Hands-on Gear Review

Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant - Women's Review

Price:  $79 List
Pros:  Feminine cargo style, durable, useful pockets.
Cons:  Cotton-blend material is not water resistant, not very breathable.
Bottom line:  A cotton-blend pair for cool and dry weather.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Measured Weight:  13 oz
Inseam (from crotch to cuff):  32" (pant), 24" (crop)
Fabric:  68% Cotton, 29% Nylon, 3% Spandex
Manufacturer:   Kuhl

Our Verdict

The Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant is a feminine cargo-style pant that is suitable for dry weather hiking and climbing. The cotton-blend fabric has a touch of stretch for some extra mobility, and while the soft cotton is comfortable, it is a little stiff. They are on the heavier and warmer side but convert to a crop for some extra ventilation on warm days. They are highly durable and will stand up to plenty of butt-dragging and knee scraping, but are not at all water resistant. If you need something that can take a bit of rain without soaking through, then our Editors' Choice winner, the Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant, is a much better option. While these pants ended up with a low overall score compared to some others in our review, we did still like them, and they are our first choice pant for cold bouldering days or for lounging around camp.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Pants for Women


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Wednesday
June 15, 2016

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The Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant is made of 68% Cotton, 29% Nylon, and 3% Spandex. They have a relaxed fit that tends to run small (we had to size up in this model otherwise the waistbelt snap kept popping open — yikes!), and are available in three inseam lengths (Short 30", Regular 32" and Tall 34") for all sizes (2-16). The legs roll up to a 24" inseam (on the Regular size) with a snap to secure them. There is a dazzling array of colors available, including Carbon, Seaport, Sage, Black, Breen, Khaki, Indigo, Camel, Mountain Jade, and Vino.

Performance Comparison


These cargo pants are great for cooler temps and dry conditions  but are not breathable or waterproof.
These cargo pants are great for cooler temps and dry conditions, but are not breathable or waterproof.

Comfort & Mobility


These pants are fairly stiff when new, though the material does soften up over time. While they are fairly comfortable for wearing around camp, they felt a little heavy and stiff for long hikes. While the cotton-blend material felt soft against our skin, we preferred the soft and stretchy feel of our Top Pick for Comfort, the Mountain Hardwear Dynama and the Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch - Women's. At 13 ounces in the size we tested, they are the heaviest pant in this review, and it was noticeable. This is not all bad, as for cooler days you want a heavy pant that will keep you warmer. We did like the relaxed fit; it felt feminine and not too baggy, and sat at the perfect spot on our hips to still feel comfortable with a backpack on.

These pants fit well with a backpack and don't ride too low  but are fairly stiff and heavy for long hikes.
These pants fit well with a backpack and don't ride too low, but are fairly stiff and heavy for long hikes.

As for mobility, the spandex adds a touch of stretch, and these pants worked well when climbing or bouldering, though we liked the Prana Halle better for that application as those are stretchier and somewhat lighter. This model does have articulated knees though, which will help you high step or heel hook with ease.

Articulated knees provide greater mobility for slacklining and climbing.
Articulated knees provide greater mobility for slacklining and climbing.

Versatility


These pants have two length options: full-length and a crop that is secured by buttons. This makes the pants less versatile than the zip-off options in this review, and the lack of water resistance also impedes their versatility, as we would only wear this pair on a bluebird day with no chance of rain. If you need something that offers you more wear options, then the Marmot Lobo's Convertible Pant or the The North Face Paramount 2.0 Convertible Pant - Women's are a better choice.

This pant has a roll-up feature  but no zip-off convertible option.
This pant has a roll-up feature, but no zip-off convertible option.

Breathability


These pants did not score well for breathability and ventilation. The thicker material did not vent as well the lightweight Columbia Saturday Trail Stretch, and these pants have few options for increasing airflow. These are best worn on hikes in shoulder season cool weather, not warm summer days.

On a cool spring day at elevation  we were glad for the thicker material  but these are not a warm weather hiking pant.
On a cool spring day at elevation, we were glad for the thicker material, but these are not a warm weather hiking pant.

