After a checkered past of financial woes, iconic Eddie Bauer has upped their game in recent years. Quality is up and their outerwear is highly-capable in a crowded field. I’m not saying they are out of the woods yet, but the Guide Shorts have been a great example of gear done right.

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Shorts Features:

  • Flexion stretch woven fabric
  • Stormrepel DWR finish
  • Freedry advanced moisture management
  • Freeshade SPF 50+
  • Inseam: 12 in.
  • Two zipped cargo pockets
  • Belt loops
  • Fabric: 94% nylon/6% spandex
  • Colors: Dark Smoke (tested), Saddle, Sprig
  • MSRP: $70

Eddie Bauer Guide Shorts Review

Eddie Bauer Does Right with Guide Shorts

It’s been awhile since I’ve flogged anything Eddie Bauer and after wearing the Guide Shorts, I’m thinking I should add their products into the beat-down more regularly. For me, a pair of outdoorsy¬†shorts needs to have at least a 12″ inseam (check), absolutely must feature stretchy material (check), must breathe well (check) and must dry fast (check). As you’ll notice, the Guide’s have a lot of checkboxes checked off.

With a nice, clean cut, the Guide shorts fit on-the-money. Though my waist is 33″, I often have to go with 34″ because my backside needs the extra room. With these, I’m getting proper fit on my thighs and backside while sitting properly below the waist. Speaking of the waist. While the rest of the shorts feature stretchy material, the waist is not stretchy. And, it’s backed with a lightly-brushed fabric so they stay put really well.

The side cargo pockets are placed well and generous enough for hauling the necessities (wallet, phone, the usual). I did find the zippers easy to open, but a little more difficult to close. The locking zipper pulls did keep things secure.

Eddie Bauer Guide Shorts Review - Dark Smoke

Hiking in the Guide shorts is fantastic. Each step is comfortable and unencumbered. The material also stretches nicely for moderate scrambling and should lend themselves well to more technical adventures than I put them through.

The DWR treatment is good enough to withstand some light rain, but does get saturated when things get serious. Luckily, they dry out really well at least here in the dry mountain air.

As far as negatives go, the only things worth mentioning are the size of the hand pocket openings — they are really, really small. This is good because they have less of a chance to catch on things, but I don’t have large diameter hands and mine barely squeeze into the pockets. I do like that the lining is not mesh fabric. As such, it makes it easier to put things in and take them out without turning the pockets inside-out.

It’s also worth mentioning that the front zipper seems rather short. When it’s time for relief, it just feels like it stops about a half inch to a full inch too short.

The Good

  • Lightweight feel
  • Stretchy fabric moves with you
  • Pocket liners stay put when taking things in/out
  • Usable cargo pockets are well-placed
  • Button-free rear pockets
  • Nice length
  • Water repellent finish dries in a jiffy, should you cross a river or go swimming in them

The Bad

  • Hand pocket openings are small — large hands may not fit
  • Front zipper is too short

The Bottom Line

These shorts are really well done for the ultimate outdoorsy shorts. They are durable and extremely comfortable and excel in a variety of activities. And, if your store is running them at $49, like mine, they are currently a solid deal.

Buy Now: Available at or Your Local Store

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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