KÜHL Silencr Hiking Shorts review

The KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts are a great option for anyone looking for shorts that can both perform well on a hike and look good while relaxing at a brewery. These shorts have a more tailored fit than most other hiking gear, making them a great option for all your summer adventures.

Overall rating: Good (most people will enjoy them)

Where to purchase:

  • REI – purchase online at REI
  • Backcountry – purchase online at Backcountry
  • KÜHL website – purchase directly from KÜHL

Review:

Appearance: In my opinion, the best part about the Silencr shorts is that they do not look like traditional cargo shorts. They are not baggy, the pockets do not poof out, and the fit is more tailored or slim when compared to many other options (note that the shorts are not actually “slim fit” they just are cut less baggy than others). As a result, the Silencr shorts look quite nice for a pair of hiking shorts. Cyclists or guys with larger thighs may find these shorts a bit narrow, but most hikers will likely enjoy the fit. The shorts come with inseam lengths from 8 inches up to 12 inches. For this review, we tested a pair with the 8 inch inseam and thought it was a great length. The shorter length provides for great range of motion and looks good when out on your adventures.

The Silencr shorts come with a total of 7 pockets. You get your traditional two front and two back pockets. In addition, there are two low profile cargo pockets on the sides that are secured with zippers. These pockets are large enough that most any cell phone will fit in them. There is also an additional small pocket (unsecured) towards the back on one leg. Overall, these pockets provide a great compromise allowing for ample storage when it is needed, but also looking lower profile so they do not stick out when you walk around town.

The REFLEX fabric used to construct the shorts has a texture to it with a checkered pattern. Overall, I think the pattern looks fine and does not hurt the appearance of the shorts. This is a ripstop fabric that is designed to stretch in 4 directions and is synthetic providing quick dry times.

Back view of the KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts, 8 inch inseam, storm khaki color
Front view of the KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts, 8 inch inseam, storm khaki color
Close up view of the fabric used to make the KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts
View of the zippered side cargo pocket and extra unsecured side pocket on the KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts

Performance: These shorts were great on hikes and when worn around town. I also tested them out on a river float and they did a good job repelling water splashes. When fully submerged, they did get wet (they aren’t waterproof) but they dried fairly quickly when out in the sun. When you squat, bend, or climb, the shorts provide a fair amount of stretch/give. However, they do not look stretched out or baggy after you finish your activities. This is great because you can hike and then wear them to lunch and will still look nice (and won’t be wearing baggy stretched out shorts).

The zippered cargo pockets are nice if you want to keep your car keys or wallet secure during the hike. Just keep in mind that none of the pockets are waterproof, so while they are zipper secured they will not keep your wallet or phone dry.

Overall the shorts function quite well and only have a couple modest issues:

  • The unsecured side pocket is marketed as a “stealth cell phone pocket” but likely is too small for large format cell phones. You can still just put your phone in the larger cargo pockets, so this is a minor gripe.
  • The button used to secure the waist of the shorts is unconventional in design and performs worse than a normal style button. I’m not sure why KÜHL decided to reinvent the wheel here and use a novel button. I found the button is a bit hard to open and put a lot of stress on the fabric. Some reviewers online have noted that the button comes undone on its own, but this was not my experience. Overall, a traditional button would work better. This issue is mildly annoying, but I still really like the shorts.
  • Lastly, a very minor gripe is that the KÜHL logo on the back waist of the shorts is a bit large and colorful. People who prefer unbranded or modestly branded clothing may be annoyed by the clearly visible logo.
Waist button on the KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts. The post on the left side is larger than normal, so it makes the button a bit hard to open and close.
Logo on the back of the KÜHL Silencr Kargo shorts. Folks who do not like large, visible branding on their clothes may be annoyed by the colorful logo here.