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Hiking Shorts

Top Picks

How we choose: The best hiking shorts highlighted here were selected based on 43 reviews of 35 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Outdoor Research's updated Ferrosi fabric delivers big on comfort, stretch, and durability, but sizing and features should be considered with the Ferrosi Short.

Reasons to Buy

  • Rugged without being heavy
  • Deep front pockets
  • Functional leg pocket (men's only)
  • Excellent stretch
  • Built-in belt
  • Water/Wind resistant

Reasons to Avoid

  • Potential sizing issues
  • No Velcro/snap on men's back pockets
  • No fly or gusseted crotch
  • Not particularly fast drying

Having previously reviewed an older version of the Outdoor Research 10-inch Ferrosi Shorts, that had a strong but not particularly long life, I was excited to try their latest fabric update in the newest 7-inch model they’re offering (see my original Ferrosi Shorts review below). After a season of very frequent California trail use, including moist Redwood forests, High-Sierra backpacking trips, desert overnights, and frequent use near my home next to a national forest, I’d say there’s a whole lot of good with these shorts, but a couple of things to consider if you’re thinking about pulling the trigger.

Read more: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts reviews (3)

Mountain Hardwear J Tree Short

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

A super comfortable hiking short for hot and dry conditions. Excellent fit and breathability, when you’re just trying to stay cool. A good-looking pair of shorts which transition from trail to town with ease. I wear them most every day during the summer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Exceptional fit
  • Very breathable
  • Sturdy construction
  • Great looking on the trail
  • Great looking post-hike at the winery or brewery (no “cargo” look)

Reasons to Avoid

  • The cotton rip-stop fabric will not keep you warm in damp/wet conditions
  • Might not be stretchy enough for some people

We’ve all had it hammered into us: “Cotton kills on the backcountry.” When it gets wet, it lacks few insulating properties, and can lead to hypothermia. But I would like to propose the idea, that in certain hot and dry conditions, where there is no chance of precipitation, cotton can be just right. I originally bought these because I was looking for a cool pair of casual shorts for wine tasting, hanging out on the patio, you get the idea. But one very warm summer’s day, I had planned a long day hike in the Sierra Foothills near my home, and I decided to give these a try (the decision was also aided by the zipper blowing out on my nylon Arc’teryx shorts).

Read more: Mountain Hardwear J Tree Short review (1)

Patagonia Stand Up Shorts 7"

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

Sturdy 7-ounce organic cotton shorts build a nice bridge between casual wear and hiking/outdoorsy pursuits. They have a double fabric seat and generously-sized pockets front and back, metal zipper, belt loops. Highly abrasion-resistant, they last for years. On the downside, the fabric is heavy for people who want a lighter-weight pair of shorts, and they take a long time to dry.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Dry time
  • Weight

INTRODUCTION Patagonia’s Stand Up Shorts have been around for a long time. I bought my first pair in the mid-1980s and have since worn out three pair; I currently have two other pair of these, both several years old. I’m reviewing the most recent pair, which are about a year old, so the specifications are current.  Front view. Note the wide leg openings—if you don’t like that, these aren’t your shorts.  Rear view shows belt loops, double fabric seat, and rear pockets.  BASIC DETAILS The men’s shorts come in waist sizes 28-40 (step up every 2 inches) and have a 7-inch hem; they’re made of organic 7-ounce cotton that is relatively heavy but fairly soft, even after repeated washing.

Read more: Patagonia Stand Up Shorts 7" review (1)

The North Face Paramount Cargo Short

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Quick dry nylon shorts are good for a wide variety of outdoor activities. I like the lightweight material, the pockets, and the belt and belt loops that comes with these. The fabric does a nice job repelling light rain and spray, and the front pockets have mesh so they drain quickly. A nice pair of shorts from The North Face

Reasons to Buy

  • great nylon fabric
  • usable pockets
  • belt loops and included belt
  • comfortable fit

Reasons to Avoid

  • pockets close with velcro
  • no drain holes for cargo and back pockets

These shorts were a birthday gift that I have worn quite a bit this summer.  I was looking for an alternative to the running shorts I usually wear for hiking, and my wife found these.  Well done! i cannot yet comment on durability, but these are my impressions after wearing them a number of times on day hikes. FIT AND FINISH IS VERY GOOD The shorts have a loose fit and are medium length, about knee length for me. By loose, i mean that there is plenty of room in the legs and seat, and they don't bind or constrict your movement at all.  You don't need to be skinny to wear them comfortably.  the waist has elastic on either side (but not in the back), and the shorts have belt loops and an included belt to keep them from riding down.  Note...

Read more: The North Face Paramount Cargo Short reviews (2)

Columbia Battle Ridge Short

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Lightweight, quick dry nylon shorts great for hot, humid days. Also works well for canoeing and fishing where you might get wet and what to dry off fast if you do. Demonstrates the quality that Columbia normally builds into their "active" line of clothing.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very lightweight
  • Quick drying
  • Can go several days on the trail without stinking

Reasons to Avoid

  • Hard to find the 9" lenght where I shop
  • Only one back pocket has a zipper
  • The other back pocket's velcro tab isn't big enough

Columbia's Battle Ridge shorts can be found at most department stores, mine came from Belk on sale for $29.  They are made of nylon with polyester mesh pockets, with two inseam lengths - 9 inches and 11 inches.  Two front pockets and two back pockets.  The right back pocket has a zipper but the left side only has a small Velcro patch.  There is also one cargo pocket on the right side, again secured by one Velcro patch.  Mine are dark green, with other colors offered as well. The medium size fit my 34" waist very comfortably without the need for a belt, and the 9inch inseam falls just above the knee (which is still too long, but what can you do these days?)  The front pockets are very deep, which is good in that nothing falls out.

