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Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist Review

A versatile synthetic bottom featuring modern style, unbelievable comfort, sufficient thermoregulation, and affordability
Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist
Credit: Kari Traa
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $60 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, stylish design, super comfortable, excellent fit
Cons:  Not as breathable due to thicker waistband, welded seams aren't our favorite
Manufacturer:   Kari Traa
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 7, 2022
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Warmth - 30% 7.0
  • Breathability - 30% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Kari Traa Rulle High Waist is for the consumer looking for a functional and stylish pair of long underwear bottoms that will take them from the yoga studio to the chair lift to the apres happy hour — all at an affordable price. Constructed from 70% acrylic, 20% modal, and 10% merino wool, this primarily synthetic fabric successfully wicks moisture away from the body during moderate activity while providing a soft and cozy next-to-skin comfort once the sun goes down. We tested this pant while skiing, running, climbing, practicing yoga, and hanging around camp. We must admit we were pleasantly surprised with the overall warmth, breathability, and comfort provided by such a lightweight synthetic material at a fraction of the price.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award   
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$69.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$65 List$60 List
$59.99 at Amazon
$50 List
$34.93 at REI
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Pros Affordable, stylish design, super comfortable, excellent fitAmazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, cute colors and designsVery breathable, ultralight construction, quick drying, great snug fitGreat value, very warm, breathable, cute color options, comfortable waistband, versatile fitSmooth and silky, good breathability, easy to wear on its own, cute and fitted style, affordable
Cons Not as breathable due to thicker waistband, welded seams aren't our favoriteLess durable than previous version, holds smell after timeNot as comfortable as merino fabricStretches out over timeNot super durable, absorbs and holds water, stinky after a month of heavy use
Bottom Line A versatile synthetic bottom featuring modern style, unbelievable comfort, sufficient thermoregulation, and affordabilityA synthetic long underwear bottom with an all around impressive performance at a fair priceA highly breathable layer that dries quickly, making it exceptional for intense cool to cold weather activityA merino wool pant that's warm, comfortable, and offers a great valueA super inexpensive synthetic base layer option
Rating Categories Kari Traa Rulle Hig... Patagonia Capilene... Odlo Performance Li... Meriwool Merino The... REI Co-op Midweight...
Warmth (30%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
9.0
4.0
Breathability (30%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Comfort and Fit (30%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Kari Traa Rulle Hig... Patagonia Capilene... Odlo Performance Li... Meriwool Merino The... REI Co-op Midweight...
Material 70% acrylic, 20% modal, 10% Merino wool 100% recycled polyester 69% polyester, 27% polyamide, 4% elastane 100% Merino wool 92% polyester, 8% spandex
Fabric Weight (g/m²) N/A N/A N/A 250 g/m² N/A
Weight Class Lightweight Midweight Lightweight Midweight Lightweight
Measured Weight (size medium) 5.9 oz 5.6 oz 3.1 oz 7.8 oz 6.4 oz
Cuts Avaliable Full length Full length Full length Full length Full length
Smelly Over Time? No Yes No No Yes
Odor Control Fabric N/A HeiQ Fresh N/A Naturally odor resistant N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

We love the Kari Traa Rulle for its stylish and versatile design. The only high-waisted bottom we tested, we love how the body-mapping technology allows this pant to hug our curves and keep us warm during activity. Overall next to skin comfort, sufficient breathability, modern style, and an affordable price tag make this layer stand out amongst the competition. Color us impressed.

Performance Comparison


Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist long underwear womens - slow mornings in the desert just got better with the kari traa rulle...
Slow mornings in the desert just got better with the Kari Traa Rulle High Waist Pant.
Credit: Steve Mace

Warmth


Spring in the Eastern Sierra, as well as the sandstone desert outside of Zion National Park, provided a range of conditions during our testing period. Constructed from 70% acrylic, 20% modal, and 10% merino wool, this high-waisted pant was not the warmest of the bunch; however, it did not disappoint when considered as the lightweight option it is. The material is not as thick as a thermal weight bottom nor as thin as the lightest weight option that we tested. From layering below snow pants to hanging around in camp during our rest days, we were impressed with the warmth this lightweight bottom provided.


When hit by an unexpected wind storm outside of Zion National Park that took the temps from the upper 80s Fahrenheit and sunny to a fresh dusting of snow in the local mountain range, these pants kept us warm out of our sleeping bag as our only bottom layer. When the temps heated back up, the Kari Traa Rulle did their job of moving moisture away from our skin, thereby keeping us warm and dry while we prepped for the next climb. All in all, this layer offers great performance for a lightweight synthetic option — that said, this is not a pant we would recommend for the depths of winter.

Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist long underwear womens - the kari traa rulle high waist pant kept us warm during this...
The Kari Traa Rulle High Waist Pant kept us warm during this backcountry mission to Old Man Bowl in the Eastern Sierra.
Credit: Steve Mace

Breathability


We got sweaty on the skin track before hitting the trails for runs in the desert southwest so we could put these bottoms to the test. The lightweight and tight weave fabric found in the Kari Traa design allowed air to permeate the layer while keeping us warm and dry during our testing period.


Our testers love the high waistband for its stylish design and great coverage, but also couldn't help but notice that the material of the waistband is twice as thick as the rest of the bottom, thereby trapping a bit more moisture during activity. Although not as breathable as our higher scoring garments, it still does a great job of providing sufficient thermoregulation and moving moisture away from the body. We feel comfortable recommending this layer for moderate activity in drier climates, but if you're seeking a long underwear bottom with maximum thermoregulation, check out our other performance-based options.

Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist long underwear womens - this lightweight and tight weave fabric successfully wicks moisture...
This lightweight and tight weave fabric successfully wicks moisture away from the body during moderate activity.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Comfort and Fit


Now this is where the Kari Traa Rulle really shines. A company made for women by women, this bottom is the only high waist option we tested, and we love how it hugs our curves and stays in place. The thicker waistband performed well and kept this pant in place during every activity within our testing period while maintaining their shape after multiple days of use, unlike some of the merino wool options that stretched out over time. The waistband offered coverage beneath a climbing harness, and we felt confident while moving through yoga postures.


Our testers found the fit to be true to size, and the next-to-skin comfort is competitive with our highest scoring layer. The welded seams allowed our bodies to move without too much restriction while also providing a stylish design that can be worn on its own. The body-mapping technology utilized in the design and construction of this pant definitely shows in the exceptional fit.

We love the full coverage waistband.
We love the full coverage waistband.
From yoga to trail runs to backcountry splitboarding, this modern...
From yoga to trail runs to backcountry splitboarding, this modern high waistband kept these bottoms in place.

Durability


After an extensive testing period in the unforgiving desert southwest, these pants not only kept their shape during multiple days of use, they are showing only minimal signs of wear and tear. This is perhaps thanks to the synthetic construction, which is typically more durable than only merino wool. Often, the synthetic construction forces us to compromise on the smell of our garment, but we never noticed the Kari Traa Rulle holding onto any unwanted smells from our outdoor pursuits. We also noticed no signs of tears or holes after being subjected to those lovely springtime desert sand storms that leave a thick layer of sand and dust in their wake.


After several training runs, our testers did notice a bit of piling in the material in high traffic areas, but we were ultimately impressed by how well these affordable bottoms held up. While our testers typically prefer a double stitch flatlock seam, the welded seams found on the Kari Traa design held up just fine, even allowing for movement without restriction. We look forward to more hours of testing, but so far, we're impressed by the durability of this synthetic layer.

Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist long underwear womens - from slow desert mornings to long days in the backcountry, the kari...
From slow desert mornings to long days in the backcountry, the Kari Traa Rulle High Waist Pant is an affordable, durable, and super comfortable long underwear option.
Credit: Steve Mace

Value


If you're on a tight budget, you won't be disappointed by the overall performance and construction of this lightweight synthetic option. While not as thick as our warmest layer nor as breathable as our most performance-based layer, the Kari Traa Rulle is a great option for the consumer looking for a versatile layer that can function from the yoga studio to the resort. This bottom is incredibly soft and comfortable next to the skin and offers a modern and stylish design, as well as ample moisture-wicking capabilities for moderate activities — all for a fraction of the cost of its merino wool competitors.

Conclusion


The Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist is a synthetic base layer bottom that feels soft and cozy next to your skin. The modern style and well-crafted design, thanks to body-mapping technology, made our testers want to wear this pant as a stand-alone piece or beneath snow pants for sufficient warmth on the sunny California slopes. While not as warm or performance-based as some of the other layers that we've tested, we were impressed with the overall comfort and breathability found in this super cute pair of long undies for a price that does not break the bank.

Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist long underwear womens - the june mountain backcountry does not disappoint, nor do the...
The June Mountain Backcountry does not disappoint, nor do the features of these long underwear bottoms.
Credit: Steve Mace

Trish Matheny
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