6 Best Hiking Shorts for Men in 2022: Hit the Trails in Comfort

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Remember last summer when you went hiking in board shorts and ended up chafing the living daylights out of your thighs? Let’s never do that again.

To help you avoid the same thing happening again, we put together a list of the best hiking shorts for men so you can hike comfortably and carry everything you need.

Best Overall
  • Made with durable ripstop fabric that won’t rip, tear, or break down over the years
  • Full gusset through the crotch that gives you plenty of stretch and room downstairs
  • Elastic waistband and drawcord ensure you get a comfortable fit
Best for Backpacking
  • Loaded with plenty of cargo pockets for easy storage
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Available with 10 and 12” inseams
Best Plus Sized
  • Adjustable buckle closure
  • Available up to size 52w
  • Zip security pocket for your phone and wallet
Best for Hot Weather
  • Full synthetic fabric for fast drying and sweat wicking
  • Is designed to go in water, so you can take a dip if you’re hiking near a river
  • Available in nine colors and up to size 3XL
Best on a Budget
  • Minimalist look
  • Two side zip pockets for secure storage
  • Relaxed fit and water repellent fabric
Best with a Liner
  • Soft lining that doesn’t ride up
  • Super lightweight fabric that wicks moisture and dries fast
  • The most comfortable shorts on this list

It feels good to get out again, doesn’t it?

When you’re going for a hike, the last thing you need is an uncomfortable, hot pair of shorts sticking to your legs. Or even worse, the chafe

Over the past two years, I’ve been trying out different brands on my hikes and whittling down my list to only the best of the best. 

And these right here, my friend, and the best hiking shorts for men. 

6 Best Men’s Hiking Shorts in 2022

Best Overall: Vuori Ripstop Short

Vuori duraterra fabric closeup

The Vuori Ripstop Short makes the top of my list because of the brand’s DuraTerra™ ripstop fabric. Last summer I did a 100 ft waterfall rappel in these shorts and scraped up against some pretty jagged shale a few times (I’m not a great climber). 

While these blows would’ve torn any other type of shorts, my Vuori Ripstop shorts took the shots like nothing happened. Of course, my hip didn’t look that way, but my shorts are still ready for adventure. 

Vuori charcoal polo and ripstop shorts in olive

The Vuori Ripstop Short has a gusseted crotch, which allows for long steps and easy climbing over boulders. Plus the fabric dries quickly and there’s a special zip pocket to keep your valuables safe. 

And most hikers get into nature because they like seeing the great outdoors—Vuori’s DuraTerra™ line is made with organic cotton and has a minimal impact on the planet. They’re doing their part to ensure there’s still a place to go hiking in the years to come.

What I Like

  • The DuraTerra™ ripstop fabric is super durable and can take an absolute beating. 

  • They dry quickly and don’t catch on your thighs.

  • The gusseted crotch makes it easy to take large steps or climb over boulders.

What I Don’t Like

  • They run slightly small. If you’re, say, a 35 waist, I’d pick the XL. 

What Other Reviewers Say

I was surprised to see how many use cases reviewers had for these shorts: chilling at a backyard BBQ, working out, hiking, bringing to the beach: these shorts are versatile and because they’re so tough and comfortable, it’s difficult to find a place where they’re not welcome additions. 

The Verdict

The Vuori Ripstop Short is my go-to hiking short because it’s tough, and I’m not the most careful with my clothes when I’m hiking. I like to get the full nature experience, so I need a short that can withstand an onslaught of rappelling, bouldering, jumping into rivers, and scooting down a hill on my butt. 

The Vuori Ripstop does all of those without even a scratch. 


Best for Backpacking: Kühl Ambush

If you’re getting ready for a longer excursion and need some extra places to store your backpacking tools, check out the Kühl Ambush shorts: they’re cargo shorts built for hiking. 

They’re lightweight, they dry quickly, and they offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun. 

You can find them in a 10” and 12” inseam, too, so if you prefer a little more protection on the trail, there’s an option for you. 

What I Like

  • At 176 GSM, these shorts are very lightweight considering the added cargo pockets and features. 

  • The option to have either a 10” inseam or a 12” is great for those who like their shorts to go below their knees. 

  • All weak-points have at least a double stitch so you can head on the trail for months without these breaking down. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I actually prefer a shorter short—something between a 7” and 9” inseam.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers love the specific sizing available for these shorts (for when a 34 is too tight and a 36 just falls off: Kühl has a decent number of odd sizes). 

