Women's travel clothing tips for solo travelers: KÜHL rain pants
I’ve been writing about solo travel for women for years, and over that time, I’ve had many women ask me for my favorite women’s outdoor travel clothing. That got me thinking that I should write a series about my picks for the best women’s travel clothing. So since a funny thing just happened during my forest trek yesterday, I thought I’d share that saga. You won’t believe what I learned from my KÜHL rain pants out there.
But first, a bit of advice from this solo travel expert…
I recommend that you always pre-test the clothing items that you plan to take on a significant trip. If you’re going on a hiking holiday, wear those shorts or pants on long hikes at home before you go. I’ve seen so many women on the trails in Europe suffering from acute chaffing. They could have avoided the irritation by testing their women’s outdoor travel clothing at home.
Likewise, if you’re going on a cruise, try on that cocktail dress before you leave home. That way you won’t forget to pack the special undies that you bought years ago to go with the infrequently-worn outfit like I once did. (Hey, it’s only by my own trial and error that I can pass on these women’s travel clothing tips!)
So taking my own advice, I headed out into the rain...
So taking my own advice, I went out in the rain yesterday to test my new KÜHL JetStream™ Rain Pants. I’ve been dying to try out my new KÜHL rain pants, and so when our monsoons finally started here in northern Arizona, I took advantage.
No Bad Weather, Just Bad Gear
You see, my husband Dan and I have always gone by that adage, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” I’ve been looking for the perfect rain pants for years for my solo travel adventures. My current pair is just too dang heavy to take backpacking, besides that fact that they simply don’t breathe.
Enter the KÜHL JetStream™ Rain Pants
So enter the JetStream™ rain pant from KÜHL. They arrived in June, but as I said, we’ve had no rain here in Arizona in which to test them. I was so excited to find KÜHL rain pants, which are light-weight, breathable and have a little stretch, that I could hardly wait to try them out.
Consequently, yesterday, I headed out to the Coconino National Forest in my KÜHL JetStream™ Rain Pant in the drizzle. The pants were, as promised, waterproof. Ta-dah! The sealed seams and welts over the zippers and pockets kept the H2O out.
I took long strides and did some bending over my pack to test the fabric’s flexibility.
The flexible AIRSKAPE™ fabric used in the KÜHL rain pants was marketed as “Free to be Stretch, Free to be Soft, Free to be Quiet, Free to be Light.”
• Stretchy *****
• Soft ****
• Quiet ***
• Light *****
I found that the pants did stretch with me (5-stars, there!), the fabric was lightweight (again 5-stars!), but I’m not so sure about soft. The AIRSKAPE™ fabric is thin for sure, and it certainly isn’t stiff like many waterproof fabrics. (4-star rating.)
As I was putting the pants on for the first time, I thought to myself, “When I’m pulling these on in a Camino albergue before sunrise, I better do it outside the bunkroom.” We Camino people are sensitive to making noise while dressing and packing in the early morning as we ready to leave a roomful of snoozing pilgrims.
Well, some of us are.
The others make noise, including rustling plastic bags, the bane of the sleeping Camino pilgrim. Unfortunately, these rain pants have a similar sound when putting them on and while walking. Although they certainly aren’t as noisy as my old Columbia rain pants, I wouldn’t call them quiet by Camino standards. I had to tell you this backstory so you would understand why I’m a harsh grader on ‘quiet’ claim of the fabric manufacturer. Overall, these well-made rain pants did make it to my “best women’s travel clothing” list.
The solo travel saga continues…
I hiked uphill until I found a somewhat remote site to get some rather awkward selfies of the back of my pants in action for this post about the best women’s travel clothing. I set up my tripod in the rain, balancing it carefully on the rocky terrain. Soon I could hear a gaggle of rowdy youngsters coming my way.
So much for remote.
A half dozen of screaming four- and five-year-olds spotted me and left the trail to race right through my photoshoot. REALLY? You have the whole forest to run your kids, and you allow them to burst into my secluded spot without greeting or qualm?
In spite of how it annoyed me, the curtain climbers didn’t ruffle a feather for my new friends, the rain pants. With mechanical stretch and breathable fabric, my rain pants kept their KÜHL amid the disruption. It made me stop to examine my unkind response.
So my takeaways? Here they are…
Lessons Learned from my KÜHL rain pants
Here are the lessons that I learned from my KÜHL rain pants:
- Just Breathe
- Let irritations run off like water on a duck’s back … or like my new rain pants.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Let the events of the present moment stretch and mold me into a better person.
- Stay cool. Did I mention that “KÜHL” is the German word for “cool?”
I’ve been wearing KÜHL brand women’s outdoor travel clothing since 2015. I bought my first KÜHL shirt to hike the Camino from Lourdes, France, to the Spanish border when I was researching the guidebook that I wrote about that section of the Camino de Santiago AKA Les Chemins de St Jacques. I love the quick-drying lightweight cotton and avoid synthetic fabrics, so prevalent in other brands, that get so stinky. Hey, I think I will add that to my women’s travel clothing tips that appear later in this post.
Sizing suggestions for KÜHL JetStream™ Rain Pants
The KÜHL website says about the sizing of these rain pants, “This pant is intended as a shell to be worn over a base layer or other pant. If you plan to wear it as a standalone piece, we suggest going down a size.” I planned to wear with the heavy leggings that I pack on my Camino backpack trips, so I ordered them in size 10, the same size as my KÜHL Free Range 6.5-inch shorts.
However, I now wish I would have ordered them in size 12. The size 10, which I regularly order from KÜHL, fits well as a standalone piece, but won’t work over leggings as I’d hoped.
Features that helped put Kuhl rain pants on my 'Best Women's Travel Clothing' list
Besides all that, I’ll be packing these KÜHL JetStream™ Rain Pants for my next Camino pilgrimage, and adding it to my upcoming list of best women’s travel clothing. Other features that helped put these rain pants on my list:
- 32-in inseam was long enough for my 5’8” frame
- All seams are sealed with waterproof tape
- Gusseted crotch
- 12-inch bottom hem zippers for ease of taking the pants on and off over hiking boots.
- Zip thigh pocket for easy access to snacks or phone
Women's Travel Clothing Tips
Women’s travel clothing tips for the solo traveler:
- My women’s travel clothing tip for this piece of women’s travel clothing is to order a size larger than you usually wear.
- Always test your travel gear in weather conditions in which you may find yourself traveling.
- Try travel clothes on before you pack them.
- Look for cotton blends to avoid synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester, which retain odors.
What do you think are the best women’s travel clothing brands? List them in the comments below, and they may find their way onto my list of best women’s travel clothing.
Link to lightweight women’s travel clothing by KÜHL
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Wittig writes about solo travel for women from her home near Flagstaff, Arizona. The Arizona travel writer loves to find the perfect gear to make lousy weather enjoyable.
As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with outdoor clothing for the purpose of this review. While that has not influenced her opinions expressed here, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.