What are the best hiking shorts for men? This article shares our favorite men’s hiking shorts to tackle the trail. The first consideration is comfort and mobility on the course, which can significantly impact a hiker’s enjoyment. The goal was to select shorts that keep us cool and handle the trail elements like a boss.
A pair of hiking shorts men for should be able to handle a warm summer day, whether that’s running through a rainstorm, climbing over a boulder, or pushing up a hill. There is no need for endless cargo pockets; give us something comfortable that will handle the dirt, sand, water, and rock.
The Best Hiking Shorts For Men
Patagonia Quandry Shorts
Price: $69 | Material: Recycled Nylon/Spandex | Belt: No | Pockets: Six
- Zippered Pocket
- No Belt
- Standard Color Options
Patagonia’s Quandry hiking shorts are a classic from the company that delivers comfort and versatility. We love the look of these lightweight men’s hiking shorts with their clean cut. With the slimmer cut, they still move well with your body due to the lightweight material that moves with your body. It’s also nice to see Patagonia utilizing material that is 65% recycled and blue-sign certified.
The material works well as a bathing suit, like many of our favorite hiking shorts for men. Due to their versatility, they make a tremendous pair of travel shorts that can do just about everything. There aren’t many drawbacks to the shorts, but we’d love a few more color options and a built-in belt to save weight.
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Arc’teryx Aptin Shorts
Price: $85 | Material: Fortius™ DW 1.0 | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Three
- Ultra Lightweight
- Excellent Material
- Water Resistance
- Limited Pockets
Most hiking shorts feel like a Swiss army knife, jack of all trades master of none. Most hikers can get away with lightweight running shorts on a hike. My primary shorts these days are the lightweight trail running shorts from Arc’teryx. The Aptin shorts are light and airy, but the innovative material is water-resistant and very durable. These shorts never inhibit your range of motion if you want to power through challenging uphill sections.
Elastic in the waist and a drawstring keep the shorts comfortably around your waist. The material is excellent for odor control, and you can wear them on a dozen hikes between washes — great for the environment (energy) and multiday hikes. Since they are trail running shorts, there are only two deep front pockets and a small zippered pocket suitable for keys. The inseam on these shorts also feels a little long for avid runners but is the perfect balance for a quick hiker.
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Topo Designs River Shorts
Price: $79 | Material: 100% 2-Way Nylon | Belt: Yes | Pockets: Three
- Quick Dry hiking shorts
- Color Options
- Loose Cut
- Tough Material is Slightly Coarse
- No Fly
We both own a pair of shorts from Topo Designs, and they’re our go-to walking shorts in the summer. They are lightweight, but they double as a bathing suit if you feel like taking a dip in a lake or need to cross a river. Awesome shorts if you like to canoe, raft, or kayak in addition to hiking. Material is not super stretchy, which allows them to hold their shape and resist wrinkles. However, it’s also a slight downside as it feels slightly coarse, but it’s never bothered us on a hike in testing.
A built-in rope belt keeps the hiking short secure on your hips and remains comfortable underneath a backpack. A zippered pocket in the back and two deep front pockets also help stash quick needs like chapstick, map, or phone. The most significant drawbacks come with the high price tag for shorts and the slightly coarse material.
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prAna Stretch Zion
Price: $68 | Material: 95% nylon / 5% elastane | Belt: Yes | Pockets: Five
- Material Retains Heat
- Holds Moisture
These tough hiking shorts men by prAna are built expressly for tough activity in the heat. They feature an exceptional moisture-wicking finish to keep you nice and dry if the sweat valves get turned on. The material is quick-drying nylon that will help prevent moisture buildup.
The short goes even further in temperature control and includes built-in ventilation on the inseam, which keeps you cool and comfortable when climbing a steep hill. Throw in UPF 50 sun protection and a highly abrasion-resistant material and its excellent heat control, and you have a short that earns a place in our top 10 list without even breaking a sweat.
Stay posted for an update prAna released a new design that does not align with the previous model. We have not tested the new shorts.
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Arc’teryx Palisade Backpacking Short
Price: $129 | Material: TerraTex (94% Nylon / 6% Elastane) | Belt: Yes | Pockets: Six
- Great Material
- High Technical Quailty
- Slim Fit Not For Everyone
These hiking shorts from Arc’teryx are fantastic but are also the highest priced on this list. It’s easier to justify the higher price tags on items like rain jackets or down jackets, so the shorts are slightly questionable. However, a hundred dollars is not crazy when you only need one or two staples in your hiking wardrobe.
The minimal design feels casual and technical. We love the slimline pockets with zippers that give the practicality of cargo shorts without the ugly style. It also pushes the pockets off the upper thighs, where it can be burdensome to store stuff when you’re hiking up a hill. They are among Tashas’s favorite hiking shorts for women too.
The excellent water resistance and mid-thigh cut make them highly versatile. It’s more a three-season short when you combine it with hiking leggings or thermals. The fit is exceptional, and once on, they feel like a glove. I wish these shorts were a little more affordable.
