When it comes to backpacking shorts, I only need a few things: Comfort, durability, and simplicity in design. The QD Cargo Shorts 11 satisfies those requirements and look great while doing it.
The QD Cargo shorts come with two slim cargo pockets, two lap pockets, and a secure zippered back pocket for keeping gear organized and safe. It’s constructed from high quality ripstop polyamide (essentially ripstop nylon) imbued with a slight stretch to improve comfort and mobility. The pockets are lined with breezy mesh to improve dry time and provide a little extra ventilation. The belt loops and waist are both designed to sit as flat as possible, with a thin profile button and zipper to avoid bulk under a hip bet or pack strap. The shorts provide a solid 40 UPF rating for protection from the summer sun and retail for $55.
I’ve been using these shorts for a while now, and I’m pretty impressed. Mostly, I just love the general fit of the shorts. They’re cut straight to sit flat and stay close to the body without being tight or restrictive. This is ideal for hiking as they’re not goint to flap around and get hung up on trees or bushes, and it also provides a look that is quite slimming thanks to it’s straight shape. The pockets are appreciated in their minimalism. Instead of huge flapping cargo pockets, they’re shallow in depth which reduces bulk and sway, reducing the tendency for items inside to bounce around while hiking. This keeps things like maps and wallets safe and in place instead of flopping around like an angry pigeon that’s trying to escape your side pocket. Anyone who has hiked with a map in their pocket understands the struggle.
The shorts are built with the legs short enough to allow some extra air to flow around the knees and legs, excellent for hot summer evenings, but long enough to provide a more contemporary look and protection from briers and sticks.
They’re quite comfortable too, with the smooth feeling, elastic nylon providing resistance free stretch when stepping up over logs or peddling a bike, instead of that awkward rubber banding sensation that many stretch shorts have.The waist of the shorts sits gently around the hip instead of constricting around it (a personal pet peeve of mine) and still manage to stay in place with or without a belt. This makes for a very cozy pair of shorts that work and feel well on the trail, in camp, and around town. They’re also quite true to size, making shopping for them online much easier.
I’ve found them great for hiking, biking, and just moving about in general. Thanks to the carefully chosen materials, they dry quickly too. This provides a wide range of usable conditions making them quite flexible, so you’re not always changing out shorts to match your activity.
As far as cost goes, they’re a great deal. The build makes them look far more expensive than they are, but they provide excellent performance, durability and attractiveness for the price.
I really like the QD Cargo 11 shorts from Helly Hansen. They’re light weight, dry quickly, and provide excellent protection when needed. Considering the fit and comfort at this price, it’s hard to not recommend these.
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I wanted to send a special thanks out to Helly Hansen for their continued support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.