The 8 Best Hiking Shorts

Hit the trails with style and comfort

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Our Top Picks
"An exceptional value and should be a wardrobe staple for any avid hiker."
Best Overall for Women:
Columbia Sandy River Shorts at Dick's
"You’ll look chic whether you’re on the trail or running errands around town."
"Breathes well and dries quickly, while also allowing you to move freely and comfortably."
"With plenty of room to stash your phone, snacks, sunblock, and more."
Best for Chafing:
prAna Stretch Zion at Amazon
"Made with moisture-wicking, abrasion-resistant fabric."
"These comfy and lightweight shorts will be your go-to option for hiking or other outdoor pursuits."
"They’re lightweight, comfortable, and easy to move in."
Best Budget for Women:
Columbia East Ridge II at Amazon
"They make a nice choice to pack in your suitcase for your adventure travels."

Best Overall for Men: Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Cargo Short

Lightweight and breathable, these practical cargo shorts are an exceptional value and should be a wardrobe staple for any avid hiker or active man. Made of 100 percent nylon and Columbia’s signature ripstop fabric, they’re durable and comfortable, regardless of activity or conditions. Despite the low price, they’re packed with cool features, including a wicking technology to keep you dry and provide UPF 50 protection to shade you from harmful sun rays.

Reviewers also love the roomy pockets and built-in, adjustable belt that allows you to get a snug fit, without causing discomfort or chafing under a backpack or waist pack. With plenty of options for colors, sizes, and lengths, you can choose the shorts that are just right for you.

Best Overall for Women: Columbia Women's Sandy River Shorts

You don’t have to sacrifice style for functionality with these lightweight, comfortable, and affordable shorts from Columbia. Made from quick-dry, nylon fabric with Omni-Shade UPF 30 protection, they’re perfect for hiking and other warm-weather outdoor adventures. The elastic waistband and interior drawcord provide a comfy, secure fit.

Reviewers love the zip-close pocket in the back for money and other valuables, as well as roomy ones in the front for additional storage. The front pockets are mesh-lined, which helps keep you from overheating. These shorts are ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities, and can also be easily pulled on over a bathing suit at the beach or pool. Available in many cool and fun colors, you’ll look chic whether you’re on the trail or running errands around town. 

Best Quick Dry: L.L. Bean Men's Cresta Hiking Shorts

If you’ve been known to go for a swim in the middle of a hike, you need durable shorts that aren’t see-through when wet and don’t take forever to dry. These lightweight, nylon LL Bean Cresta Hiking shorts breathe well and dry quickly, while also allowing you to move freely and comfortably. Other cool features include a gusseted crotch, UPF 40+ sun protection and three zippered pockets for secure storage.

Reviewers love to wear these versatile shorts for hiking and camping, but say the clean look makes them a nice choice for casual wear. LL Bean makes a women’s version with similar features that also gets high marks.

Best for Storage: Columbia Men's PFG Permit II Short

You can’t get much more storage space than you do with these Columbia Men's Permit II Shorts, which feature an impressive 10 pockets. With plenty of room to stash your phone, snacks, sunblock, and more, they’re perfect for hiking, traveling, or other outdoor adventures.

These nylon, UV-protected shorts also come with Omni-Wick technology to wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry. With a 6-inch inseam, they’re shorter than some other hiking shorts, but reviewers say they hit at just the right spot and don’t dig into the back of your knees when hiking. For a similar, affordable women's hiking shorts with good storage, check out Columbia’s Women’s Silver Ridge Stretch Shorts.

Best for Chafing: prAna Men's Stretch Zion Lightweight Shorts

Painful chafing caused by your shorts' rough, irritating material can put a damper on your hiking adventure. Made with moisture-wicking, abrasion-resistant fabric, these prAna Stretch Zion Shorts will keep you dry and comfortable while protecting your skin from annoying irritation. The mesh pocketing and vented inseam gusset provide for additional breathability, making these shorts a great choice for hot and humid summer days.

You’ll move easily without restriction, thanks to the nylon and spandex blend fabric with four-way stretch. Unlike other basic, beige hiking shorts, these come in 10 different colors, so they’re perfect for anyone who wants to add some variety to their activewear wardrobe. There's also a similar women’s version that’s just as stylish, comfy, and durable.

Most Durable: Tru-Spec Men's 24-7 Series Tactical Shorts

If you’re a fan of cargo shorts and especially appreciate all the storage and functionality that comes along with them, the Tru-Spec men’s shorts are an affordable option. Made of a soft, breathable, polyester and cotton blend fabric, these comfy and lightweight shorts will be your go-to option for hiking or other outdoor pursuits. These shorts can take a beating, according to reviewers, who rave about the durable, stain-repellant, and comfortable fabric, which dries extremely fast.

The slider waistband allows you to adjust for a perfect fit without a belt or elastic. Fans also love that the roomy pockets are subtle and don’t flare out, so these shorts work nicely as a casual option when you’re not hitting the trails. Ladies seeking a similar, tough pair of quality hiking shorts should check out these Tru-Spec women’s shorts.

Best Budget for Men: Wrangler Men's 8" Outdoor Alpine Hiker Short

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a durable pair of trail-ready hiking shorts. Not only are these Wrangler Outdoor Alpine Hiker Shorts affordable, but they’re lightweight, comfortable, and easy to move in. They’re made of a nylon and spandex blend, so they’re breathable and will dry quickly if it starts to rain or you’re sweating buckets.

The generously-sized pockets are perfect for keeping all your essentials on hand. Reviewers love the shorts’ fit and comfort, although they do wish they came in more than just two colors.

Best Budget for Women: Columbia Women's East Ridge II Shorts

Another quality, affordable option from Columbia Sportswear, these shorts are perfect for hot days on the trail. The lightweight, breathable fabric is extremely durable, yet easy to climb, hike, and move in. The Omni-Wick and Omni-Shade technologies will keep you cool, dry, and protected from the sun. These shorts also feature plenty of storage options, with a convenient cargo pocket and zippered hand pockets for your phone, money, and other essentials.

Simple to care for and wrinkle-resistant, they make a nice choice to pack in your suitcase for your adventure travels. Reviewers say they run small, so be sure to order a size up.

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