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Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Price: $45 | Material: 95% Nylon / 5% Elastane | Belt: Yes | Pockets: Six
- No Stretch to Material
- Cheaper Quality
Another great pair of men’s walking shorts. Columbia’s Silver Ridge Short is a classic staple and an excellent balance between function, fashion, and price that can be the perfect sidekick for hiking. Many love them, and it’s easy to understand why with their tremendous value.
These shorts also feature a DWR finished to support water repellency during those wetter days. Additionally, they also support UPF 50 sun protection to assist hotter and sunnier occasions.
Two pockets on the thigh help keep gear where you need it for longer days, while the nylon material allows mobility on your hikes. They are easily the best value pair of hiking shorts for men.
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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts
Price: $70 | Material: 86% Nylon / 14% Spandex | Belt: Drawstring | Pockets: Five
- Very Lightweight
- Material Feels Very Thin
The Ferrosi is the short version of one of our favorite travel and hiking pants. We love these shorts as they deliver a compelling combination of good-looking ruggedness. The nylon-spandex blend keeps them nice and comfortable but with enough freedom of movement. Outdoor Research has close ties to climbing, and the flexibility needed in the sport translates means their hiking shorts are very flexible.
The Ferossi shorts are similar to their pants, and they are some of our all-time favorite pieces of travel apparel for their lightweight nature and comfort. The handy zippered thigh pocket gives you a little more space for gear, while it’s low profile enough to make these shorts an excellent choice for dinner out with friends or a tough day on the trail.
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Fjallraven Abisko Shorts
Price: $110 | Material: G-1000 Fabric | Belt: No | Pockets: Seven
- Panel Construction
- High Quality
- Water Performance
An awesome pair of shorts that feel ready to tackle any trail. They’re a tough pair of men’s hiking shorts with a classic look that functions as modern pants. The function lies in the active paneling that allows the pants to stretch for maximum mobility.
The G-1000 fabric by Fjallraven is excellent at repelling water when combined with their Greenland Wax, but they aren’t water-loving shorts like some of the shorts above. While it is a downside for many, the shorts are extremely tough and our favorites for rough and demanding adventures.
Despite being eight on our list, they’re some of my favorite hiking shorts for men. The downside comes in their limited versatility because of how they handle water.
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REI Co-op Sahara Shorts
Price: $59.95 | Material: Recycled Nylon / Spandex | Belt: Yes | Pockets: Six
- Quick Drying
- Small Pockets
REI’s Sahara shorts are an excellent choice for more functional shorts for men. They are for an active traveler on an adventure. We love the Nylon blend with dual cargo pockets. Pockets are functional and deep enough to hold personal necessitates as they are for hikes.
The shorts sit high, and they don’t feel baggy despite being cargo shorts. You can even save weight in hot weather and avoid a belt as these shorts have an adjustable waistband.
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What Makes the Best Men’s Hiking Shorts?
There are several vital elements that any pair of hiking shorts should provide. We need hiking shorts that can check off just about every box, so most of the shorts on this list are for the outdoor specific. There are better options than a standard khaki short.
Comfort & Mobility
Say whatever you want about hiking shorts, but if they’re not comfortable, they are not great for hiking. A pair of hiking shorts for men need to be worn comfortably for days. They could be the most durable shorts globally, but if they feel like an art canvas, I’m probably not going to want to hike for eight hours in them. Anyone who has experienced chafing knows the pain involved in poor clothing.
When hiking, you spend a lot of time moving uphill with large strides, steps over and under logs, over rocks, through the brush and even scrambling. Movement and mobility are super important when it comes to hiking shorts. If the pants feel restrictive, it’s probably one of the most significant negatives.
Weight follows in line with comfort and mobility, but if a pair of shorts are heavy and restricting, they’ll affect their performance on the trail. It also plays an essential role in multiday hikes if you like to carry a pair of shorts and hiking pants when every ounce in your backpack counts. It is why none of these are those old clunky cargo shorts.
Antimicrobial material is what keeps pants fresh for multiple wears in warm weather. Cotton is terrible at holding up long-term for numerous days without a wash. Since you aren’t guaranteed to be washing your clothes every day, nor should you, we look for pants that have good antimicrobial properties.
These shorts are for everyday hiking, so they should act accordingly. They will have seen everything at the end of a day on the trail. Great hiking shorts for men stand up against movement, dirt, sand, and mud while keeping me cool.
The material should be durable, wrinkle-resistant, and breathable. Most companies seem to opt for nylon or weird fabric blends. It also plays a vital role in the way shorts handle water. When we opt for a pair of shorts, it’s summertime, and I’m likely getting wet. That means an ideal pair of hiking shorts should feel comfortable wading through a river, down a stream in a raft, or taking a dip in the lake.
We love using pockets, belts, and paneling to provide excellent functionality while hiking. It also highlights one of our biggest complaints about some men’s hiking shorts, those dumb little pockets that can even hold a simple pocket knife. We’re spending time on the trail. No one cares about the thin line created from a pocket.
While this doesn’t have the most significant impact on performance on the trail, you still want a decent-looking pair of shorts. You aren’t embarrassed by those trail photos or can run around town after a hike.
I hope you enjoyed these hiking shorts men reviewed! Find more of our hiking articles below!