We were intrigued by the Kuhl Spire Roll-Up since they look more like an everyday pant instead of a performance hiker. Overall, the Roll-Up gets high marks for comfort and mobility, considering this pant contains a cotton blend. If you're looking for a pant that can hit the trails and the brewery, or wear on a long-haul flight this might just be the pant for you.
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 liked the unique nature of the Kuhl Spire Roll-Up in that they offered a great way to hit the trail on a casual day and then spend a day on the town or for travel. Although there are far better options for the serious hiker or backpacker, the Roll-Up stands on their own as a great option for hiking with a touch of style.
Comfort & Mobility
The Spire Roll-Up is made of 68% cotton, 29% nylon, and 3% spandex. The cotton caused us to raise an eyebrow since that's typically not an element you want to see in a hiking pant. However, that really depends on what type of hiking you are doing and where you are doing it. We wouldn't recommend cotton in the high alpine for long days or multi-day trips, simply because 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.
We were surprised to find that the cotton blend didn't really hinder our mobility. We were able to scramble around with ease and especially liked the stylish, streamlined look of the Roll-Up. It also has articulated knees that give the pants ample mobility, which helps combat the inflexible nature of the cotton. Overall, the mobility isn't quite as great as any of the hiker tights we have tested, but for a beginner or casual hiker, you'll have everything you need.
Although the Roll-Up don't have the versatility of some of the convertible plants or hiking tights, they still hold their 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 an easier trail, then head to brunch afterward and not feel under-dressed. 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 Spire don't look like hiking pants, which makes going from the trail to your favorite watering hole a breeze.
Also, these pants provide a rolled-up wear option for added breathability. The easy-to-snap roll-up option helps to provide more airflow and keeps your pant legs dry in shallow water crossings (helpful since these pants don't dry quickly).
One knock on the Spire Roll-Up is durability. Out of the bag, the stitching on the pants already looked suspect, and we aren't sure that these pants could handle abrasive terrain. However there is a gusseted crotch, meaning you won't have to worry about the pant splitting at the seams, but the seams may not last more than a few seasons if you scramble over rock or go on any grueling hikes.
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 came to weather resistance, along with most of the hiking tights we tested. We would not recommend these for areas prone to wet weather. However, they do a decent job at keeping cool breezes out and are perfectly suitable for dry, cooler climates.
We enjoyed the simple, no fuss roll-up option on these namesake pants. The snap closure on the front felt robust and secure. We also appreciated the drawstring, if the pants lost their shape, you didn't need a belt (although belt loops are incorporated into the pant).
The Spire Roll-Up also has 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 didn't bother us but did take a second to get used to. Even the hand pockets were zippered, which gives you confidence that items won't fall out while you're moving. All pockets on this pant provide ample room, providing function, unlike other pants, such as the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch, whose pockets were pretty useless.
Cotton doesn't breathe as well as some of the more high-tech materials seen in most hiking pants. However, on a windy day, you can still feel a breeze, and these pants felt surprisingly thinner than they look.
The Kuhl Spire Roll-Up is an ideal choice for the casual hiker who wants something functional, yet not too technical. These pants transition well into town, where you won't feel like you're dressed like you just got dragged out of the wilderness. Backpackers, advanced hikers, and those with a technical drive won't like the cotton blend on these pants and should look for something better suited for their craft.
At $85, 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. Although it isn't quite a technical hiking pant and it isn't quite a fashion statement either, so expect to make some sacrifices.
The Spire Roll-Up fits a specific purpose for a specific 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