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The North Face Paramount Cargo Short

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: The North Face Paramount Cargo Short hiking short

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


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


  • 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.


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 that the belt is narrow but the belt loops are wide - you could replace the included belt with something wider or more robust if you want.  At the same time, there isn't so much fabric that you're at risk of snagging them on branches. 



As you can see, the shorts snap shut and have a quick release belt bucket; they have a lightweight zipper.  i like that the buckle is low profile, so it does not interfere with a hip belt when I'm hiking.  also, note that the stitching is consistent and even - no manufacturing flaws that i could find.  i like the included belt but could envision situations where the wider belt loops would be useful. 


the shorts have cargo pockets on each side, with some gussets so they can expand a little, and velcro closures.  i assume the velcro will wear out over time, as that has been my experience with other shorts.  Though it isn't easy to see here, the front pockets both have partial mesh, so they drain; the cargo pockets and back pocket don't have drain holes, which I would have appreciated.  note the back pocket and the location of the elastic in the photo below.




They just got it right.  The nylon has some texture and 'hand' to it.  It is not ultralight material.  As a result, I have no fear about snagging, tearing, abrasions, and they don't have any signs of wear despite quite a bit of use.  we'll see how they fare as the months turn into years.  The material has DWR and sheds light rain really nicely, and the material dries pretty quickly, except for the insides of the cargo pockets and the elastic parts at the waist.  To the extent you care for a pair of shorts, these are also UPF 30.  I liked how they dried fairly quickly after rain showers. 


I have worn these shorts on several day hikes, almost always while wearing a mid-sized backpack (40-60 liters).  most of my hiking is near the Potomac River or adjacent woods, so i do a fair bit of rock-scrambling and end up in the water a fair bit to check things out or chase my dog.  These shorts are comfortable to hike in, apparently sturdy in terms of handling abrasion, reasonably lightweight, and very capable for wet conditions.  on a few hikes, they mostly dried out after i pushed forward through steady rain; they repel water well.  The loose fit and mid-weight nylon is comfortable for hiking in very warm mid-atlantic summer weather. 


Though I have minor quibbles with the design, I am basically very happy with these shorts. 

Source: received it as a personal gift

Bought an earlier version of these shorts in 2002. Have put them through all kinds of abuse since then. They are still going strong and the Velcro is only now starting to lose its grip. Great all around hiking shorts that will stand up to briers and scrapes that would send lessor shorts to the rag bag.


  • Extremely durable
  • A shorter, 10" in seam that's getting harder to find
  • Dries overnight


  • Velcro started to wear out after 11 years (is that a con?)
  • One Velcro patch had to be re-sewn on after 3 years

I bought these shorts on sale at Macy's of all places in 2002 for $45; not realizing I would still be stuck with them 11 years later. Fortunately I chose a color I like, grey, and my size, medium, has stayed the same.  They fit me very well and are not overly long in the inseam.  

I grew up in the 70s and 80s when guys wore short shorts, so it's hard for me to like many of the knicker length "shorts" sold today. The waist band has some elastic and there is a built-in web belt.



The material is basically the same nylon that is used in the 2013 Paramount shorts and pants, meaning it's a bit heavier than many shorts offered, but the increase in thickness provides a bunch more durability. For me, the material breathes well, gets plenty of ventilation through the legs, and dries overnight from a late day creek washing.  

On a hot day anything I have in the pockets will lock sweat against your skin so you have to watch out for that.  The only areas of wear I notices are a little shining in the bottom area along with a little piling. About 3 years into wear, one of the Velcro squares came off of one cargo pocket and had to be sewn back on. Other than that, the Velcro on the cargo pockets and one back pocket are starting to wear out, but I didn't notice that until last year (10 years into wear).

My shorts have front and rear slash pockets versus the square cut rear pockets that most pants have these days.  I like them better as I can get into the pockets with a waist pack on when I want to.  Lastly, the shorts are cut close enough that it's easy to put on rain gear without them riding up.  

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $45

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Price Historic Range: $15.00-$55.00
Reviewers Paid: $45.00
Weight 10.6 oz / 300 g
Inseam 10 in
Fabric 177 g / sq m 100% Nylon Faille (Bluesign® Approved Fabric)
Price Historic Range: $39.95-$42.00
Product Details from The North Face »

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