Over the years, I have learned what works, mostly by trial and error. The clothes that I wear are just about as important as all my other technical gear. I have modified and honed my clothing selection based on comfort, ease of use and performance. Recently I discovered a product called Kuhl Jeans, or more specifically, Kuhldry jeans. Here is a report of my findings:
Kuhl Dry jeans have articulated knees. What the heck does that mean?...Take a moment to look compare "normal" pants to pants that have "articulated knees".You can quickly see that pants with articulated knees, mimic the normal anatomical shape of our legs. Pant with articulated knees allow for a more comfortable fit and provide freedom of movement as compared to a standard, straight design.
I like articulated knee pants:
In an attempt to get a unique vantage point, I am often down on one knee while making photographs. Sometimes I'm laying down on the ground, sitting or climbing up on stuff. Much like a rock climber needs freedom of movement to reach a new foothold, I need pants that don't hinder my ability to "get the shot".
If you have never worn pants with articulated knees, I suspect that once you have, you will never want to go back to normal pants again...at least when you are being "active" in sports or being "active" in you pursuit of the perfect picture.
Double needle bar-tack, reinforced stitching: I hope this means that they will stand up to heavy use, and or abuse. We shall see over time.
Athletic fit: Kuhl says that "athletic fit" means "larger in the thighs to accommodate skiers and mountaineer's thighs". Personally my thighs are pretty small, so this is not a factor for me.
KuhlDry fabric, "evaporative comfort technology": this is a very important factor for me. First of all I need pants that are cool, because most of the time, I am working in environments that are hot and humid. Additionally, in these environments I often end up staying in hotels which may or may not have air conditioning. Since I only carry 3 pairs of pants (3 pairs of Kuhl Jeans), I have to do my own laundry. This consists of washing things in the sink or shower (see this link for info on washing clothes on the road). On a recent trip to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, I used my Kuhl jeans. Even with high humidity and relatively warm conditions my Kuhl jeans were relatively comfortable, and when I washed them at night in my hotel, they were dry the next morning when I woke up. (approximate dry time, after a rather aggressive "wringing out" was about 7 hours). Dry time can be reduced by wrapping the pants in a dry towel and wringing them out, and/or when staying in a hotel with a fan or air-conditioning unit.). If you have a window and can put these pants in the sun, dry time can be as little as 2 hours!
Pockets and layout: The pockets are similar to a pair of Levis...standard layout..two rear pockets, two front pockets,with the tiny pocket on the right side, above the main pocket. If you are like me, you have been wearing "cargo pants" with multiple pockets, often with zippered compartments and such. These Kuhl jeans don't have these features, but frankly, I tended to carry too many things in my cargo pants for the simple reason that I could...now I have cut back and what I put in my pockets...the end result is that I am more comfortable !
Packability: Two pairs of Kuhl Jeans pack in about the same space as one pair of Levis. In terms of weight, two pairs of KuhlDry Jeans weigh less than one pair of Levis.
Fit and finish: I like fit and finish of these Kuhl Jeans, they feel like a very lightweight pair of Levis. They seem to be well made, with good attention to detail. In terms of durability, I have yet to have use these pants for an extended period of time. We shall se how well they hold up to my daily use and abuse, my washings in hotel sinks, and more importantly how well they hold up to "laundry services" in the places I travel, which often means someone banging them up against a rock, or wailing on them with a stiff brush and some heavy duty soap!
Washing and more importantly, drying time: Easy to wash. Dry time is about 25 percent more than nylon cargo pants, but still quick enough...a night time wash usually provides enough time so that pants are ready to be worn the next morning. (See my advice on washing clothes on the road)
fit. I love the articulated knees
Fabric is soft and supple, yet appears to be durable.
Finally a pair of pants that looks different from what 95% from what all other "tourists" are wearing..namely, Khaki, nylon, convertible, cargo pants.
The fabric has a soft, fuzzy outer surface that tends to show dirt, especially dry dusty stuff. Compared to nylon cargo pants, these tend to require more frequent washings (if you want to look your best).
Some key wear points, such as on the right pocket (where I store most things) look like they are starting to develop. I have yet to determine if this is a serious "wear issue" or just the resulting "broken in look", similar to well worn Levis.
The Kuhl Dry pants are only available in waist size 30 and up. I have a 29 inch waist which means I have to visit a Tailor for alterations prior to wearing them.
I would reccommend these pant to anyone who needs a lightweight, cool, comfortable pair of pants for work or travel that can be washed and dried quickly, even in humid conditions. I will continue to evaluate these pants, based on my personal experience and update this page in the coming days weeks and months. Currently these are my pants of choice, and I am confident enough in them, that I have eliminated all my nylon cargo pants. I carry only 3 pairs of Kuhl Dry Jeans with me, which really helps lighten the load in my luggage (see what I carry here).
I just finished my 1 year update of these pants, click here to see my review of Kuhl Jeans after living in them for 1 year !
Where to purchase: You can't get Kuhl Jeans in many places yet...to my knowledge there are two sources...
Kuhl website: Kuhl Jeans are available directly from Kuhl's website (Kuhl is located in Park City Utah).
Kuhl Jeans are also available from REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) although recently the Kuhl KuhlDry Jeans were not available at REI stores or from their website
If you have learned something here and would like to make a contribution please feel free to click below
Alphabetical Listing of All Pages
Travel Lost / Stolen Bags
information, country by country:
Topics that I plan to cover in the near future:
leg stash money storage link
elastic strap inner tube (see air travel lost luggage page)
every item has a link....each camera bag each hard drive cardbus 32 etc
sending money (to yourself), using ATMs getting money overseas, conterfeit cash...
Cleaning you camera's sensor
Keep a copy of your passport in your luggage and post one on line (secretly).
Put a copy of your flight itinerary in your luggage...
Using your IPod to back up your photos
Mosquito protection drugs, nets, sprays
Staying healthy on the road food choices etc...
Toiletries, first aid kit
Choosing a taxi driver
Famous quotes about photography
Insurance for your Cameras and Luggage and travel delay insurance