To fully enjoy hiking, you need to have the proper hiking gear. And when it comes to pants, we love to wear shorts for the sake of comfort. We don’t just wear any shorts, though. For us, cargo shorts for hiking are the superior option. They offer a number of advantages over other types of shorts. They’re typically more durable and often feature multiple pockets for storing our essential hiking gear. On top of that, they’re usually lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable to wear in hot weather. Yes, there are so many cargo pants available on the market. While many claim to be the best, not all of them are great.
To make sure you don’t waste your money on a cookie-cutter pair, you should take a look at our list below. We’ve curated our favorites based on our experience with them and their features. Have fun exploring our picks!
Table of contents
- Helly Hansen Men’s HH Quick-Dry Cargo Shorts
- Mossy Oak Men’s XTR Hiking Shorts
- Jessie Kidden Men’s Outdoor Cargo Shorts
- Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Carolina Cargo Shorts
- Savane Men’s Cargo Shorts
- G Gradual Men’s Cargo Shorts
- Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Crossroad Cargo Shorts
- Columbia Men’s Brewha II Shorts
- Pudolla Men’s Cargo Shorts
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Classic Cargo Shorts
- Fjallraven Abisko Shorts
- Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
- prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II
- Our Verdict!
- How To Choose The Best Cargo Shorts for Hiking?
- Are shorts good for hiking?
- How long should hiking shorts be?
- Can I wear gym shorts for hiking?
Helly Hansen Men’s HH Quick-Dry Cargo Shorts
The first pair of cargo pants on this list is the Helly Hansen Men’s HH Quick-Dry Cargo Shorts. These shorts are made from a lightweight, quick-drying ripstop fabric that is perfect for staying cool and dry in warm weather. When we first wore the shorts, we could tell they were breathable. We didn’t overheat even when the weather was pretty bad, and we sweated a lot.
Of course, there are also multiple pockets for extra storage. We also loved how the cargo pockets were big enough for our phones. Plus, the HH logo on the thigh pocket helps tell everyone that you’re wearing not just any regular shorts. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the reviews on the official product page!
- So many different colors to choose from.
- The high-end fabric allows you to move freely.
- They also offer UPF40 protection.
- They can be expensive for some people.
Mossy Oak Men’s XTR Hiking Shorts
When it comes to cargo pants, we’re quite picky as it’s hard to find really, really good ones. However, we’ve worn the Mossy Oak Men’s XTR Hiking Shorts a few times and included them on this list, so that says something. Available in a wide array of fun colors, these pants have all the things you’d expect from hiking shorts. From durability to multiple pockets, you name it.
The main selling point, though, has to be its quick-drying fabric. The nylon and spandex blend isn’t only durable but also lightweight. It repels after and dries quickly, making the shorts a great fishing choice. Other handy features include a D-loop, belt loops, and an elastic waistband. You may want to get them ASAP, as these pants run out fast.
- They’re highly breathable and comfortable to wear even in hot weather.
- The size is pretty accurate.
- There are plenty of pockets to keep your essentials.
- The fabric can wrinkle easily.
Jessie Kidden Men’s Outdoor Cargo Shorts
Suitable for both casual wear and conquering the great outdoors, the Jessie Kidden Men’s Outdoor Cargo Shorts are among the most versatile options. Their standout is none other than their 90% nylon and 10% spandex material. The fabric is so durable and can easily withstand wear and tear or hiking. Apart from that, we loved how stretchy the shorts were, allowing us to move freely on the trail.
Another highlight of these shorts is their Omni-Wick technology. As you can guess from its name, this technology gives the shorts amazing sweat-wicking and quick-drying properties. Adding to that is the Omni-Shade UPF50+ protection that keeps your skin safe from harmful UV rays. You won’t regret getting these shorts!
- The traditional cargo style makes the shorts really versatile.
- They’re lightweight yet durable.
- There are six pockets in total.
- They run a bit small.
Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Carolina Cargo Shorts
Best Design. Aside from making world-class jeans, Lee also produces amazing cargo pants. Take a look at the Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Carolina Cargo Shorts! These shorts are a nice choice for most men with a regular fit. They’re designed to keep you comfortable even when the weather is scorching hot, and the terrain is challenging.
In addition to that, these shorts come with tons of pockets. We were thrilled when we found out there were seven spacious pockets for extra storage. Also, can we appreciate the flexible waistband? It may look stiff, but it’s actually really stretchy. And unlike some shorts, the ones actually come with a premium, durable button.
- There are so many colors and patterns to choose from.
- The elastic waistband offers enough support around the waist.
- They’re lightweight and comfortable.
- Some people think these shorts are a bit too long.
