REI Venturi Shorts
$70 men’s, $60 women’s, 7 oz. (men’s size 30)
Sizes: men’s 30-42, women’s 0-16
This seems an awkward confession to make, but I admittedly have conflicting desires when it comes to hiking shorts: I want them to be as light as possible, but to have at least a couple of zippered pockets and offer more than shorty-shorts coverage (mostly for sun protection). In a quest for something that straddles those competing objectives, I found REI’s Venturi.
Wearing them on numerous trips over the past several months, from backpacking in the Tetons and North Cascades to dayhiking and rock climbing at Idaho’s City of Rocks, I found the shorts comfortable, tough, and reasonably quick-drying. The stretchy, highly breathable fabric below the waistband and in the gusseted crotch helped keep me cooler and drier. The two hand pockets are adequate, and the two thigh pockets with welded zippers are spacious enough for a large map or basically as much stuff as I’d want in them. The 10.5-inch inseam covers most of my thighs, and the fabric has a top rating of UPF 50+ for protection against ultraviolet rays. The nylon woven ripstop fabric suffered one tiny, barely noticeable tear just above one hem—probably from rock climbing, which is obviously harder on fabric than hiking—but otherwise shows no other wear, blown seams, pilling, or zipper problems. I expect to get a lot of mileage out of the Venturi Shorts.