The KUHL Splash is a unique pair of long shorts with relative style, versatility, and reliable comfort. They cover all the essentials from extra pocket space to breathability. With their length, they provide additional coverage without compromising a flattering look and fit. In the end, they were outperformed by the competition in many aspects, but are still a high-quality and durable choice. We recommend these shorts for day-hiking in mild weather. Wearing a backpack is doable, but the material does sag on us from the weight, and we have to adjust them every so often.
Kuhl Splash 11" Review
Cons: Not as stretchy, no water resistance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
These lengthier shorts are made with KUHL's ÜBERKÜHL STRETCH fabric, which is a cotton, nylon, and spandex blend. Despite the name, they aren't as stretchy as some of the other pairs we recently tested, but they have thoughtful features and a stylish touch.
From casual to technical, versatility is a strong suit, and water resistance is its weakness.
Comfort and Mobility
Performing about average for this metric, the Splash is on the border of being too stiff and too slim fitting. Running small in size, they are nevertheless flattering and comfy to wear all day. The length only slightly impedes our mobility. The fabric is soft to the touch, and we didn't notice any irritations over time, even on a consistent incline. Sitting down, on the other hand, we find the front of the waistband to be tight against our abdomen, which eventually does become uncomfortable.
Venting and Breathability
The material is heavier than the other shorts in the group, weighing in at 8.8 ounces for the size we tested. While this adds to their durability, their venting and breathability aren't as present. Regardless, hiking uphill and sweating isn't a nuisance, for we remained comfortable during our ventures. We wouldn't recommend high-intensity activities, such as running, but they breathe well enough for our practical needs.
Cute and modern, these hiking shorts transfer well into urban environments. Beyond the trails, we did use them while casually rock climbing in a gym and felt comfortable wearing them out to lunch with friends or while running errands. We are also able to stretch out and use a foam roller in them. With the long inseam, they will still be useful in colder temperatures, but we wouldn't recommend them if there's any chance of rain. The Splash does come in an inseam length of 5.5 inches as well, but the shorter version does not have the extra pockets.
These shorts are not water-resistant and absorb water easily, but they do dry more quickly than the more cotton-based competitors. Since water resistance is an important essential for the outdoors, in our opinion, missing out on such a perk certainly detracted from their overall score. However, being able to dry quickly is just as critical; this is taken into consideration for the Features metric.
Cargo-inspired, the six pockets have trendy stitching and decent storage; four of them have metal snap closures. One thing we noticed, however, is that when filling the pockets, the fabric doesn't stretch well and only tightens the overall fit around the legs, which makes carrying items cumbersome. Other features include a contoured waistband, gusseted crotch, UPF 50 sun protection, belt loops, a metal snap, and zip fly closure, and modern styling. The fabric is wrinkle resistant and durable. Our main complaint is with the main snap closure, as we often find that while bending over or sitting down, the snap comes undone. To mitigate this issue, we have to make sure to press firmly when snapping it together, which, in turn, makes the snap difficult to undo.
Made in China, these shorts retail for a price on the higher end but seems to be right in line with other longer styles. KUHL offers a limited lifetime warranty, which adds to the value. For our practical and summer-oriented hiking purposes, these shorts cover all the basics and come highly recommended. Make sure to try them on beforehand, since they do run small.
Overall, the KUHL Splash is a quality piece of apparel designed for casual and intermediate adventures. The inseam length is in a desirable zone, not too long, but long enough to add coverage against bushwhacking and unwanted sun exposure. With a minor lack of stretch capabilities, these shorts were simply out-performed overall.
— Sara Aranda