I know what you’re thinking, “Drew, isn’t this a motorcycle blog?”
Why yes, yes it is, but hang with me here. While I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of riding year-round, there’s no doubt I much prefer hiking in the winter months to suffering through boring rides on the freeway in frigid temperatures. Moreover, if you’re the “adventure moto-camping” sort, these hiking pants are right up your alley.
Long-time followers, both here and on Instagram, know that I love exploring the backwoods as much as I enjoy riding (both if I can get it). In other interest of transparency, Kuhl found Moto Adventurer and reached out to me about potentially reviewing a pair of their hiking pants. Per my comments above, assuming everyone was willing to wait for the end of the season, I wasn’t opposed to testing out some hiking gear in the finest Kentucky briar patches. Kuhl sent me this pair of pants and asked me quote, “We’d like you to write a genuine review, with pros and cons, when you field-test the products.”
Prior to this review, my experience with hiking pants has been mostly jeans and a duffel bag full of mil-spec cargo pants. I may not have a lot of experience with modern retail hike-wear, but I can shamelessly say I’ve successfully destroyed tactical clothing all across the globe. Hopefully, that means I know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.
Straight away I noticed the riveted details, subdued embroidery, and stitched logos. For folks unfamiliar, “rip-stop” material has a very distinct look and texture. As a veteran, it’s an unmistakable fabric. The Army issued me “winter” and summer-weight uniforms, and the rip-stop “waffle” pattern made it easy to pull the more comfortable summer-weight uniforms out of my wall locker.
Kuhl offers the Silencr Kargo pant in Kahki, “carbon” grey, and an earthy “Dark Roast”. As a victim of dichromacy (red-green color deficiency), my closet tends to be mostly of shades of black, white, and grey. Kuhl sent me a set of “Dark Roast” pants to test, and I admit, that color has grown on me to the point I think I prefer it among the three.
At 5’10”, 180 pounds I am the “average Joe”. I typically wear 34×32 jeans and in “Army sizing” I’m “medium-regular”. These Kuhl pants fit true to size. After looking at photos online I was a little concerned they may be a little more form-fitting than I like, but I was pleasantly surprised. The lightweight “Flex-fabric” moves with you, isn’t tight nor constrains movement. Ideal for hiking as one would imagine.
Putting the pants on for the first time I was relieved to see the use of a “through” button as a waist closure. Uncle Sam has me conditioned to old-school sewn buttons, but more modern pants have used riveted buttons. Those more modern “snaps” are great until they’re exposed to the elements; dirt and dust get into the button and they won’t “unsnap” which typically leads to the destruction of the button and a calamity in the backcountry. Kuhl on the other hand uses a more modern snap that can shed sand, grit, and corrosion without getting stuck.
After years of tearing the crotch out of “Mil-Spec” tactical pants when stepping over logs, I’m pleased to see that Kuhl accommodates movement with “gusseted crotch” stitching and paneling. The pant legs include articulated knee stitching that makes walking and climbing over obstacles more comfortable. The belt loops are wider with more reinforcement than I’m accustomed to. The pockets are made from comfortable stretch fabric, and the cargo pockets are closed with hidden snaps in lieu of velcro (I despise velcro closures thanks to the ACU blunder). The ankles also have a cinching feature if you want to make sure critters don’t climb up your trousers.
Through mid to late fall, I spent time in the woods taking photos of cross-country racing, climbing hills, wading through thorn bushes, and tiptoeing through briar patches in these pants. Today when I’m headed into the garage, I reach for an old pair of Army service trousers to cover in grease and destroy, but when I’m headed anywhere else, I reach for these Silencr pants. They fit correctly, they’re lightweight, have cargo pockets, and make it easy to move in the woods or are just comfortable to sit and watch a movie on the couch. The rip-stop fabric makes it easy to brush off “hitchhikers”, they’re tough enough to not tear when snagged by thorny rose bushes and are lightweight enough to keep you cool when you start breaking a sweat.
Ultimately I think these are great 3-season pants for folks that want to enjoy hiking, camping, and “adventuring”. The lightweight fabric is great for combating the weather and it fits perfectly. However, I admit I’m concerned about wearing out the seat or the knees if I spend too much time sliding around on sharp surfaces. The fabric resists being torn by the bluegrass briars just fine, but if you’re going to climb around on logs and boulders, I’m concerned you could tatter them prematurely. That said, I have yet to wear the seat out of mine, I’m just saying it’s a “lightweight” fabric, if you’re going to be hard on the material, you may want to consider Kuhl’s Destroyr or Klash pants.
Would I buy another set?
Admittedly I’m a thrifty dude. That said I’m going to be hard-pressed to not buy a second set, especially for winter. As I said, the Silencr will be good for spring-summer-fall, but I’m concerned they’ll be a little too thin for January and February locally unless you’re keeping your heart rate up. I reached out to Kuhl to see what winter-weight pants they suggested; so I’ll be keeping my eye out for the Destroyr as winter approaches later this year. For folks interested, the Silencr pants list for $99 retail. The typical camo tactical pants I normally wear will set you back anywhere from $45 to $70. Considering the features, fabric, and fitment, to me they’re worth the money. My Levi 569s will cost me $70 at this point, and they definitely aren’t made like they used to me.