There’s nothing worse than realizing all too late that your heavy hiking pants were not exactly made with warm summer days in mind. Whether you plan to hit up the world’s best hiking trails or just the hiking trails in your area this summer or set out on an epic journey along the Appalachian Trail, a pair of quality hiking shorts is a must for hot-weather hiking.
The best hiking shorts offer a delightful blend of durability, breathability, and enough freedom of movement to allow a full range of motion. Most even offer enough handy pockets for your keys, cell phone, wallet, and other essentials in case you want to set out without a backpack in tow.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re on the hunt for a collection of the best hiking shorts for a breathable, chafe-free adventure. We’ve rounded up the best hiking shorts for men and women alike for a variety of different budgets, needs, and body types.
What We Cover
- Best Hiking Shorts: Our Top Picks
- 1. Patagonia Quandary Shorts (Men and Women)
- 2. Little Donkey Andy Shorts (Men and Women)
- 3. Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts (Men)
- 4. Columbia Sandy River Cargo Shorts (Women)
- 5. prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II (Men)
- 6. prAna Halle Shorts II (Women)
- 7. Patagonia NetPlus Baggies (Men and Women)
- 8. Fjallraven Abisko Shorts (Men)
- 9. Fjallraven Nikka Curved Shorts (Women)
- 10. KUHL Renegade Shorts (Mens)
- 11. KUHL Freeflex Cargo Shorts (Women)
- 12. Helly-Hansen Maridalen Hiking Shorts (Women and Men)
- 13. Patagonia Nine Trails (Men and Women)
- 14. Little Donkey Andy’s Convertible Hiking Pants (Women)
- 15. KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants
- A Side-by-Side Comparison of Some of Our Hiking Shorts Favorites
- Hiking Shorts FAQs
- What are the best materials for hiking shorts?
- Are there special hiking shorts for men and women?
- What features should I look for in hiking shorts?
- Best Overall: Patagonia Quandary Shorts (Men and Women)
- Best For Pockets: Columbia Silver Ridge (Men) and Sandy River (Women)
- Most Comfortable: prAna Stretch Zion II (Men), prAna Halle II (Women)
- Best For The Beach: Patagonia NetPlus Baggies (Men and Women)
- Most Fashionable: Helly-Hansen Maridalen Hiking Shorts (Women and Men)
- Best For Runners: Patagonia Nine Trails (Men and Women)
Best Hiking Shorts: Our Top Picks
1. Patagonia Quandary Shorts (Men and Women)
It’s not often you come across a pair of lightweight shorts that offer equal parts performance, style, and comfort. Yet this rare combination of features has made Patagonia’s Quandary Shorts one of the most popular choices on the market.
The men’s version of the Quandary Shorts is made from a stretch-woven blend of 95% nylon and 5% spandex, complete with a water-repellent finish. With a curved waistband and gusseted crotch, these bad boys offer a contoured fit with a full range of motion.
Patagonia scores major bonus points for offering the Quandary shorts in three different inseam lengths: 8″, 10″, or 12″. That way you can choose from full coverage protection against trigs and other scrape-y trail debris or enjoy a little extra knee breeze.
You can also choose from three different colors, each of which comes with both front and back double pocket space, as well as an extra zippered thigh pocket. With a classic fit and integrated belt loops, the men’s Quandary Shorts fit just right without being either too tight or baggy.
The Patagonia Quandary Shorts are also available in a women’s version, which may just be among the best women’s hiking shorts we’ve come across. Available in two different inseam lengths (5″ and 7″), the women’s Quandary Shorts are made from the same durable, breathable fabric as the men’s, complete with a gusseted crotch for mobility.
Available in four different colors, the women’s Quandary Shorts feature two drop-in pockets in both the front and rear. There’s even a handy hidden drawcord in the waistband to help guarantee the perfect fit.
As vain as it may come across, we can’t help but admit that we also love the fact that both the men’s and women’s versions are actually stylish. These are the kind of shorts you can wear for a hike without worrying about running into your ex at the supermarket on the way home.
