Best Hiking Shorts for Hot Weather 2023

Shorts are the most popular clothing choice for hiking on hot summer days because they have many benefits over regular pants. Their small form factor makes them lightweight, comfortable, and most of all, breathable. Pants get sweaty which makes them annoying to deal with. They also weigh more. Shorts solve almost all of those problems. They allow the most amount of mobility and comfort. If you are looking for a pair of shorts then we have compiled a list that may help you.

So here is the list of the best hiking shorts for summer that provide great ventilation to keep you cool on the trail.

1. Patagonia Quandary

Patagonia Quandary
Fabric material: Polyester/elastane
Pockets: 5 (plus right coin)
Sun protection: UPF 50+
Weight: 7.1 oz.

The Patagonia Quandary is an all-around performer. It has everything you need in a pair of shorts. Nothing is missing and there is very little to complain about. The Quandary is a lightweight, breathable pair of shorts at a decent price that you would love to have. The fabric of the Quandary is 94% nylon and 6% elastane. It is a stretchy fabric that does not restrict movement. Quandary has a slim fit but even then the fabric is stretchy enough to allow a full range of motion. These are among the most comfortable shorts you can get. The crotch is also gusseted to provide space and comfort.

The slim fit also makes these shorts stylish. The style of the Quandary doesn’t make them look like hiking-specific shorts. They look more like shorts for casual use. The comfort and style of these shorts make them versatile and you can use them in many other outdoor activities. Or just casually around town. When it comes to features, basic is better in shorts. That’s the whole idea, isn’t it? There are six pockets with these shorts; 2 front, 2 rear with one zipped, one thigh pocket with a zipper, and one coin pocket. These shorts also have excellent water resistance. These shorts also dry fast since most of the water rolls off. The Quandary is the kind of shorts that you will buy once and use everywhere.

What I like: Good water resistance, comfortable, can be a good option for wearing around town

What I don’t like: A little snug fit, no integrated belt

See the Patagonia Quandary See the Women’s Quandary

2. prAna Stretch Zion II

prAna Stretch Zion II
Fabric material: Nylon/elastane
Pockets: 5
Sun protection: UPF 50+
Weight: 9.1 oz.

The prAna Stretch Zion is for those who are looking for comfort primarily and don’t care about looks. They cost the same as the Patagonia Quandary above but only lack in style. But what it lacks in style, it makes up in functionality and comfort. The fabric of the Zion is made of 95% nylon and 5% elastane with a moderate stretch. But the fit of the Zion is sort of loose – sort of because it isn’t tight but still feels secure. The interior of the fabric is soft and prevents chaffing and you also get an integrated belt on the waistband.

The crotch is gusseted which also adds to comfort and mobility. The Zion is among the few shorts that incorporate an active ventilation system. The crotch has 4 small holes in it that allow air to pass through. The holes are cleverly placed making them discrete enough to not be visible easily. The placement of the holes makes sense because the crotch is the area that gets sweaty and itchy without ventilation.

Overall the Zion has a great feature set. But the execution could have been better.

What I like: Comes with an integrated belt, discrete crotch vents

What I don’t like: Pockets are difficult to access, limited water protection

See the Zion II 10″ Inseam See the Zion II 8″ Inseam

3. The North Face Paramount Trail

The North Face Paramount Trail
Fabric material: Polyester
Pockets: 4
Sun protection: Not specified
Weight: Not specified

The North Face Paramount Trail Shorts are the perfect companion for any adventure. Made from 100% polyester, these shorts are built to take on water or land so that the exploring never stops. The water-repellent finish and integrated belt allow for on-the-fly adjustments. These shorts feature FlashDry technology and a Durable Water-Repellent (DWR) finish. With these two features in hand, you stay dry and comfortable no matter what the weather brings. The lightweight polyester fabric also helps regulate your body temperature. This fabric almost keeps cool on hot days and warm on chilly mornings. The relaxed fit of these shorts ensures natural comfort while the inseam of 10 inches provides optimal coverage.

With functional versatility in mind, these shorts come with plenty of pocket options. You get secure-zip side pockets that offer secure storage for your phone, wallet, and keys. These pockets also allow you to free up your hands for any challenge. The North Face Paramount Trail Shorts are an essential closet staple, a go-to classic for hiking, training, or just kicking back. Pair these shorts with your favorite shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie, and proudly wear the badge of exploration with The North Face. Whether you are planning a day hike or camping trip, or just need a comfortable pair of shorts for everyday wear, the North Face Paramount Trail Shorts are an excellent choice for any adventurer.

