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Kuhl Deceptr Review

A heavily tapered, casual pant with decent mobility, but issues with comfort
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Price:  $89 List | $89.00 at REI
Pros:  Comfortable waist, casual look
Cons:  Abrasive fabric, no pocket closures
Manufacturer:   Kuhl
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 17
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 5
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Versatility and Style - 15% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The KUHL Deceptr is a pair of pants that seem to be intended to go fluidly between backcountry travel and frontcountry style. Their tapered legs offer a slim fit with stretch fabric that still provides for a decent amount of wearer mobility. The objective is noble, but their comfort is lacking. We also think that the feature set moves a little too far in the direction of casual style without enough consideration for the utility that hiking pants require. This model may be best for someone who wants versatility in an everyday pair of frontcountry pants rather than a true technical wilderness trek.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This model has the versatility required for a variety of social settings. They dress up or down and have decent weather resistance. Their biggest issue is in the comfort metric, which is a hard factor to overcome.

Performance Comparison


These pants are a casual contender for frontcountry fun.
These pants are a casual contender for frontcountry fun.

Comfort & Mobility


These pants offer decent mobility but are lacking in comfort. The legs are very tapered, which makes them a better fit for hikers with skinnier legs. Typically, this would limit mobility, but the 76% nylon, 9% polyester, 15% spandex fabric blend is stretchy enough to overcome the tighter fit. In addition, the crotch is gusseted, so there is plenty of room at the top as well. The waist is lined with a different, softer fabric that reduces abrasion, especially with a backpack hip belt.

The gusset in the crotch (strip across the center) is helpful  but the pants still feel a little tight.
This model comes with a felt-lined waist to reduce abrasion  which helps especially with a backpack hipbelt.

The primary drawback of this model is that the interior face of the fabric is quite abrasive. It seems to have a somewhat raised thread pattern, which feels rough and becomes fairly uncomfortable fairly quickly. During testing, we noticed it immediately and the feeling became increasingly annoying as the days went on.

Venting & Breathability


These pants offer a midweight fabric with a small amount of polyester. What this means in practice is that they are more breathable than they initially appear.

These pants are tight enough at the ankle that they can be rolled up and used for jogging.
These pants are tight enough at the ankle that they can be rolled up and used for jogging.

Though they don't have any notable ventilation points, the stretch of the fabric actually facilitates heat dispersion. During testing, we got hot rather quickly but cooled down equally fast.

Versatility & Style


These pants have an admirable versatility. We like them best for short day hikes, and could easily see them as frontcountry athletic pants for activities like golfing. They also make for a decent pair of travel pants.

The Deceptr pants are a fine option for stretching and strength activities.
The material is elastic enough that it doesn't restrict movement during stretching.

They have the mobility of jersey knit lounge pants with a style at the intersection of athletic and dressy casual. They can just as easily go with a collared shirt as they can with a hiking tee.

Weather Resistance


The tradeoff with breathability and stretch is that these pants don't hold up in the rain as well as some others. They soak through with about 20 minutes of hiking in moderate rain. They do dry quickly, but we'd rather stay dryer longer on the front end.

The water resistance of these pants is pretty solid -- water beads well -- but the pockets have no zippers so rain will drip down pretty quickly.
The water resistance of these pants is pretty solid -- water beads well -- but the pockets have no zippers so rain will drip down pretty quickly.

Just like many other models, they have a UPF 50 rating for sun protection. Their wind resistance is above average, especially given their breathability, though they don't offer much in the way of insulation on cooler days.

Features


These pants go for a robust minimalism with their feature set. There are six pockets including two front handwarmers with one coin pocket on the right side; two rear pockets; and a deep, narrow pocket on the right quad. They are all comparatively deep, but importantly, none of them have any zip or snap closures, leaving items susceptible to falling out.

The uniquely placed pocket at the back of the right leg allows you to carry valuable items without sitting on them when you take a break.
The uniquely placed pocket at the back of the right leg allows you to carry valuable items without sitting on them when you take a break.

This model also comes with standard belt loops (belt is not included), and a "donut" snap closure. They do not have any sort of ankle cinch cord like many other models in this review, however, the legs are tapered enough that they roll up and stay up without them.

Value


The bottom line for value is that there are better options out there. While they have some versatility, we don't think that they are crafted particularly well for the long haul. Unless you can find them for a real steal, the short and long terms values just aren't quite there.

The Deceptr pants look better than they perform.
The Deceptr pants look better than they perform.

Conclusion


The KUHL Deceptr has a few things going for it. Namely, the pants can flex between front and backcountry utility decently well. They have a tapered, slim fit, which means they stay out of your way on trail, and they maintain solid wearer mobility. However, the comfort issue is enough to keep us somewhat cool on these pants.

Ben Applebaum-Bauch