- Available in various inseam lengths
- Made from lightweight, breathable fabric that doesn’t sacrifice durability
- Great range of motion
- Among the best hiking shorts that don’t sacrifice style
- Some reviewers say the men’s version in particular can feel a bit snug when sitting down
- The women’s version doesn’t include an extra thigh pocket (but does offer one zippered pocket in the rear)
See Related: What to Bring on a Camping Trip with Friends
2. Little Donkey Andy Shorts (Men and Women)
We just recently discovered a brand called Little Donkey Andy that we’re a tad bit obsessed with – and not just because of its delightfully random brand name. Not only does Little Donkey Andy offer some of the most highly-rated budget hiking shorts on Amazon, but their offerings are about as versatile as it gets.
Women will discover top picks like these ultra-stretch quick dry Bermuda Shorts, which are made from 100% nylon. Designed with four-way stretch capabilities and a drawstring elastic waistband, these shorts were designed with mobility in mind.
Stash your essentials in the two front side pockets or tuck away valuables in the zippered thigh pockets. Available in ten different colors, these cozy Bermuda shorts also come complete with moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool and dry all day long.
Don’t worry guys, Little Donkey Andy has some great options for you too, such as these men’s quick-dry Cargo shorts. Available in a delightful range of colors, these breathable cargo shorts are made from a high-performance fabric designed for a full range of motion.
With a partial elastic waistband and six pockets for all your essentials, you’ll be ready to hit the trail in style. Complete with UPF 50+ sun protection, these shorts offer all the same features as much pricier competitors at a fraction of the price.
If you’re looking for the best budget hiking shorts, Little Donkey Andy is definitely worth checking out. It’s also worth visiting the brand’s Amazon store to check out its full range of products for hiking, fishing, running, and more.
- Plenty of colors, styles, and fits for both men and women
- Budget hiking shorts that don’t sacrifice quality
- Quick-dry technology
- Four-way stretch for added comfort and mobility
- Perfect for staying cool in hot weather
- Just be sure to follow the sizing charts – a few customers complained about getting the wrong fit but the vast majority didn’t have an issue
See Related: Best Travel Shorts for Warm Weather Destinations
3. Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts (Men)
Looking for the best hiking shorts to lessen the odds of losing your smartphone along the trail? When it comes to cargo shorts, Columbia has some great picks with plenty of room for everything from your keys to small hiking gear.
The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo hiking short is a time-tested pick for men that packs plenty of cool benefits. Not only are these men’s hiking shorts made from recycled materials, but they also offer built-in UPF 50 sun protection that’s endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
With removable integrated belts, two-way stretch, and sweat-wicking features, these trail-ready shorts are designed to keep you comfortable all day long. They’re also outfitted with roomy front, back, and side pockets for stashing your essentials.
While originally priced at $50, it’s now possible to find them even cheaper if you play your cards right. Be sure to do a little Googling or check out Amazon to find the lowest price.
- Made from recycled materials
- Built-in moisture wicking and SPF 50 sun protection
- Breathable, lightweight, and comfortable
- Removable integrated belt and plenty of pockets
- Comes in a range of colors and two different inseam lengths (8″ and 10″)
- Some reviewers complained that the front pockets in particular were a bit too shallow
- Materials may wrinkle without ironing
See Related: Best Travel Sandals for Beach Destinations
4. Columbia Sandy River Cargo Shorts (Women)
For the ladies, we recommend the Columbia Sandy River Cargo Shorts, which use the same Omni-Shade technology to offer UPF 30 sun protection. Admittedly, the Sandy River Cargos aren’t what you probably imagine when you hear the word “cargo.”
The reason we included them anyway is that they are a version of Columbia’s super popular Sandy River shorts that happen to come with a few extra pockets. Nonetheless, even a spare pocket or two can make the difference between being forced to lug your purse along or not.
The Sandy River Cargo Shorts feature a 6″ inseam, integrated belt, partially elastic waistband, and quick-dry technology that’s perfect for a day on the river or lake. Available in a variety of fun color options, these lightweight shorts are a top pick for female adventures everywhere.
