Gear Review: PERFECT Kühl Transcendr Pants

Gear Review: PERFECT Kühl Transcendr Pants

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Why did I get some Kühl Transcendr pants and bother to post a review of such length? If you’ve read my hiking reviews (a massive ask, to be fair, and potentially a violation of the Geneva Convention if prisoners of war were made to do it), you know that I’m very particular about my pants. I’ve long struggled to find a really, truly good pair of hiking pants. One pair that I had in 2017 felt great, at the expense of coming apart far too easily. Hiking pants need to repel light water, dry quickly when wet, hold up to torturous rock scrambling and butt-sliding, have the appropriate pockets, and so very importantly, NOT BIND AT THE KNEES! Too many hiking pants tend to have a friction coefficient which causes knee binding at bad times, such as when jumping between boulders. These pants also need to stay attached to the waist well and not create hot spots.

Since 2013, my mom has been wearing a pair of Kühl pants in a marvelous purple, and she has raved about them without cessation. My mom is hard on pants, mostly because she’s much more comfortable sliding on her butt than scrambling with her arms and legs, yet these pants have not failed her. My buddy Hank Hill (a nuclear engineer from Texas now residing with his wife Peggy in Wyoming) also has a pair in more of a mustard color. You’ll see both of them in the pictures below. As mentioned, mom isn’t the nicest on her pants, as she does not trust her own balance.

As I mentioned in my review of the Kühl Team 1/4 Zip merino wool sweater, after getting a taste of the products I went a bit wild and spent a few hundred dollars at the Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale, WY, so now my entire family has Kühl gear for our outdoor adventures.

Hiking Application

Given the experiences that my friends and family have with Kühl pants, I thought I’d be pleased. I have now hiked with these pants for ~60 miles, and I was purposefully abusive for some of that time. These are my favorite pants for hiking when it comes to their features and leg feel. They are stretchy and insanely comfortable. Although I’ll go through the features in detail further along, I’m happy to report that the front button and zippers are rugged, and sliding on sharp rocks didn’t abrade or tear the pants.

Because of the zipper pockets (which keep items from falling out in nasty boulderfields) and the range of motion these pants allow, they would be my favorite to hike in…but not in the color I chose. And as of this writing, Kühl only has two colors. Ultimately, I found the black to be too hot on sunny days, and the other feature is also very dark. I don’t know if it’s true, but it seems to me that dark colors attract more mosquitoes, too.

I did write to Kühl and ask that they make these pants in light colors, but never heard back.

Below: Wear and tear on pants as of the final edit of this review. Effectively still brand new.

Skiing Application and Features

I cannot state how much Kühl’s Transcendr pants have improved my skiing life. My typical setup for skiing is:

  • Light skiing sock.
  • Ski boot (Salomon S/Pro 130, or S/Pro 100 doing bumps with my kid) and booster strap.
  • Pants. (Yes, actual pants.)
  • Down overpants. These function as my long johns and go over my actual pants. I don’t wear them if it’s at all warm out. The fabric is such that I can rest them at the top of the boot without pressure.
  • Ski bibs.
  • Stio undershirt with thumb loops.
  • Kühl Team 1/4 Zip merino sweater.
  • Helly Hansen or Burton ski coat.
  • Neck gaiter.
  • Underarmor balaclava.
  • Merino cap.
  • Ski helmet.
  • Gloves with extra liner or Black Diamond Mercury mittens.

The Kühl Transcendr pants are game-changing for me because they are SO flexy, provide a perfect fit, don’t fall down, and can open up and swallow the top of my S/Pro boots without getting damaged. I love them. They also look pretty spiffy with the cool, Kühl logo.

Favorite feature one: overboot ability. Back to how flexy they are, and how they fit over my boots so well. I made a short video showing how they work (even with just one hand; two hands makes it a breeze), and I should mention that you simply won’t feel the little bungee strap when skiing over in casual use.

Favorite feature two: belt loops that actually fit belts. My White Sierra pants and Solider pants both have a hard time accepting all of my belts. From when I was in the military, I got used to using web belts, and as a contractor (I repent of that sin), tactical belts with quick releases. The belt loops on the Kühl Transcendr pants accept ALL of my belts. I appreciate more that I ever thought I would. Below is a picture showing the pants accepting both large and small belts. (I prefer large belts that I can rest thing on when lifting, which was a technique that I used when I worked in paramedicine.)

Kühl Transcendr Pant Belt Loop

Favorite feature three: better button! If you’ve suffered through my hiking reviews, you’ll have remembered the numerous times that I’ve had buttons shear off. I’m a bit abusive on my gear, so I love that Kühl uses incredible fabric reinforcement on its buttons. Never again will I be stopping at an outdoor store on my way to hike (which I had to do once on my way to hike the Cloud Peak Wilderness) because a button has come loose or is shearing off. Below is a comparison of Kühl with another pair of my hiking pants.

Favorite feature four: better zippers! The zippers on the pants are also better than my previous pants. I don’t typically notice zipper quality, but the zippers on Kühl’s Transcendr pants are so burly that I noticed.

Favorite feature five: they flex perfectly when I’m skiing with my kid! Below you’ll see that they aren’t binding at all. They just work!

Daily Application

Because of how much I love these pants, I’ve shied away from using them as a daily driver. They look good and show off my butt, but my wife prefers that I not use that as a metric to select my garments. (Good woman!) That said, I’ve worn them a lot, and a few times to work after a ski session. They look nice and sporty. Oh, and I love the pockets, including the butt pocket which has thoughtful stitching to make sure that it both conforms to your shape and also stretches well. (Again, the fabric has a lot of stretch to it, so it feels really nice to wear.)

Below: the pockets are fantastic.


I’ve worn the Kühl Transcendr pants for hundreds of miles and they still look brand new…despite being latched over the top of very stiff (130 flex) ski boots. These pants seem bombproof. I’ll let you know if they’re as good as my mom’s after I have a hiking season under the belt.


So far these are the best pants I’ve ever worn. They make skiing an absolute pleasure. I love being able to strip off my ski gear and still look sporty, too!

Final Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m in love with the Kühl Transcendr pants. Along with their merino sweater, they convinced me to go a bit wild buying other Kühl clothes for my family. When I save up some more money, I’ll be buying some more Kühl clothes!

Share your comments, critiques, or criticisms here. [Please note that I alter most the hate comments to make them funnier for the other readers.]