The 8 best hiking shorts for 2024

The 8 best hiking shorts for 2024

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Summer hiking in the mountains is a great way to feel the fresh air, not only by breathing but also by your skin. Every hiker knows the pleasure of hiking in nice cool weather where the gentle breeze refreshingly caresses your body. Your legs want to feel free and you’d like to not feel the clothes too much. To enjoy such a pleasure, you should wear light summer clothes. One of them is the hiking shorts. In this article, we will take a look at the 8 best hiking shorts for 2024.

About the hiking shorts

Obviously, this type of travel gear is for summer. It should give you some feeling of “freedom from clothes”. At the same time, it still has to provide some protection when you walk and when you sit on the grass or a stone. It also has to provide some convenience- you can put some little things in the short’s pockets.

But hiking shorts are not just for functionality, they have style. They are designed for men and women. Shorts are usually one-colored but more complex color designs are possible too.

The 8 best hiking shorts for 2024

Running shorts vs hiking shorts

Both of them can be used for hiking. But some key differences make hiking shorts more proper.

First, running shorts are a bit thinner and lighter than the hiking shorts. That’s good but it means that their material is less durable and the shorts can be more easily damaged by branches, rocks, and other raw or sharp things in the mountain. In general, while you can use hiking shorts for many years, running shorts can be useless much more quickly.

Another downside is the lack of pockets and other convenient functions. Running shorts are not designed for running with jingling keys and coins. You just run and use your hands for running. You would not rummage in your pockets while running. And the running shorts should be as light as possible. They are also usually shorter than the hiking shorts. That’s why hiking shorts are better designed for hiking.

Hiking shorts are made of materials that best suit the most important features you need when you go hiking in summer. Their design has the same purpose. These features are comfort and mobility, functionality, venting and breathability, versatility and style, weather resistance and dry time. And finally, of course, the price always matters.

Let’s get into detail about the main features you have to look at when you choose your hiking shorts.


Pants’ length should not cover your knees but to end above them. At the same time, they aren’t as short as your underwear. Most hiking shorts’ length is usually to the middle between your knees and your loins- a bit longer for men and a bit shorter for women.

In general, for hiking, especially on a multi-day trek or on a hike with a high level of difficulty, you would need better protection. So, wearing too short hiking shorts is not so good idea.

That’s why, the best hiking shorts are designed with the best optimal length. It can vary a bit. You can choose the best length just by visual evaluation.

Comfort and mobility

This includes the flexibility of the shorts, and their ability to stretch, especially when you move more actively- when you walk, when you climb upward and downward, when you squat, when you sit down or stand up. You have to feel comfortable in all of these movements.

Also, you would like to feel the shorts as soft as possible, during the movements, and during the relaxation. Now, this requires a longer time to test. You can wear shorts and you can say immediately if you feel comfortable or not. But you have to do some movements to evaluate them better.

Thickness and durability

This feature depends mostly on the material of the hiking shorts. Usually, the thicker shorts are more durable, or at least the sharp and uneven things in the mountain wouldn’t damage them easily. In addition, they isolate your body from the cold stones early morning better.

On the other hand, thinner shorts are lighter. They are closer to the running shorts and give you a better sense of lightness. They can be a bit cheaper, but that’s not always a rule.

The 8 best hiking shorts for 2024

Sun rating

Sunburn in the high mountains is way stronger than in the plains. If you want to protect your legs from the sun, you normally use sunscreen on your exposed skin. Many people think that the skin hidden under the hiking shorts is fully protected. But that’s not always true.

Hiking shorts can be made from different materials. Nylon and polyester provide better UV protection. UV protection is better also by darker colors of the materials and by denser weaves (thicker hiking shorts usually). So, if your shorts are made of natural material, if they are in light color, and if they are thin, you normally should use sunscreen on your skin under the shorts too.

Functionality, Pockets

More pockets provide more convenience. Some shorts have not only a right and a left pocket but also pockets on the hips and the butt. They are often supplied with zippers. Thus, you can put your keys, your wallet, your coins, and some other things in different pockets that can be easily accessed.

On the other hand, too many pockets (especially full of various things) make your hiking shorts heavier. So again, it depends on your preferences.

Waistband styles

Normally, you would like shorts that don’t slide down but fit well on your waist. For some shorts, you have to buy a waist belt. But a much more convenient solution is a waistband, naturally attached to the shorts. It allows a finer adjustment. Another option is drawstrings.

So, various hiking shorts have different waistband styles, usually one of the three styles mentioned above or a combination of them. What you choose again depends on your preferences.

Venting and breathability

By default, hiking shorts are enough open so the air can easily pass through them. But there are still some differences in how you feel on a hot summer day when you walk or when you sit. Some shorts let the heat and the sweat be released more easily than other shorts. It usually depends on the material- its type and its thickness. Normally, the wide-mesh type of material has a better breathability.

