HomeTactical & SurvivalNot Your Dad’s Brush Pants: KUIU Women’s PRO Brush Pants Review

Not Your Dad’s Brush Pants: KUIU Women’s PRO Brush Pants Review

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It’s no secret that women have a fraction of the choices for hunting clothes as men. When looking for more specialized items (like brush pants), the pickings get even slimmer. Add in my personal touch of pickiness about fit, pockets, or fabric weight, and it often results in zero options.

I was in this boat. I’d found a pair of warm-weather pants I loved (the DSG Bexley), but the trade-off was lack of skin protection from thorns and heavy brush. I needed brush pants. 

Traditionally, brush pants are heavy, hot, and stiff. Often made of layers of thick fabric, they do the job of protection but aren’t really good at anything else. Rain? They double in weight and take forever to dry. Range of motion? Good luck climbing over that hip-high log. Heat? Let’s not even go there.

There are definitely men’s options that answer the issues of the old-school canvas “stands-up-in-the-corner-on-its-own” brush pants. For women, the options are slim to none.

Everything available in a women’s fit had something about them I didn’t like. Many are the totally thornproof style that would have me overheating the moment I left the truck. Others lacked pockets, thigh vents, or stretch. So, when I saw that KUIU was offering its PRO Brush Pant in a women’s cut, I felt like the brand might have followed me through the woods and created a pair of pants for my exact style of hunting. 

In short: The KUIU Women’s PRO Brush Pant is the answer for any gals looking for a lightweight, highly protective, durable pair of pants. From pockets to vents to DWR water-repellency, these are my new favorites for getting to places no one else will go. 

  • Weight
    18.5oz (size 8)
  • Fabric
    100% Polyester, Upper: Primeflex 4-way Stretch, Reinforced Panels: Primeflex high-density double weave
  • K-DWR Water Repellency
  • Zippered Inner and Outer Thigh Vents
  • Pockets
    2x zippered back and thigh, 2x open hip
  • Gaiter hook
  • Colors
    Valo, Ash
  • Sizes
    2-14

  • Highly thorn and abrasion resistant

  • Breathable

  • Stretch in upper panels

  • Generous ventilation


  • No knee pads/knee pad pockets

  • Hard plastic suspender keeper

  • Noisier than non-thorn-resistant fabric

KUIU Women’s Pro Brush Pant Review

Overview

Anyone who has perused internet hunting forums enough has likely noticed a pattern in any conversation about hunting the Mountain West. “It’s too crowded!” “Sea of blaze orange!” “The crowds drove all the elk onto private!”

The list of complaints drags on. What they’re really saying, though, is that the easy spots they want to hunt are now filled with throngs of hunters. And this is true: Any place accessed by a trail is crowded and quickly abandoned by animals. If you want the place to yourself, you gotta get to the places that no one else will go. 

It’s hard — on the body and on the equipment. I’ve figured this out in the last few years and have taken to scouting and hunting in some areas that are admittedly awful to access because of gruelingly steep terrain and blowdown that, at first glance, seems humanly impossible to navigate.

In the process, I’ve destroyed many of my clothes and come home scratched and gouged, with thorns embedded so far into my skin that they aren’t removable until weeks later. It’s a constant trade-off between clothing that’s light enough not to cause overheating and clothing that’s protective enough to get me where I need to go without bleeding … until now.

KUIU broke the mold for women’s brush pants by making a pair of ultralight, fully featured pants that block all but the most tenacious of thorny things in the woods.

Testing the PRO Brush Pants

I tested these from mid-April through July in the mid-elevations of the Colorado Rockies. Temperatures ranged from 28 degrees up to the mid-70s. I used them for run-and-gun-style turkey hunting and elk scouting, with an abundance of travel off of maintained trails. I encountered steady rain on two occasions, along with an occasional snow drift, when we were blessed with an early May snow dump.  

Fit

I pored over the size chart for these pants, as I measured between a size 6 and 8 (for reference, I have a 29-inch waist and 38-inch hip measurement). After reading other ladies’ reviews of KUIU’s pants, I decided to go with the larger size.

Side note: I love how KUIU’s review form encourages reviewers to add their height, weight, and size to their review. It allows for sorting reviews by size, height, and weight — absolutely a day-saver for in-between-size situations.

They ended up fitting just right in the hips and thighs and a little loose in the waist, but they came with suspenders. More on those further down. If I were one to want my pants skin-hugging in the hip and thigh, the size 6 would have been the correct choice. The areas of the pants (including the waistband) without thorn-resistant fabric have some stretch, making them easy to move around in, even when climbing over piles of deadfall.

Thorn-Proof vs. Thorn-Resistant

The first time I walked past a yucca plant in these pants, I couldn’t help myself. I jammed my shin into it on purpose. I got poked. Not the way I would get poked through a normal pair of pants, but poked nonetheless. That’s generally my experience for anything really sharp and tenacious out there. A majority of thorns are repelled, and occasionally, I’ll get a stick or two if I barge through the thick stuff. 

These pants are to pointy things as a good DWR (durable water repellent) softshell is to moisture. Think about the advantages of the softshell in this metaphor. Compared to a waterproof shell, it’s more breathable, quieter, and generally more versatile for a wider range of conditions (short of a full-on rainstorm). 

