Review of Men's Liberator Convertible Pant by KUHL
One Pant to Rule Them All
I received a pair of the Liberator Convertible Pant for Men by KUHL a few months ago and I’ve been putting them to good use. I’ve worn them while trail hiking, cave exploring, and working around the house. They’ve proven to be a very versatile pant which works great in just about all situations.
The Liberator Convertible Pant comes with a lot of great features including performance fabric, innovative design for usability, and pockets. Lots of pockets, which I love! Five colors are available to choose from which range in a dark Raven to a light Saw Dust. The fit I have is full and it converts to a 10.5” pair of shorts when needed. The smallest option, 32W x 32L, weighs in at 14 oz. They are slightly heavier than my previous go-to pair of hiking pants but the benefits of these far outweigh this bit of extra weight ;-)
The first thing I noticed, before putting them on, is how great they look. These do not resemble most other hiking pants. They have an urban-like design that fits well out on the trail or in the city. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to tell they’re not a pair of regular pants if you just give them a quick glance. It’s easy to go from hiking in the mountains and then straight to the store on the way home. They have the ability to blend in well.
With the added weight, as mentioned earlier, comes added benefits. The pants are rugged and agile in all the areas you’d expect a bit of reinforcement. The knees provide articulated areas and the crotch is gusseted. Rips and tears shouldn’t be a problem here. Scuff guards are on the bottom of each leg for added protection - this will no doubt prove worthy as my previous hiking pants accumulated holes and tears in this area during the first season they were used. As for the agility aspect, KUHL has implemented stretch paneling into the front of the knees and the backside between the waist and back pockets. They call this Rhino Technology and describe it as a skin-like flexibility. I recently wore these while traveling through Ape Cave where there was a lot of climbing and bending while negotiating large rocks and boulders. The pants never once felt tight in the knees or crotch during these maneuvers. Those areas stretch ever so slightly when needed.
Two types of fabric are incorporated into the design. First is the outermost which is a 77% Nylon / 23% Cotton blend, and let me tell you, it’s super soft. The outsides of the pant feel great to the touch. The inside is a 84% Poly / 16% Spandex blend and its main function is to pull moisture from the body to the surface for evaporation. I’ve yet to experience any sweat buildup.
The pant can be easily converted to a short when needed by using their Stealth Zip Off System. The zipper around the knee is like most others, in that you unzip it around your knee. However, KUHL has improved two ways here. Once the lower leg portions are removed, the zipper teeth are hidden from view thanks to a fabric that lays over the top of them. And there’s also a “Zipper Garage” where you can tuck the zipper pull into so it’s completely out of sight and not dangling around catching on anything or making noise. They look like shorts. It’s hard for one to tell that these are part of convertible pants.
If you need to convert from pant to short while on the trail it’s easy to do without the need to remove your boots. The lower leg zippers, running vertically from the ankles to calves, quickly zip apart in an upward direction by pulling the two connected pieces by their corners away from each other, there’s no need to use the zipper handle. Now you have extra room to pull your foot through.
Let’s move on to my favorite part: the nine pockets! The two front pockets initially had me concerned with how tight they were and that they seem to be raised up a lot higher than others without an angled pocket design. They have a flat, horizontal opening on the top which makes them harder to get your hands in and out. But the benefit here is pretty obvious, it’s nearly impossible to lose anything from these pockets, no matter how much bending over, rolling around, or leaning back in a chair you do - what you put in them will stay there until you decide to take it out. The right-side pocket, like other pants, has a coin pocket with an added KUHL branded metal emblem attached to it.
Moving to the back is your two standard buttocks pockets. These are wide and deep, great for a folded map. Let’s move down to the thigh area, in the front is a vertically side-zipped pocket with the compartment resting on top of your front thighs. These work great for light items.
Just to the outside of each of those thigh pockets are two different types of additional pockets. On the right is what they call a “3D cell phone pocket”. It fits my large Nexus 6 phone with room to spare. The design of it makes the phone somewhat difficult to fall out while still being able to quickly remove. The reason it’s referred to as “3D” is because the pocket is designed much similar to that of a thigh pocket on a pair of cargo shorts. The pocket itself is on the outside of the pant rather than the inside, which creates a large opening that allows for items to be easily dropped into.
I’m torn between this design. It’s the easiest cell phone pocket I’ve used, and it does seem to keep the phone pretty secure due to a lip on the rear end which keeps the phone secured from slipping out if you were to lift your knee too high. However, what makes it so wonderful, the large opening that makes it a breeze to stick your hand in and remove your phone, is also the part I dislike. With the very loose, and large opened pocket, your phone could easily be pick-pocketed from you in an instant without you having the slightest clue. It's great for around the home, but out and about, probably not so much. It's an innovative design but when I'm around others I don't feel my phone is completely safe in it and so I've started using it to store a bandanna I carry on hikes.
So where do I keep my phone then? On the left leg and inside of its welt pocket. This pocket has a straight edge, is very deep, and blends in so well that I didn’t even know it was there until after my first week of wearing the pants! The way the pocket is designed would make it pretty difficult for someone to reach into without you knowing about it. My phone feels great and safe in here!
At $95 I say these are an excellent buy, I can see them lasting for many years to come, making the investment well worth it. I love them so much that I recently purchased the exact same pant in the khaki color! With a comfortable, stylish, and quality build to them, as well as being functional and adaptive in most situations, they're my new go-to pair of pants!
If you're in the market for a new pair of hiking pants I suggest taking a further look at the KUHL Liberator Convertible Pant (or any of their other 17 men's hiking pants) on KUHL's website. If you have any questions leave me a comment below, I'd love to answer as best I can or put you in contact with someone that can help you!
Disclaimer: I received KUHL apparel at no cost for this review. I did not receive any other compensation, and all opinions are my own.