Durability


Durability is where these pants excel. The thicker fabric will hold up to more butt scootches than a thinner pant, and the smooth material doesn't snag on spiky plants or pill easily. In fact, we have a pair in our closet that is a few years old, and they still look brand new except for a little fading, which you might want to keep in mind when selecting from the array of colors available. (Our Black pair is now decidedly "Grey.")

These pants will stand up to a lot of use  and the sewn outer pockets provide even more coverage and durability.
These pants will stand up to a lot of use, and the sewn outer pockets provide even more coverage and durability.

Weather Resistance


These pants are mostly made of cotton and not treated with DWR coating, and they absorb water as opposed to repelling it even a little. They are also slow to dry, which is not a good trait for long backcountry hikes. If you're wearing these pants and need to cross a deep creek, you're better off taking them off completely than wearing them across. They took over an hour to dry in full sun in our tests, unlike The North Face Paramount 2.0 and Marmot Lobo's models, which dried in about 20 minutes. As a result, we'd never bring this model on any type of thru-hike or in an environment where we could become wet and therefore hypothermic. These are better used as dry weather only day-outing pants, or for around the campfire at night.

Five sprays with the water bottle soaked right into these pants. They become even heavier when wet  and are slow to dry - not a good combo for backcountry use.
Five sprays with the water bottle soaked right into these pants. They become even heavier when wet, and are slow to dry - not a good combo for backcountry use.

Features


The main features of these pants are the integrated design details that contribute to durability and comfort while hiking and playing outside. The pant ends have reinforced stitch work that greatly reduces the worry of fraying from ground contact or stepping on the ends of the pants. The articulated knees help with mobility, and with eight pockets (two front, two cargo, two back and two security pockets embedded in the back pockets), they offer more storage options than any other pair in our review. We had no issues with storing the essentials while out for the day, and the cargo pockets are perfect for carrying your phone in an accessible spot that is not annoying.

The deep cargo pockets can hold a phone and an energy bar  and don't feel annoying when packed full.
The deep cargo pockets can hold a phone and an energy bar, and don't feel annoying when packed full.

We weren't wild about the waistband securing snap. If the pants fit you at all tight, then it will pop open on you every time you squat down. There is also no internal drawstring to help keep things tighter, and the cotton material tends to loosen up over the course of a day. When we first bought a pair of these pants we purchased in our usual size, and they felt tight in the morning and popped open on us, but quickly loosened up. For this review, we sized up and had no issue with the snap popping open, but by the end of the day they ride fairly low, and we need a belt to keep them up. Which is preferable?

Love it or hate it? The snap is secure as long as the pants aren't tight on you - if so it will pop open every time you squat down or bend over.
Love it or hate it? The snap is secure as long as the pants aren't tight on you - if so it will pop open every time you squat down or bend over.

Best Applications


The Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant are best worn for hiking and climbing in the spring and fall where high temperatures are unlikely and only when you are not expecting rain. There's room for layers underneath, and they are casual enough to wear into town at the end of the day. If you're looking for a pair of comfy cargos for camping out in, these pants are a great choice.

These pants are best used for applications where you don't plan on getting wet  like rock climbing on a cool day in the shade.
These pants are best used for applications where you don't plan on getting wet, like rock climbing on a cool day in the shade.

Value


At $79, these pants strike us as a little expensive considering they are not that "technical" or have many distinguishing features. For technical outdoor layers, a price range of $80-$90 is typically well-justified by durable construction, functionality, and versatility. The Splash hits the durability mark, but not the others, and feels overpriced.

Conclusion


The Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant is a durable cargo style pant. While they seem popular with the outdoor set, we hesitate to call them "hiking pants" at this point, as they have few features that make them well-suited to this application. If you're looking for a bouldering or camping pant, then these are a great choice, but for backpacking or even day hikes, there are many better options out there, including every other model in this review.

Other Versions


Khul also makes two shorts versions of this pant, the Splash 11 and Splash 5.5, and a Splash Skirt.

Cam McKenzie Ring

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 15, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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