Disclaimer: Kuhl supplied the pants for this review but we don't make any money if you click the link and buy a pair.
Recently I was in the market for a new pair of outdoor pants that would be stylish, comfortable, and well-suited for various activities. In the outdoors, we always look for better gear to make our adventures more fun. It also becomes a safety issue regarding clothing, as what we wear protects us from the elements.
Finding well-fitting outdoor pants that are weather resistant can be challenging as we face temperature, wind, and water. Kuhl sent me these Radikal pants to test out and give an honest review. Since the fabric is a cotton blend, I wasn’t sure how they would be with moisture, so that would be a critical area that I tested out.
The Radikal Outsider pants are made from a lightweight yet highly durable poly-cotton fabric designed to withstand heavy abuse. It also features a ribbed waistband which ensures a comfortable and secure fit. Additionally, the pants are treated with a water-repellent finish to help keep you dry, and the articulated knees offer a full range of motion.
Moreover, the pants have five zippered pockets, which are great for carrying items out and about. The zip pockets have a rubber flap that covers the zippers, which increases the water resistance.
They also have a cell phone pocket on the right thigh that is deep enough that you won’t lose your phone unless you hang upside down.
The sides of the thighs have zippered vents you can open for cooling when you are working hard. The cuffs have snaps that allow you to tighten the opening around your ankles to reduce debris and snow in your boots if you aren’t wearing gaiters.
Based on their website's sizing guide, I ordered the waist and leg length, and the sizing was accurate. The cut is slightly tapered with a good fit in the waist and is roomy without being baggy.
When it comes to fit, the Kuhl Radikal Outsider pants are almost perfect. As someone who doesn’t skip leg day, I found them slightly restricting when rock climbing in them as they limited how high I could lift my knee. You might not find this a restriction if you don’t have big quads. It didn’t affect hiking or even cycling, but the fabric doesn’t have the stretch of the Outdoor Research Ferrozi pants I wear most of the time.
The waistband is adjustable, so you can easily adjust the fit to your specifications. And, thanks to the articulated knees, you get a full range of motion. They also have a gusseted crotch for comfort and freedom of movement, and the pants are cut to fit in all the right places for most people. All in all, these pants feel great and look great, too.
The belt loops will take a 1.5" wide belt which is useful if you want to carry any gear such as tools or a holster.
As I mentioned earlier, the Kuhl Radikal Outsider pants are treated with a water-repellent finish. This helps keep you dry in light rain or moisture-filled environments, and it can also help protect you from wind and cold. The water-repellent finish also helps prevent dirt and other debris from sticking to the fabric, making the pants easy to keep clean.
They stood up well to light rain and snow, but when I wore them in the torrential rain, they did get saturated. This is expected from anything that isn’t waterproof rain pants. They dry out much quicker than I expected from something made with cotton, partly due to the tight weave and the water-repellent coating decreasing the amount of water they absorb.
Not only are the Kuhl Radikal Outsider pants lightweight and comfortable, but they are also incredibly durable. The fabric is designed to last through rugged wear and tear and is resistant to fading and shrinking. Plus, the zippers and pockets are top-notch, so you don't have to worry about them wearing out anytime soon.
I wore them for a hundred days before writing this review to see how they stood up to both outdoor and daily use. On many pants, I wear out the crotch from my legs rubbing together when I walk, but when I inspect the typical wear points, they look as good as the day I got them.
They didn’t shrink or change from repeated washing and drying. I have renewed the durable water-repellency coating a few times with Nikwax Tech Wash.
Are They Tough Enough for Backcountry Use?
The Kuhl Radikal Outsider pants are tough enough for backcountry use. The fabric is highly durable, and the pockets and zippers are designed to hold up against wear and tear. Rough use is where these pants shine. Bush wacking in brush that would snag and tear other pants just wan't a concern with the Radikal Outsider pants.
Plus, with the water-repellent finish, you won't have to worry about your pants getting soaked in the rain or snow.
Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with the Kuhl Radikal Outsider pants. They are lightweight, comfortable, and stylish, and the fit is comfortable. The zippered pockets are great for carrying items, and the water-repellent finish is a plus for outdoor use. They aren't going to replace technical rain gear but they stand up to most inclement weather including wind, snow and light rain very well.If you're looking for a pair of outdoor pants that are both stylish and functional, then I recommend the Kuhl Radikal Outsider pants.