Much like the men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts, it’s possible to find the Sandy River Cargos for a great deal if you’re willing to do a little price comparison research. Check for great deals on Amazon.
- Columbia’s Omni-Shade protection offers built-in SPF sun protection
- Quick-dry technology is great for the river or lake
- Comfortable yet durable
- Available in multiple colors
- Possible to find amazing deals from the right seller
- No back pockets
- Not particularly “cargo-like”
See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Running Trails in America
5. prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II (Men)
If you’re looking for the comfiest pair of men’s shorts ever, then check out the prAna Stretch Zion II hiking shorts. A revamp of the original stretch Zion, prAna’s upgraded offering comes complete with built-in UPF 50+ sun protection and moisture-wicking technology.
While the Stretch Zion Shorts are made mostly from recycled nylon, a touch of elastane is the secret ingredient that makes them unbelievably comfortable and stretchy. The special blend offers workhorse-grade durability that will never leave you feeling constrained whether you’re climbing, crouching, or relaxing by the fire.
The mesh-lined pockets and a ventilated inseam gusset join forces to ensure maximum breathability. Meanwhile, the webbing-adjustable waistband and low-profile plastic closure offer additional comfort and support, whether you’re backpacking or wearing a climbing harness.
With plenty of pocket space and an elastic key loop, you’ll have plenty of room to stash your essentials. While a tad on the pricey side, if you’re looking for some of the best hiking shorts for men, the prAna Stretch Zion II is definitely worth checking out.
- Made from incredibly comfortable yet durable material
- Front and pack pockets plus left thigh zipper cargo pocket offer plenty of room
- Elastic key loop
- Pockets and inseam use breathable fabrics to keep you cool and dry
- Available in plenty of colors
- On the pricey side
- Some reviewers say the material is a bit “shinier” than the original
See Related: What to Bring on a Camping Trip with Friends
6. prAna Halle Shorts II (Women)
The prAna Halle Shorts II are basically the women’s version of the prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II and offer the same super comfy durability. With a 5″ inseam and mid-rise waistline, the Halle Shorts II are made from the same magic combo of recycled nylon and elastane to offer four-way stretchiness.
Complete with moisture-wicking and UPF 50+ sun protection, the Halle Shorts II come with two drop-in front pockets and two snap-flap rear pockets. Added vents at the side seams ensure breathability, while the mid-rise cut and added upper thigh room promise a more secure fit than the Halle Originals.
Available in a wide range of styles and colors, don’t be surprised if these become your go-to summer shorts both on or off the trail. Best of all, both of our prAna shorts picks are bluesign® and Fair Trade Certified™, so you can feel great about every purchase.
- Made from recycled, bluesign® certified materials and Fair Trade Certified
- Durable, yet incredibly comfortable stretchy fabric
- Moisture wicking
- UPF 50+ sun protection
- Available in several styles and colors
- Pricier than some of our other picks
See Related: Best Vacation Dresses for Summer & Beach Trips
7. Patagonia NetPlus Baggies (Men and Women)
When it comes to the best water-resistant hiking shorts, Patagonia’s Baggies for men and women are popular favorites. Made from recycled fishing nets, these lightweight, quick-drying shorts are great for a day in or out of the water.
Both the women’s baggies and the version for men feature a 5″ inseam, an elastic waistband, and an interior drawstring for a customized fit. With mesh-lined pockets for easy water drainage, the Patagonia Baggies are the perfect summer shorts for hiking, swimming, or even casual wear.
They’re also a great choice for camping, as they’re lightweight enough to easily tuck into your backpack or even a cargo pocket. They also come in a wide range of fun colors to choose from.
Just make sure you pay close attention to the sizing chart when placing your order. The Patagonia Baggies have generated a few complaints from both men and women who struggled to find the right pair for their body shape.