Read more: Columbia Battle Ridge Short review (1)

Gramicci Original G-Shorts

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Comfiest shorts I've owned. Probably too good to waste on everyday wear—but here in the frozen north, how will I ever know?

Reasons to Buy

  • Super quality materials
  • Well stitched
  • Great design, for active use
  • Roomy pockets
  • Foolproof fastening
  • Soft but durable
  • Easy care

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not a budget buy
  • Some folks would prefer a zipper
  • Only one secure pocket (maybe two, on the 2021 version?)

I bought my first G pants in 2005 and picked up a pair of shorts, in the sale at REI, in 2008. $22 for a pair of shorts? When there were perfectly serviceable and hardy ones, at Target, for three bucks? Gramicci design good stuff. The shorts are made of soft touch, burly cotton, with generous and careful stitching, three roomy pockets, a diamond panel crotch insert, and simple waist adjustment, via some elastic and a webbing belt. They don't look baggy but are roomy where it counts for climbing and other strenuous activities.

Read more: Gramicci Original G-Shorts reviews (3)

Royal Robbins Traveler Stretch Short

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

So many great features combined into one awesome pair of shorts. The Royal Robbins Traveler Stretch Shorts are now my go-to shorts for numerous activities.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Fast drying
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Light

Reasons to Avoid

  • Velcro closures
  • Expensive
  • Not made in USA

I received these shorts, along with several other items, as a prize for being Trailspace's “Reviewer of the Month”.One of the first things that I noticed when I first started inspecting these shorts was the quality. They are well made and have great stitching. Stylish enough to pair with a nice shirt and wear out in town and versatile enough to take on a weekend backpacking trip. The feel was unique as well. Soft and light to the touch with a bit of stretch.I have now had these shorts for about a month.

Read more: Royal Robbins Traveler Stretch Short review (1)

Arc'teryx Rampart Long Short

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

A comfortable, roomy pair of shorts, for long days in the mountains.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable fit
  • Breathable
  • Quick drying
  • Roomy, gusseted flexibility
  • Will last for years

Reasons to Avoid

  • The pockets tend to be a little baggy

Sometimes you have a piece of hiking clothing that you take for granted. That piece that is always there and you don't have to worry about them. For me, this is the Arc'teryx Rampart Long Shorts. I bought these ten years ago, and they are still going strong. (photo: Hamilton Gorge in the High Sierra Trail) The fit is true to size, and the 12.5" inseam reaches just to the (my) knees. They are roomy for those big steps up or when scrambling, and I never worry that I'm going to push the seams beyond their limits.

Read more: Arc'teryx Rampart Long Short review (1)

Mountain Hardwear Canyon Short

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

These shorts by Mountain Hardwear are very lightweight and are made with comfortable material. You don't have to worry about what comes at you in these shorts because they are easy to move around in, are quick drying, and feature mesh draining panels in the pockets.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable material
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Quick drying
  • Durable
  • Deep pockets
  • Built-in belt
  • Zippered side pocket

Reasons to Avoid

  • Strange fit (takes getting use to)

These shorts are great for time on the trail or around the campsite, especially if you know that there is a good possibility you'll be swimming or getting wet. They are so lightweight, coming in at a whopping 7.9oz (size large) and are comfortable to walk in all day long. I love wearing these shorts on hot days because they are very breathable, have UPF 50 sun protection, and are great for jumping in swimming holes. The great thing is that you don't have to worry about being soaked the rest of the day and being miserable because these shorts will be dry before you know it. The waist has a micro-chamois lining which is super comfortable against your skin and dries quickly as well.  I really like the deep front pockets and the straight up design...

Read more: Mountain Hardwear Canyon Short review (1)

Kühl Z Cargo Short

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Pricey but very well made hiking shorts with thoughtfully designed pockets and waist size adjustment feature. You can tell the designers really did sweat the minor details of these shorts, thus the higher price.

Reasons to Buy

  • Pockets!
  • Breathy material should be fine hiking in temps of 115°F
  • Waist cinch adjusters
  • Hanging loop
  • The exterior waist button

Reasons to Avoid

  • Inseam is an inch too long; 6+ footers may disagree
  • Inner sash button is bigger than button hole and fiddly
  • Breathy material isn't comfortable hiking below 40°F
  • Ticklish hem rubs at the knee cap; a shorter inseam would be better
  • Jingly metallic zipper pull tabs

Wish list: Shorten the inseam and use a slightly heavier cloth so the fiddly inner sash button can be eliminated; add a couple more belt loops to the waist or perhaps make provisions for suspender buttons.   I like both, the hanging hook loop sewn in next to the back belt loop and the alpine logo on the back belt loop. I cured the jingly metallic zipper pull tab noise by adding small zipper loops taken from the pockets of an old L.L. Bean Windblocker Vest. Recommendable, Pacific Crest Trail-worthy hiking shorts.

Read more: Kühl Z Cargo Short review (1)

More Reviews of Hiking Shorts

Trailspace reviewers have shared 43 reviews of 35 different hiking shorts.

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Other Types of Shorts and Skirts

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Active Shorts

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Hiking Skirts

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