Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist Review
Cons: Not as breathable due to thicker waistband, welded seams aren't our favorite
Manufacturer: Kari Traa
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Trish Matheny
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