I’ve heard there are people who hike, bike, and otherwise adventure wearing only their birthday suit. I, however, prefer to be clothed. What do you think about trying out the Kühl clothing line?
Not Enough Sunscreen
For those of us who are a bit too modest to venture outdoors in the buff, Kühl offers a nice alternative: pants, shorts, skirts/skorts, shirts, outerwear, and accessories made for the outdoors.
This Salt Lake City-based company uses state of the art design and innovative fabrics to create comfortable and useful adventure-wear. Kühl – which, by the way, is the German word for “cool” – has won awards for their clothing design. They integrate ergonomic principles into each item to ensure it actually works for outdoor adventuring. It helps, too, that their items don’t just move well; they also look stylish!
Beyond their designs, Kühl partners with a number of inspiring ambassadors. These are athletic rebels whose stories motivated me to trail-run a marathon up a ski slope in January. Just kidding – but I did read their stories and think, “Eh, ya know, I might be able to actually run on my treadmill after work next week. At least once. While watching Netflix.” Kühl also offers yearly donations to organizations that support their views on human rights and environmental protections. Last year’s recipients included the Human Outreach Project, which supports the education and health of orphans; Appalachian Mountain Club, an organization that protects and conserves the trails, waterways, and outdoor areas of the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States; Wasatch Adaptive Sports, which offers affordable recreation to adults with special needs, veterans, and children; and Protect Our Winters, a group working to engage the world in the fight against climate change.
Our friends at Kühl offered to send me some shirts. They even asked about the color scheme I preferred, and given that cool weather has not yet hit Southern Oregon, they kindly sent me summer wear: Two shirts in blue and coral.
Coral isn’t really my color. However, it just works for my friend, who gladly accepted the opportunity to help me review the items.
Both shirts were made of a soft fabric, and it was clear from the start they would hold up to some activity. I wore my blue tank on a hike; my friend wore her coral top to the gym.
“The top was really cute,” she said. I had initially thought it was a cap-sleeved shirt, but in her photos, it appears more like a thick-strapped tank. She said it held up well to her CrossFit workout, which is intense enough that the one time I joined her, she warned me ahead of time: “If you wear cotton, you’ll be sorry.”
What were the drawbacks, then? “It was a bit sheer,” she said. “I mean, no big deal for the gym, whatever, but in regular life, that could be problematic.” She added that she wasn’t thrilled about the waffle texture of the fabric, but went on to say, “It wasn’t that big a deal.”
Final verdict? “I’d probably buy it,” she said. “But I don’t think I’d spend that much.” The see-through bit, she said, made her feel as though the shirt weren’t very expensive; it would be hard to justify a steep price, especially because she’d have to layer underneath it to feel comfortable wearing it anywhere but her gym.
I was a bit happier with my shirt. The blue tank had a heather look to it, and the back was racer-shaped. It fit well with one of the sports bras I wear for hiking, and the length was perfect – not too short but not like wearing a tunic, either.
The fabric was lovely and wicking, and super soft – no issues with the texture on this one. It layered well under my jacket, without any of that weird suction action that sometimes happens when you’re wearing tier upon tier of athletic material. It felt well-made and even though the shirt is soft, it also seems well-made. It has become one of my favorite shirts not just for hiking or working out, but also for hanging around at home doing nothing. I’m telling you, it’s really comfortable!
I will definitely purchase a Kühl product in the future. That said, this brand is not cheap; they invest in sustainable, fair manufacturing practices, and that results in a bit higher price on the consumer end. Smaller items, like tanks and tees, are easily replaced and can be found anywhere for just a few dollars, and I tend to blow through them pretty quickly – even the very high-quality ones, like those Kühl makes. With that in mind, I think I will end up buying big ticket items from them: fleeces, jackets, and other “must haves” for my outdoor adventures. I want to know my jacket will hold up on a three-day trip and a bushwhack through some blackberry bushes, and I think Kühl is up to the task!
See you next time,