7 Best Hiking Shorts


hiking shorts

In the outdoors, comfort and ease hold a significant place. You would not want to be uncomfortable, irritated, or restless while combating with challenges of wildness. So, the clothes you wear outdoors, specifically for hiking, play a crucial role in your level of comfort. Also, if the weather is hot, then you need minimal and light clothing like shorts. Hence, I have listed down 7 of the best hiking shorts for you.

TitleImagePriceView
Arc'teryx Palisade Short Men's (Cryptochrome, 34W x 10L)Arc'teryx Palisade Short Men's (Cryptochrome, 34W x 10L)$129.00View on Amazon
prAna Men's Standard Stretch Zion Short 10"" Inseam, Dark Khaki, 34W...prAna Men's Standard Stretch Zion Short 10'' Inseam, Dark Khaki, 34W...Price not availableView on Amazon
Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts, Cypress/Valencia, 32 x 12Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts, Cypress/Valencia, 32 x 12Price not availableView on Amazon
TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Series Original Tactical Short, Khaki, 34TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Series Original Tactical Short, Khaki, 34$45.95View on Amazon
Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Short - Khaki - 28-11Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Short - Khaki - 28-11Price not availableView on Amazon
The North Face Men's Paramount Horizon Short, Twill Beige, L, REGThe North Face Men's Paramount Horizon Short, Twill Beige, L, REGPrice not availableView on Amazon
ExOfficio Men's Sol Cool Nomad Lightweight Quick-Dry Shorts, 10",...ExOfficio Men's Sol Cool Nomad Lightweight Quick-Dry Shorts, 10',...Price not availableView on Amazon

  1. Arc’teryx Palisade Men’s ShortOpens in a new tab.
  2. Prana – Men’s Stretch Zion, Water-Repellent Shorts
  3. Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo ShortOpens in a new tab.
  4. Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Series Tactical ShortsOpens in a new tab.
  5. Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP ShortOpens in a new tab.
  6. The North Face Men’s Paramount Horizon ShortOpens in a new tab.
  7. ExOfficio Men’s Sol Cool Nomad ShortsOpens in a new tab.

Before you read the full review of each of the products, take a look at the following information which will help you in making your decision.

Buyer’s Guide For The Best Hiking Shorts

Hiking shorts come in a variety of designs or styles with several features. So, look through these features, to select the best hiking shorts.

Material

The material of the short’s fabric directly affects its performance. For a durable and reliable pair of shorts, you must explore the types of fabrics. You will find a vast range of materials for hiking shorts. Most of these shorts consist of polyester, cotton, nylon, spandex, and lycra.

Polyester is a synthetic fabric material that most commonly constructs off-grip gear. It is breathable, lightweight, and wicks the sweat away. Also, it blocks UV rays more than any other material. But, it is less durable than nylon, as it is not resistant to scraping.

Cotton is not recommendable for hiking. It is not suitable for outdoor activities. Cotton absorbs water and then holds on it. It does not dry faster and remains wet for a longer period. But, if you are planning to hike on a hot day, then it might help you. It stays damp and gives a cooling effect. So, if that is what you are looking for, go for it.

Nylon is also a synthetic fabric material and preferable for hiking shorts. It has a quick-drying time; it feels soft and lightweight on the skin. Also, it wicks the moisture away from the body for evaporation. However, nylon is not as breathable as polyester.

Spandex is a material that is flexible and stretches. It stretches and then shrinks back down to its original size. Spandex is also breathable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking. Sometimes, it combines with other fabrics to give them flexibility.

Lycra mostly combines with other fabric materials to manufacture shorts. It gives a layer of flexibility to other materials.

Usually, a blend or mix of these fabric materials construct shorts. The selection of these fabrics depends on the user’s preference and budget. So, you can avail of plenty of options as per your need.

Length

There is no such ideal length of shorts. It entirely depends on your height and choice. But, shorts that cover your thighs are preferable. So that your legs do not rub against each other while walking. Moreover, the inseam measurement must be accurate. Otherwise, it will tighten over your crotch and will block airflow.

