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Kuhl Splash 11" Review

A durable hiking short for those wanting more coverage
Kuhl Splash 11"
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $65 List
Pros:  Stylish, versatile, extra pockets
Cons:  Not as stretchy, no water resistance
Manufacturer:   Kuhl
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 21, 2019
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 4
  • Features - 15% 7

Our Verdict

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.

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Kuhl Splash 11"
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Kuhl Splash 11"
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $65 List$69.00 at Amazon$54.45 at Backcountry$29.99 at Backcountry$55.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Stylish, versatile, extra pocketsComfortable, breathable, versatileUltralight, versatile, stylishAffordable, water resistant, breathableLightweight, water resistant, versatile
Cons Not as stretchy, no water resistanceStretches out, wrinkles easilyLack of stretch in waistband, not as comfortableUnnecessary belt, small cargo pocketsRuns big, abrasive waistband
Bottom Line Versatile, comfy, but with small pockets and minimal stretchPure comfort and very versatile, our only minor complaint involves the stretchy fitTechy and ultralight, but the waistband doesn't stretch wellFunctional and light activewear for a great priceA fun summer short for casual endeavors
Rating Categories Kuhl Splash 11" Prana Revenna Arc'teryx Sabria Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
6
9
7
8
6
Venting And Breathability (20%)
6
8
7
9
9
Versatility (15%)
8
8
9
5
5
Water Resistance (15%)
4
5
8
7
9
Features (15%)
7
7
8
6
6
Specs Kuhl Splash 11" Prana Revenna Arc'teryx Sabria Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Weight (in oz) 8.8 oz 5.2 oz 4.4 oz 5.1 oz 5.2 oz
Material UberKuhl Stretch (68% cotton, 29% nylon, 3% spandex) 95% Nylon, 5% Spandex Fortius DW 1.0 (87% nylon, 13% elastane) OMNI SHADE 100% nylon Perfecta Plus II 100% nylon (92% recycled)
Water Resistance None DWR treatment Minimal Perfecta Plus II quick-dry DWR coating
Sizing (waist, length options) 0 - 16, 11" or 5.5" inseam 0 - 14, 5" or 7" inseam 00 - 14, 8.75" inseam XS - XL XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL
Sun Protection Yes Yes, UPF 50 No Yes, UPF 30 No
Convertible, or option available? No No No No No
Pockets 6 4 2 4 2
Waist Strap/Fasten Metal snap and zipper fly Two metal snaps, zipper fly, internal drawstring Elastic waistband, internal drawstring Elastic waistband with plastic snap and zipper fly, optional belt Elastic waistband with drawstring
Other Features Quick-dry fabric, gusseted crotch, Free Ryde waist contour, cargo pockets, belt loops Ripstop fabric, one pocket with zipper, belt loops Gussetted crotch, pockets on thigh with zippers and mesh Zip cargo stash-pocket, quick-dry nylon fabric Fair Trade Certified sewing
Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty One Year Warranty Limited Warranty One Year Good Faith Guarantee Ironclad Guarantee

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.

Performance Comparison


From casual to technical, versatility is a strong suit, and water resistance is its weakness.

From a casual stroll to steep crag approaches, comfort and mobility...
From a casual stroll to steep crag approaches, comfort and mobility are adequately provided for in these shorts.
Photo: Sara Aranda

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.

Slightly snug at the hemline, these shorts still allow for ample...
Slightly snug at the hemline, these shorts still allow for ample mobility.
Photo: Sara Aranda

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.

Versatility


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.

Practical for running errands in, these shorts aren't too long but...
Practical for running errands in, these shorts aren't too long but are long enough for adequate coverage of the thighs.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Water Resistance


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.

The results of our water resistance test. These shorts absorbed...
The results of our water resistance test. These shorts absorbed water rather quickly.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Features


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.

The cargo-inspired pockets are decently sized and have snap...
The cargo-inspired pockets are decently sized and have snap closures. There are 6 pockets total for the KUHL Splash.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Value


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.

The metal snap closure for these shorts is either too hard to undo...
The metal snap closure for these shorts is either too hard to undo or too loose to stay closed, popping apart easily when bending and sitting at times.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Conclusion


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