyester/spandexDynawax ripstop cotton/polyester/spandexExclusiv Eurotwill cotton/spandex
SizingW: 28″-42″ L: 28″-36″W: 28″-42″ L: 30″-34″W: 30″-40″ L: 30″-34″W: 28″-42″ L: 28″-36″
Water resistanceDWR finishTufflite water-resistant finishWax-coated ripstopNone
Sun ProtectionUPF 50+UPF 50+UPF 50+Unknown
Pockets2 hand, 2 back, 2 zipper, 2 phone2 hand, 1 back, 1 coin, 1 phone, 1 drop-in2 hand, 2 back, 2 side, 2 zippered thigh2 hand, 2 back, 1 phone
Waist fasteningButton and fly, belt loopsButton and fly, belt loops, elastic waistbandButton and fly, belt loopsButton and fly
Other FeaturesRear hang loop, articulated kneesSaddle stitching, articulated kneesmesh thigh vents, softshell stretch panels, aqua guard zippers, ankle adjustersscuff guards, free ryde waistband, reinforced pockets, gusseted crotch