Kühl Rydr Pants Review
Kühl Gets Cold
Manufacturer: Kühl Clothing
Material: 98% Combed Cotton, 2% Spandex
I picked up a pair of Kühl Rydrs on a whim, after wearing holes through or tearing all kinds of different pants. The thing about hiking, climbing, falling, and scraping yourself all the time is that it puts serious wear on your clothing. I’m of the mentality that it’s best to buy something quality if you’re going to use it a lot: a bed,
pair of shoes, firearm… these things all get (almost) daily use, and buying quality can actually improve your day-to-day existence. I also believe that $80 is a pretty reasonable price for durable, comfortable, pants. That’s about three pairs of Target brand right there, and I shred those like incriminating documents.
Fit & Feel
The Rydrs fit well, and are definitely cut to be comfortable for more athletic folks. I can’t imagine that these pants would feel good for people with large quadriceps, or a bit of junk in the trunk, despite Kühl’s claim that they are a “relaxed fit.” The waist is unforgiving, and there isn’t a lot of room in the pelvic region. They really start to open up just before the knees, in order to accommodate boots. I want to be clear: they are not restrictive, and moving in them is very comfortable, even for a guy with big legs. The thing is, that as someone who used to weigh 250 lbs at 6″1, I can say that I would not have worn these in my tubbier days. Being the paragon of human athleticism that I am today (a parenthetical pause until laughter abates) these pants are wonderfully cut, move well, and feel great. One thing that I appreciate is
the snap clasp button on the fly. I was worried that it would be less secure than a button, but it’s actually very tough to undo.
Kühl calls the cotton that they used “combed.” Being a normal human being, I had no idea what that meant, so I Googled it. Raw cotton must be cleaned of seeds and dirt, then “carded.” Carding is a process that lays fibers out in roughly the same direction, so that they can be divided into bundles and spun into thread or wool. Combing weeds out shorter fibers that might stick up or out of cloth, causing it to feel a bit rough. Combed cotton is generally very smooth, almost synthetic-feeling to the touch, and has higher tensile strength than ordinary peasant cotton. Keep in mind that the Rydrs are 2% spandex, which gives them a small (small) amount of flex. Don’t let the spandex fool you: these are not yoga pants.
I love it when companies take the time to explain why you’re paying $80 for pants that you’re going to torture, and destroy in a slightly roundabout way. I genuinely do! We’re about to learn about gusseted crotches, articulated knees, and double needle bar tracks.
- Gusseted Crotch:
Along with having the distinct honor of being our word of the day, a “gusset” is also more ubiquitous than you may have thought. Look at your crotch- if you’re wearing a high quality pair of outdoors, rugged, or work pants, chances are that there is a diamond shaped piece of fabric covering your precious bits. A gusset eliminates the 4-seam intersection at the crotch of lesser pants, making movement feel more natural and less restricted.
- Articulated Knees: This is actually as simple as a gusseted crotch. Pants with articulated knees just mimic the anatomical shape of our legs. Rydrs flow with your leg, rather than creating tension on your hamstrings and other areas like ordinary straight-cut pants do.
- Double Needle Bar Tracks: Although this sounds like a sign of addiction, it’s not. It essentially just means that most important seams have two tracks of stitches keeping them together.
I originally set to writing this expecting to call BS on some of their marketing, but it all seems to have worked out in Kühl’s favor.
The fabric used for these pants is tough. It’s heavy, which makes the pants warm and comfortable. I had also assumed that it was weather treated in some way, but it’s not. I decided to take them out in the snow and do some testing, because pants should keep you warm. I have to say that I’m impressed. I may not know much about cotton, but I swear that the snow just refused to stick, and didn’t even make the fabric feel wet. I also got snagged on a few things while hiking, and discovered that all of the pockets and cuffs are lined with extra fabric to reinforce high-wear areas. They are not waterproof, but they definitely are water resistant. They did just fine in over 20″ of snow.
Red Hatchet Says…
If you’re okay with paying $80 for pants, and plan to actually abuse them, go for it. If you’re cool with going through a few pairs of jeans a year, hold off. It should also be said that the Rydrs are ideal for outdoor activities, not necessarily for others. Some of the features of the design, like the drop-leg pocket, make them less ideal for formal or professional settings. Kühl also isn’t in a lot of northeastern stores, so if you’re on the East coast above Virginia, you may need to risk buying without trying.