For some people, hiking shorts are just something to cover their back ends when they head out hiking. At least, that’s how much thought they invest in them. However, I’m here to tell you that this particular item of clothing is very important. Choose the wrong pair made of the wrong material and you are going to regret it all day long.
You’ll want to choose a pair that gives you plenty of mobility, keeps you cool and doesn’t hold on to extra moisture – which can lead to chaffing. A good pair of hiking chinos or cargo shorts will also allow air to circulate. They will also make sure that you have some form of protection against insects or rogue tree branches and underbrush.
Find the right type of shorts, however, isn’t always as easy as it should be. After all, there are a variety of different types of shorts available – including chinos, cutoffs, cargo shorts and a variety of shorts that are designated for “hiking” but may not actually be good for that purpose at all. How do you find the best hiking shorts from the myriad of different shorts available? That’s a question that’s going to be answered in this article.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best shorts for hiking and listed them below. Shorts that are not just designated as being appropriate for hiking but actually are suitable for this particular activity. After this top ten list, you’ll also find a guide on how to select the best pair of shorts for hiking. This guide lists all of the features you’ll need to look for when choosing a pair of shorts that you intend on wearing while you’re hiking.
Best Hiking Shorts – Reviews
10Mountain Khakis Men’s Teton Relaxed Fit Shorts
These Khaki shorts are designed for light hiking or day trips in which not a lot of physical activity is needed. They are made from 100% cotton and have triple-stitched seams for durability. These shorts also have a Grosgrain-lined waistband, angled hand pockets, and a hidden side-seam hand pocket. One of the best features of these Khakis, however, is its inseam action gusset which gives the wearer the stretch they need for doing physical activities. All in all, these shorts allow for plenty of air flow, wick away excess moisture and allow plenty of room to move around – all necessary attributes for hiking or day walking.
9Lanbaosi Women’s Waterproof Convertible Hiking Pants/Shorts
These convertible hiking pants and shorts are the perfect solution for the woman who goes out hiking and doesn’t know what conditions she is bound to face. It’s made of a lightweight and waterproof fabric that protects the legs when wearing them as pants and can be easily altered into a pair of shorts that allow air to reach your legs. These pants feature a zip fly and a button fastener, plus it has two back pockets with button closures, two side pockets that have zippers and a mesh pocket on the leg that closes with Velcro.
8Columbia Women’s East Ridge II Shorts
Available in one of three distinct colors – grill, tusk, and pulse – these shorts are an attractive and stylish addition to any female hiker’s gear. It’s made of Omni-Wick Summit cloth that is not only comfortable to wear but also protects against the sun with UPF 30 protection. These regular rise shorts have a cargo pocket and not only dry quickly after they’ve become wet but also allow for plenty of air flow. Which makes them perfect for a trip to the local grocery store or a trip up the side of a mountain, depending on what you have planned for the day.
7Singbring Men’s Outdoor Shorts With Zipper Pockets
Designed to be used for a variety of different outdoor activities, from hiking, camping, and fishing to mountain climbing and orienteering, these men’s shorts have just enough give to give you room to move around. They have an elastic closure, zippered front pockets and have an inner drawstring which can be cinched for a snugger fit. These shorts are lightweight and are not only quick drying when wet but also wick away extra sweat and allow plenty of air flow. They make a perfect gift to give yourself or to that special outdoors-man in your life.
6Exterus Outdoor Development Men’s Lightweight Cargo Shorts
These shorts are designed for men who love to hit the outdoors camping, fishing, hiking or golfing. These durable and high-quality shorts are made of a lightweight nylon material and have a UPF of 30+ to protect you from the damaging rays of the sun. They are also comfortable and come with a webbed belt for that extra snug fit. Available in a variety of sizes – from small to extra-large – these shorts are made to fit a variety of different men. Another great feature about these shorts is that they are breathable and allow air to circulate as you lead your active lifestyle.
5Wrangler Authentics Men’s Hiking Utility Shorts
Manufactured by a trusted name in the jeanswear and casual apparel industry, Wrangler, these shorts are designed for the American male who likes to enjoy their freedom in the great outdoors. They are made from 100% cotton and are machine washable. They have 2 front pockets, 2 back pockets and 2 side cargo pockets with a flap. They have an elastic band at the back waist, have legs that hit just above the knee and have a relaxed fit. All of these features make them perfect for hiking, bicycling or just about any other physical outdoor activity and have a fashion-forward style that’s aesthetically pleasing.
4Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Hiking Pants/Shorts
These straight-legged convertible pants are multi-functional and equipped with a number of features which make them useful for hiking or other outdoor activities. They are made from 100% nylon and are made so that they offer UPF 50 sun protection against both UVA and UVB sun protection and are made using a technology called Omni-Wick which wicks away excess moisture from the wearer’s skin. The best feature about these pants, however, is that they have zip-off legs that convert them from pants to shorts. Other features of these shorts/pants include a belted waist, rear flap pockets, and side cargo pockets.
3Columbia Women’s Sandy River Cargo Shorts
Made of 100% nylon and available in a variety of different colors, these women’s cargo shorts are not only comfortable but also fashionable as well. They are machine washable and made in such a way that these shorts offer sun protection up to UPF 30. These shorts have a 6-inch inseam, have an adjustable exterior waistband and a zip-closed security pocket. Another great feature of these shorts are that they are quick drying after they’ve become wet. These make these shorts perfect for women who lead an active lifestyle, whether that means they are hiking, fishing or doing some other form of outdoor physical activity.
2Columbia Men’s Barracuda Killer Shorts
These lightweight men’s shorts are designed for men who lead active lifestyles and need shorts that will match their tempo. They are made using a blend of cotton and nylon ripstop and offer the wearer sun protection with a UPF of up to 15. These shorts are also made in such a way that they are quick drying after they have become wet and they have a security pocket that closes with a zipper. And since these shorts come in a number of different colors – including sage, carbon, fossil, and grill – they are also as fashionable as they are useful and comfortable.
1Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts are made from 100% nylon that contains Omni-Wick technology that allows it to wick moisture away from your skin and allow it to evaporate quickly. They are also made with Omni-Shade technology that imparts up to UPF 50 sun protection to the wearer. These shorts come in a number of different colors including gravel, tusk, black and grey ash, which make them as stylish and fashionable as they are useful. All of the features make these shorts very useful to the guy who likes to spend his time enjoy physical activities outdoors.
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Choosing the Best Hiking Shorts
When it comes to choosing shorts for hiking, there are a few things you need to think about. You need to consider whether you want a pair of pants that convert into a pair of shorts or a dedicated pair of shorts. You’ll also need to consider what material the shorts are made from. There are a number of different materials that these shorts are made from and each of these materials has its own set of pros and cons.
Regular Shorts or Convertible Pants/Shorts?
As you may have guessed, convertible pants are easily converted into shorts by unzipping each leg of the pants and removing them. Some hikers really like the idea of having both a pair of pants and a pair of shorts without having to pack one of each in their packs. They are also convenient for people who like to wear pants hiking because if the leg gets wet or dirty, then it can then just be unzipped and turned into shorts. Another advantage of these types of shorts is that they can be partially unzipped to allow air flow around the legs.
However, these types of pants/shorts combinations also have their disadvantages. Some manufacturers set the zipper up in such a way that they end up rubbing or chaffing the hiker’s leg. They can also be difficult to unzip or to place the legs back onto the shorts. The zippers can also add some weight which some hikers may not like. All things considered, it really is up to the individual hiker whether they should go with shorts or shorts/pants combos.
Types of Fabrics
Outdoor apparel is often made using a wide range of different materials—from wool and fleece to polyester, silk, and cotton. However, shorts for hiking are usually only made of one or more of the following materials: polyester/nylon, cotton, or some kind of blend. Here are some of the features of each material:
Polyester or Nylon Clothing: These materials usually dry relatively quickly and are good materials for wicking moisture away from your body. They can also be a “green” choice because many manufacturers will use recycled materials in manufacturing these products. However, these synthetic materials can often have a funny smell to them after they are worn for a while, a problem some manufacturers fix by giving them an antimicrobial treatment that helps to eliminate odors that may become trapped in them.
Cotton: This material is a traditional one that’s been used by people for a long time now. It’s a good material to wear during the summer months because it breathes and is generally cooler than other materials. However, it also does a terrible job at wicking moisture away from your skin and also does a terrible job at drying. This can lead it to become soggy and heavy. It can also present a problem for hikers hiking in cooler weather because having this wet material next to your skin can lead to hypothermia.
Other Features To Consider
There are also a number of other features to consider when you are looking for shorts that are good for hiking. Some of these features include the number and style of pockets, whether the material protects again UVA and UVB sunlight, whether they have elastic at the waistband, whether they come with an integrated belt and whether they contain knife pockets.
If you take into consideration whether you want dedicated shorts or a shorts/pants combo, take into consideration the type of fabric and pay attention to the features that you require a pair of shorts to have, then you can choose a pair that fits your hiking style and your personality. Choosing a pair of shorts for the trail doesn’t have to be tedious or tiresome, as long as you do your homework and choose a pair that will serve you well while you’re traversing the great outdoors.