On the trail, there is no shortage of shorts. Even in the fringes of cold weather, you’ll still see hikers rocking bare legs in the wild. The thing is, we don’t loose much body heat through our legs, so once you get moving, wearing shorts actually helps regulate your body temperature. Shorts increase ventilation by having larger loose openings closer to the crotch, helping to dry sweat faster, thus decreasing the chance of chaffing.

I like my hiking shorts to have a liner, or brief style underwear sewn in the interior. Not only does a liner provide support for guys, but it allows me to delete underwear from my gear list. Liners are typically made from a wicking material and will dry faster than  shorts combined with a pair of underwear.

Though 100% polyester liners are comfortable to me and dry quickly, I have come to really love a liner that uses a blend of fabrics, such as natural fiber and multiple synthetic fibers. This way, you get to enjoy the best attributes of each.

It is best to choose hiking shorts with 100% polyester outer, which will dry more quickly. Some polyester shorts have a water repellent treatment which help keep your bottoms dry for longer in light rain, but will still eventually become soaked. Even so, shorts with treated fabrics tend to dry out more quickly. Avoid jersey materials.


BOA Men’s 1″ Elite Split Leg Short – $29

Weight: 67.18 g / 2.37 oz
Material: Shell: 100% Polymicro Polyester
100% Polyester Crepe

In the Ultra Light hiking world, more material equals more weight. So, if you want to shed those last grams from your set up, pick the smallest sizes of clothing you can fit in to. If it’s something you are going to be counting as “worn weight” most of the time anyway, I don’t see the point in robbing yourself of coverage. Some folks just like to show off their hiker legs. No judgement.

Yup, these are as short as you can go without wearing a thong. If you can pull these off, you’ve got balls…no, seriously, we can see your balls.






Icebreaker Merino Men’s Cool-Lite 5″ Strike Shorts – $80

Weight: 123 g / 4.34 oz
Material: Body: 100% Polyester
Lining: 50% Merino Wool, 33% TENCEL®, 12% Nylon, 5% LYCRA®

I guess I’m just a fan-boy of Icebreaker. I have never put on an article of clothing from Icebreaker and not immediately loved it. The only downside, as with most wool clothing manufacturers, is the relative lack of durability. To solve this problem, Icebreaker (and others) has started using “corespun” technology, wrapping wool fibers around individual strands of synthetic fibers. This increases durability while maintaining wool’s soft feel, wicking properties, and natural odor resistance.

These shorts are incredible, and although expensive, will probably be my go to shorts as long as Icebreaker continues to make them. As soon as you put them on, the liner feels cool, like a change in next to skin temperature. In the next moment, you forget you are wearing them at all.

Icebreaker makes other merino shorts that are 100% wool. They are super soft, comfortable, and breathable as well. However, I prefer the Strike Lite shorts for hiking because of the polyester outer fabric, which wicks and dries much faster than a natural fiber.

With the Strike Lite shorts, you get the best of both worlds: a quick drying poly outer, and a super soft, breathable, naturally odor resistant, supportive liner. The liner is constructed with Cool-Lite™ jersey fabric for faster wicking, Lycra content for stretch and mobility, and merino wool for odor control and comfort. The blended liner feels cool on the skin, as it actively wicks moisture away and essentially eliminates any chaffing below the belt. These are the best hiking shorts I’ve ever worn.

My only complaint is that they only come in 5″ and 7″ inseams. I wish they offered more size options. A 3″ or 2.5″ inseam would be ideal for me.








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