Kula Pyka Pants Review — Undershorts for Hiking & Swimming!

Ace Curtis
Kula Pyka Pants Shorts Undershorts Underwear for Hiking Swimming Backpacking Prevent Chafing


I think other female hikers can relate ... we all have different needs when it comes to outdoor gear, so I’m always looking for intuitive gear that can keep up with my adventures.

Recently, I took the Pyka Pants made by Kula on a rainy 7-mile hike, and let me tell you, these shorts are nothing short of trailblazing. I wore them under my hiking pants as a base layer, and they kept me comfortable throughout the trek, even though everything I was wearing got generally damp.

As I hiked, I couldn't help but think about all the other badass hikers out there using Kula gear. From their pee towels to their stylish hats, it seems like Kula has something for everyone.

As a plus-sized hiker, it's not always easy to find gear that fits and feels good. But with the Pyka Pants, I felt like I was part of a community that embraces all shapes and sizes.

Kula Pyka Pants Shorts Undershorts Underwear for Hiking Swimming Backpacking Prevent Chafing


The single-layer wicking polyester fabric on the 'body' of the shorts is perfect for wearing as your underwear and fitting easily under hiking pants. The feel is smooth and comfortable, so you don't have to worry about chafing between your thighs or from your backpack. The high waistband also helps to prevent chafing, and it has a pocket at the back that's perfect for a phone, some keys, or some tropical Mike n’ Ikes, my preferred uphill trail fuel.

Pyka Pants are designed to be worn as underwear, but they're versatile enough to be worn on their own as athletic shorts. You can use them as a swimsuit for wild swimming... and they also work perfectly under a hiking dress or skirt.


Kula Pyka Pants Shorts Undershorts Underwear for Hiking Swimming Backpacking Prevent Chafing


I wore them a number of times, a number of ways. I hiked with them under my Go There Pants, and that felt like a great combination. I also wore them under some leggings, and since they’re thin, they fit well underneath — these aren’t your standard, thick spandex yoga shorts.

My favorite use so far has been as bottoms for lake days. The shorts can be a tiny bit loose at the top, so when they’re dry, I find myself repeatedly needing to pull them up. But once they’re wet, they stick on me like they’re made out of fruit leather. They have enough stretch and give to work well for a beach day, and then dry super fast. Especially when you take them off and hang them out the window on your drive home!

Kula Pyka Pants Shorts Undershorts Underwear for Hiking Swimming Backpacking Prevent Chafing


One thing that really stood out to me about the Pyka Pants was the reinforced, breathable inseam, which allows for ease of movement. As someone who is a bit heavier than the average hiker, I often struggle to find pants that fit me well and allow me to move freely, without trapping heat and moisture in my nether-regions. However, the Pyka Pants fit me like a glove and enabled me to climb over rocks and navigate steep inclines with ease, all while protecting my thicc thighs.

Pyka Pants are proudly made in the USA. As someone who values supporting US-based businesses and reducing my carbon footprint, I appreciate that Kula is committed to manufacturing their products domestically. Knowing that these pants are made here eliminates any sticker shock I might have felt when seeing the price tag. I'm happy to know that my money is supporting real people in the US who are working hard to pay their bills, just like me. This also reflects Kula's overall sense of community, which resonates deeply with me.

In terms of sizing, Pyka Pants are available from XS to 5XL. The XS size weighs approximately 2.64 oz, making them lightweight enough to pack in your backpack and bring with you on any adventure. I purchased mine in 2XL, which weighs 4 oz and measures 36” around the waistline. Despite having a 48” waist, I found that they fit me well due to their exceptional stretchiness.

Kula Pyka Pants Shorts Undershorts Underwear for Hiking Swimming Backpacking Prevent Chafing


However, I would like to see more options in the future, such as a tighter-fitting, higher-sitting waist. I also noted that the 100% polyester fabric has a somewhat synthetic feel, which not all hikers enjoy.

The icing on the cake for these is the fantastic fractal fern design on the waistband and side seams. It's fun and flirty, and adds color to my wardrobe that is normally quite drab. Thanks to Kula artist Amanda McIntyre, I get to wear nature on my booty wherever I go!

I really like this pair of shorts. They're lightweight and versatile, making them a perfect addition to my pack. I plan to use them as sleepwear, or as a comfortable option to wear around camp while my other clothes dry. Additionally, they're an ideal choice for jumping into an alpine lake to wash off all the mountain dust.


Kula Pyka Pants Shorts Undershorts Underwear for Hiking Swimming Backpacking Prevent Chafing

Pyka Pants Tech Specs 

Sizing: XS to 5XL

Inseam: 6” size XS-L, 6 1/8” XL, 6 3/8” 2XL, 6 ½” 3 XL, 6 ¾” 4 XL & 7” 5XL. This is measured from the center of the crotch panel.

Materials: Single layer wicking fabric (body of shorts) is 100% polyester. Waistband and side stripe are 84% micro poly and 16% spandex.

Price: $54

Care: Machine Wash Cold, Tumble or Air Dry… or rinse in a creek and hang on a stick. It’s up to you. 

MADE IN USA, baby!

Insider Info: I have heard whispers that Kula is planning to release additional options for Pyka Pants — a longer inseam version and an all black version

Ace Curtis is a plus-sized outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys hiking in Northern California and taking photos of many tree-covered hillsides. She was born and raised in Mt Shasta, CA at the base of a 14,163’ mountain. She is currently working with her husband on creating an off-grid lifestyle on 2.5 acres just a few miles from where she started life, 36 years ago. 

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1 comment



Nice thorough review.

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