Thorn-Resistance

The PRO Brush Pant, being labeled as thorn-resistant, offers the same comfort advantages over the traditional hot and heavy thornproof pants. If I knew that nearly my entire hunt would take me through a constant barrage of thorns, I’d bite the bullet and go with thornproof.

This is the same way that if I knew I were hunting all day in the rain, I’d wear 100% waterproof gear. Even though much of my hunting takes me through stands of wild roses and raspberries, those are usually intermittent. The KUIU pants significantly reduce what gets through and take much of the edge off of anything that does.

The thorn-resistant panels feel slightly slick. The slickness does result in a “swishy” sound if my legs rub together while hiking. I honestly didn’t notice the noise until I went on a scouting trip where heavy rains made the ground cover moist and silent underfoot. It’s extremely subtle, but if stalking in ultra-close to animals on noiseless dirt is your thing, it’s something to consider.

Water-Resistance

I’ve learned a hard lesson in the past of relying on DWR to keep my pants from getting totally soaked in the rain. However, these are somehow an exception. As I mentioned above, I hunted for 2 days in steady rain. It was late in May, so the temperature was warm enough that I wasn’t worried about getting soaked and cold. So, I didn’t even bother with rain pants.

I was surprised to find that the only thing that wetted out were the knees. I’d kneeled down for a few minutes to hide from an approaching turkey hen. Otherwise, I stayed dry everywhere else. 

If the pants do manage to get soaked in a creek crossing or all-out deluge, they dry very quickly. This was the case on a recent scouting trip when I slipped off of a rock in a creek crossing and landed in knee-deep water. By the time I pitched camp a mile later, they were barely damp. After hanging overnight, they were totally dry. 

Temperature Range

When I first received the women’s PRO Brush pants, I wore them the next day for turkey hunting. It was early April, meaning morning temperatures were still in the upper 20s. I’d been hunting comfortably in a pair of KUIU Attack pants and suddenly found myself slightly chilled. I’d expected more warmth based on previous notions about brush pants, and I quickly realized that these puppies are light.

Paired with the KUIU Ultra Merino 145 zip-off bottoms, they were cozy in the upper 20s for future chilly mornings. But frigid weather isn’t where these were meant to shine. My excitement for sweltering summer scouting trips intensified.

Vents and Pockets

The KUIU PRO Brush Pants feature not only the usual outer thigh vents but also a pair of inner thigh vents. The mesh in the vents is fine, slightly stretchy, and much more snag and tear-resistant than any other pants I’ve worn.

I own zero pairs of pants without quarter-size or larger holes in the vent mesh. These, however, are still 100% intact. The only breach is a small hole in the right thigh pocket (pictured below). The added inner thigh vents take the air circulating ability to another level. 

Why am I including pockets in the section of the review about vents? All of the pockets are constructed from the same mesh as the vents. This means that by leaving the back and thigh pockets unzipped, they allow even more airflow. All of the pockets, two on the back, two at the waist, and two on the thighs, are generously sized and fully functional.

Suspenders

This is the first pair of pants I’ve owned that included them. At first, I was a little unsure. Would they bug me under my pack? Am I going to need to wear them so tight that they gave me a permanent wedgie? Would they slip around and fall off my shoulder if I tried to loosen them? Are they going to make it hard to pee if layered under a jacket? 

To answer all of my questions: Once they were adjusted to keep my waistband roughly at the bottom of my belly button, I didn’t notice them. The hooks that attach them to the pants are secure enough to never come loose unintentionally but easy enough to operate that if I’m wearing a jacket, I can unhook/hook the back two for a nature break.

In warmer weather, I wear them over my outside layer and under my binocular harness (they’re easy to slip under the harness straps without taking the binocular harness off).

My one complaint is that the plastic piece that holds them crossed in the back is sometimes in the “wrong” spot. It feels like it wants to bruise my spine under my pack or while driving my truck. It’s easy to reach back and slide it up or down to get it back into an unnoticeable position, but I feel like it could be made from a soft, flexible material to eliminate the issue altogether. 

What Are the KUIU PRO Women’s Brush Pants Missing?

My one and only major complaint with the KUIU PRO Brush pants is a lack of knee pad pockets. I fantasize about the amazing places I can find on the other sides of massive stands of Gambel Oak or impossible piles blowdown. I end up putting a knee down or crawling a few feet almost every time I hit the woods. I’ve always appreciated a little extra protection in that area. 

I know that KUIU’s MO is an external pad that’s sewn onto a couple of its men’s pants models. I understand that would add weight and warmth to the Brush pants that move them away from their intended use. That’s why I say knee pad pockets.

KUIU comes up with some of the most technically functional apparel and products in the market. This is a chance for them to offer a really bougie set of thin, perforated-for-breathability inserts that customers could purchase for use in any pants with the ability to hold pads. Because let’s face it: a pair of pants whose sole purpose is to allow you to get through gnarly places just needs some knee pads.

So, Should You Brush Off These Brush Pants?

Nope. Kneepad gripe aside, the lightness of the women’s PRO Brush pants aligns perfectly with most of my hunting: active, brush-busting, and uphill both ways. They’ve taken everything I’ve thrown at them with little to no signs of wear, all while keeping me comfortable and including nearly every feature I could ask for in a pair of hunting pants.

As long as your hunt doesn’t call for all-out thornproofness, the KUIU PRO Brush pants are a stellar choice for backcountry hunting.



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