Reviews You Can Rely On

Kuhl Radikl Review

Hiking pants with a unique construction that does best in dry climates
Kuhl Radikl
Photo: Backcountry
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $89 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, durable
Cons:  Not water resistant, styling not for everyone, more casual than most hiking pants
Manufacturer:   Kuhl
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 8
  • Versatility and Style - 15% 4
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 2
  • Features - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The KUHL Radikl pant is certainly unique. Strategically placed stretch fabric at the crotch, lower back, knee, and side leg makes for a comfortable pair of pants. They are also heartier than the average pair. They come equipped with a variety of pockets, and the interior secondary waist stay ensures that they will stay put all day long. On the downside, we learned quickly during testing that these pants are fairly absorbent, which really limits their versatility, and obviously, weather resistance. They have a somewhat unusual aesthetic, but if that turns out to be the look you are going for, then these dry-weather-friendly hiking pants will keep you comfortable on your next adventure.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Kuhl Radikl
This Product
Kuhl Radikl
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$79.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$84.95 at Amazon$60 List
Check Price at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
60
74
72
68
62
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Comfortable, durableAiry fabric, very comfortable, maximum mobilitySupple and mobile, DWR coating works great, fair priceLook good, don't stretch, cinch cords in anklesComfortable, lots of pockets, integrated belt
Cons Not water resistant, styling not for everyone, more casual than most hiking pantsWaist fit is loose, not great in cool weatherNot many pockets, slim fit may not be awesome for larger adultsStiff, most pockets don't have zipsRoll up snaps have limited versatility, baggy
Bottom Line Hiking pants with a unique construction that does best in dry climatesOur favorite pant and the most comfortable and breathable pair that we testedAn awesome pant for 14er day hikes and chilling at the brewpub afterwardsA true enigma, these pants look great whether you find yourself in the wilderness or at the officeThese comfortable, relaxed fit pants are an inexpensive option for day hikes and short backpacking trips
Rating Categories Kuhl Radikl Ferrosi Pants Patagonia Quandary Royal Robbins Alpin... REI Co-op Sahara Ro...
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Venting And Breathability (20%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Versatility And Style (15%)
4.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
2.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Features (15%)
7.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Kuhl Radikl Ferrosi Pants Patagonia Quandary Royal Robbins Alpin... REI Co-op Sahara Ro...
Weight (in oz) 14.9 oz 12.2 oz 10.0 oz 13.8 oz 9.5 oz
Material "Enduro" 68% cotton, 29% nylon, 3% spandex 86% nylon, 14% spandex; 90D stretch woven ripstop 94% nylon (62% recycled), 6% spandex 66% nylon, 31% polyester, 3% spandex 94% nylon, 6% spandex
Water Resistance No additional treatment DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish DWR finish
Sizing (waist, length options) WL 28" - 42" L: 28" - 36" W: 28" - 38" W: 28" - 40"
L: 30", 32", 34"
W: 30" - 40" L: 30" - 34" W: 30" - 42"
L: 28" - 36"
Sun Protection UPF 50 not specified UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? No No, but convertible version available No No Yes
Pockets 2 front, 2 rear, 1 thigh, 1 coin 2 hand, 2 back, 1 thigh zip 2 hand, 2 back, 1 zippered thigh, 1 coin 2 front, 2 rear, 1 cargo 2 hand, 2 back, 2 thigh zip
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Gusseted crotch Drawcord cuff closures, side zip pocket Front and back knee articulation, gusseted crotch, slim straight fit Gussetted crotch, tapered leg, cinch cord at cuff Legs roll up and snap in place, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, integrated belt, UPF 50

Our Analysis and Test Results

A lot is going on with the fabric of this model. The majority of it is a 68% cotton/29% nylon/3% spandex blend. The woven stretch fabric is 88% nylon, 12% spandex. What this amounts to is a pair of pants that comes with the comfort afforded by a cotton garment, but with the mobility of stretchier synthetic material. They don't come with the same minimalist style that we admire in other pairs, but there are still some pros to these pants.

