Known throughout the outdoor industry for making high quality outdoor and lifestyle apparel with a unique sense of style, Kühl’s Mutiny River Shorts and Shadow Hoody live up to the company’s criteria for functionality, innovation and flair. “We didn’t want to just make a pair of board shorts for the sake of having a pair. We wanted to be sure we could make a pair of shorts worthy of our name,” said Kevin Boyle, the company’s founder and lead designer.
I’ve been a fan of Kühl’s apparel for well over a decade and was thrilled to learn the iconic brand had made a foray into the water sports arena. The UPF 50 Mutiny River Shorts are crafted from 3D waffle patterned nylon front and back panels with a four-way stretch nylon/spandex blend along the sides. Two mesh-lined zippered pockets are found along each side and the shorts are secured with velcro and a speed lace style drawstring.
The Shadow Hoody pairs with the Mutiny board shorts in the beach environment in both function and style. Designed from quick drying, breathable, UPF 50 nylon; the hoody has a lightweight vented hood and two zippered pockets. The fabric is travel ready, wrinkle resistant and ready for the outdoors.
SUP Examiner’s Take
I tested the Mutiny River Shorts on a number of paddling excursions and SUP surfing outings in Southern California from Malibu to San Clemente. On all accounts, they performed spectacularly. Sized perfectly, they fit as if they were tailor-made. Throughout several afternoons of action, the Kühl board shorts hung flat and did not bunch up or cling to my legs.
One of the best design innovations on the shorts is the use of the four-way stretch panels along the sides, which is also the location of two generously sized zipper pockets. The sensible incorporation of pockets is one of the most common shortcomings in board shorts. By placing the pockets along the sides, instead of on your thigh in the front or in the back, Kühl delivered what may well be the first pair of board shorts with pockets you can actually use in the same way as a regular pair of shorts. This feature makes the Mutiny River Shorts a great choice for stand up paddlers. On the water, the pockets are large enough to hold any number of small items. Off the water, if you want to run a few errands after your paddle, the pockets can easily accommodate your wallet, keys and cell phone. Speaking of off the water, Kühl’s boardshorts take the phrase quick drying to a completely new level. The waffle texture of the shorts greatly enhances air drying to the extent these shorts will most likely be dry by the time you finish loading your board back on your car after your paddle.
The Shadow Hoody was as impressive. Keeping your body covered and protected from the sun is important, but there has not always been a sensible range of apparel to do so comfortably. This is truly where the Kühl Shadow Hoody comes into its own. The UPF 50 lightweight fabric is highly breathable and comfortable enough to wear outdoors on even the hottest days. I regularly used one as a before and after paddle cover up, but the ultimate test of the hoody came during the on the water demo day at Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida earlier this month. The temperature was in the upper 80s and with an equally staggering amount of humidity. I wore the Shadow Hoody throughout the day whenever I was off the water, even pulling up the hood at times to protect my head and ears from the sun. Despite wearing the long-sleeved hoody in the high heat and humidity, I remained cool and covered. The two zippered pockets are great for keeping small items secure and front zipper makes it easy to put on and take off.
Disclosure: I received a sample of the Mutiny River Shorts and Shadow Hoody for testing, however, the opinions expressed are my own.