Kühl Review: Comparing Deceptr, Renegade, Radikl, and Transcendr Pants

Kühl Review: Comparing Deceptr, Renegade, Radikl, and Transcendr Pants

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I now own Deceptr ($99), Renegade ($99), Radikl ($109), and Transcendr ($129) pants from Kühl. Rather than reviewing them all individually, as I did with the Transcendr pants, I thought it might be more valuable to offer a quick comparison of them all. Why? Because I like them all, I’ve worn them all for over 50, rough hiking miles, and I’ve come to appreciate some of them more than others, though I’d give them all top marks for quality. Below the pants are listed in the order of how often I’d choose to wear them for hiking. For skiing, I’d take the Transcendrs, then the Deceptrs, then the Radikls, and lastly the Renegades.

In this brief comparison, I’ll say that I’d rate all of these pants as worth-owning, top-notch pants. I apologize for not having that many pictures of me hiking in them, I hadn’t originally planned to really review them like this, and I typically have no hiking partners, so I don’t have people to take pictures of me, and while alone, I have very little reason to take photos of my legs.

Note: all photos feature pants which have at least 50 miles of tough-wear on them, so that you can inspect how well they held up to at least one, solid trip.

#1. Kühl Deceptr

The Deceptr is my favorite of the pants, though only because the Transcendrs don’t have light colors, and thus get too hot in the sun. If the Transcendrs had light colors, they’d take top spots in both skiing and hiking. Deceptrs are a simpler pant with with one hidden zipper pocket in the back, while the rest of the pockets aren’t. There is stealth cell phone pocket and a drop in pocket; I don’t use the drop-in pocket because items can also drop out. Despite having limited features, the zippered pockets in my Kuhl Airspeed shirt make up for the simplicity of the pants. Below are my Deceptrs after 100 miles, as well as some photos while hiking.

I choose the Deceptrs as my favorites because the stretch fabric has held up pretty well (small pilling on the butt after over 100, very rough miles, mostly off trail) and offers superior flexibility, which I appreciate off-trail when I’m jumping with a pack on. Other pants tend to bind and slowly wear away the hair on my thighs, but the Deceptrs don’t do this. (Neither do the Transcendrs, which is why I still use them for skiing, as well as hiking in the fall.)

These pants are the least sturdy of all of my pants, but as you can see above, they held up fine through rugged terrain. They also only have one button, whereas some of the other Kuhl pants have an inner and outer button. I prefer the single-button style, as it’s one less thing to fiddle with. The button on this pair of pants is a punch-style button, rather than being held on via thin, eyelet threads as some pants have.

A notable downside to the Deceptrs is that the stretch fabric makes them look very much like a hiking pant/skinny jeans. I can’t really wear these to work and look professional in them.

#2. Kühl Radikl

The Radikl is basically tied with the Deceptr. In fact, for the vast majority of people, I think it’s a much better option, for a number of reasons:

  1. It has stretch fabric panels in numerous areas which are even stretchier than the Deceptr pants. At the same time, the majority of the fabric is ultra-tough enduro fabric, so it won’t wear away as fast.
  2. It doesn’t cost that much more, but comes with way more features, including both a snap button and an inner slip button. It has more pockets, including a couple of drop-in pockets.

But there are some downsides.

  1. I don’t like the extra button inside, and I found that the snap button on this pair was more prone to popping off than on the Renegades, which I think comes down to manufacturing, as they appear to be the same design for that button.
  2. The pants are also very flexy, but above the knees is non-flexible fabric, which still made them occasionally want to catch (as almost all pants do) during certain aggressive jumps.
  3. Unlike all the other pants on the list, they have zero zipper pockets, and no hook-and-loop pockets, either.

So why are they second place? Well, because the colors looks awesome, they make my butt look nice, and they are still quite comfortable hiking thanks to the stretch panels. Overall, I think that most people should rank this as their top choice (until Kühl expands the Transcendr color selection). These pants also look professional if worn with a polo shirt.

#3. Kühl Renegade

The Renegades are probably the toughest pants on this list, but also the least flexible, and the least comfy. The differentiating notes are:

  1. Single snap button.
  2. Two zipper pockets.
  3. Two butt hook-and-loop/Velcro pockets.
  4. Several other pockets.

I used these on some very long trips and had zero problems. The snap button didn’t come open as on the Radikl’s, and they are a great value. They didn’t look as good as the Radikl’s for work situations, but were passable.

#4. Kühl Transcendr

Please see the full review of the Transcendrs to understand more about how I feel about them. These pants are loaded with features, are by far the most comfortable, and have suffered through hellish terrain while attached to my angelic butt (my friend Sarah Lefor has a demonic butt which is why you can smell brimstone if you get near).

I would rank these pants number one if not for the fact that they come only in very dark colors. While I’m on the topic of downsides, they are so obviously designed for outdoor recreation that they don’t look great in a professional environment.

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