A good pair of hiking pants is underappreciated. They have to fit well, move with you, and protect you from the elements, all while putting up with use and abuse, and taking a beating while you beat the trail. The perfect hiking pants become like a second skin for the hiker. That’s exactly what the new Radikl Outsider Pant from KÜHL accomplishes with ease.
KÜHL released these heavy-duty hiking pants in spring 2023, featuring a Dynawax Ripstop body that looks more like a pair of motorcycle pants rather than hiking pants. I’ve been testing them out this spring while traveling across the country by plane and train to remote backcountry areas.
In short: The new Radikl Outsider pants performed great in every scenario. Balancing lightweight with strong, flexible fabric, these water-resistant pants fit comfortably without sacrificing performance and protection. While both stretchy and durable, these work equally well for running errands around town to long days on the trail. It bears one minor annoyance, but that is easily addressed with the proper fit.
- UPF 50+
- Ultra-tough wax-coated Dynawax Ripstop fabric
- Water-resistant finish
- Stretch softshell panels for premium flexibility
- Mesh thigh vents for breathable comfort
- Eight-pocket design (three zippered for secure storage)
- Hidden cellphone pocket
- Hypalon zipper garage for protection from the elements
- KÜHL bar button closure
- Very durable
- Comfortable and stretchy
- Lots of pockets
- Mesh vents
KÜHL Radikl Outsider Pant Review
What Is Dynawax Ripstop?
KÜHL advertises that the Radikl Outsider is “as comfortable as your favorite sweatpants.” I would say that is actually true.
In large part, that is thanks to the Dynawax Ripstop material that includes special knit panels placed for flexibility and breathability. It also has a mesh zipper pocket on each leg to provide more airflow as needed on hot hikes. The abrasion-resistant material is UPF 50+ so it blocks the sun, and it offers some protection from other elements.
Digging in a bit, the wax-coated Dynawax Ripstop body is composed of 51% cotton, 38% polyester, and 11% nylon, all clocking in at 5 ounces per square yard of material. The strategically placed mesh panels are 95% nylon and 5% spandex.
The entire pant is treated with a water-resistant finish. All of this makes for a very comfortable pair of pants, but requires some extra care when washing so as not to damage the Dynawax Ripstop.
I must admit, I accidentally put them in the dryer once, but they are still in excellent shape.
Other bonus features include eight pockets, three of which have zippers. And the zippers have a Hypalon zipper garage for protection from dirt and grime. There is also a hidden cellphone pocket on the back of the leg, which I found somewhat uncomfortable while hiking, although that may be due to the large size of my phone.
The Radikl Outsiders have mesh thigh vents that work great on hot days, along with adjustable leg openings. There are buttons on the hem of the pant legs that enable you to taper the lower leg for boots or shoes as needed.
Radikl Outsider vs. prAna Stretch Zion II
I rarely, if ever, hike in shorts. In the Rocky Mountains, there are plenty of obstacles on the trail from cacti to snakes and pine trees that can easily scratch up my legs. I just feel more comfortable hiking in pants and historically I turn to my go-to hiking pants, the prAna Stretch Zion Pants II.
The number one appeal of the prAna Stretch Zion Pants is right there in the name — the stretch. These pants have summited many 14,000-foot peaks and backpacked numerous mountain passes and have never held me back. They flex and move with my long legs over boulders, downed trees, and rivers.
The Stretch Zions are very lightweight and comfortable and offer ample pockets for food and gear. They are also easy to roll up if you want to turn them into a pair of longer shorts. Compared to the Radikl Outsiders, they are not as stout or durable, but are more lightweight.
The KÜHL Radikl Outsider is similar to the Stretch Zion II in a lot of respects. Both provide sun protection, lots of pockets, and are lightweight, water-resistant pants that are durable. However, the Radikl has more pockets, with its phone pocket on the leg, as well as the Dynawax Ripstop body that sets it apart.
The Radikl Outsider has the ability to adjust at the hem, but is tougher to roll up into shorts than the Zion IIs. The Radikl has venting zippers along the legs and stretch panels that the Zion II does not offer.
In the end, they are both stellar options for the backcountry, but the Radikl Outsider is a bit stronger and more durable, but also a bit heavier and bulky as a result.
KÜHL Radikl Outsider Pant Takeaway
In the end, the KÜHL Radikl Outsider is about as solid of a hiking pant as there is. They are strong, water-resistant, and durable. They still manage to maintain a lightweight, flexible feel that won’t inhibit movement while on the trail or climbing over objects. Overall, they’re my ideal pants for adventure travel or hiking and backpacking.
The only drawback with these pants would be the Dynawax Ripstop fabric, which also (oddly) is its strength. With the heavy-duty fabric, it does make the pants a little heavier and bulky. And it requires a bit more care when cleaning. You need to wash these on a cold delicate cycle and air dry them.
I also found that the phone pocket on the backside of the thigh sometimes feels uncomfortable when hiking. My large phone would slap against my leg. But there are several other pockets I can put my phone in while hiking.
While the pants perform great everywhere, they do have a more tactical look to them. The stretch panels give it a motorcycle pant style, which may seem a bit out of place at the local coffee shop.
At nearly $200, these are not inexpensive hiking pants. However, for what you get with them, you can expect them to last you for the long run and perform in virtually any environment.