Part of living van life is making sure you have a wardrobe that can handle the outdoor elements, big temperature changes, and a generally more active lifestyle–and my Freeflex Dash KUHL women’s pants freakin’ delivers on it all.
I got the Freeflex Dash pants right before a weekend backcountry camping trip in northern Utah (up near Flaming Gorge). This was the perfect trip to put these bad boys to the test; rugged, high alpine terrain on a weekend with a wild weather forecast. After that trip, these KUHL pants earned the #1 spot as my go-to hiking pants.
So let’s talk about why you should add these versatile adventure / travel pants to your wardrobe.
Note: I am a partner with Kuhl and I may earn a small commission on any products purchased from affiliate links throughout this post, at no extra cost to you.
What are KUHL’s Freeflex Dash Pants?
The Freeflex Dash joggers are lightweight softshell pants designed for outdoor adventuring–whether that’s going on a strenuous hike, doing some casual car camping, or anything in-between.
The Freeflex Dash is part of KUHL’s Freeflex Series (available in both men’s and women’s clothing).
From roll-up capri-style pants, cargo pants or shorts, to relaxed fit joggers and skorts, the Freeflex series covers a lot of ground. But all styles are made from the same Freeflex material; lightweight, slightly stretchy, quickdry, moisture-wicking fabric with built-in UPF 50+. That’s a lot to fit into a pair of casual pants.
What is KUHL’s Freeflex Dash Pant Made Of?
KUHL’s motto is “made in the mountains” and by golly, the fabric they use speaks to that. When I saw that the Freeflex pants are made of “50% polyester and 50% New polyester”…I was skeptical. New polyester? My first thought was, putting “new” in front of a word doesn’t change its meaning…
But I dug deeper and learned exactly what “new” polyester is; a much more eco-friendly polyester that boasts impressive moisture-wicking and color-holding qualities, without a lot of the extremely harmful chemicals created during production.
Classic polyester is notoriously scratchy and not breathable, but still a good, tough fabric. Its ruggedness makes it an ideal material for outdoor clothing, but its lack of breathability is a huge drawback. That’s where New polyester blows it away–you get that lightweight, airy and breathable fabric while maintaining durability. Shabam!
A couple other noteworthy points is that the seams of KUHL pants are sewed with nylon thread, which is one of the most durable threads around. It’s the same stuff used to sew upholstery, leather or vinyl. Not only that, but KUHL uses a saddle stitch to ensure that even the biggest potential tear won’t make the rest of the stitch fall apart. Super rugged.
KUHL FreeFlex Dash Pant Features
KUHL has loads of unique styles for women’s hiking pants, but I thought the Freeflex Dash would fit my needs best. Here are all the features that I wanted:
Jogger Style: You have the option to cinch up the bottoms of these pants with built-in drawcords on the inseam of the pants. This is a super handy feature for hikes because it’ll help keep out mud, snow, dust, or anything that could potentially get kicked up into your boot. Oh, and I love the jogger look and it’s totally in style right now.
Phone Pocket: The FreeFlex Dash has sleek side pockets on both sides of the upper pant leg area that actually fits my phone without sagging my pants or making my side bulge out. I used this feature on my hiking trip and it was THE BEST. I didn’t have to keep zipping/unzipping a pocket to get access, and I didn’t have to keep it in my jacket pocket, awkwardly weighing it down on one side.
Stretchy, Forgiving Material: The material is loose, so I don’t get the restriction like I do with yoga pants. The material is also sleek and pretty waterproof so my cat’s fur doesn’t stick to it and it’s very easy to clean.
Lightweight: The material is lightweight so I don’t worry about overheating like I would in sweatpants, and still get sun and rain protection.
Zippered Front & Back Pockets: I can’t say enough good things about zippered pockets. Especially when you’re adventuring around, things are bound to fall out of a pocket without a good zipper. The zippers are very subtle and don’t cause discomfort when sitting.
Waistline Drawstring: The Freeflex jogger has an inseam drawstring around the waistline. This gives you total control over how tight or loose you want your pants to fit.
Review of KUHL FreeFlex Jogger
Overall, these pants deliver on what I hoped they would: comfort, flexibility, durability, style and a wash-friendly material.
- Extremely comfortable to hike in
- Discreetly holds cellphone
- Adjustable drawstrings at pant leg & waistline
- Zippered front & back pockets
- Easy to clean (cat fur doesn’t stick!)
- Stylish and modern-looking
- Runs big
- Drawstring makes waistline seam stick out a little
My Experience in the FreeFlex Jogger
As mentioned, I broke in these bad boys on a very windy and chilly hike in northern Utah. They were a great fit for the weather because they protected me from the cold wind, but didn’t overheat me when the sun would occasionally come out and the wind died down.
I’m really impressed at how comfortable, lightweight and breathable they are. But they’re still rugged! I can slide down a rock on my butt and not worry about ripping these pants.
These pants are also really easy to layer up with. I’ve been doing casual snow hikes in Salt Lake City, UT this winter and I always wear the Freeflex Dash pants with either yoga pants or a merino wool baselayer leggings underneath (depending on how cold it is).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few answers to frequently asked questions:
Does KUHL run small?
The sizes actually seem to run big. I’m usually a size small so that’s what I ordered, and they were way too long and the crotch hung low. After exchanging them for a size extra small, they fit better, but I was surprised at how much I still have to use the waistline drawstring to tighten them. But, I’m a pretty slim build.
Ultimately I think it depends on the article of clothing. My FreeFlex Dash pants ran big, but my Valiant baselayer bottoms fit to size. The One Shell jacket ran a tiny bit bigger than expected.
Is KUHL worth the money?
I’d honestly rate KUHL as a more affordable version of top brands like Patagonia and The North Face. KUHL uses eco-conscious, modern designs, technologies and materials to create their clothes. There’s a lot of attention to detail going on–ie their pants stitching and “new” polyester fabrics.
If you are an avid outdoors person that tends to push your activewear to its limits, then it’s worth it. If you are more of a casual, occasional adventurer, you could be okay with less robust activewear. I find KUHL a reasonably priced brand for what you get. It all comes down to if it’s worth it to you.
I can’t speak to KUHL’s more indoor, casual wear (ie their sweaters, t-shirts, sweatpants), but I own other outerwear items including a rain jacket (The One Shell jacket) and their Valiant baselayer leggings, and they’ve all performed beyond my expectations.
Do KUHL pants shrink?
My KUHL pants didn’t shrink when washed, but I can’t speak to all styles. I’m going to guess that more cotton-based clothing items are more likely to shrink than any other material.
Summing It Up
Overall, I would purchase more KUHL items down the road. They have such a diverse collection of KUHL pants for women that all serve different purposes.
Their clothes are stylish so I could wear them out on the town or to work, but durable and comfortable to wear on hikes or adventuring, too. I bid you happy shopping!
Now, are you ready to check out this sleeping bag suit? Stay toasty warm on cold nights while camping in a tent, RV, campervan, or simply under the stars!