The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Kuhl Splash 11" Review

A durable hiking short for those wanting more coverage.
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Price:  $65 List | $44.73 at REI
Pros:  Stylish, versatile, extra pockets
Cons:  Not as stretchy, no water resistance
Manufacturer:   Kuhl
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 5, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 5
  • Features - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The KUHL Splash is a unique pair of 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. For something more performance-based and of similar length, check out the Columbia Back Beauty.


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Kuhl Splash 11"
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
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Star Rating
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Pros Stylish, versatile, extra pocketsTrendy, comfortable, lightweightComfortable, stretchy, longAffordable, water resistant, breathableLightweight, water resistant, versatile
Cons Not as stretchy, no water resistanceShorter inseam, no water resistanceOnly one pocket, not the most flatteringUnnecessary belt, small cargo pocketsRuns big, abrasive waistband
Bottom Line A durable hiking short for those wanting more coverage.A highly comfortable, performance-based hiking short.Boldly athletic, these shorts are lengthy and comfortable.Functional and fun, these shorts cover all the basics.For water sports or hiking, these classic baggies are light and casual.
Rating Categories Kuhl Splash 11" Aphrodite 2.0 Short Back Beauty Long Sport Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Versatility (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Features (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
Specs Kuhl Splash 11" Aphrodite 2.0 Short Back Beauty Long... Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Weight (in oz) 8.8 oz 4.4 oz 5.4 oz 5.1 oz 5.2 oz
Material UberKuhl Stretch (68% cotton, 29% nylon, 3% spandex) 95% nylon, 5% elastane OMNI-SHADE and OMNI-SHIELD 89% polyester/11% elastane Max Lite double weave OMNI SHADE 100% nylon Perfecta Plus II 100% nylon (92% recycled)
Water Resistance None None (Flashdry™-XD quick-dry) Omni-Shield repellancy Perfecta Plus II quick-dry DWR coating
Sizing (waist, length options) 0 - 16, 11" or 5.5" inseam XS - XXL, 4" or 6" inseam XS - XL XS - XL XXS,XS, S, M, L, XL
Sun Protection Yes No Yes, UPF 50 Yes, UPF 30 No
Convertible, or option available? No No No No No
Pockets 6 3 1 4 2
Waist Strap/Fasten Metal snap and zipper fly Elastic waistband with drawstring Elastic waistband 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 Flashdry-XD quick-dry fabric, triple needle stitch for durability, zip stash pocket Elastic, athetic, contoured fit, one stash pocket Zip cargo pocket, quick-dry nylon fabric Fair Trade Certified sewing
Warranty Limited lifetime warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty One Year Good Faith Guarantee 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 tested, but they have thoughtful features and a stylish touch. From casual to technical, versatility is a strong suit.

Performance Comparison


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

Comfort and Mobility


Performing above average for this metric, the Splash was on the border of being too stiff and slim fitting. Running small in size, they are nevertheless flattering and comfy to wear all day. The Splash's mobility is only slightly impeded by the length, but not as drastically as the ExOfficio Sol Cool Nomad's. The fabric is still 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 found 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 mobility.
Slightly snug at the hemline, these shorts still allow for ample mobility.

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, venting and breathability aren't as present. Regardless, hiking uphill and sweating isn't a nuisance, and 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 were also able to stretch 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 a 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 are long enough for adequate coverage of the thighs.
Practical for running errands in, these shorts aren't too long but are long enough for adequate coverage of the thighs.

Water Resistance


These shorts are not water resistant and absorb water easily, but they do dry more quickly than the more cotton-based OR Wadi Rum and Patagonia Stand-Up. Since water resistance is an important essential for the outdoors, missing out on such a perk certainly detracted from their overall score.

The results of our water resistance test. These shorts absorbed water rather quickly.
The results of our water resistance test. These shorts absorbed water rather quickly.

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'd often find that while bending over or sitting down, the snap would come undone. To mitigate this issue, we have to make sure to press firmly when snapping together, which then makes the snap difficult to undo.

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

Best Applications


Mild-weather hiking and any level of trails is the most ideal for the KUHL Splash. Wearing a backpack was doable, but the material did sag from the weight, and we had to adjust every so often. We would recommend these shorts for day-hiking.

Value


Made in China, these shorts retail for $65, which seems to be right in line with other longer styles. KUHL also offers a limited lifetime warranty, which adds to the value. For our practical hiking purposes, these shorts cover all the basics and come highly recommended. But if you're looking for a more affordable option with similar features, consider the Columbia Sandy River Cargo.

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.
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.

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 the sun. With a minor lack of stretch capabilities, these shorts remain a tough competitor.


Sara Aranda