I’ve owned a few pieces of clothing from Columbia’s Silver Ridge line, and I’ve been consistently impressed.  Columbia chose an excellent fabric for breathability and durability, and the Silver Ridge shorts have climbed through the ranks to become my favorites.

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts Features:

  • Fabric: 100% nylon Silver Ridge ripstop, 57% recycled polyester/43 polyester mesh
  • Omni-Shade® UPF 50 sun protection
  • Omni-Wick
  • Classic fit
  • Side-elastic waistband
  • Gusset detail
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Zip-closed security pocket
  • Hand pockets
  • Mesh pocket bags
  • Inseam: 10″, 12″
  • MSRP: $45

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts Review

I covered a lot of wicked terrain this summer and I’m happy to report that these shorts move really well.  Tackling really high ledges and steps is facilitated by excellent range-of-motion in the crotch and fabric that doesn’t bind.  I felt comfortable doing some impromptu bouldering with them as well.

The Silver Ridge clothing line uses a fabric mix of 100% ripstop, 57% recycled polyester/43% polyester mesh.  It’s very soft and comfortable and features UPF 50 protection; as I mentioned, I’ve owned Columbia gear with this fabric before and I’ve been very impressed.  Columbia’s Omni-Wick dries well when damp but if it’s completely submerged in water it takes time to dry, especially if you’re still hiking in them.

The zips and velcro closures all work very well, making for easy one-handed access to all pockets.  The pockets are all mesh lined.  I have mixed feelings about this: a pocket knife can really tear up mesh, even though it helps these cargos dry faster and breathe better.  Most comparable models are going for mesh pockets anyway, but I still have  fond memories of the durable canvas shorts that I used when I started backpacking.

All dirtied up after a hike – grass stains washed out clean with some Stain Stick.

I would have loved if Columbia had chosen to use bellowed pockets.  The current ones are slim and stylish, but they’re so compact that they mash up nutrition bars and make things like a compass dig into the leg.

I had two issues with the shorts – they feature a four-inch elastic section in the waist band to increase comfort and help the fit.  However, the elasticized section has quite a firm upper edge that doesn’t play nicely with backpacking waist belts.  This caused a sharp red line on my hips that I eventually got used to; it’s a design flaw nonetheless.

Secondly, when I received the shorts there was a very small gap in the stitching along the upper backside of the shorts.  Definitely a quality control issue and it’s a little annoying to see this from a brand like Columbia.  Grumble grumble.

Note the small hole along the stitching next to my thumb.

These issues aside, I still love the Silver Ridge cargos because they move so darn well.  It’s pretty much the selling point of the shorts, and I enjoyed putting them through their paces.

Good Silver Ridge

  • The shorts have a comfortable fit for many figures
  • Feature an absolutely phenomenal range of motion
  • Great zips and Velcro closures make for easy access
  • Columbia’s Silver Ridge line fabric is excellent

Bad Silver Ridge

  • Stiff waistband causes chaffing
  • Stitching developed a small hole
  • Personal preference:  I wish the pockets were bellowed

Bottom Line:  Columbia Silver Ridge cargo shorts

I said that these were my go-to shorts for the summer, and I meant it.  They have flaws, but the Omni-Wick technology and excellent range-of-motion make these shorts winners.

Buy Now: Visit REI.com

About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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