The Most Practical Hiking Shorts for Men to Wear for Any Outdoor Adventure

men's hiking shorts
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Like most outdoor activities, hiking requires its own specialized wardrobe. Though hiking boots are critical (nothing worse than blisters and sore feet), the actual clothing you’re wearing can make just as much of a difference in the overall enjoyment of your hike. Now you might be wondering what exactly should someone wear during an exploration? And the answer is a pair of hiking shorts. 

When it comes to hiking shorts, you’ll want to look for the same thing you’d look for in a good pair of exercise shorts. To begin with, comfort and durability are key for any pair of shorts in general. After all, nobody wants to wear uncomfortable shorts, as this can make your intense hike an unpleasant experience. However, there are plenty of other features to consider for hiking shorts for men, which we dive into below.

What To Look For in the Best Hiking Shorts

Material: One of the most important things to look for in a pair of men’s hiking shorts is the materials, specifically, moisture-wicking fabrics. These materials wick moisture away from your body to keep you cool as you work up a sweat. It’s also good for the shorts fabric to be quick-drying, which will come in handy if you find yourself crossing over a lake or stream in the forest. 

Inseam: Another notable thing you might want to consider when getting hiking shorts are longer inseams in order to better protect your skin from not only twigs and branches but the sun as well.

Pockets: Whether your hiking shorts come with two pockets or six, anything will be beneficial. But cargo shorts are probably the most practical for a voyage as their extra pockets can help you hold things like your phone, trail mix, wallet or any other random things so you can just focus on your surroundings.

Style: Obviously, your main focus is the great outdoors when you’re hiking, but you can’t walk around and not be happy with your outfit. Moreover, it’s okay to make sure that your shorts are a style that you feel comfortable with. Hiking shorts come in several styles, from tactical cargos to simple shorts that resemble chinos. And while some options may be packed with certain features that can come in handy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to choose them if they don’t align with your personal style. 

So whether you’re going for a quick afternoon trek or preparing for the Appalachian Trail hike, make sure you’re prepped with the best men’s hiking shorts. To help you wade out the good options from the bad, we took the liberty to choose a few of our favorite hiking shorts for men you can get online right now.

  

1. Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short

BEST OVERALL

Columbia’s Silver Ridge cargo short has been the go-to hiking short for experienced hikers for quite a while now — and they’ve only gotten better over time as Columbia has continued to improve their features and construction. Their proprietary fabric called Omni-Shade has included SPF protection. In addition to being moisture-wicking (thanks to its extremely durable Omni-Wick material) the interior mesh lining adds not only comfort but also increased ventilation and range of motion. Comfortable, durable, colorful and affordable, the Silver Ridge should be your first stop for a pair of hiking shorts that’s capable of hitting the trail as hard as you will.

Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Short Courtesy of Amazon
  

2. L.L.Bean Cresta Hiking Shorts

RUNNER-UP

These durable, quick-drying shorts are a great choice for an outdoor adventure. Don’t hesitate to cross that river or log because your shorts will dry faster than you think. The nylon fabric speeds up the evaporation process which will leave you cool and comfortable before you know it. These shorts also have 50 UPF fabric to shield you from harmful UV rays. Stash whatever you need in the bottom pockets that have hooks to keep your smaller items secure.

L.L.Bean Cresta Hiking Shorts Courtesy of L.L.Bean

  

3. Chubbies The Ultimate Training Shorts

MOST VERSATILE

Ideal for a day of leisure or travel, these Chubbies shorts are lightweight and comfortable, making them great for hiking or casual strolls through the woods. They’re made of four-way stretch fabric for optimal movement and come with a double-layered waistband that prevents them from coming off your hips. The shorts are also designed to eliminate chafing.

Chubbies The Secret Agents Courtesy of Chubbies

  

4. Wrangler Canvas Utility Hiker Short

MOST AFFORDABLE

If you’d rather stick with a traditional cotton pair of shorts for hiking, Wrangler’s canvas utility hiking short is a great alternative. Made from 100% cotton for comfort, the relaxed and elastic waistband ensures that the shorts won’t ride up while you’re hiking. The two-side flap cargo pants make it so you’ve got extra storage options, while the deep back pockets will keep your wallet, phone or whatever else you may slot back there in place. And at $20, it’s a great pair of shorts to get you started on your expeditions.

wrangler canvas hiker short, best hiking shorts for men Courtesy of Amazon
  

5. Fjallraven Abisko Shorts

MOST FLEXIBLE

For those who already have a pair of hiking shorts and are looking to invest in a better pair (or for those that are willing to spend more on an initial purchase), Fjallraven’s Abikso shorts have great moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties, as well as stretch panels for additional flexibility and long-lasting comfort for your walks. We also like the front cargo pockets, which are slightly different in size in order to better organize whatever you may be carrying at any given moment.

Fjallraven Abisko Shorts Courtesy of Fjallraven

  

6. RedHead Beachcomber Shorts

BEST CAMO

While these are indeed a pair of beach shorts, they’re just as reliable for an outdoor adventure. Made of 100% cotton canvas, these shorts are as durable as they are stretchy. You can scramble over rocks and hike your way to the top of a waterfall without fear of ripping your shorts. They have plenty of storage space featuring two deep hand pockets, two front cargo pockets, and two back pockets with hook-and-loop closures. Wherever you end up wearing these shorts, you are sure to be comfortable.

