While you definitely don’t need any special gear to hike, having comfortable, high-performing clothing can make your hikes at least a little bit better.
And with that above disclaimer, I will say that I am fully immersed in ‘gear culture’. I (hopefully) am not a brat about it and keep my obsessions relatively subdued while my eyes constantly dart from person to person on the trail seeing what type of gear they have. And it truly doesn’t come from a place of judgment, I just really love to see what people use and wear.
Over the years, I’ve become either a shorts or leggings only hiker depending on the terrain or temperature. I’ve just found that if a hiking pant that isn’t sung to my belly/hips/thighs, I’m constantly adjusting or getting twisted up. So, it may come as no surprise to you that I have multiple pairs of hiking bottoms. In my hiking pants arsenal, you’ll find the KUHL Transcendr Legging, a clever combo of durable soft shell fabric on the front and back and knit stretch panels along the sides.
Here’s what I love about them:
- DWR (durable water repellent) on the soft shell fabric resists light rain and spills
- Envelope-style pocket that easily holds my iPhone 14
- Breathable yet durable thanks to the combo of soft shell and stretch fabrics
- UPF 50 sun protection
- Looks pretty cute for hiking pants! (Totally unnecessary but appreciated!)
What I would improve:
- Only comes in one inseam, which is pretty typical for leggings, but as a member of the long legs club, I wish these leggings were just a bit longer
- I wish they were just a smidge higher waisted, but I love stuff to be sky high on my waist!
- These only go up to XL, so sizing isn’t fully inclusive, especially as they tend to fit a bit small. I would love to see Kuhl carry a fully inclusive size range as none of their sizing goes above XL.
I took them for an inaugural overnight camping/backpacking trip a few weeks ago and they were very comfortable. I didn’t find myself having to constantly pull them up while hiking or moving around camp, which is always a plus for any kind of pants. I also was climbing up and over some rocks on the hike and they moved well and stood up to some light abrasion.
I feel like they are pretty true to their sizing chart on the site. I wear a medium (5’ 7”, 145 lbs, with a butt) which coincided with my waist and hip measurements of 29” and 40” respectively. If anything, I’d size up a bit from your ‘normal’ size because They don’t fit perfectly but, honestly, what pair of pants does, right ladies?! Like I mentioned above, it would be really great to see Kuhl extend their size ranges. Only going up to a size XL (16/18) is a huge bummer from such a large company. It’s really hard to fully support a product (even when they make great things!) when those great things can’t be worn and enjoyed by hikers and active people of all sizes.
Overall, these pants are a great choice for day hiking, backpacking and camping. I love the combo of durable and stretch and always appreciate a good phone pocket. If you’re searching for a solid hiking pant, put the Transcendr Legging on your list if you are in the XS-XL size range.
Note: Kuhl Transcendr leggings provided free of charge for the purpose of this review.