Outdoor Research Contour Shorts

Outdoor Research Contour Shorts reviewOutdoor Research Contour Shorts reviewTop: Outdoor Research Contour shorts in Aster on top of Half Dome in Yosemite, right before sunrise. Bottom: Outdoor Research Countour shorts in Black at Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz, CA

I’m generally not a huge fan of shorts made by outdoor brands. They’re always kind of frumpy, all the wrong length, borderline capris. I mean, come on. I’m 5′ tall. Anything cut between mid-thigh and my feet will make me look at a stump. But Paulina! You are doing things outdoors and getting dirty and not showering, why does it matter if you look like a stump or not? It just does.

So cue the Outdoor Research Contour shorts, aka outdoor shorts from the gods, so good I bought two pairs within two weeks of each other:

A Jill-of-all-trades soft shell short, the lightweight, durable Contour™ is a staple for everything from boulder-hopping scree field approaches, to battling up sun-baked granite walls, to skirting icy creeks overflowing with spring runoff. The comfortable, tightly woven fabric blocks alpine wind but still breathes well, and a gusseted crotch facilitates long, dynamic movements. A low-profile waist slides easily under a harness, a zippered thigh pocket holds essential items and the Cordura®/spandex blend fabric shrugs off the wear and tear of the trail.

These are awesome. They’re cut in an extremely flattering way; form-fitting enough to not look like you’re wearing a parachute, yet loose enough for dynamic movements. Oh, and they’re actually shorts that are kind of short, but not too short!

The Contour shorts have two slip pockets for your hands. They will fit an iPhone 4S with a bulky case on. The shorts also have two zipper pockets on both sides, good for carrying your Fitbit.

These are super lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking. They don’t really hold odors, either. I have a tendency to accidentally on purpose forget a change of clothes on weekend trips. These hold up well to multiple days of use without washing.

My only gripe? There aren’t back pockets. Not that you really need back pockets if you’ve got a backpack or a harness on, but when you’re just wandering around like a normal civilian, sometimes they’re nice to have.

The waist is cut a little high too, but not a deal breaker in my opinion. Personally, I’m kind of a fan since my shirts tend to ride up under my harness, so a little extra protection is nice.

Get these from Moosejaw for $75. You can also find these at the Outdoor Research retail store. If you’re in the Seattle area, I highly recommend stopping by. These guys are super cool and super nice and will entertain your every question and tell you cool stories and maybe even give you a tour of the place which also happens to have a bouldering wall (true story, it happened to me). Also, if you check in on Foursquare, you get 20% off. For Yelpers, it’s 15%.