RedHead Beachcomber Shorts Courtesy of Cabela's
  

7. Jack Wolfskin Activate Tour Short

WATER-REPELLENT

The last thing you want to happen is to get caught up in a rain shower during your adventurous hike. However, you can avoid a situation like that as long as you dress appropriately. And these Jack Wolfskin Activate Tour Shorts are just what you need to get by. The softshell shorts are made of a water-repellent fabric designed to bead up water droplets and roll off. Not to mention, they have wind-resistant and abrasion-resistant properties too.

Jack Wolfskin Activate Tour Short Courtesy of Jack Wolfskin

  

8. Helikon Outdoor Tactical Shorts

BEST FOR STORAGE

Perfect for the person that takes the Boy Scout’s “Be Prepared” motto a little too seriously, these men’s hiking shorts from Helikon have more pockets than you can shake a stick of jerky at. Designed in mind as more of a tactical option (with two cargo zipper pockets and two front velcro closed pockets), re-purposing them as pair of hiking shorts is a no-brainer. And with the polycotton ripstop material, they’ll stay plenty durable when you (perhaps) overload them with stuff.

hlikon outdoor hiking shorts Courtesy of Amazon

  

9. World Wide Sportsman Baitcast Shorts

BEST NYLON

One thing about Bass Pro Shops is that you can always count on them for reliable and durable outdoor gear. And the World Wide Sportsman Baitcast Shorts are no exception. The nylon bottoms are designed with quick-drying technology that disperses moisture to help them dry faster. They have an 8-inch inseam, a comfortable waistband and 10 pockets and a Handy Cordura-lined pliers pocket. You honestly can’t get a better pair of shorts for this affordable price.

World Wide Sportsman Baitcast Shorts Courtesy of Bass Pro Shops
  

10. Columbia PFG Permit III Shorts

BEST FOR SUN PROTECTION

With additional sun resistance built into the fabric of the shorts themselves, the Columbia PFG Permit III Short is your best protection (along with sunscreen that is!) for those hikes that are just brutally bright. That PFG material is equally good at moisture-wicking, so you won’t have to make a sacrifice in order to make sure you’ve got an added level of protection for having fun in the sun all day long.

Columbia PFG Permit III Shorts Courtesy of Columbia

  

11. L.L.Bean Tropic-Weight Cargo Shorts

MOST BREATHABLE

Even though short shorts are deemed to be trendy, these 10-inch cargo shorts are just what you need for hiking. These stylish shorts will keep you cool while out on a hot summer day with their breathable tropical-weight fabric and relaxed fit. They have a natural waist and elastic side panels for added comfort while wearing them. Plus, the shorts will last you for years as they have shrinkage control.

L.L.Bean Tropic-Weight Cargo Shorts Courtesy of L.L.Bean
  

12. Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Shorts

CLASSIC DESIGN

If you’re looking to get a hike in while you’re on the road, the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Shorts should be the first pair of hiking shorts you pack. Lightweight and inherently packable, they’ll fit right into your carry-on without taking up too much space or weight. The Guide Pro also includes two side cargo pockets for additional storage, as well as other features like water-repellent nylon, sun protection, and two-way stretch (for comfort and flexibility of movement). With plenty of colors and a price point that’s more than palatable, they’re a great option for those who are always on the go.

eddie baur guide pro shorts Courtesy of Amazon

  

13. Patagonia Lightweight All-Wear Hemp Shorts

MOST LIGHTWEIGHT

When looking for a pair of hiking shorts for men, you want them to be a stylish and useful option that you can see yourself wearing every day. Yes, they need to be functional for a grueling hike up the mountains but casual enough for a chill day too. Luckily, Patagonia incorporated all of those factors into their All-Wear Hemp Shorts. Lightweight and breathable, these shorts will keep you cool even on the hottest summer day. They have a classic chino style with front slanted pockets and welted back pockets.

Patagonia Lightweight All-Wear Hemp Shorts Courtesy of Patagonia
  

14. REI Co-op Sahara Amphib Shorts

MOST DURABLE

If you’re looking for a pair of shorts that are water-friendly all the way, then you can’t go wrong with REI’s Sahara Amphib Shorts. They’re constructed of an “Amphibious” nylon/polyester blend that dries quickly and is water repellent. These shorts are snag and tear-resistant, making them quite durable and one of the best options on the list should you find yourself hiking through the rough wilderness. They even feature several handy features like deep hand pockets, a removable belt to customize the fit, and a carabiner loop on the waistband to hold keys or a small towel. And we can’t forget the hiking shorts have UPF 50+ protection against the sun’s UV rays.

REI Co-op Sahara Amphib Shorts Courtesy of REI
  

15. St. John’s Bay Hiking Cargo Short

BEST FOR BEGINNER HIKERS

Just got invited on a hiking trip last minute and need a pair of shorts ASAP? Go with this option from St. John’s Bay. The cargo shorts are made of lightweight cotton that’ll keep you comfortable on a hot day while trailing through the mountains. They come with a good amount of pockets (two front, two back and two on the side) for storing snacks, keys and other personal items. While they might not have any handy features like SPF or water-resistant properties, these will make the perfect starter pair of hiking shorts for someone new to the journey.

St. John's Bay Hiking Cargo Short Courtesy of JcPenney