Are you hitting the trails in summer? If so, you’ll need some lighter and thinner clothing to make sure you don’t overheat. Wearing shorts instead of hiking pants can definitely help you stay cool. But, do you know what are the best hiking shorts for you?

One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to help you out when it comes to gearing up for hiking adventures. In this article, we’ll walk you through the features you should look for when buying new shorts for hiking and show you our selection of the best models of the year.

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

TentsHammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps

Sleeping Bags |  Sleeping Pads | Stoves

Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | PolesWatches

Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts

Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets

 

 

 

 

QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING SHORTS

1. COLUMBIA SILVER RIDGE

2. WRANGLER AUTHENTIC UTILITY 

3. MOUNTAIN KHAKIS TETON TWILL 

4. BIMINI BAY OUTBACK

5. COLUMBIA BARRACUDA KILLER

6. EXTERNUS MOISTURE WICKING 

7. COLUMBIA SATURDAY TRAIL 

8. COLUMBIA SANDY RIVER

9. COLUMBIA SILVER RIDGE III

10. COLUMBIA HALF MOON 

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING SHORTS 

PICTURE
SHORTS
MATERIAL
NUMBER OF POCKETS
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SHORTS
MATERIAL
NUMBER OF POCKETS
PRICE
RATING
Columbia Silver Ridge
100% nylon
6
$$
4.4
Wrangler Authentic Utility
100% cotton
6
$
4.4
Mountain Khakis Teton Twill
100% cotton
5
$$$
4.4
Bimini Bay Outfitters Outback
100% cotton
8
$
4.3
Columbia Barracuda Killer
62% cotton/38% nylon
5
$$
4.5
Exterus Moisture Wicking Quick Dry
100% nylon with teflon
6
$$$
4.8
Columbia Women's Saturday Trail
96% nylon/4% elastane
4
$$
4.6
Columbia Women's Sandy River
100% nylon
4
$$
4.6
Columbia Sportswear Boy's Silver Ridge III
100% nylon
3
$
4.9
Columbia Sportswear Boy's Half Moon
100% cotton
6
$$
4.9

 

 

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HIKING SHORTS REVIEWS

COLUMBIA SILVER RIDGE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

MATERIAL: 100% nylon

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets, one thigh pocket, one zippered thigh pocket

FEATURES: Ripstop nylon fabric, Omni-Wick anti-sweat treatment, Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection, integrated webbing belt and elastic, zippered security pocket

PROS: Plenty of pocket space, comfortable, easy waist adjustment

CONS: Pocket seams might eventually need stitching

 

 

 

WRANGLER AUTHENTIC UTILITY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 100% cotton

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets, two thigh pockets

FEATURES: Back elastic waistband, cargo pockets, key or knife holder

PROS: Very affordable, plenty of pocket space

CONS: Baggy

 

 

 

MOUNTAIN KHAKIS TETON TWILL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

MATERIAL: 100% cotton

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets, one hidden seam pocket

FEATURES: YKK zipper, 10-inch inseam, triple-stitched seams, bar-tac reinforcements, grosgrain-lined waistband

PROS: Perfect for multi-use which makes up for the higher price, durable, though and solid

CONS: Not water resistant, heavy

 

 

 

BIMINI BAY OUTFITTERS OUTBACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 100% cotton

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets, two gusseted thigh pockets, one rear tool pocket

FEATURES: 7-inch inseam, back elastic waistband with belt loops, tool pocket, cargo and back pockets with Velcro closures

PROS: Lots of pocket space, Velcro pocket closures

CONS: Tight fit

 

 

 

COLUMBIA BARRACUDA KILLER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 62% cotton/38% nylon

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets, one zippered thigh pocket

FEATURES: UPF 15 sun protection, button-closed waistband with belt loops, zippered security pocket, quick-dry fabric, 10-inch inseam, mesh in front pockets

PROS: Dries quickly, lightweight, nice design

CONS: None that we could find

 

 

 

EXTERUS MOISTURE WICKING QUICK DRY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 100% nylon with teflon

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two zippered back pockets, two zippered thigh pockets

