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Arc'teryx Palisade Short Review

These shorts combine a bit of style with the function that accompanies a great feature set
Arc'teryx Palisade Short
Photo: Arc'teryx
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $130 List | $129.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Zippered pockets, integrated belt, stylish look
Cons:  Expensive, not as stretchy as most comfortable models, small fly
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 25, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6
  • Features - 25% 9
  • Versatility and Style - 20% 8
  • Venting and Breathability - 10% 6
  • Weather Resistance and Dry Time - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Palisade is a pair of hiking shorts that will keep you moving on trail and looking good in town in equal proportion. This model earns a Top Pick Award for its balance of function and style and comes equipped with a really nice set of features. The Palisade also has thoughtful design elements that make them a good choice for a wide variety of activities. The zippered pockets are excellent, and the integrated belt makes fine-tuning the fit fast and simple. They are very expensive, so the budget-conscious shopper may want to look elsewhere, but if you are looking to splurge and need good versatility and function all in one pair of shorts, these are the ones for you.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $129.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$69.00 at Backcountry
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$49.95 at REI$22.50 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Zippered pockets, integrated belt, stylish lookComfortable, stylish, water resistantLightweight, odor resistant, zippered pocketsGood water resistance, many pockets, inexpensiveGood water resistance, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, not as stretchy as most comfortable models, small flyA little tight when sitting down, no integrated beltNot super stylish, liner limits versatilityBaggy fit, utilitarian appearanceMaterials feel cheaper, no waist adjuster, fabric not stretchy
Bottom Line A pair of shorts that you can wear in town and on trail in equal measureThese practical shorts kept us comfortable on a variety of adventuresThese shorts are lightweight, comfortable, and versatileA lightweight yet durable pair of shorts that won't break the bankAn inexpensive pair that is best on flat terrain
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Palisade Short Patagonia Quandary Short Patagonia Nine Trails Short REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Short Silver Ridge II Stretch Short
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
6
8
9
8
7
Features (25%)
9
8
8
6
6
Versatility And Style (20%)
8
9
7
6
7
Venting And Breathability (10%)
6
8
8
8
7
Weather Resistance And Dry Time (10%)
8
8
7
9
8
Specs Arc'teryx Palisade... Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine... REI Co-op Sahara... Silver Ridge II...
Weight 7.3 oz 7.1 oz 6.6 oz 7.1 oz 6.9 oz
Material TerraTex nylon blend 95% nylon 5% spandex 100% recycled polyester 94% nylon / 6% spandex 95% nylon, 5% elastane
Water Resistance Not specified DWR coating DWR coating DWR finish Omni-Shield coating
Sizing (waist, length options) 28 - 38 28 - 41; 8", 10", 12" inseams XS - XXL 30 - 40 28 - 42; 8", 10"
Sun Protection Some, not specified UPF 50+ Not specified UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? Pants available Pants available No Pants, convertible available Pants available
Pockets 5 5 (plus right coin) 3 5 5
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Elastic/Draw string Button and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Trim fit, integrated belt, gusseted crotch Classic fit, curved waistband, gusseted crotch Odor control liner, waist drawcord, reflective logo Relaxed fit, integrated belt, gusseted crotch Regular fit, stain repellancy
Warranty 60 day return Lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty Limited lifetime warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

We like these shorts. We took them hiking for days at a time, and they didn't disappoint. Whether you are out for a day or a week, we think you will like their performance as well as the way they look.

Performance Comparison


Against the rest, the Arc'teryx Palisade is an admirable competitor. Though it misses out on some points for comfort, it otherwise scores consistently across the board, earning a Top Pick for the balance of practicality and style.

This model is made for walking, and did well in the rain forests of...
This model is made for walking, and did well in the rain forests of the Oregon Coast Trail.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Comfort and Mobility


We wish that these shorts had a little more stretch but all in all they are a comfortable pair. We appreciate the gusseted crotch. They also strike a nice balance between their weight and user mobility; that is, from a design perspective, there is no more fabric than there needs to be. We didn't feel restricted in our movement unless we were scrambling up boulders.