What I like: Great value, can be worn casually around town, strategically placed pockets

What I don’t like: The belt is not detachable.

See The North Face Paramount Trail

4. prAna Alana – Women’s

prAna Alana – Women’s
Fabric material: Nylon/spandex
Pockets: 4
Sun protection: UPF 50
Weight: 6.7 oz.

prAna’s Alana is a popular choice among women for hot weather hiking. It’s a high-quality pair of comfortable shorts, which is great for casual wear and technical trails. The Alana has two inseam lengths; 5 inches and 7 inches. The 7-inch version is more versatile while the 5-inch version is more stylish. The fabric is 95% nylon and 5% spandex, completely recycled and bluesign® approved. The fabric does not have a lot of stretches but it still allows a full range of motion because of its moderate cut.

The Alana has no DWR treatment so its performance is poor in wet conditions. The drying times also aren’t the quickest. If you are thinking of buying these shorts, then you should be hiking in dry conditions. The breathability is decent and these shorts manage to keep you cool during hot days and through exertion.

The Alana comes with a standard configuration of 4 pockets; 2 hand and 2 rear pockets. One of the rear pockets is zippered while both rear pockets have a flap. Flap only makes the pockets hard to access. Other features include UPF 50 sun protection, wrinkle resistance, and a wide waistband. Even with belt loops, two-button closure, and a zipper fly, the waistband still feels low-profile.

But the Alana is a solid performer and is recommended, especially, for use in dry conditions.

What I like: Versatile, comfortable, and looks stylish

What don’t like: Very minimal design, limited water resistance

See the prAna Alana

5. Outdoor Research Ferrosi

Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Fabric material: Nylon/spandex
Pockets: 5
Sun protection: UPF 50+
Weight: 7.5 oz.

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a comfortable, lightweight, and breathable option. It is suitable for quick and lightweight hikes where you need mobility. You do get a couple of extra features but nothing notable out of the box. Ferrosi is offered in two inseam lengths; 10 inches and 8 inches. There is no difference in performance. The 10-inch version only provides more coverage and protection. The fabric of the Ferrosi is 86% nylon and 14% spandex. A high quantity of spandex in the fabric makes it highly stretchy and allows for unrestricted motion.

The waistband has an abrasion-resistant liner on the inside to prevent chafing. A drawstring is also included in the waistband for adjustment. Ferrosi has a long fly that goes all the way down and makes the shorts more practical to use in the wild.

You get 5 pockets; 2 hand pockets, 2 rear pockets, and a zippered cargo pocket on the right side. The pockets feel shallow. The cargo is also shallow but it has a stretchy fabric that accommodates even a phone. There is a DWR coating on the fabric and the fabric is thin and dries quickly. These shorts also have a UPF 50+ rating for sun protection. But the thin fabric is not durable. Although the slim fit of the Ferrosi doesn’t hinder movement in any way, the narrow legs pull up while sitting down. The waist also stretches quickly due to the high-stretch fabric. But you can adjust that with the drawstring.

What I like: Stretch fabric feels very comfortable, soft waist liner

What I don’t like: Only one zippered pocket, the waist gets loose and needs adjustments

See the Ferrosi 10″ Inseam See the Ferrosi 7″ Inseam

6. Patagonia Nine Trails

Patagonia Nine Trails
Fabric material: Recycled polyester
Pockets: 3
Sun protection: Not specified
Weight: 6.6 oz.

With the durably woven combination of polyester and spandex materials, the Patagonia Nine Trails shorts won’t slow you down on your next summer hike. These shorts are made of 91% polyester and 9% elastane stretch so you do get a lot of stretch with this fabric. It is a very smooth and lightweight face. It’s also got a DWR finish so it will shed some light precipitation. The outer look is very durable and streamlined and they won’t snag on anything.

There are three pockets on the sides including one zippered pocket on each side and one horizontal zippered pocket. Inside the pockets, there’s a mesh material, which enhances breathability. On the inside, you do have a built-in chafe-free liner, which is going to help with overall comfort and moisture management. The waistband is also stretchy and provides good comfort against the skin. There’s also an internal draw cord that you can cinch down if you need to. The fit of these shorts isn’t a regular fit. It’s an 8-inch inseam. You get some length there but they still are very short and meant to keep you moving fast on the trail.

What I like: Good odor resistance, lightweight, zippered pockets

What I don’t like: The liner limits versatility, not super stylish

See the Patagonia Nine Trails See the Women’s Nine Trails

7. REI Co-op Sahara Cargo

REI Co-op Sahara Cargo
Fabric material: Nylon
Pockets: 5
Sun protection: UPF 50
Weight: 5.9 oz.

