Kuhl Klash Softshell Hiking Pants Review

Kuhl Klash Softshell Hiking Pants Review

The Kuhl Klash Pants are a comfortable yet durable, lightweight softshell pair of women’s pants perfect for active outdoor use in cool weather.  They provide excellent freedom of movement and venting for scrambling on hot days, they dry quickly when they get wet, and have lots of pockets so you can stay organized.

Kuhl Klash Softshell Hiking Pants

Freedom of Movement
Fast Drying
Durability
Lots of Pockets
Weight
Sizing

Lightweight but Durable

The Kuhl Klash Pants are a comfortable yet durable, lightweight softshell pair of women’s pants perfect for active outdoor use in cool weather. 

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Specs at a Glance

  • Material: 72 % nylon/20% polyester/8% spandex
  • Pants Rise: Mid
  • Crotch: Gusseted
  • Fit: Relaxed
  • Durability: Soft-shell fabric withstands 50,000 rubs to pass the Martindale abrasion test
  • Inseam: 30, 32
  • Weight: 1 lb. 2.3 oz.
  • For complete spaces, visit the Kuhl Klash product page

I like to wear softshell pants for hiking in cool weather because they provide the right balance of warmth, wind protection, and durability. But I’ve had a hard time finding a replacement for my current pair of softshell pants, which are now beat to hell and covered with repair tape, despite trying on many pairs of women’s outdoor pants. Nothing I tried felt good, looked good, and performed well that fit my smaller “frame.” That is… until I tried on and purchased the Kuhl’s Klash pants.

Sizing, Fit & Comfort

I entered the dressing room with low expectations, having learned that many brands try to make women’s pants that “look good” but aren’t always comfortable, nor designed for active and functional use. Having been disappointed too many times, I make a point to try pants on in the store to avoid the hassle of returns. That’s getting harder and harder to do though since many stores carry so little stock.

The pants have an internal drawstring and button:snap-like closure, as well as wide belt loops so you have a wide variety of ways to get a great fit.
The pants have an internal drawstring and button:snap-like closure, as well as wide belt loops so you have a wide variety of ways to get a great fit.

At the REI store I visited, these pants were sold in women’s sizes 2-14, and they had two different inseam lengths, 30” and 32”; I needed the shorter inseam. I was instantly pleased when I tried on my size because they fit so nicely. True to size. Check!

The Klash Pants have a slightly stretchy feel to the fabric, so even though they have a nice fit, they also felt great when I tried the pants on with my thin long underwear (wool base layer). Comfort with long underwear or without. Check!

The pants have an internal drawstring and button/snap-like closure, as well as wide belt loops. And so I tried the pants with a belt on, and with no belt. I sat and crouched and did stretches. The pants also have knee darts” which gave these pants a really nice ergonomic feel and “smart look.” Bottom line, they fit, were comfortable and the pants stayed up on my hips. Check!

Durability, Wind & Water Repellant

Now that I knew the pants fit well, what features did they have to make it worth the bucks I was paying?

To start, the pants are made with an abrasive-resistant soft-shell fabric. When I walk through brambles or tree branches, they don’t catch or snag. I like bushwhacking and wildlife tracking, so this was a plus. They have been treated with a durable water repellent finish that makes these pants both water and wind-resistant. I have been using these pants on winter hikes and find that the snow falls off the pants and so they don’t get “damp.”

Boot Zipper, Boot Hook & Cuff Guard

The pants have a 12” zipper/boot-leg opening. (The pants are advertised to have a 16” boot leg opening, which I suspect is for the taller pair of pants.) This is great. In the winter, this makes it easier to lace up my Salomon winter boots that run up a bit higher on my shins. And if I may need to unlace my boots to get a wrinkle out of a sock, the side boot zipper makes this possible.

The pants also have a boot hook to clip onto my boot laces. I don’t really use that feature, but for folks that don’t enjoy wearing gaiters, this is a nice feature to keep the pants from rising up during use. There is also a cuff guard on the inner ankle side of the pants. After hiking through mud and such, the inside/bottom of the cuff is one of the first places to begin to wear on my other outdoor pants. So having this abrasion-resistant extra panel is also a nice plus.

An inner scuff cuff adds durability because this is the first place where my hiking pants always wear out
An inner scuff cuff adds durability because this is the first place where my hiking pants always wear out

Pockets

Fit and comfort have always come first for me, and pockets have tended to be lower on the list of features I am looking for. Too many pockets just don’t always “feel right” on my thighs and hips, and sometimes they don’t “look right,” or are unflattering. That said, I certainly want pockets that work, will hold objects and will still allow me freedom and flexibility of movement. And these pants came through.

These pants have five pockets in total. There are two roomy, zippered side pockets that easily hold my super-sized iPhone 8+. They have a mesh liner, so I can “vent” a little heat by unzipping these pockets. The mesh also ensures the pocket is not too bulky around my upper leg/hip for when I’m climbing, etc. The reflective zipper pull cord allowed me to work the zipper with my mitts still on.

There is also a zippered pocket on the right thigh – also with a reflective zipper pull – for me a great place for a map, car key or some valuable. There are also two smaller rear zippered pockets.

All five zippered pockets are constructed using a reverse coil method with fabric welts, which helps prevent water from entering, and ensures that pockets lie trim and flat.

Recommendation

With its overall good looks, relaxed and comfortable fit, durable and water-repellent fabric, varied sizes for a correct fit and other special features, I highly recommend the Kuhl Klash Softshell Pant to women who want a pair of pants to use in their active outdoor pursuits.

Disclosure: The author purchased these pants.

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About the author

Beth Zimmer is an expert backpacker who's backpacked all over New England and Eastern Canada, with a long list of hiking accomplishments to her name. She's section hiked the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail, climbed the New England Hundred Highest and the New Hampshire 500 highest (mostly bushwhacks), redlined the White Mountain Guide (1440 miles), and climbed the White Mountain 4000 footers several times over. Beth also teaches GPS and off-trail navigation classes as a volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club and is co-chair of the New Hampshire Excursions Committee, which oversees all volunteer hiking and leadership training activities. When she's not hiking and backpacking, Beth resides in New Hampshire where she can usually be found sipping coffee and planning her next adventure.

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2 comments

  1. I own the men’s version and love them! Have worn them hunting in Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon two seasons and they look brand new. Very durable, very comfortable, fit is great. I was sh they’d make them in more colors and even a camo would be nice.

  2. I just bought these for women. I usually wear a size 6 pant and I bought the 8’s (short length) online without trying them on. They fit but feel fitted. I haven’t tried them yet with a base layer yet. I’m going to try the 10’s before I wear them outside. I think they run a smidge small, but I love them.

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