When I first started this hiking journey I was woefully unprepared. I found some cheap pants online and got used to wearing them on some of the early trails I was on. The internet pants were a bit like wrapping sandpaper around my legs.
While they were nice and scratchy they also provided little to no protection against the twigs and rocks kicked up and my legs quickly looked like a road map of scratches and cuts. I also had broken zippers and frayed pants but hey they were cheap! Thank you internet.
Well as my trails got longer and more challenging I finally ponied up for a pair of big boy hiking pants and it made a huge difference. The Kuhl Traverse Pants are a nylon based pant that is sturdy and flexible. Here is my review of those pants.
As a disclaimer I would like to mention that I have an affiliate agreement with Kuhl and any purchase you make from this website results in me getting a small commission. All opinions on this page are my own and based on my own experiences with this pair of pants. This review is for general informational purposes. Your experience with the pants may be completely different.
According to the Kuhl website, the Traverse is constructed from a durable softshell fabric and is a water-resistant pant that features a relaxed fit. They continue to say that the Traverse is ideal for active pursuits in less than ideal conditions.
Hiking in the fall can certainly lead to less than ideal conditions so I gave them a shot. Here is some base information before my breakdown.
Waist: 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 40, 42
Inseam 30, 32, 34
Raven (a dark gray almost black)
92% Nylon 8% Spandex C6 Water Resistance finish
Machine wash cold, Delicate cycle
Tumble dry low. Do not dry clean.
*All information from Kuhl.com
What I Liked
The first thing that I noticed about the Kuhl Traverse pant was the weight. The pant felt sturdy without being heavy. The material also had a really nice stretch to it just using my hands to gently pull at it. It just felt strong to the touch before I even put them on. Once I tried them on the sturdiness led to a a great flexibility I will talk about a little more later.
The next thing I noticed was that every pocket had a zipper to make sure that everything would stay in place during a hike. Nothing worse than taking a big step up on a rock and having the keys or phone fall out of the pocket. The zipper’s eliminate that chance.
There are 6 pockets on the Traverse. 2 back pockets and 2 front pockets like a normal pair of jeans and an additional pocket on the side of each mid leg. The leg pockets are of a good size but not quite as big as the large leg pocket on a cargo pant. The bonus is that they zip as well so you don’t have to worry about the contents.
I have to be honest, when I read that the pants had a 4-way stretch I didn’t really understand what that meant. What I found was that it is absoultely amazing! No matter which direction I move in the pants there is no resistance.
Other hiking pants I have worn have been restricting in the hips or the upper things when taking large steps or having to move up a rock. Wide steps across a stream would also be limited in the internet pants.
With the Traverse I can move in any direction and have not had any restrictions yet. The nice part about the stretch is that the pants don’t need to be super baggy to give me this flexibility. There is nothing worse than catching a baggy pant leg on a branch!
I have hiked in these pants 3 times now so I can’t speak to super long term durability. What I can tell you is about my last hike. It was a rough hike with a ton of trees down that caused me to get off trail or walk over the trees.
I stuck my legs about a 3 million times with sharp twigs and branches coming off of the downed trees. A couple of the branches I thought for sure had pierced the pant (and my leg) but after a through exam there was not a single drop of blood nor any damage to the fabric.
I was pretty impressed because I took a beating this hike and I thought for sure I would have atleast a dimple in the pant but nothing.
I haven’t had a chance to walk through a rainstorm in the pants but I did get to walk through about 2-3 inches of snow in them. The snow just brushed right off and the Traverse showed no ill effects and I didn’t feel any moisture get through to my legs.
I did get some snow between the pant and my shoe that ran down into my sock which was not enjoyable. The Traverse comes with some internal bands to tighten the bottom of the pant leg but no hooks to connect to the shoe itself. I will definitely get some gaiters for the next snow hike to avoid this.
What I Didn’t Like
The only thing I didn’t like about these pants are the placement of the right leg pocket. Part of this is that I am a touch on the vertically challenged side but items in this pocket can slide behind the knee.
The pocket is deep an narrow so when I have used that pocket the items usually fall to the bottom and sit either on the side of my knee or roll a bit to the back of the knee.
Now, part of that could be that I really need a 29 inseam pant but I figure it was worth a mention especially if you are going to be doing a lot of squatting or have to bend low a lot on a hike.
Overall I really love the Kuhl Traverse Pants. My buddy Scott can attest to how much I was talking about them on the last hike that we did together. The flexibility of the pant is what really does it for me.
I feel so confident in every movement. Even when I get into awkward positions on the trail the pants, so far, have not restricted me at all. The zippered pockets are also really nice to not have to worry about grabbing your phone out of your pocket to take that big step over the river.
The price tag is a little higher than some active pants out there but for me it is worth it. There is a certain point where you are paying for your own safety when you get onto some of the more challenging trails. These pants held up to branches and twigs, kept my legs warm and dry and gave me the freedom to finish the hike!
If you like this review, you can see other products I have reviewed on my Thoughts page. If you have any items you would like me to review or any comments feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!