Weather resistance and dry time

Summer is warm but rain is something normal, especially in the wetter zones on the Earth. Hiking shorts are too small to protect you like a raincoat, that’s why by default they are not designed to protect you fully in this way. Yes, some of them can protect you temporarily for a longer time than other models, but it is not so useful, anyway.
Instead, a more important feature is their ability to dry quickly after the rain.

Some shorts can be dry for only about 20-30 min, especially if the sun shines on them, while other shorts need a longer time. Of course, more quickly drying shorts are better, and today the brands always compete for this feature.

Versatility and style

These features are related to how the shorts look like, their outside appearance, and the convenience of using them in more activities, not just an easy walk in the mountains. You can just choose them on how they look like.

Sizing and fit

Normally, hiking shorts follow standard measures like S, M, L, XL, XXL, etc, for men and women. The good thing is that the good shorts are elastic in the waist, so there is no strict boundary between the sizes.

Several zones on the shorts are important for fitting- waist, butt, and legs. Some people can feel shorts on their waist perfectly fit but too narrow around the legs or the butt, or fit on legs but too narrow or too wide around the waist.

Normally, you would like your shorts to be enough wide around your body but not too much. Standard measures can help but the opportunity to try them in a store or at least to return the shorts to the online store after you find them uncomfortable at home.

The 8 best hiking shorts for 2024

The best 8 hiking shorts for 2024

Let’s take a look at the 8 hiking shorts for 2024. For a first impression, you can see the table below:

Hiking ShortsModelMain FeaturesPrice
Silverlight Hiking ShortsThe newest hit in the market. Lightweight, proper for hiking, running, swimming, and other activities.$$
Outdoor Research Ferrosi ShortsWell-balanced features, more proper for hiking only.$
Patagonia Baggies ShortsLightweight, multi-activity proper. Very quick dry.$
Patagonia Quandary ShortsWell-balanced features, more lightweight. Focused primarily for hiking only.$$
prAna Stretch Zion Short IIThicker, with better durability, focused only on hiking.$$
Arc’teryx Gamma Quick Dry ShortMultifunctional, well-balanced, mostly for hiking. $$$

REI Co-op Sahara Cargo ShortsLightweight, focused primarily for hiking only. $
The North Face Rolling Sun Packable Shorts
Lightweight, multi-activity proper. Very quick dry.$

Silverlight Hiking Shorts

We start with Silverlight Hiking Shorts because they are the new hit for 2024, and it is very promising. They belong to the type of multi-activities hiking shorts- not only for hiking but also for swimming, running, and other sports. The name “Silverlight” is related to the silver-coated threads that never wash out.

These shorts have three pockets, all of them with zippers, as is normal for lightweight multi-activity shorts- such shorts are not designed to fill your pockets with various things that would make them heavy. They don’t have an integrated belt but a drawcord, and it is another way to make them as light as possible.

The material is soft and comfortable, with good breathability and relatively quick dry. Although the material is thin, it is still quite durable in various types of environments.
This model is still new, it has only a version for men, and some hikers feel them too short.

Models: Male (S-XXL)

Material: Polyester 92% and spandex 8%.

Pros: Lightweight, breathable, quick dry, very comfortable.

Cons: No version for women yet, some tall hikers feel them too short.

See Silverlight Hiking Shorts for Men!

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts is another hit for the summer of 2024, one of the best products of Outdoor Research. These shorts are not perfect in everything but their good features are equally balanced as a quality. They are not the softest (and it can be a minus for some hikers and travelers), with an average number and depth of pockets. On the other side, they are very light, breathable, and quickly drying.

In general, these shorts are relatively long, compared with the average. This provides better protection from the elements outside, and although a bit long, their lightness makes them enough comfortable for those who want as short as possible pants.

Models: Male (S-XXXL) and Female (XS-XXL) versions.

Material: Nylon 86% and spandex 14%.

Pros: Lightweight, breathable, quick dry.

Cons: Not too soft, some users have problems with the drawcord at the waist.

See Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts for Men!

See Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts for Women!

Patagonia Baggies Shorts

Patagonia Baggies Shorts are on the other side of the spectrum. They are shorter than the average shorts, lightweight, and very loose. They are great not only for hiking but also for daily use, climbing, cycling, running, and swimming. One of their best features is the quick drying. They are very elastic, so even if their size is a bit smaller, for most people that’s not a problem.

They have their downside too, of course. Some hikers can feel them too loose and too short, with a feeling of less protection. Another problem can be the low number of pockets- only three. That’s because if you put too many things inside, the weight will increase, and will constantly try to draw them down.

Models: Male and Female (XS-XXXL)

Material: Nylon 100%

Pros: Ultralight, proper for more activities.

Cons: Too short and loose for some people, less pockets.

See Patagonia Baggies Shorts for Men!

See Patagonia Baggies Shorts for Women!

Patagonia Quandary Shorts

Patagonia Quandary Shorts can be placed somewhere in the middle between Outdoor Research Ferrosi and Patagonia Baggies. Their features are well-balanced, but they are a bit lighter than Ferrosi. They have six pockets and in general, they are very comfortable and functional.

