Softshell Shorts?
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Brian Strong
(bmstrong) - F
Softshell Shorts? on 04/11/2007 14:46:50 MDT Print View

Anyone here wear Softshell Shorts / Pants? What brand? How well do they hold up? Worth the cost?

If you don't? What kind of shorts do you wear?

Warmer weather is coming up and I'd light to try some new thing this year.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Softshell Shorts? on 04/11/2007 19:21:01 MDT Print View

I wear running shorts

not for everyone though

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Softshell Shorts? on 04/13/2007 07:47:46 MDT Print View

Shot shell pants might make sense on cold days with sporadic rain or snow, but the idea of softshell shorts seems odd to me. Short shells were developed to be breathable and good for light rain or snow. I think they are great for single-purpose use for a day hike, skiing, or commuting, but they are heavy (not to mention expensive) and don't fit into an ultralight pallet of clothing.

If it's hot (like August), running shorts are light and easy to come by. I use some Nike shorts with a soft polyester built-in brief. From there the choices run the gamut from short inseam to long, built-in briefs or none (some briefs chafe on long distances), and ultralight materials to heavy cotton canvas.

I've found so many shorts in thrift stores that I don't bother looking in retail stores. You can buy just about any brand for $2-$5 a pair. I have Ex Officio, REI, Patagonia, Gramicci, and Nike's that all came from thifts. My whole collection doesn't equal the cost of a new pair from REI!

In general, I like zip-off pants for one-garment versatility. Mountain Hardwear Pack Pants are very good, but on the heavy side and retail is (gulp) $100 a pair. REI Sahara pants are a good lightweight version. Ex Officio Bug Off pants are pre-treated with permethrin if you hike in buggy areas (or you can treat other choices yourself). Columbia makes several models. The "GRT" line is heavier but more durable and might be better for colder weather.

I'd like to see a pair of light quick drying nylon hiking pants with tabs and buttons (like some shirts sleeves are done) so you can roll the bottoms up to just below the knees. That would give good cooling and on-the-fly adjustability on the trail without fiddling with zippers and losing the zip off sections. Some sort of drawstring or other bottom closure should be standard on any hiking pants.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Softshell Shorts? on 04/13/2007 18:34:56 MDT Print View

I use a pair of Schoeller shorts by MontBell over my FineTrack Floodrush Tights (very water repellant and light). I like the softshell because in the rain it doesn't stick to the tights fabric or my skin the way plain nylon shorts do (I can't stand supplex for hiking in the rain or heat). Also the fabric is more abrasion resistant for when sitting on rocks and such.

By the way, I really recommend the goods from FineTrack. Most of their equipment is designed for "sawanobori" (or creek climbing) and therefore must be able to handle being immersed in ice cold mountain water and at the same time be extremely quick to dry. The tights I have are not waterproof, but I can stand in the shower and water will run off them like off a duck's back. And yet they're as breathable as regular stretch tights. Plus they're light, 223 g. The folks at FineTrack all came from MontBell.