FEATURES: UPF 30 sun protection, comes with webbed belt, quick-dry fabric

PROS: Lightweight, zippered pockets, great for all kinds of outdoor activities, comfortable, durable

CONS: A bit more expensive than other hiking shorts

 

 

 

COLUMBIA WOMEN’S SATURDAY TRAIL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 96% nylon/4% elastane

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets

FEATURES: Two-way stretch fabric, Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection, Omni-Shield water resistant finish, 5-inch inseam, mesh pocket bags

PROS: Stretching fabric, lightweight, comfortable

CONS: Very short cut

 

 

 

COLUMBIA WOMEN’S SANDY RIVER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 100% nylon

POCKETS: Two side pockets, one thigh pocket, one zippered thigh pocket

FEATURES: Exterior adjustable waistband, zip-closed security pocket, Omni-Shade UPF 30 sun protection, 6-inch inseam, belt

PROS: Dries quickly, multifunctional pockets, durable

CONS: Things might fall out of the large side pockets

 

 

 

COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR BOY’S SILVER RIDGE III

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 100% nylon

POCKETS: Two side pockets, one thigh pocket

FEATURES: Interior adjustable waistband, Omni-Shade UPF 30 sun protection, Omni-Wick moisture management, quick-dry fabric, 9-inch inseam

PROS: Affordable, dries quickly, comfortable

CONS: None that we could find

 

 

 

COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR BOY’S HALF MOON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

MATERIAL: 100% cotton

POCKETS: Two side pockets, two back pockets, two thigh pockets

FEATURES: UPF 15 sun protection, elastic at waist, pockets with hook and loop closure, quick-draining mesh bellows, 6-inch inseam

PROS: Quick-drying fabric, stylish, durable

CONS: None that we could find

 

 

 

LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

 

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING SHORTS

MATERIAL

The most commonly used material in hiking shorts is nylon. This material is breathable, dries quickly and is durable. Other materials such as cotton can increase your shorts’ toughness. The trade off is cotton is less breathable and water resistant.

Also, cotton dries much more slowly than nylon, which could be an important factor when deciding on the best hiking shorts for you. This is well-worth considering if you’re planning on going swimming in your hiking shorts.

 

WEIGHT

When choosing outdoor gear, including hiking boots and tents, weight is a super-important aspect. You’ll want to get the lightest shorts without giving up on pocket space and quality materials.

 

POCKETS

Pockets are an extremely useful feature of all hiking clothing, from pants to jackets. It’s great to have the things you’ll need most within easy reach. Try and choose hiking shorts with sufficient storage space. This will decrease the need to search your backpack every time you need basic things like a GPS, wallet or camera.

 

SUN PROTECTION

You’re most likely to wear your hiking shorts when it’s warm and sunny, so it’s worth considering buying a pair that offers sun protection. This is indicated by the UPF number, short for Ultraviolet Protection Factor.

Like SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor that is found in sunscreen, the higher the UPF number, the better it will protect your skin. This rating indicates how well the fabric offers protection against UV rays. Specifically, it shows how much radiation penetrates through the fabric. For example, UPF 50 means that 1/50th or 2% of radiation reaches your skin.

While clothing protects your skin against the sun to some degree, people who are fair-skinned may want something more. Extra sun protection is achieved by using particular dyes and fiber types. Nylon and polyester, for instance, help repel sun rays while certain dyes are engineered to protect against UV rays.

This is a useful feature if you’re hiking in equatorial, high-altitude or snowy areas where the sun rays are more intense.

 

FIT

The best hiking shorts are those that fit well but aren’t too tight or too loose. You’ll definitely want mobility when hiking uphill and scrambling over rocks. On the other hand, a pair of shorts that is too baggy, with excess material flapping around, can become a nuisance on longer hikes.

Also, loose-fitting shorts might contribute to chafing, which is something you want to avoid at all costs. Shorts that are too tight and restrictive can have the same effect.

Top 10 Best Hiking Shorts – Hiking Clothes for Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring – Hiking Outfits for Women, Men and Kids – Backpacking Gear For Beginners

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