Kuhl Outsider Pant review

To be comfortable in the outdoors, you need to wear the right clothing. Quality mens outdoor pants are essential – they have to be water resistant, flexible, rugged, and look good enough to wear out to dinner after a day on the crags. Well Salt Lake City’s own Kuhl has a pant with the perfect name – the Outsider. And these pants may be the only pair you’ll ever need for exploring both mountains and deserts.

We review the Kuhl Outsider Pant – outdoor pants with a unique wax coating for weather resistance. (Image: KUHL)

The Kuhl Outsider Pant features:

  • 65% Cotton 32% Nylon, 3% Spandex fabric
  • Coated with synthetic wax for water resistance
  • Added stretch for added comfort and flexibility
  • Articulated knees for freedom of movement
  • 3D cell phone pocket
  • Gusseted crotch.

The Outsider Pants look like classic Kuhl trousers with front panels, clutch pockets, and colorways that peg anyone who wears them as the outdoorsy-type. But what really sets these pants apart from their other offerings is wax. You read that right… wax. Instead of using some high-tec waterproof technical layer for weather resistance, Kuhl has gone old school and infused the fabric with synthetic wax. Now that’s not to say these mens hiking pants are stiff and sticky like a duck hunter’s hat. On the contrary, the Outsider pants are soft, flexible and have a decent amount of stretch. However, you can feel the wax to the touch.

The Kuhl Outsider Pants were comfortable in all weather conditions, including on hikes to the Living Room on a hot spring day.

I took these pants out on hikes, fishing trips and canyoneering in southern Utah, and was able to test them in all weather conditions, from light rain to hot, dry days. In the rain, the wax works its magic by beading up any water that then just rolls off the pants. What water did get saturated over time, dried super fast. I once got the pants soaking wet and was surprised to find them dry in about 20 minutes of hanging in the sun.

On hot, dry days, the Outsider pants are still comfortable as the fabric is light weight. The wax does not impede breathability at all, and choosing the lighter color surely helps. On hikes to the Living Room in downtown Salt Lake City, and backpacking and camping within Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon in the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, the Outsider pants never failed me on the comfort and performance front.

I’ve even worn these pants to the office. Now, it’s true I work as a TV producer of an outdoor recreation show, so I’m allowed to get away with a certain level of dirtbaggyness. But even after putting these pants through the wringer on a canyoneering trip, they still looked clean enough that I didn’t draw any looks from the suit-and-tie crowd.

Another feature to note, is that the pockets are made from a crazy flexible, almost elastic-type of material that’s really different and cool.

The Outsider Pants can get bunched up and wrinkled after the first trip through the spin cycle. But the wrinkles work themselves out over time while being worn. (Photo: Callista Pearson – UtahOutside.com)

The only real complaint I have is that after putting the Outsider Pants through the wash, they got wrinkled more than other Kuhl pants I’ve owned. Right out of the laundry, they are really wrinkled, but after wearing they they got less wrinkled over time. So while many outdoor and travel pants are marketed as “wrinkle free,” the Outsider Pant are “wrinkle guaranteed.”

The Good: Wax makes for a unique water resistance, flexible material and generous cut allows freedom-of-movement during heavy activity, light weight fabric is cool on warm days, rugged yet stylish.

The Bad: Wrinkles easily.

Final Word: The Kuhl Outsider Pants are different in a good way. You get the whole range of features you’d expect in an outdoor pant, but approached from an old-school angle. If you need a pant that stands up to the rigors of the outdoors, and you don’t intend on washing them much, then these pants won’t let you down.