Savane Men’s Cargo Shorts
The Savane Men’s Cargo Shorts are popular among outdoor enthusiasts, and for good reason. For one, the cotton fabric is to die for. It’s durable and quick-drying, making it perfect for hiking and other exciting outdoor activities. We also found the fabric to have the right amount of stretchiness. It kept us moving all the way to the top without sacrificing comfort.
Another highlight is the hidden tech pocket. Some items are just more valuable (hint: your newly bought iPhone 15 Pro), and it’s good to be able to stow it safely. Aside from that, there are deep front pockets that you can use to keep your sunscreen and other small hiking essentials. These pockets are a great addition, so you don’t have to put too many things inside your backpack.
- These shorts are also available in Big and Tall sizes. Speaking of which, check out these hiking pants for plus size!
- They’re machine-washable and highly durable.
- They’re versatile enough to be worn for everyday activities.
- The button isn’t that durable.
G Gradual Men’s Cargo Shorts
A comfy pair of cargo shorts that don’t break the wallet and have many functional features? Sign us up! The G Gradual Men’s Cargo Shorts are an amazing addition to this list. Their highlight has to be the multifunctional D-ring. Thanks to that, we were able to hook our multitool and access it easily. You can also use it to secure your flashlight.
As with many of its competitors, these shorts are water-repellent and offer UPF50+ protection. Meanwhile, the stretchy waistband ensures that you’ll be able to move comfortably. Also, the nylon belt was a breeze to adjust. It helped the pants to stay in place throughout our journey.
- There are six pockets for you to keep your stuff.
- These shorts are suitable not only for hiking but also for fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities.
- They’re lightweight and durable.
- Some people think the material is too stiff.
Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Crossroad Cargo Shorts
Most Pockets. Durable, comfortable, and stylish, who can say no to Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Crossroad Cargo Shorts? Thanks to the 98% cotton and 2% spandex blend, these shorts are soft and breathable. They’re the ideal choice for hiking during the summer. We also liked the relaxed fit; they had the perfect length that hit the knee.
Five? No. Six? No. There are seven pockets in total! If that doesn’t wow you, we don’t know what will. Aside from the side cargo pockets, you can keep your gadget in the cell phone pocket and your hiking snacks in the back pockets. However, the best part of these shorts is their versatility. They’re so stylish that you can wear them anytime you want. Simply pair them with your comfiest T-shirt and sneakers, and you’re good to go.
- The material of these shorts is highly durable.
- They won’t shrink or lose their color even after being machine-washed.
- There are so many different colors to choose from.
- The cargo pockets can be bulky when full.
Columbia Men’s Brewha II Shorts
Columbia has produced countless amazing hiking gear, and the Brewha II Shorts are no exception. They’re a great choice for outdoor activities and even everyday wear. The durable cotton blend fabric impressed us a lot as it made the shorts feel comfortable and breathable. In addition to that, we also appreciated the UPF50 sun protection the fabric offered us.
One of the best things about these shorts is their fit. With a relaxed fit, you’ll have a full range of motion. Don’t worry; they won’t look too baggy unless you opt for the Big model instead of the Regular one. In addition, there are six pockets in total. The highlight, though, has to be the beverage-friendly pockets! That said, all of them are deep enough to hold your essentials safely.
- The cotton blend fabric is highly durable.
- Thanks to the elastic waistband, these shorts don’t feel too tight.
- They’re available in big sizes, too. Click here to see all the sizes!
- The elastic waistband may lose its elasticity over time.
Pudolla Men’s Cargo Shorts
Another popular option that you can always rely on is the Pudolla Men’s Cargo Shorts. These shorts are not only water-repellent, but they also offer UPF50+ protection from harmful UV rays. No matter the weather, these shorts are always ready. We also liked the elastic waist, which didn’t feel too tight or too loose. We were able to move however we wanted without restrictions.
The nylon-spandex fabric is truly a masterpiece. It’s lightweight, highly breathable, and stretchy. The material makes them the perfect pants for summer hiking. Also, with five functional pockets, you can keep your small essentials only an arm’s reach away. Lastly, these shorts are available in many different shades. But the most versatile one is none other than the Black variant.
- A versatile pair of shorts that can be used for hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
- The zipper is sturdy and durable.
- The fabric allows you to have exceptional freedom of movement.
- The quality of the button can be improved.
Wrangler Authentics Men’s Classic Cargo Shorts
Best Value for Money. With over 40,000 positive reviews as of this writing, you can confidently get these Wrangler Authentics Men’s Classic Cargo Shorts without even looking at the reviews! But, of course, that’s not a wise move. Don’t worry; we’ll keep it short and simple. With a traditional cargo design, these shorts are both comfortable and versatile. Thanks to their timeless silhouette, you can rock them when hiking or traveling.