Ventilation

The best hiking shorts are breathable and have proper ventilation. You would not want to hike in warm days and let the sweat soak you up. So, try getting those shorts, which have a moisture-wicking feature. It will not allow the sweat to build up underneath your clothing. Also, the flow of air will keep you cool and will save you from overheating.

Comfortable

It will be challenging to go a long way if you are not comfortable in your shorts. That means, there is a relation between your comfort and performance. So, the best hiking shorts will be a snug fit and will allow freedom of motion. Overly tight shorts will limit your mobility. Also, it can cause discomfort, itching, or chafing.

One thing that you should keep in mind while buying shorts is the rise. Do not purchase shorts with a low rise because it will not fall under the backpack. It can create discomfort and chafing. So, shorts with a moderate to high rise will offer more comfort. Also, the waistband, belts, or fabric adds into the support. So, consider them according to what you find comfortable.

Style

Now, shorts come with different designs and features. It depends on your personal choice, outdoor activities, and your demand. You can go for cargo style shorts or running style shorts. Also, the shorts can have many pockets or zips. The fastening of the waist can comprise buttons or snaps. You can also get belts, belt loops, or drawstrings. In short, shorts come in different styles; you have to choose the one that befits you.

Water And Sun Protection

Mostly, fabrics for hiking come with some extra protection technology. That is to create resistance against the harsh environment or weather. Protection from the water and sun is one of the critical features of hiking shorts. So, some hiking shorts come with durable water repellent (DWR) and the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).

DWR is a coating on the shorts that helps them remain dry in wet conditions. It helps in repelling water to save the fabric from moisture. Moreover, the UFP rating tells you the capacity of a material to block harmful UV rays. The higher the UFP rating, the more protection fabric will provide you. So, if you are going to an area where you need these extra protective factors, then consider them. Check the shorts for these ratings and then buy them.

Durability

It’s a given that the product you buy should be durable. Especially if you are off-grid, then the equipment you take with you must withstand the rough surroundings. Similarly, your clothes should be able to tolerate the abuse and grinding of nature. They must be abrasion-resistant and long-lasting. Otherwise, after one hiking trip, you will have to buy more for the next one.

Pockets

Pockets are quite useful and handy most of the time. But, when it comes to hiking, they are not so valuable. Bulging pockets will come in your way when you are ascending or descending the hill. The extra weight can take you down or feel uncomfortable. So, that is your call, whether you prefer pockets or not. They are also helpful when you want to store your phone or wallet. However, you can keep them somewhere else as well.

Belts Vs. No Belts

Like pockets, it also depends on your personal preference. But, there is one critical point that you should understand. If you are carrying a backpack with a hip belt, then you must avoid belts. That is because, under the pressure of your backpack strap, the belt can cause chafing. It will bite in your skin and result in blisters.

However, if you want to wear a belt for adjustability, then use a webbing belt. A webbing belt is a thin strip that is flat and minimal. So, it will rest well under a backpack’s hip belt. Hence, it is your only choice if you are going hiking with a bag with hip straps.

Review Of The Best Hiking Shorts

Here are 7 of the best hiking shorts for you.

Arc’teryx Palisade Men’s ShortOpens in a new tab.

Arc'teryx Palisade Short Men's (Cryptochrome, 34W x 10L)
  • PALISADE SHORT - Big terrain, extended mileage, days deep into the wild –...
  • HIKING & TREKKING - For technical hiking, trekking, durable and protective...

Arc’teryx Palisade Men’s Short comes with quality construction and design. Made with nylon fabric, this short allows breathability. So, it helps in quick evaporation and temperature regulation. Due to this, the comfort and ease of wearing this short enhance.

Moreover, its design complements technical trekking and hiking. You can wear these shorts in the wild, due to their durable construction. Also, the soft-lined waistband and a built-in webbed belt add in comfort. The hems around the legs are almost invisible because of their configuration.