- Made from recycled fishing nets
- Quick-drying, durable, and water repellant
- Lightweight – great for tucking into your backpack
- Elastic waist and drawstring for a customizable fit
- Available in plenty of great colors
- A bit pricey for a pair of shorts
- Some reviewers experienced sizing issues
See Related: Pedaling Paradise! The Best Bike Trails in the U.S.
8. Fjallraven Abisko Shorts (Men)
Okay, so they are a bit of a splurge, but if you’re looking for the best hiking shorts for serious trekking, then check out Fjallraven’s Abisko Shorts. Made with incredibly durable G-1000 fabric, these stylish shorts have built-in stretch panels to make sure nothing restricts your freedom of movement while hiking or climbing.
Fjallraven even made the top of the waistline slightly higher in the back for added comfort when you’re wearing a pack. You’ll find two zippered pockets in the front, a cargo-style snap pocket on one thigh, and a cellphone-sized left pocket on the other.
While they don’t feature back pockets, anyone who has ever had to resort to scooting down a steep patch of mountain trail will understand why. When you’re looking to get rugged or down in the dirt, shorts like these will have your back- well, thighs and butt.
The Abisko shorts come complete with belt loops, making them easy to dress up for casual wear. While they are on the expensive side, if you’re looking for a quality pair of hiking shorts for men, then the Abisko Shorts are a solid option that’s built to last.
- Excellent quality, durability, and style
- Built-in stretch panels for maximum mobility
- Plenty of pockets
- Available in several colors
- Great for hiking, climbing, or any other outdoor sport
- Among the priciest hiking shorts on our list
See Related: Best Hiking Trails in the United States
9. Fjallraven Nikka Curved Shorts (Women)
Looking for a durable, super comfortable pair of women’s hiking shorts that flatter your curves in all the right ways? The Fjallraven Nikka Curved shorts have got you covered.
These cool, Laura Croft-looking hiking shorts are made from G-1000 stretch fabric, which is not only comfortable but built to last a lifetime. With wider hips and thighs, the Nikka short is designed to offer a perfect fit for your figure, without bunching up or gapping at the waist.
Like the men’s Abisko shorts, the Nikkas features a slightly higher waistline in the back to prevent backpack chaffing. Another perk we really love about these shorts is their generous pocket space, which can be tricky to find in women’s hiking shorts.
You’ll find two zippered pockets on the front, a large flap pocket on one thigh, and a smaller pocket on the other. There’s also an inner mesh pocket and a waist loop that’s perfect for keys or other small equipment.
- A flattering pair of women’s hiking shorts for all body types
- Stretchy fabrics make them very comfortable
- Durable enough to last for years
- Zippered pocket design keeps essentials in place
- Lots of roomy extra pockets
- Undeniably pricey
10. KUHL Renegade Shorts (Mens)
Looking for a hiking short that’s down to climb steep trails, go on a cycling adventure, or camp out under the stars? Check out Kuhl’s Renegade shorts for men, which are made from a fabric that manages to be ultra-soft despite offering plenty of abrasion resistance.
The Kuhl Renegade Shorts even come with a water-repellent, quick-dry finish that can brush off anything from light rain to spilled drinks around the campfire. These super shorts even come with built-in UPF 50 protection to block out harmful sun rays.
But another feature that makes the Renegade some of the most popular trail shorts for men is their ample yet understated pocket space. Unlike most cargo shorts, the Renegade’s pockets are hardly noticeable at first glance.
Yet look closely and you’ll find two front hand pockets, two back pockets, two cargo pockets with zippers, a 3D cellphone pocket, and even a stealth cellphone pocket. With a grand total of eight functional pockets, the Kuhl Renegade hiking shorts have plenty of room for small hiking gear and essentials alike.
- Impressive mixture of comfort and durability makes them a great choice for plenty of activities
- Water-repellent and quick drying
- Eight roomy, yet understated pockets
- UPF 50 protection
- Comfortable and breathable
- On the pricier end
See Related: Top Travel Accessories for Your Next Trip
11. KUHL Freeflex Cargo Shorts (Women)
KUHL’s Freeflex Cargo Shorts are a top-rated choice for ladies who are in search of a high-quality pair of hiking shorts with plenty of room for storage. The Freeflex cargo shorts live up to their name with stretchy fabrics that maintain plenty of rebound to prevent excess bagginess over time.
Made with moisture-wicking, quick-dry technology, they’ll keep you cool and dry on hot weather hikes. The KUHL Freeflex cargo shorts also come with UPF 50+ sun protection to block out harmful rays.
The ten-inch inseam provides plenty of coverage and a flattering fit for women of all shapes and sizes. Best of all, these hiking shorts come equipped with two front hand pockets, two snap rear pockets, and two roomy cargo pockets that offer plenty of room for any items you want to take along on the trail.
- Stretchy enough to be super comfortable, yet with plenty of rebound to retain their shape
- A great option for keeping your legs cool on warm-weather hikes without sacrificing coverage
- Flattering fit for women of all body types
- Lots of roomy pockets
- Moisture wicking and UPF 50+ protection
- On the pricey end
- Some ladies found the center inseam a bit tight
See Related: Best Hiking Apps for Your Next Adventure
12. Helly-Hansen Maridalen Hiking Shorts (Women and Men)
Ladies, if you’ve always longed for a shorter pair of cargo hiking shorts with a slimmer fit, then the Helley-Hansen Maridalen may be the choice for you. These are among the best hiking shorts for hitting the trail in style without sacrificing plenty of pocket storage space.
The Maridalen women’s hiking shorts are made from four-way stretch material and come with a higher waist to ensure maximum mobility. They also offer quick-dry technology and a form-fitting design created for adventure and casual wear alike.
As far as pockets go, you’ll find two hand pockets in the front, two snap-closure rear pockets, a zippered pocket, and a snap-closed thigh pocket. You’ll enjoy plenty of room for your phone, wallet, keys, and small tactical gear no matter where your journey takes you.
Helley-Hansen also offers the Mardialen hiking shorts for men, with the same great wicking technology. The guys’ version is made from ripstop fabric with two-way stretch for maximum comfort and durability.
Between the hand pockets, back flap pockets, and two cargo pockets, you’ll enjoy plenty of room for all your stuff. With UPF 40 protection and a breathable, lightweight feel, the Mardialen hiking shorts are a great choice for climbing, hiking, and trekking.
- Lightweight, comfortable, and breathable
- A great hiking short for camping, climbing, and trekking
- The women’s version offers a stylish, slim fit
- Built to last
- Plenty of pockets
- The women’s version has more pockets than the men’s, which only has one back flap pocket
- On the expensive end
See Related: Best Lightweight Travel Clothing for Hot Climates
13. Patagonia Nine Trails (Men and Women)
If you’re looking for a classic pair of shorts that are perfect for hitting the running trail, then look no further than the Patagonia Nine Trails hiking short. A great choice for trail runners, both the men’s version and the women’s version are made from 91% recycled polyester and 9% spandex to offer a relaxed fit.
These lightweight running shorts feature moisture-wicking technology and a built-in odor-control liner to keep you fresh and dry throughout your run. The Nine Trails running shorts also come with a durable water-repellent finish and a drawstring elastic waist that are perfect for trail running.
Both the men’s and women’s models come with a zippered back pocket, which is a great place to stash your keys. Lightweight, breathable, and Fair Trade Certified, these trail running shorts are sure to be your new favorite running buddy.
- Lightweight, breathable, and comfortable
- Built-in moisture and odor control
- Relaxed fit for a full range of motion
- Zippered back key pocket
- Available in plenty of cool colors
- The original price was a bit expensive, but it’s now possible to find them much cheaper
See Related: Warm Winter Backpacking Destinations
14. Little Donkey Andy’s Convertible Hiking Pants (Women)
Little Donkey Andy is back! As it turns out, not only does the brand offer some of the best budget hiking shorts, but also a relatively inexpensive pair of zip-off quick-dry convertible pants for women.
