What are the best hiking shorts for men? In this article, we share our favorite men’s hiking shorts to tackle the trail. The first consideration is comfort and mobility on the trail which can have a big impact on hiker’s enjoyment.
Our recommendations on the best hiking shorts for men are based on days on end trying out different shorts in the mountains. The goal was to find a selection of shorts that keep us cool and can handle the trail elements like a boss.
A pair of shorts 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. No need for an endless amount of cargo pockets, give us something comfortable that will handle the dirt, sand, water, and rock.
The Best Hiking Shorts For Men
1.) Patagonia Quandry Men’s Shorts ($69)
- Material: 95% Nylon / 5% Spandex
- Belt: No
- Pros: Comfort, Mobility, Versatility, Material, Style, Zippered Pocket
- Cons: 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 even 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.
2.) Topo Designs River Shorts ($79)
- Material: 100% 2-Way Nylon
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Quick Drying, Mobility, Pockets, Belt, Color Options, Loose Cut
- Cons: Tough Material is Slightly Coarse, Price
We both own a pair of shorts from Topo Designs and they’re our go-to shorts in the summer. Not only are they 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 also 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 are helpful for stashing quick needs like chapstick, map, or phone. The biggest drawbacks come in regards to the high price tag for shorts and the slightly coarse material.
3.) prAna Stretch Zion ($68)
- Material: 95% nylon / 5% elastane
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Comfort, Style, Mobility, Ventilation, Belt,
- Cons: Material Retain Heat, Holds Moisture
These tough shorts by prAna are built expressly for tough activity in the heat. They feature a phenomenal moisture-wicking finish to keep you nice and dry if the sweat valves get turned on. The material, in turn, is a 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 in addition to its fantastic heat control, and you have a short that earns a place in our top 10 list without even breaking a sweat.
4.) Arc’teryx Palisade Short ($129)
- Material: TerraTex (94% Nylon / 6% Elastane}
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Great Material, Slim Cut, Technical, Pockets, Mobility, Comfort
- Cons: Price, Slim Fit
These hiking shorts from Arc’teryx are fantastic like many of the offerings from the company 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 really 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.
The great water resistance and mid-thigh cut make them extremely versatile. It’s more a three-season short when you combine with hiking leggings or thermals. The fit is exceptional and once on they feel like a glove. I just wish these shorts were a little more affordable.
5.) Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts ($45)
- Material: 95% Nylon / 5% Elastane
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Value, Pockets, Built-in Belt, Comfort, Classic
- Cons: No Stretch to Material, Cheaper Quality
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. They’re loved by many 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 in the hotter and sunnier occasions.
Two pockets on the thigh help keep gear where you need it during longer days, while the nylon material allows for mobility on your hikes. They are easily the best value pair of hiking shorts for men.
6.) Mountain Hardware Men’s AP Short ($70)
- Material: 75% Cotton, 23% Nylon, 2% Elastane
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Tough, Style, Comfort, Versatility
- Cons: Heavy, Cotton Material
Mountain Hardware has been making rough and ready clothing for the extreme adventurer for years, and they sure do it well. The AP short embodies this dedication to durability by producing a rugged canvas fabric that is both durable and stretchy. They’re an excellent pair of hiking shorts for men.
The stretchy aspect of these shorts will keep them nice and comfortable as you’re climbing in and out of a safari truck. Yet the nylon and cotton blend will also hold up to the rough environment and some abrasion.
We also like how, despite their tough build, these shorts are still stylish enough for relaxing evenings at a lodge or in camp. Mountain Hardware also produces these shorts in a wide range of colors, so you can perfectly match your wardrobe to the season at your destination.
7.) Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts ($70)
- Material: 86% Nylon / 14% Spandex
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Very Lightweight, Pockets, Flexible, Strech, Tough
- Cons: Too Lightweight,
The Ferrosi is Outdoor Research’s is the short version of one 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 Reseach 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 rugged day on a safari.
8.) Fjallraven Abisko Short ($125)
- Material: G-1000 (65% Polyester / 35% Cotton) and stretch fabric (98% Nylon, 2% Elastane)
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Style, Pockets, Durability, Panel Construction
- Cons: Expensive, Water Resistance
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 a modern pant. The function really lies in the active paneling that allows for the pants to stretch for maximum mobility.
The G-1000 fabric by Fjallraven is great at repelling water when combined with their Greenland Wax, but they aren’t water-loving shorts like some of the shorts above. While it a downside for many the shorts are extremely tough and our favorites for rough and tough adventures.
Despite being eight on our list they’re some of my favorite hiking shorts for men. The downside really comes in their limited versatility because how they handle water.
9.) Marmot Arch Rock ($59)
- Material: 94% Nylon / 6% Elastane
- Belt: Yes
- Pros: Comfortable, Tough, Value,
- Cons: A Little Baggy
Yet another tough little pair of shorts comes from the mountain masters at Marmot. The Arch Rock short follows our trend of abrasion-resistant material that will hold up to constant motion in tough environments, and remain comfortable for the entire time.
The breathable, UPF 50 protected shorts also come with a zippered thigh pocket and gusseted inseams for increased mobility. This particular short is also Bluesign approved, meaning that it is manufactured through sustainable textile manufacturing.
What makes the best hiking shorts for men?
There are several key elements that any pair of the best hiking shorts for men should check off. We need hiking shorts that can check off just about every box which is why the majority of the pants on this list are technical shorts designed for the outdoors.
Comfort & Mobility
Say whatever you want about hiking shorts, but if they’re not comfortable then they are not great for hiking. A pair of hiking shorts need to be worn comfortably for days on end. They could be the most durable pants in the world, but if they feel like an art canvas I’m probably not going to want to hike for eight hours in them.
We also spend a lot of time moving uphill making big strides, stepping over logs, 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 biggest negatives.
This follows in line with comfort and mobility, but if a pair of shorts are heavy and restricting than they’ll affect their performance on the trail. It also plays an important role in multi-day hikes if you like to carry a pair of shorts and hiking pants when every ounce in your backpack counts. This is why none of these are those old clunky cargo shorts.
This what keeps pants fresh for multiple wears in warm weather. Cotton is terrible at holding up long term for multiple 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 pants are meant for everyday hiking so they should act accordingly. By the time I’m done with a pair of pants, they will have seen everything that can be thrown at them. Great hiking shorts for men stand up against, movement, dirt, sand, mud, and still keep me cool.
The material should be durable, wrinkle-resistant, and breathable. Most companies seem to opt for nylon or weird fabric blends. This also plays an important role in the way shorts handle water. When we opt for a pair of shorts it’s summertime and I’m likely going to get 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 the use of pockets, belts, and paneling to allow for great 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 slight line created from a pocket.
While this doesn’t have the biggest impact on performance on the trail you still want a decent looking pair of shorts. It means you aren’t embarrassed by those trail photos or can run around town once you’re done hiking.
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