Over time, REI has made quite the name in outdoor adventure clothing. Their clothing is of good quality at a very reasonable price and they have unmatched functionality. The Sahara Cargo is one such pair of shorts. There have been some changes from the last iteration. Some things have been omitted now. The Sahara Cargo lacks style and you wouldn’t be impressed when you look at it at first. They look bland. But the practicality is unmatched. Plus, the lack of style can easily be justified by their low price. The Sahara is very comfortable even though this iteration lacks elastane or spandex in its fabric. The cut is so appropriate that it allows unrestricted movement.

The waistband also lacks a cinch belt in this iteration but it has elastic behind the hips to accommodate various hip sizes in case you land between sizes. The fly doesn’t go low enough though. It causes some difficulty. The Sahara has 6 pockets; 2 hand pockets, 2 rear, and 2 cargo pockets as per the name. One cargo and one rear pocket have zippers and all the pockets have flaps. The right cargo pocket has two compartments. The second compartment is low-profile and is good for keys and small stuff that you can’t afford to lose. Overall, it’s a great choice for those who are looking for comfort and practicality at a budget-friendly price.

What I like: Affordable, good water protection

What I don’t like: Pocket openings are small

See the REI Co-op Sahara Cargo

8. Marmot Arch Rock

Marmot Arch Rock
Fabric material: Nylon/elastane
Pockets: 5
Sun protection: UPF 50+
Weight: 7.5 oz.

Marmot Arch Rock shorts are designed with a modern style but still, they are very technical. These shorts are designed for maximum movement, breathability, and sun protection. They’re great for making the transition from the climbing gym or your favorite hiking trail to your favorite downtown destination. These shorts are constructed with an abrasion-resistant nylon fabric. They are a performance woven fabric and it is very stretchy for easy movement, they’re very packable, and super breathable as well. The fit is very comfortable and it’s even got some nice abrasion and water resistance on the exterior. It is a UPF 50 fabric and it gives you ample sun protection throughout the shorts.

Features include two front pockets, two back pockets, and one zippered side pocket. It’s a simple and minimal design. You do have belt loops on the waistband for some added security if you need to add a belt and the interior has a dry climb waistband for moisture-wicking and enhanced comfort. The fit is fairly relaxed so these are going to be a little bit more of a baggy short. It is an 11-inch inseam so it does give you a little bit of extra length there. Overall, these shorts are simple yet efficient with modern styling and very technical materials.

What I like: Great fit, useful pockets, pack small and great for hiking all day long

What I don’t like: The waist could be stretchy, minimal design

See the Marmot Arch Rock

9. REI Co-op Active Pursuits

REI Co-op Active Pursuits
Fabric material: Polyester/spandex
Pockets: 3
Sun protection: UPF 50
Weight: 5.8 oz.

The REI Co-op Active Pursuits is for quick movers. Even the design of these shorts prioritizes weight saving and they have been designed to be lightweight and breathable. They look kind of like running shorts. There aren’t additional features, again, to save weight keep these shorts light. The fabric is 86% polyester and 14% spandex. High spandex quantity makes the fabric stretchy. These shorts have a 7-inch inseam. The waist has no belt loops or even a button. It’s a simple elastic waistband with a drawstring.

As stated earlier, there aren’t any additional features so that the shorts can remain as lightweight as possible. You only get 2 hand pockets. The pocket on the right has an embedded zipper pocket for small items that you can’t afford to lose like keys, etc. There are tiny holes on each hip for ventilation. These shorts have a tight cut which makes them less versatile to be used in other activities. The short inseam also contributes to reducing versatility. The water resistance is also a weak point of these shorts but the thin fabric dries quickly.

The Active Pursuits is a pair of shorts most suitable for lightweight hikes where you want to move quickly. Their low price makes them one of the best budget options on the market.

What I like: Very lightweight, elastic waist, dries super fast

What I don’t like: No fly, no rear pockets

See the REI Co-op Active Pursuits See the Women’s Active Pursuits

10. Columbia Silver Ridge II Stretch

Columbia Silver Ridge II Stretch
Fabric material: Nylon/elastane
Pockets: 5
Sun protection: Omni-Shield coating
Weight: 6.9 oz.

The Columbia Silver Ridge II Stretch is an inexpensive model that has a reasonable price in all domains. There is nothing to complain but there is nothing to fall in love with as well. But it has a consistent performance throughout just like an average guy. The fabric has a standard build of 95% nylon and 5% elastane. But even with this standard build, you would still feel a difference during high stepping and scrambling. The waistband is soft and reduces chaffing but it lacks adjustability and gets loose with use. Thankfully, you get belt loops to put a belt in.