The main downsides of these shorts are the pockets- the rear pocket should have a zipper. In addition, their pockets are not suitable for heavy things inside. Finally- the price. They are one of the most expensive hiking shorts on our list. Anyway, for most hikers and travelers the high price is absolutely worth it.

Models: Male and Female (XS-XXXL)

Material: Nylon 94%, spandex 6%

Pros: Very comfortable and functional, lightweight.

Cons: Pockets not well-designed, expensive.

See Patagonia Quandary Shorts for Men!

See Patagonia Quandary Shorts for Women!

prAna Stretch Zion Short II

prAna Stretch Zion Short II (yes this is how the first letters are written) follows their previous model “prAna Stretch Zion I”. They have made some improvements, but at the same time- some downsides according to some hikers.

The good part of this model is its durability and functionality. It is thicker than the shorts of Patagonia described above and provides better protection on the covered skin. The shorts have an attached belt with а felt-lined waistband. Although thicker, they are enough elastic and comfortable. In addition, they have six pockets, some with zippers.

The downsides are mainly related to the pockets. The problem is that they are a bit small and can be inconvenient for people with large hands. Also, these shorts are breathable but not waterproof, with a relatively long time to dry. And finally, they don’t look as stylish as their previous version.

Models: Male and Female (XS-XXXL). For women, the equivalent model is prAna Halle II

Material: Nylon 95%, elastane 6%

Pros: Good protection, good functionality, comfortable waistband.

Cons: Pockets too small, not waterproof, not so stylish.

See prAna Stretch Zion Short II for Men!

See prAna Halle II for Women!

Arc’teryx Gamma Quick Dry Short

Arc’teryx Gamma Quick Dry is an excellent model, designed to be “the best” in every feature. It is light, with thin material, and at the same time surprisingly durable and protective. The material is stretchy (although not as stretchy as some other models). The shorts have an integrated belt. In addition, they have five pockets, all with zippers.

As the model’s name suggests, these shorts are quickly dry, and this is another good feature. They are also wind-resistant. In general, they are very comfortable in every activity.

The main downside is their price- they are too expensive, and after all, they are still not perfect, other models are a bit better in some features. There are enough alternatives with almost the same quality but for a much lower price.

Models: Male (size 28-38)

Material: Nylon 94%, elastane 6%

Pros: Thin and lightweight, at the same time durable, protective, windproof, and quick dry.

Cons: Too expensive, with enough much cheaper alternatives.

See Arc'teryx Gamma Quick Dry Short for Men!

REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Shorts

As the name suggests again, REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Shorts are designed for hiking in warm and even hot weather. They are lightweight, very comfortable, with excellent breathability. The model has six pockets, some with zippers, and some with flaps.

This model doesn’t have an integrated belt or drawcord, so you have to use your own belt. This can be a downside for some hikers and travelers but again, it depends on your preferences. The other downsides are mainly in some details- the pockets are too small, the style doesn’t look too modern, and the plastic button is too weak. But keep in mind that these shorts are some of the cheapest among the best, and the quality is really worth the price.

Models: Male and Female (size 30-44). Equivalent model for women: Sahara Bermuda Shorts

Material: Nylon 96%, spandex 4%

Pros: Comfortable for hot weather, breathable.

Cons: Pockets too small, weak plastic button, a bit old-fashioned look.

REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Shorts for Men!

See REI Co-op Sahara Bermuda Shorts for Women!

The North Face Rolling Sun Packable Shorts

The North Face Rolling Sun Packable Shorts are one of those models that are excellent for a combination of hiking with water activities. They are quick dry, very elastic, soft, and lightweight. In fact, they are a cheaper version of Patagonia Baggies Shorts, but with five pockets. These shorts don’t have their own waistband or belt, so you have to use an external belt.

The main downside of this model is its low durability. The material is very comfortable, soft, and thin, but relatively weak- it can be easily damaged by rocks, thorns, or other sharp and raw objects. So, these shorts are more proper for hikes with less difficulty. However, the good thing is that they are cheap.

Models: Male (size 29-40)

Material: Polyester 89%, elastane 11%

Pros: Lightweight, quick dry, proper for various easy activities.

Cons: Less durable.

See The North Face Rolling Sun Packable Shorts for Men!

There are other hiking shorts that deserve honorable mention, like Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts, Cotopaxi Veza Adventure Short, Fjallraven Abisko Shorts, KUHL Renegade Short, and more. But we chose the above 8 because they are confirmed by the users, from their practical use. And we chose the first one- Silverlight Hiking Shorts as the new hit of 2024.

Disclaimer: Journey Beyond the Horizon is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no additional cost to you.

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This is a buying guide for the 8 best hiking shorts in 2024, with the basic criteria for choice, shorts' main features, pros and cons. This is a buying guide for the 8 best hiking shorts in 2024, with the basic criteria for choice, shorts' main features, pros and cons. This is a buying guide for the 8 best hiking shorts in 2024, with the basic criteria for choice, shorts' main features, pros and cons.

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