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Columbia Iron Mountain Trail Shorts

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Columbia Iron Mountain Trail Shorts short/skirt

A cheap, comfortable, basic short that looks good in town and performs acceptably, but not great, on trail. These shorts are breathable, light, and comfortable but not durable or water resistant.


  • synthetic
  • light
  • comfy
  • looks good
  • breathable
  • cheap


  • not ripstop
  • not water repellent
  • no zippered pocket

Fit and Comfort: Fit well without issues.

This is one of these products that you just don't notice. It is roomy, has a good waist size, and the measurements seem right (If it helps, I bought the 30x10, regular fit).

nice, loose fit

Shorts are generally easier to get right than pants, but good job to Columbia anyway. The fabric is pretty soft for shorts. Columbia tends to have nice soft fabrics that rival those from higher end brands. In fact, these are softer than my $70 PrAna shorts. One way that Columbia keeps cost down is the lack of stretch. While stretch is nice, I've never felt constricted in these shorts. Since the button is sewn on (as opposed to riveted), there is no metal on the inside of the shorts, helping comfort.

Adjustability: The elastic waistband works together nicely with belt loops to adjust the waist.

The waistband is mildly elastic, giving about 2 inches of automatic adjustability. If you are skinnier than that, the shorts have belt loops to dial in fit further. However, the elastic works well enough for me that I rarely use the belt.

Breathability: Good breathability and ventilation.

Columbia's fabrics are nicely breathable, and these shorts are no exception. They breath well through the fabric, mesh pockets, and out the bottom of the shorts.

Moisture: Dries fast and doesn't stick while sweaty.
I would say that these are among the quicker drying of my synthetic clothing. The fabric doesn't get intolerably sticky when it becomes sweaty or the air is humid. The fabric hasn't been treated with a DWR, but you can easily do so yourself.

Function: Functional pockets, but limited by lack of closures.

The pockets are all appropriately deep and easy to use. However, none of them have zippers or any kind of closure, so you should be careful carrying valuables. That said, the pockets are secure enough for most purposes. All other parts also work well.

Ease of use: Everything works well.

Features: Simple feature set that doesn't lack much.

packs down real small

These shorts have a few nice features. They have Omni-comfort, Omni-zippers, and Omni-pockets (I made those up, but being from Columbia, it probably has a few Omni-s somewhere). The fly zip works well and is decently long, while the 3 pockets (2 hand pockets, 1 back pocket) work well.

back view, showing pocket and elastic waistband
front view

Durability: Gets snagged easily. 

These shorts are durable enough, but other shorts will be more durable. I once got stuck on a thorn while picking muscadines, and the shorts got a run.

a little damage from that thorn bush

The fabric isn't ripstop, so you should be a little careful. The seams are decent quality,  although they could be improved a little. 


I've worn shorts many times before. I also have shorts from PrAna, Urban pipeline, Target (surprisingly good!), and other brands. I've owned these shorts for 5 months. These are my favorite everyday wear shorts, so I use them every week. If I'm going traveling, camping, backpacking, or hiking, these are my first choice of shorts.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: about $30

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Price MSRP: $60.00
Historic Range: $20.00-$24.00
Reviewers Paid: $30.00
Fabric 100% Polyester
Regular Fit Universal, easy fit for comfortable range of motion.
Product Details from Columbia »

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