We were intrigued by the Kuhl Spire Roll-Up since they look more like everyday pants than performance hikers. These pants transition well into town, without giving the impression that you were dragged from the wilderness. The Roll-Up gets high marks for comfort and mobility, thanks to its cotton blend, but backpackers, advanced hikers, and those with technical drive won't like this material makeup and should look for something better suited for their craft. 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. Ideal for the casual hiker who wants something functional, yet not too technical.
Kuhl Spire Roll-Up - Women's Review
Cons: Cotton pant, takes a while to dry, heavy
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
We liked the unique nature of the Kuhl Spire Roll-Up in that they offer 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 hiking pants. 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 like the stylish, streamlined look of the Roll-Up. It also has articulated knees that give them 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.
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 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 Spires 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).
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 feel surprisingly thinner than they look.
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 can handle abrasive terrain. However they do have 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 rocks 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 comes 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 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; if the pants lose their shape, you don't need a belt (although belt loops are incorporated into the pants).
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 solid function.
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 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