The water resistance is where the Silver Ridge shines. It works great in heavy rain and mist and keeps you dry. The drying time is also short. You can use these shorts without worry if you are going to face wet conditions during your hike.

These shorts have 5 pockets; 2 hand pockets, 2 rear pockets, one cargo pocket on the right thigh. The cargo pocket is large and has a zipper. The overall performance of these shorts is decent but they do feel cheap in some cases. For example, the Velcro on the rear pockets feels cheap. The weave mesh of the front pocket also feels cheap and is easy to poke holes in.

What I like: Affordable option for beginners with good water resistance

What I don’t like: Fabric feels cheaper and isn’t stretchy, no waist adjuster

See the Columbia Silver Ridge II Stretch

Best Hot Weather Hiking Shorts: Comparison Table

Patagonia QuandaryPolyester/elastane5UPF 50+7.1 oz.
prAna Stretch Zion IINylon/spandex5Not specified9.1 oz.
TNF Paramount TrailPolyester4Not specifiedNot specified
prAna Alana – Women’sNylon/spandex4UPF 506.7 oz.
Outdoor Research FerrosiNylon/spandex5UPF 50+7.5 oz.
Patagonia Nine TrailsRecycled polyester3Not specified6.6 oz.
REI Co-op Sahara CargoNylon5UPF 505.9 oz.
Marmot Arch RockNylon/elastane5UPF 50+7.5 oz.
REI Co-op Active PursuitsPolyester/spandex3UPF 505.8 oz.
Silver Ridge II StretchNylon/elastane5Omni-Shield coating6.9 oz.

Critical Hiking Short Considerations

While choosing hiking shorts, you should look for features most suitable for the conditions of your hike. Hiking shorts are different from running and fashion shorts and are purpose-built for hiking. The materials should breathe well. The shorts should feel comfortable. You can also look for advanced features like water resistance, odor control, sun protection, etc.

Hiking Shorts vs. Running and Fashion Shorts

  • Running Shorts: Running shorts provide space for movement for the legs – an obvious requirement during running. They have a minimal design and are ultralight. They are the shortest type of shorts for most airflow. High-end running shorts even have an aerodynamic design but the ultralight nature of running shorts means they lack additional features like water resistance and sun protection. There are no pockets, zips, or snaps to save weight. The waistband is simple elastic with no button. The synthetic fabric is quick-drying, however, to wick sweat away.
  • Fashion Shorts: In fashion shorts, aesthetics are given the primary position as fashion shorts are meant to look good. There is no focus on weight saving so fashion shorts often use heavier materials. The cut of the shorts is not for mobility but fashion shorts have creative stitching with no focus on performance. They have bright colors and no durability.


Comfort is the most important factor in hiking shorts and it shouldn’t be ignored. Uncomfortable gear becomes even more uncomfortable with long-time use. You often wear gear for hours during hikes, so, you don’t compromise on comfort.

Your shorts should keep you comfortable and chafe-free. They should also allow fluid motion. The fit of the shorts should be relaxed rather than slim, unless, they are legging shorts or full spandex shorts. Your knees should reach your chest without resistance when you lift your legs in your shorts.


Breathability is as important as comfort because breathability also contributes to the overall comfort of the shorts. A looser fit will vent more than a slim fit. Breathability also depends on fabric thickness. A thin and lightweight fabric is more breathable.

A good trick to check for breathability is to blow air through the fabric of the shorts. You will know how much air the fabric will allow passing through. Another good trick is to put the fabric in front of the light. Breathable fabric with an open weave would allow more light to pass through.


Water resistance is a feature that has a rising demand now. With time, water resistance has also become better. The fabric is coated with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating that prevents the fabric from absorbing water. The water beads on the fabric instead.

There is no practical standard to measure the water resistance of a fabric. Some fabrics do come with a waterproof or water-resistance rating, but the methods to obtain those ratings have nothing to do with real-life conditions. The best way is to use the fabric yourself to find out how water-resistant or waterproof it is.

Extra Features

Manufacturers often include extra features in their shorts to improve the protection that they provide or to make them more useful. These extra features include pockets, anti-odor, sun protection, and moisture-wicking.

But some of these features can be a nuisance rather than an accessory. For example, fancy but impractical waistbands that don’t work well and also add weight to the shorts. It is better to make a list of the desired features and look for options that have either all of them or most of them.