If your shopping for a new pair of pants to act as your standalone bottom wear you really should take a look at the Kühl Liberator Convertible pants. Featuring best in class performance materials that are durable, comfortable, dirt and moisture resistant these convertible pants are as at home in the lodge bar as they are on the trail. Kühl started as Alfwear in 1983 was founded and nurtured by mountain culture enthusiasts including skiers, climbers and alpinists and that commitment to mountain culture shows in the design and quality of their products. The Kühl Liberator Convertible pants are a prime example and have one multiple awards since their release.
Featuring Kühl’s patented Rhino technology in problem areas the Liberator Convertibles can take a beating and keep coming back for more. My pair is over a year old, have seen extended heavy use, countless washings and they still look very much like they did the day I bought them. The fabrics in the pant are coated with Kühl’s Drypoint DWR technology which helps to repel water and keep you dry. The pants also feature a UPF rating of 40 which will help to protect those hammies from extended sun exposure when you break from tree cover while hiking. That sun got you sweating and worried about overheating? You can quickly zip off the lower legs of the pants and convert the pants into shorts in a moments time or add them back on just as quickly when you start bushwhacking through thorns and bramble bushes.
The biggest advantage I have found with Kühl’s pants over other manufacturers is the range of motion and mobility that they afford the wearer. Kühl’s expert design features gussets in the crotch and darts in the knees for added range of motion and flexibility when you need it for traversing the next boulder scramble you encounter while climbing to the summit of the next peak your bagging. Also unique to Kühl’s design is their Free Ryde waist which rises in the back to further increase your mobility when performing technical maneuvers and was designed with climbers and boulderers in mind. I have taken my Liberator Convertibles on multiple outings where rock scrambles were a regularity and to the climbing gym and at no point did I find myself lacking in flexibility like I have found with most pants. Even if I had encountered an issue I always could have easily remedied it by unzipping the lower portion and converting them to shorts, but again, no need so far.
While most convertible pants on the market look exactly like what they are, zip-off pant-shorts and harken back to the dorky high socked and even higher waist bands of your scouting days, Kühl has managed to mask the zippers of these pants in such a way as to mostly disguise them. This along with the modern cut and fit of the pants allows you to confidently traverse the trail then get a brew with your buds back at the bar without completely repelling the ladies who aren’t backcountry geeks like you. Another great feature of the Liberator Convertible? Pockets galore. Much like the zippers, Kühl has built these pockets into the pants covertly but without taking anything away from their function. Featuring 7 total pockets, the standard two in the back, two in the front as well as a 3D cell phone pocket and zippered thigh pockets you won’t be at a loss for space to store your smaller EDC items that you want on hand without having to dig into your trip pack. My EDC usually includes my iPhone, wallet, knife, pen, Fieldnotes memo book, chapstick and keys and all of this fits comfortably without feeling restricted.
Due to their multifunction, durability and comfort these can easily be the only pair of pants that you bring on your next multi-day backpacking excursion. They are quick drying so getting them wet either in a rainstorm or due to washing isn’t a problem and in no time they will be dry and trail ready once more. As noted earlier, the durability of these pants isn’t a concern and despite multiple backpacking trips, hikes, portage trips and climbing sessions they look no worse the wear and I feel I can continue to rely on them without hesitation. The Pants come in four different colors that will suit most wardrobe color choices. Kühl offers pants in 3 different cuts, Full, Klassik and Lean. The Liberators are a Full cut and provide ample room even for the thicker thighed among us. In my experience the fit is very true to size and like most Kühl pants they come in a wide variety of waist and inseam lengths that will suit most any build.
Without being absolutely unwaveringly harsh it is hard to find anything to complain about with these pants. As a “Mountain Culture” company and with hiking and outdoor activities in mind for the Liberator’s one would think that the back pockets would have been made to close securely, either by hook and loop or more zippers. Despite this, I have found that the things that I would normally keep in my back pockets around town, my wallet and field notes memo book, I keep elsewhere while out hiking or otherwise. Not really because of my fear of losing either of them but more so because when doing anything really active I can’t stand having anything in my back pockets and keep them in a backpack anyway. The price of these pants isn’t exactly low by but it isn’t anywhere close to how crazy pricey some technical pants can get. I would recommend Kühl Liberator Convertible pants without any hesitation to anyone looking for a do it all, super comfortable, highly durable, no-nonsense but yet still stylish pair of hiking pants. Seriously, these things are awesome! Try them for yourself and you won’t be disappointed. You might even say it will be a “liberating” experience. Eh, eh, you see what I did there? Happy trails!