Beyond that, I read several reviewers on Kühl’s site claiming they owned several pairs and cycled through them on a weekly basis.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a durable, lightweight short that can carry all the odds and ends that you want on hand when backpacking, check out the Kühl Ambush short

Choose the 10” inseam for a more standard fit or go for more coverage with the 12” inseam.

Best for Backpacking
Kühl Ambush™ Cargo Short

If you’re looking for a durable, lightweight short that can carry all the odds and ends that you want on hand when backpacking, check out the Kühl Ambush short. Choose the 10” inseam for a more standard fit or go for more coverage with the 12” inseam.

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Best Plus Sized: Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short

The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short is a well-built and versatile short, but what it has that others on this list don’t: a vast variety of sizes that go up to a 54 waist. 

They button close, but also have a nylon belt and clasp built in so you can cinch down to get the perfect fit. 

The Silver Ridge is fairly lightweight and has a secure zipper pocket and a handy cargo pocket for easy storage. 

What I Like

  • 100% nylon makes these quick drying and allow for a cool breeze to flow through on hot days. 

  • The sizing options are vast. 

  • Decent 4-way stretch makes these comfortable when bending down. 

What I Don’t Like

  • These tend to have a more narrow seat and waist, so if you hit the squat rack or deadlift often, you may want to size up. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Many reviewers agree with my sentiment above: they don’t necessarily run small, but they run narrow in the seat and hips. 

Guys who have that muscular “upside down triangle” build love these shorts in their standard size. But dudes who have a more athletic build with larger glutes and thighs prefer sizing up.

The Verdict

The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short is an outstanding hiking short in its own right, but for huskier guys, they’re the ticket. Because they tend to run a bit narrow in the seat, order a size up. Otherwise, with sizes available up to a 54 waist, these are the perfect shorts for big and tall guys. 

Best Plus Sized
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short

The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short is an outstanding hiking short in its own right, but for huskier guys, they’re the ticket. Because they tend to run a bit narrow in the seat, order a size up. Otherwise, with sizes available up to a 54 waist, these are the perfect shorts for big and tall guys.

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Best for Hot Weather: Mossy Oak Fishing Shorts

Mossy Oak Fishing Shorts were built for fishing, but I actually love them as hot weather hiking shorts because they’re so lightweight and they dry extremely fast. 

When it’s hot outside and I’m going for a hike, I usually choose a trail that’s close to water. And I almost always end up in that water. I don’t want to wear board shorts because they don’t have pockets, but the Mossy Oak Fishing Shorts have all the secure storage you’d need on a hike. 

What I Like

  • Available in 9 different colors.

  • Several handy pockets (including a beer-can pocket that’s ideal for the picnic portion of the hike). 

  • They feel like board shorts but have the design of hiking shorts. 

What I Don’t Like

  • A few reviewers mentioned the elastic becoming uncomfortable in the back after several hours of wear. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Trust people from the south when it comes to what to wear on a hot day. They know. A lot of self-proclaimed southerners reviewed these shorts and were adamant that they’re the best

The Verdict

If you’re going on a hike on a hot day and you’re thinking you might take a dip in the river, I recommend the Mossy Oak Fishing Shorts. They have the build of hiking shorts, but use the fabric of a board short, so you’re getting all the breathability, comfort, and utility you’d expect from that kind of mashup. 

Best for Hot Weather
Mossy Oak Fishing Shorts

If you’re going on a hike on a hot day and you’re thinking you might take a dip in the river, I recommend the Mossy Oak Fishing Shorts. They have the build of hiking shorts, but use the fabric of a board short, so you’re getting all the breathability, comfort, and utility you’d expect from that kind of mashup.

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Best on a Budget: Wrangler Authentics Performance Utility Short

Who wants to spend a bunch on a pair of shorts just to slide down a mountain in them? I get it. If you’re pinching pennies and want a more affordable hiking short, check out the Wrangler Authentics Performance Utility Short. 

With their minimalist design, they don’t have a lot of the same carrying capacity as some of the other shorts on this list, but they’re lightweight, comfortable, and get the job done. 

What I Like

  • The fabric is water repellent.

  • Available in big and tall sizes. 

  • The waistband has some stretch to it so they’re quite comfortable.

What I Don’t Like

  • These have a relaxed fit, so they have much more room in the seat and thighs than I prefer—and I’m not necessarily a skinny guy, either. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Some reviewers were caught off guard by how relaxed the fit of these shorts are—I’ll say that I agree with them: these aren’t very stylish shorts. But they’re inexpensive and get the job done. 

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hiking short and you’re not too concerned about getting a flattering fit, check out the Wrangler Authentics Performance Utility Short. Wrangler offers a wide variety of sizes.