Additionally, these shorts sport five pockets with zippers. It has a rear pocket, two cargo pockets with drain holes, and two mesh-lined, hand pockets. Further, the front fly comes with a snap closure. These are the most lightweight, durable, and quick-drying shorts you can get. But they are also the most expensive. If you have a hefty budget, then it could be the right choice for its durability and design.

Pros

  • Built-in webbed belt
  • Waistband has a soft line
  • Durable and reliable construction
  • Pockets with zippers
  • Breathable and quick-drying

Con

  • Expensive
  • Short front fly

Prana – Men’s Stretch Zion, Water-Repellent Shorts

Prana Men’s Stretch Zion shorts are a perfect combination of comfort, casual design, and durable material. So, you can wear these shorts casually as well as on rough terrains. Made with a blend of nylon and spandex, it offers flexibility with an ideal fitting. Moreover, the use of nylon makes it sturdy and resistant to abrasions.

Further, two mesh pockets add another layer to make it breathable. A ventilated inseam gusset helps in wicking away the moisture to keep you cool and dry. Also, two back pockets and one cargo style pocket with zipper are present. You do not need a belt with it due to built-in adjustable waistband. However, belt loops are available too, for extra fitting.

These shorts fall right above your knees. Also, the rise of this short sits just below the waist. Additionally, these shorts have DWR coating and UPF protection. These shorts repel water and dry quickly when wet. Further, the UFP rating of these shorts is 50+.

Pros

  • Versatility
  • Casual and durable
  • Abrasion-resistant material
  • Breathable, quick-drying, and flexible
  • DWR and 50+ UPF rating

Con

  • The built-in waistband can loosen up

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo ShortOpens in a new tab.

Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts, Cypress/Valencia, 32 x 12
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia's Silver Ridge Cargo Short features...
  • HANDY FEATURES: This men's durable short features one zip-closure security...

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Short is one of the best hiking shorts for the summer season. It comes with Omni-shade and Omni-wick technology. The Omni-shade allows the blockage of UV rays. Also, it saves you from sunburn and any skin damages. The UPF rating of these shorts is 50+. Moreover, Omni-wick technology wicks the moisture away. It makes the fabric breathable and evaporates sweat quickly.

Additionally, it is a cargo style short. It consists of 100% polyester fabric, which makes it durable and quick-drying. Its classic fit provides comfort and smooth movements. Moreover, the elastic waistband with an integrated belt improves its function. The built-in webbed belt is slim and flat. So, it does not cause any chafing under the backpack hip strap.

Further, these shorts have some additional features. It includes six pockets: front, back, and side pockets. Five of the pockets have Velcro closure, while one pocket has a zipper. Moreover, the gusseted crotch area offers a large area for ease in mobility and comfort.

Pros

  • Durable and breathable fabric
  • Omni-wick and Omni-shade technology
  • Comfortable and quick-drying
  • Integrated belt
  • Gusseted crotch and elastic waistband

Cons

  • Sizes might cause issues

Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Series Tactical ShortsOpens in a new tab.

TRU-SPEC Men's 24-7 Series Original Tactical Short, Khaki, 34
  • LIGHTWEIGHT MEN'S SHORTS: The stylish tactical shorts for men with a...
  • COMFORT FIT: Comfortable shorts with adjustable slider waistband eliminates...

Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Series Tactical Shorts consist of 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton. That makes them durable, breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. Since their design and construction withstands harsh environment. Hence, these cargo style shorts are tactical in nature.

Moreover, the adjustable waistband slider offers a comfortable fit. You do not need waist belts or elastic bands with this short. It also comes with 1.5-inch belt loops for extra adjustment. Moreover, with Teflon coating, these shorts provide resistance to moisture and stain.

It includes multiple pockets to store and secure your duty gear. Two-cargo pocket with Velcro closure has an internal magazine compartment. Moreover, two deep front and back pockets, and two knife pockets are also present. The side bellows expand to provide comfort and ease in mobility.

Overall, the design of this short offers comfort, flexibility, and natural movements. The fabric enhances its function and offers versatility. Also, the snap comes with a brass YKK zipper for a sturdy lock.