Made from quick-dry stretch nylon, these convertible pants can transform into capris or shorts in no time. Great for any season, they come outfitted with three slat pockets, two back pockets, and two thigh pockets for stashing all your essentials.
The elastic waist, drawstring bottoms, and zippered knees offer plenty of customization to give you the perfect fit in any weather. Even if you choose to wear them full length, you’ll enjoy the benefits of temperature-dissipating silver fiber to help keep you cool.
- Pants, capris, or hiking shorts? You decide
- Great for year-round adventures
- Reasonably priced, especially when stacked against name-brand options
- Durable yet elastic for maximum mobility
- Plenty of storage pockets
- Can be a bit noisy so not the best choice for stealth
- Some reviewers say they were a bit slim around the thigh zipper
15. KUHL Renegade Convertible Pants
KUHL leads the pack when it comes to the best pants-to-shorts option for men with their Renegade Convertible Pants. Designed with DURALUX soft-shell fabric, these versatile pants feel remarkably like cotton, but with the benefits of abrasion resistance and durable water-repellent features.
Both durable and breathable, they’re a solid quick-dry option for any season. The full fit and gusseted crotch offer extra freedom of movement, while the two mesh-lined pockets provide extra ventilation.
They also come complete with UPF 50 protection and roomy cargo pockets on the side for your outdoor gear. Enjoy full-length protection with zippered and button bottoms in chilly weather or the freedom of a hiking short in warm weather.
- Super soft fabric with moisture wicking and ventilation
- Abrasion resistance
- Durable and water repellent
- Lots of pockets for storage
- A convertible version of the Renegade shorts, which are among the best hiking shorts for men
- On the expensive side
See Related: Essential Tips for Hiking with Kids & Toddlers
A Side-by-Side Comparison of Some of Our Hiking Shorts Favorites
While we think every pair of hiking shorts on the list has plenty to offer, we thought we’d give you a breakdown of some of our top picks for different types of hikers. This handy chart should help give you an idea of the different features, price ranges, and materials of the best hiking shorts on the market.
|Patagonia Quandary Shorts
|• Lightweight yet durable
• Water repellent
• Available in different inseam lengths
• Two drop-front pockets
• One zippered back pocket
|95% Stretch woven Nylon, and 5% Spandex
|Little Donkey Andy Shorts
|• Best budget hiking shorts
• Available in plenty of different colors and styles
• Moisture-wicking and cooling
• Plenty of pocket space
• Four-way stretch
Men: 95% polyester, Women: 5% spandex
|prAna Hiking Shorts
|• Moisture-wicking technology
• Four-way stretch
• UPF 50+ sun protection
• Incredibly comfortable
• Durable and built to last
|Men (Stretch Zion Shorts II)
Women (Halle Shorts II)
|FjallRaven Cargo Shorts
|• Best high-end hiking shorts
• Built to last for years
• Rugged, yet very comfortable
• Plenty of pockets for storage
• Abrasion resistant
|65% polyester and 35% cotton
|Men (Abisko Shorts)
Women (Nikka Shorts)
|Patagonia Nine Trails
|• Best for trail running
• Lightweight and moisture-wicking
• Built-in back zipper pocket
• Elastic drawstring waist
• Relaxed fit
|91% recycled polyester and 9% spandex
Hiking Shorts FAQs
What are the best materials for hiking shorts?
Most of the best hiking shorts are made from nylon or polyester to offer a mixture of durability, freedom of movement, and breathability. As you may have noticed, many of the hiking shorts on our list also include a small amount of spandex or elastane to increase the range of motion.
Are there special hiking shorts for men and women?
As you likely noticed, most of the best hiking shorts for men are also available in a women’s version and vice versa. Many offer the same set of features with slight variations to account for different body types.
What features should I look for in hiking shorts?
There are several features that the best hiking shorts tend to share, such as comfort, durability, range of motion, and built-in storage space. Beware overly tight or thin fabric and take into account the weather and trail conditions you’re likely to encounter when choosing between different hiking-specific models.