Best on a Budget
Wrangler Authentics Performance Utility Short

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hiking short and you’re not too concerned about getting a flattering fit, check out the Wrangler Authentics Performance Utility Short. Wrangler offers a wide variety of sizes.

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Best with a Liner: Vuori Kore

closeup of model wearing vuori kore workout shorts

The Vuori Kore is one of my favorite shorts, full stop. I’ve owned a pair for about three years now, and I’ve worn them in several tough situations: probably a hundred workouts, several hikes, swimming, biking, a wedding…just kidding, I didn’t wear them to a wedding. 

But I love the Vuori Kore shorts. They’re super lightweight and comfortable—some of the most comfortable shorts I’ve ever worn, in fact. 

model flipping tire wearing kore workout shorts from vuori

You can get a lined version and an unlined version, though I prefer the lined version. These shorts are excellent for hikes, though they only have the standard slash pockets and a velcro back pocket, so you’ll likely want to store your goodies in a day-pack. 

What I Like

  • The fit is great—they’re flattering for the legs.

  • They’re some of the most comfortable shorts I’ve ever worn.

  • The lining is soft and supportive.

What I Don’t Like

  • They don’t have any zippered pockets, so you’ll need to carry valuables and tools in a day pack. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Vuori Kore has a dedicated fan base (you can count me as one of them, too). I’ve seen guys at the gym refuse to wear anything else. What sticks out in the reviews is how versatile these shorts are: from the gym to the hiking trail to casual Saturday afternoon strolls.

The Verdict

The Vuori Kore is the most comfortable lined short out on the market—at least in terms of a short that you’d actually want to do anything active in. 

The only thing I’d watch out for is that the Kore doesn’t have many technical pockets specifically designed for the outdoors—they’re more like simple workout shorts with two slash pockets and a velcro back pocket. 

I often hike with a day pack, so I almost never use my pockets anyway, which is why I love the Vuori Kore for hikes.

Best with a Liner
Vuori Kore Shorts

The Vuori Kore is my go-to workout short. I prefer the lined version myself, as they're super comfortable and offer enough support for an intense workout.

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What is the Best Material for Hiking Shorts?

There are two schools of thought on the best material for hiking shorts: you can go the durable route or the comfort route. 

Man in Kuhl on hiking trail

If you’re looking for durability, natural fibers tend to perform the best. That’s part of the reason why I like the Vuori Ripstop Short so much: it’s mostly made with organic cotton sewn in a ripstop pattern. And I can personally attest to the durability of the fabric. 

Even after a rugged waterfall rappel and several years of wear, mine are still going strong and aren’t showing any signs of aging. 

However, durability isn’t the only important factor in choosing a material for your hiking shorts. 

Man hiking through woods and carrying backpack wearing Carhartt Odessa Cap Rugged Flex Rigby Cargo Shorts Force Delmont Tee and Shoreline Jacket a

If it’s particularly warm outside, or I know I’ll be hiking near some water (in which I’ll definitely be jumping into), I’ll choose a synthetic fabric. Something like a lightweight polyester dries quickly, doesn’t stick to your thighs, and if you can find something with Spandex or elastane woven in, you’re in for a treat. 

When you see elastane or Spandex, it generally means the fabric has a ton of stretch to it so you can take those big lunges and scramble around boulders when the mood strikes. 

Pack Out

You’ve done your research. Now grab one of these amazing hiking shorts and get out on the trail. It’s not going to walk itself. 

As for me, I generally switch between the Vuori Ripstop Short for more rugged adventures (bouldering, rappelling, steep hikes) and the Vuori Kore for more casual or water-infused hikes. 

Those are just my two personal faves. But you can’t go wrong with the other options listed, too. The main thing is that you get out there ASAP and have a good time.

So what are you waiting for?

FAQs

What type of shorts are best for hiking?

Ripstop fabric shorts for durability and lightweight polyester shorts with elastane are two of the best fabrics for hiking shorts. You also want to see a gusseted crotch for more comfort and it’s always a bonus if there are several pockets.

What should you not wear when hiking?

You shouldn’t be wearing sneakers, heavy cotton sweaters, or anything too thin to where it rips if you fall. The best things to wear hiking offer support, durability, and some measure of protection against water. 

Are jeans good for hiking?

Jeans aren’t a great fabric for hikes because they don’t dry quickly and they can become uncomfortable in a hurry. They’re durable, which is nice, but there are much better fabric shorts and pants available for hikes now. That said, if you only own jeans, I wouldn’t let that stop you from going on a hike.

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