Performance Comparison


These pants are a comfortable, cotton-based alternative to the...
These pants are a comfortable, cotton-based alternative to the typical synthetic pants in this review.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort and Mobility


The fabric blend is one approach that these pants use to increase comfort, but it takes advantage of other features as well. The gusseted crotch and articulated knees make for a roomier cut. The pants also sit slightly higher and hug the waist. Combined with the double waist stay, they remain secure, even without a belt.

Stretch panels are found in many places on these pants, including...
Stretch panels are found in many places on these pants, including the interior of the legs.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Unlike some other models in this review, the fly is also sufficiently sized to be practical, and the waist button won't pop open after a big lunch.

Venting and Breathability


These pants have strong ventilation and breathability. The same stretch fabric panels that increase wearer mobility also increase ventilation. They are strategically placed in areas that tend to get the sweatiest the fastest (e.g., lower back and crotch), and their looser weave facilitates airflow. Despite the heft of the fabric, during testing, we were pleasantly surprised by how cool we stayed.

The handwarmer pocket liner is the same stretchy fabric that is...
The handwarmer pocket liner is the same stretchy fabric that is found in multiple places on these pants.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The cotton blend is also reasonably breathable. The primary detractor in this metric is that these pants don't dry particularly quickly once they do get sweaty.

Versatility and Style


There are a couple of factors that limit the versatility of these pants. Their minimal water-resistance, discussed below, means they are primarily suited for dry climates. The open pockets don't give us confidence in the security of whatever we put in them, so scrambling and steep ascents aren't an ideal use either.

These pants have a burlier aesthetic that might not be for everyone...
These pants have a burlier aesthetic that might not be for everyone, but just right for someone.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Less important for many people, but still a practical consideration is that their style is not for everyone. They have a lot of visible stitching and look cargo-esque, without actually being cargo pants. They are decent in a variety of temperatures, but we'd mostly stick to desert conditions in these.

Weather Resistance


By design, these pants aren't meant to be water-resistant. The primary fabric blend is mostly cotton. The synthetic stretch panels have a comparatively loose weave that allows water to permeate through. Testing makes it plain that these pants just won't cut it in wet weather. In our spray test, water began seeping in immediately.

Because they are made with a high proportion of cotton and have no...
Because they are made with a high proportion of cotton and have no DWR coating, these pants absorb water immediately.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Their redeeming quality is that they are a little heavier and thicker than many other pairs in this review, so they can tolerate a small amount of precipitation before they absorb enough to reach your body. They are also decently wind resistant.

Features


These pants come with an array of features. There are two handwarmer pockets (plus one coin pocket on the righthand side) lined with the same stretch material in the woven panels described above. Two rear pockets, and two similar, but not identical narrow and deep pockets on the upper leg that seem to be designed to hold a smartphone or GPS. We like the options; our issue is that none of these options have zippers. We admit that we never had issues with items falling out, but somehow, we couldn't get past the psychological hurdle of our phones going tumbling down the mountain because we squatted just a little too deeply.

The regular snap and the interior button and fabric panel are a...
The regular snap and the interior button and fabric panel are a feature combination that keep these pants extra secure around your waist.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

These pants come with traditional belt loops (without an integrated belt). We wore them with and without, but didn't find a meaningful difference one way or the other; assuming the waist fits to begin with, they will stay up, even without a belt.

Value


All things considered, these pants have solid value. Though we don't think that they excel all-around like some other pairs in this review, if their brand of contrarianism speaks to you, you can rest assured that they will hold up in the long run.

Conclusion


The KUHL Radikl is a comfortable model, if nothing else. Their atypical fabric blend and construction maintain stretch and wearer mobility, and the waist stays secure throughout the day. Though their style may not be for everyone, they are a solid pair of pants. If you are planning a trip into the mist, then we strongly recommend looking elsewhere, but for clear fall days, they do perform well.

We would take these comfortable pants on a dry-weather hike any day.
We would take these comfortable pants on a dry-weather hike any day.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch