Kuhl Spire Roll-Up - Women's Review
Cons: Cotton pant, takes a while to dry, heavy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We like the unique nature of the Kuhl Spire Roll-Up. They offer a great way to hit the trail on a casual or travel day and then head to town. Although there are far better options for the serious hiker or backpacker, the Roll-Up stands on their own as an excellent option for hiking with a touch of style.
Comfort and Mobility
The Spire Roll-Up is made of 68% cotton, 29% nylon, and 3% spandex. The cotton construction raised an eyebrow or two since cotton isn't the best material for hikes. But, that depends on what type of hiking you do and where you do it. We don't recommend cotton in the high alpine or for long days or multi-day trips. Its insulating and drying capabilities are severely limited, leaving you susceptible to hypothermia if you get wet. However, for fair weather days and short hikes, these pants are perfectly suitable and plenty comfortable.
The cotton blend did hinder our mobility, though. We were able to scramble around with ease and especially like the stylish, streamlined look of the Roll-Up. The pants also have articulated knees that give them ample mobility, which helps combat the inflexible nature of the cotton. Overall, the movement isn't as impressive as any of the hiker tights we have tested, but for a beginner or casual hiker, you'll have everything you need.
Venting and Breathability
These pants don't breathe as well as some of the more high-tech materials we tested. However, on a windy day, you can still feel a breeze, and these pants feel surprisingly thinner than they look. However, you can roll these pants up for added breathability. The easy-to-snap roll-up option helps provide more airflow and keeps your pant legs dry in shallow water crossings.
We weren't surprised to see that the Roll-Up absorbs water like a sponge. They were one of the worst performers in our lineup when it comes to weather resistance, in line with most of the hiking tights we tested. We do not recommend these for areas prone to wet weather. However, they do a decent job of keeping slight breezes out and are perfectly suitable for drier climates.
We enjoy the simple, no fuss roll-up option on these namesake pants. The snap closure on the front feels robust and secure. We also appreciate the drawstring at their waist. If the pants lose their shape, you don't need a belt (although the pants do have belt loops).
The Spire Roll-Ups also have some of our favorite pockets. Two zippered pockets on each side allow you to easily carry a phone, although the main body of the pocket is on the rear side of your leg. This doesn't bother us, but it does take a second to get used to. Even the hand pockets are zippered, which gives you confidence that things won't fall out while you're moving. All pockets on these pants provide ample room and dependable function.
The Roll-Up may not have the versatility of convertible pants or hiking tights, but they hold heir own in a new and growing category — town to trail appeal. These pants offer a more fashion-forward option that appeals to the hiker that wants to catch a quick sunrise on a straightforward trail, then head to brunch. Although we didn't get the opportunity to wear them on an airplane, we would feel confident that these pants would also offer something for the intrepid traveler. The Spires don't look like hiking pants, which makes going from the trail to your favorite watering hole a breeze.
These aren't the most cost-effective pair of hiking pants, but their unique functionality means you're essentially getting two pairs for the price of one. It isn't quite a technical hiking pant, and it's not extremely durable, so expect to make some sacrifices. Out of the bag, the stitching on the pants already looked suspect, and we aren't sure that these pants can handle rough terrain.
The Spire Roll-Up fits a specific purpose for a particular hiker. If you're interested in casual hikes, but want to be able to hit the town afterward or wear them for travel, then these are certainly worth a look.
— Meg Atteberry