Pros

  • Durable, breathable, and moisture-wicking
  • Adjustable slider waistband
  • Water-repellent coating
  • Multiple pockets

Cons

  • Sizes might cause problems
  • Pockets are difficult to reach

Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP ShortOpens in a new tab.

Mountain Hardwear Men's Hardwear AP Short - Khaki - 28-11
  • Fabric Body: Stretch Cotton Nylon Sanded Canvas
  • Zip security pockets

Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP Short consists of 75% cotton, 23% nylon, and 2% elastane fabric. That makes this short durable, comfortable, soft, and lightweight. Also, it adds in its flexibility with a comfortable stretch. This material is breathable and moisture-wicking.

Moreover, the 9 inches inseam gusset makes it all the more comfortable. It provides enough space to move, bend, or stretch in these shorts. The flat waistband prevents chafing or rubbing. So, you can comfortably wear these shorts with a backpack hip belt.

Additionally, the DWR finish makes the fabric water-resistant. So, it does not get wet and dries quickly in no time. It has pockets with zippers, which offer extra security for essentials. This low-maintenance is also travel-friendly, as it is a wash and wears; no need for ironing.

Pros

  • Soft, comfortable, and lightweight
  • 9 inches gusseted inseam
  • Pockets with zippers
  • DWR finish

Cons

  • Size might have issues due to the slim fit

The North Face Men’s Paramount Horizon ShortOpens in a new tab.

The North Face Men’s Paramount Horizon Short is a blend of nylon and elastane. The stretchable material is soft, comfortable, and flexible. Also, the elastic waistband allows different sizes to fit in these shorts. You would not need a waist belt with it.

Moreover, the pockets have a zipper closure. That provides security to store your belongings. The front pockets are large enough to secure a cellphone or snacks. Further, gusseted inseam offers enough space for natural movements and comfort.

These lightweight shorts provides water-resistance and UPF protection. The DWR finish makes it water repellent and quick-drying. Moreover, the UPF rating of these shorts is 50. That makes it suitable for warmer weather and sunny areas.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable fabric
  • Stretchable and comfortable material
  • Water-resistant and UPF protection
  • Pockets with zippers
  • Elastic waistband

Cons

  • No belt loops

ExOfficio Men’s Sol Cool Nomad ShortsOpens in a new tab.

ExOfficio Men's Sol Cool Nomad Lightweight Quick-Dry Shorts, 10",...
  • Lightweight shorts for travel, outdoor treks, everyday urban wear, and...
  • Stain- and water-repellent Teflon Shield+ technology lets you wear the...

ExOfficio Men’s Sol Cool Nomad Shorts have not compromised on the durability. It consists of 100% nylon fabric. That makes it lightweight, durable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking but limits flexibility. Moreover, the stain and water-repellent Teflon Shield and technology make it rough and tough. You can wear these shorts for an extended period without washing and quick-drying ability.

Additionally, the cooling Sol technology with jade-infused fibers keeps you cool in warmer conditions. It absorbs heat slowly while releases it faster to create a cooling effect. So that helps you stay dry, cool, and comfortable on a long trek.

Furthermore, the contoured, tricot-lined waistband adds in the comfort and smooth movements. The two pockets with zippers store stuff safely and give easy access to belongings. Also, the UPF rating of 50 saves you from the harmful rays of the sun.

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy material
  • Stain and water-repellent Teflon Shield
  • Cooling Sol technology
  • UPF protection
  • Contoured, tricot-lined waistband

Cons

  • Limited flexibility
  • Expensive

Verdict!!

The selection of shorts mostly depends on your choice, yet you should consider some features. So, keeping those features in mind, my vote goes to Prana Men’s Stretch Zion Shorts. I find this pair of shorts, the best hiking shorts; that is because of its casual and durable design. It offers flexibility, comfort, and breathability.

Moreover, the ventilated gusseted inseam helps in moisture-wicking and natural movements. Multiple pockets can assist in securing your belongings. The DWR coating and a high UPF rating add in the protection. Also, the abrasion-resistant material makes it more durable.

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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