Gear Review: Kuhl Renegade Convertible Pants

After spending three weeks wearing the Kuhl Renegade Convertible Pants, I’m confident that they provide optimum function and durability, and dabble in the realm of “fashionable enough.”

 

During my review period, I wore these pants in various settings, from a temperate rain forest to dinner out with my wife. The majority of use (or should I say abuse) included off-trail fieldwork on Washington state’s very wet Olympic Peninsula. Navigating through downed trees and thick wet shrubbery is a daily work activity for me. The pants were also put to the test during my free time hiking and pack-rafting. Because I was wearing them in January, I often added lightweight merino wool long underwear beneath. I am happy to report the Renegade pants have surpassed my expectations and have proven their versatility.

The design effort built into the Kuhl Renegades was apparent after putting them on for the first time. The brushed interior fabric was immediately pleasant on my skin. The features that made continuing impressions were the soft-shell Tufflex fabric, detailed cargo pocket design, articulated knees, the Stealth zip-off system and the anatomically engineered Free Ryde waist design. The fit of the pants was generous for my slim athletic build. The size I tested was my usual 32″ x 32″ (I am 5’10” tall and 165 lbs.), and for these I needed a belt.

Kuhl Renegade Convertible Pants

The Tufflex fabric stayed water repellent through multiple washings. Even when walking off-trail through damp waist-high ferns, I found the water repellency impressive, considering the fabric’s high level of quick-drying breathability. The Tufflex also provides 4-way stretch, which was more than sufficient for an occasional intermediate yoga session or an awkward scramble over a downed tree. The articulated knees also helped with maneuverability.

The cargo pockets and Free Ryde waist design are essential elements of the Kuhl Renegades. These exterior pockets have a trustworthy snap-flap system on each outer flap. The right cargo pocket has an inner sleeve that cradles a modern smartphone, while the left cargo pocket has an internal zippered pocket for securing cash, cards, keys, etc. The hand pockets provide additional storage to the cargo pockets. The Free Ryde waist has an internal flap-and-button system that adds security—though potentially increases the amount of time needed to relieve oneself. This slight “delay” in access is quickly adapted to.

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The convertible system makes these pants adept at tackling varied terrain. The lower legs easily unzip to convert to shorts, which was great for my numerous stream crossings. The Stealth zip-off system worked when needed, and neatly tucked away when not in use.

The Kuhl Renegade convertible pants would be best suited for temperate- to warm-weather hiking or travel, where space is limited and you want comfort, durability and light water repellency. In addition, they convert to an excellent pair of shorts. Just make sure to account for a little extra time to practice the Free Ryde waist system before you find yourself in a rushed situation.

Shop the Kuhl Renegade Convertible pants exclusively at REI.com.