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Top 10 Best Hiking Shorts for Outdoor Activities [2022 Reviews]

Buying high quality shorts for your hiking needs is really useful, especially during warmer climates as it helps in providing better comfort, ventilation as well as freedom of movement than those regular model pants.

However, the shorts should be used only if you are hiking on technically undemanding trails or on well-groomed hikes since there are the areas where you don’t need any kind of protection against the cliffs, rocks and the vegetation.


Quick Comparison: Top Hiking Shorts

  1. Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Short
  2. prAna Stretch Zion Short
  3. Mountain Khakis Teton Twill
  4. Bimini Bay Outfitters Outback
  5. Columbia Barracuda Killer

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

How to Choose the Best Hiking Shorts?

If you are planning for hiking during summer season, then going for some thinner and lighter clothing won’t make you feel overheat. Instead of using hiking pants, try to wear shorts as this will help you to stay cool all through the journey.

Shorts which are specially designed for hiking are rather simple garb. They are having less moving parts when compared to the hiking pants. As the main aim of wearing shorts during hiking is ventilation, you should also check for those materials which offer better breathability.

Do you know how to choose the best hiking shorts for your needs? Well! We will help you pick the best one meeting all your requirements. Below mentioned are the important elements which one should look through before placing the order for your shorts.


Shorts which are designed for hiking should hold many features such as quick-drying, breathable, durable material and above all should be moisture-wicking.

Considering these factors, choosing shorts which are made from nylon or polyester is preferably the best choice. Nylon material is claimed to be more durable and have better abrasion-resistant property than the polyester material. It also offers better breathability as well as moisture-wicking features.

However, both these materials take up little amount of moisture and dries very fast. Usually, spandex will be added to those non-stretchy materials for enhancing the freedom of movement and for increasing the recovery performance.

On the other hand, there are certain models of hiking shorts which features Durable Water Repellant (DWR) treated fabric and hence the same will wick away water rather than absorbing it.

lady hiking in shorts on mountain top


The best model of hiking shorts will fit rightly. They won’t be too lose or too tight for you. Keep in mind that you should always pick a model which offers better mobility since it helps you a lot while hiking in the uphill and while scrambling over the rocks.

However, those models which are too baggy and those which contain extra material flapping will turn out to be nuisance on your longer hikes. Also lose fitting hiking shorts will add to chafing, which is one of the most important element which you should avoid at any costs. Those models which are restrictive and too tight will be having the same effect.


This is one of the extremely useful and the most important feature for any hiking clothing – right from the pants to the jackets. It is always recommended to keep the things which you use the most within easy reach. Pick the hiking shorts which have sufficient storage space. This will help to lower the need for searching your backpack each time you require basic things such as GPS, camera or wallet.

Sun Protection or Ultraviolet Protection Factor

Hiking shorts should be designed such that it should provide protection to the upper parts of your legs against the sun’s harmful rays. The level of protection is usually rated by the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).

hiking couple wearing shorts

This points to the percentage in which the UV rays will penetrate through your fabric. The rating is mainly dependable on the weave, fibers used and the thickness of the material. The treatments, condition of the clothing and the construction also affects the rating of UPF.

Remember that, shorts will only give protection to the upper part of your legs and hence don’t forget to apply the sun cream to the remaining portion to stay protected from the UV rays.


Shorts meant for hiking will be lightweight and hence made from comparatively thin fabrics. It is always advisable to choose those models which are typically very light since they offer comfort and elasticity when compared to those heavier garments.

How to Clean and Wash Your Hiking Shorts?

If you are planning for trails for multi days or even more, then keeping your shorts clean and hygienic is really important. You can clean it under the running water using mild detergents as prescribed by the manufacturer. You can let them dry under the liner overnight and use it the very next day. Make sure that the dampness is completely gone before you wear it in the morning.

Review of some of the Best Hiking Shorts

Our Recommendation

Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Short

The Columbia Silver Ridge hiking Cargo shorts are the popular models out in the marketplace as it offers great durability and comfort. They are made with nylon and features mesh panels that are made out of polyester near the crotch portion for offering better elasticity and ventilation.

The fabric makes use of Omni-Wick as well as Omni-Shade technology for blocking the UV radiation effectively and will also transport the moisture content right from your skin to the outside.

This hiking short has 6 pockets – two side pockets, two back pockets and two hand pockets doe easily accessing your needy things. The pockets on the left side of the shorts are having zips and hence you can keep the most valuable ones inside that.

The model also comes with an elastic waist as well as hook along with a loop closure. The Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Short is available in 6 different colors and all those models are having minimalistic belt.

Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Short


  • angle-double-right
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    Freedom of movement
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    A zippered pocket
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    UPF rating


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    Pocket seams will need stitching in due course

prAna Stretch Zion Short

The prAna Stretch Zion hiking shorts offer better comfort and enhanced freedom of movement. They are made out of a combination of both nylon and spandex. The nylon material makes sure that the garment is abrasion-resistance and also provides better durability.

On the other hand, the spandex offers stretch to your fabric and hence it won’t restrict your movements. Apart from these features, durability of the garment is additionally increased by providing triple stitching (sturdy stitches).

The garment is treated with Durable Water Repellant (DWR) and therefore the water will be repelled instead of absorbing it. The shorts is having elastic waist along with six pockets – two back pockets, two hand pockets and two side pockets.

prAna Stretch Zion Short

The side pockets are seen on the left side of the shorts and one among them will be bigger in size with a covered flap and hence you can store your valuables in that area. The other one will be a smaller pocket which is zippered and is seen on the underneath your large pocket. This model hiking shorts are available in 12 different colors.


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    Freedom of movement (elasticity)
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    UPF not specified

Foot Note!!!

In this write up, we have selected and listed out the top hiking shorts for you. This will help you a lot in taking a decision easier. All the shorts which are mentioned here provide great durability and comfort.

They are breathable and lightweight as well. In addition to this, all these selections come with properties such as quick-drying as well as moisture-wicking. On the other hand, if you are doing technically challenging hikes, then think of getting pants as they may be of great help for you. Decide the model based on your budget and requirements.

Image credit: amazon.com, decathlon.in

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