We loved how these shorts weren’t too tight or too loose. With a 10-inch inseam, we were able to hike our way to the top without any discomfort. Need tons of pockets? Perfect! There are six pockets in total, so feel free to bring whatever you want. Finally, as you can see from the official website, these shorts are available in a myriad of colorways. Have fun choosing your favorite!
- They’re some of the most popular options.
- The waistband has the right amount of stretchiness.
- Despite the affordable price, they don’t sacrifice quality.
- Some people suggest that you should go up a size.
Fjallraven Abisko Shorts
If you don’t mind spending more, you should take a look at the Fjallraven Abisko Shorts. What we loved the most about these shorts was their amazing polyester-cotton material. It was stretchy and comfortable, allowing us to move freely when we were out on the trail. Of course, we also loved the handy pockets with zip and snap closures. They kept our stuff safe all the time.
“If you know Fjallraven for its iconic backpacks, you should now check out its Abisko Shorts. They may be expensive but the quality they offer is hard to match.”WOW Travel
If you’re a true hiker, you’ll never embark on your journey without your hiking backpack. That said, these shorts are designed for when you’re wearing one. If you look at their back, you’ll notice that it sits higher than the waistband. That way, your lower back will have ample protection from chafing. Such a thoughtful design!
- These shorts are water-resistant.
- They’re highly breathable.
- There are plenty of pockets for you to use.
- It’s not a lightweight option.
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Best Quality. Cargo shorts are known for their myriad pockets, which you get from the Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts. With these pants, you’ll have five functional pockets, each with a decent space to accommodate your small hiking gear. From your favorite energy bar for hiking to your hiking walkie-talkie, you name it.
In addition to that, we also loved its quick-drying material. We accidentally spilled our water on the shorts, which dried surprisingly fast. Also, these shorts are available in a wide variety of neutral colors. You have tons of options to choose from, and none of them look tacky. These shorts may be pricier than some, but they are nice.
- The classic fit looks good on most people.
- You can adjust the elastic waist easily.
- These shorts feature UPF 50 protection against harmful UV rays.
- They’re on the pricier side.
prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II
Best Overall. The prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II is a versatile and comfortable pair of shorts that men can always rely on. We’ve worn these shorts for hiking before, and we had a blast. Thanks to the brand’s ReZion fabric, they felt lightweight and breathable. We also loved how stretchy they were, giving us the mobility that we needed. In addition to that, we think you can also wear it for your next climbing excursion and camping trip.
Furthermore, the shorts were well-made. We were amazed by the solid stitching, and the fabric seemed to be highly durable. Not to mention, it’s water-repellent. Keeping it clean is also a breeze, as you can put it into your washing machine. Among all of the color options, the Dark Iron one looks the best for us. However, the rest are worth considering, too.
- There are plenty of pockets for secure storage.
- The new fabric looks much nicer than the old one.
- They have the perfect length.
- The zip pocket is too small for some people.
When all is said and done, we think the prAna Stretch Zion Shorts II deserves the number one spot the most. They’re highly comfortable, versatile, and durable. They’re everything you want from a pair of cargo pants. However, you can still check out the rest if you don’t think they’re for you. We’ve categorized some of them based on criteria, so look!
- Best Quality: Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
- Best Value for Money: Wrangler Authentics Men’s Classic Cargo Shorts
- Most Pockets: Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Crossroad Cargo Shorts
- Best Design: Lee Men’s Extreme Motion Carolina Cargo Shorts
How To Choose The Best Cargo Shorts for Hiking?
When choosing a pair of cargo pants for hiking, there are a few factors you should keep in mind, which include:
Most cargo pants are usually made from durable materials like nylon, polyester, or a blend of the two. These materials aren’t only durable but also lightweight and breathable. Some cargo pants feature special materials that have better moisture-wicking properties. No matter what the fabric is, make sure they’re comfortable and can withstand the wear and tear.
One of the main characteristics of cargo pants is having multiple pockets. That said, you should check out how many pockets the shorts offer. Usually, they’ll come with around six to seven pockets. You should also make sure the pockets are big enough for your hiking essentials.
It’s important to choose a pair of shorts that fit you well. They should be snug enough to stay in place while you’re hiking but not so tight that they’re uncomfortable. We highly recommend choosing a pair that comes with an elastic waistband.
Are shorts good for hiking?
Yes, shorts can be a good choice for hiking, especially in warm weather. They allow for a greater range of motion and breathability than long pants and can help you stay cool on the trail.
How long should hiking shorts be?
It depends on your personal preference. However, usually, hiking shorts hit between two and six inches above the knee.
Can I wear gym shorts for hiking?
We don’t recommend that. While gym shorts are comfy and breathable, they’re not durable enough for hiking.