We also enjoy the feel of the felted liner on the interior of the waistband, which seriously reduces chaffing, especially when wearing a pack. The belt has a low enough profile that it isn't really noticeable under a hip belt either. One super subtle but surprisingly important comfort feature is at the front of the waist, just above the snap closure, the corners of the fabric are trimmed so that the fabric point doesn't rub on your skin, as we noticed in some other pairs.

The soft felt liner inside the waist reduces rub in key spots.
The soft felt liner inside the waist reduces rub in key spots.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

On the other hand, the 94%/6% nylon/elastane blend is just a little rougher than we like; we noticed some chaffing on longer hauls, especially in humid weather. The other oddity is the fly length; it's just really short and difficult to use effectively. We think that these shorts take the functional minimalism a bit too far here. If you need a little more room than what these shorts provide, we recommend the REI Sahara Cargo, or if you want a stretchier pair of shorts with the support of an interior liner, the Patagonia Nine Trails are a great option as well.

The leg seams are sealed and incredibly low-profile, which reduces...
The leg seams are sealed and incredibly low-profile, which reduces chaffing almost down to zero.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Features


The features on these shorts are just about perfect. They come with five pockets; two handwarmer, two cargo, one rear (right). They are all zippered, which is ideal for backpacking. No matter which pocket you choose, you can have the peace of mind that your snacks, keys, or whatever you stow in them won't fall out. The cargo pockets are flush against the thigh when empty but have some hidden pleating that expands their volume if you need to carry an extra protein bar. We also appreciate that the thigh pockets are integrated into the underside of the shorts (as opposed to being a separated piece of mesh that flaps wildly when running).


The side pockets have openings that are a little on the small side...
The side pockets have openings that are a little on the small side, but we love the slim profile zippers.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

For other well-featured models, consider the Patagonia Nine Trails, which also comes with zippers on all of its pockets, as well as an interior liner, and the Patagonia Quandary, which earns our Editors' Choice Award for its all-around performance. If you the vibe of the Palisade but the price tag is over-the-top, then check out the REI Co-Op Sahara Cargo, which comes with just as many pockets, but a more reasonable price.

The integrated belt buckle is sturdy and easy to tighten and release.
The integrated belt buckle is sturdy and easy to tighten and release.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Venting and Breathability


These shorts are lightweight and breathable. The fabric is durable but not stifling, and the mesh pockets facilitate ventilation. With a 10" inseam, on most wearers they fall slightly above the knee, offering a cooler wearer experience.


The front pockets are fully mesh-lined with a moderate to loose...
The front pockets are fully mesh-lined with a moderate to loose weave. If you keep the pockets unzipped, they help offset the tightly knit fabric of the shorts.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weather Resistance and Dry Time


This model was one of the top performers in this metric. It doesn't advertise any DWR (durable water repellent) coating but still beaded light rain well. The lightweight fabric also dries quickly. The Palisade does a good job as a stand-in for a bathing suit on the trail, though we will note, between the felted interior waist and the webbing of the integrated belt, the waist does take quite a bit longer to dry than the rest of the garment.


Other quick driers include the Patagonia Nine Trails and Patagonia Quandary. If your primary focus is on pockets, then you can't go wrong with the REI Co-Op Sahara Cargo, which also boasts very strong water resistance.

These shorts have solid water resistance and allow water to bead up...
These shorts have solid water resistance and allow water to bead up and remain on the surface, rather than soaking in.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Versatility and Style


The Palisade has nice versatility. This pair straddles the lines between breathable and rugged, functional, and stylish. We took them out on trail, in town, and around the house and we liked them equally in all situations. As a nice bonus, we would also add that they come in slightly more interesting colors than the typical black/gray of men's athletic wear. We also wore them for air travel. Though we were initially concerned that the metal buckle on the integrated belt was not removable, it never caused any issues or delays going through security.


The Patagonia Quandary earns top marks for versatility. If you want to go all-in on style, we would recommend the Prana Brion, which we think looks the most fashionable of any model that we tested.

These shorts have a tech look and enough versatility that they could...
These shorts have a tech look and enough versatility that they could be a go-to pair for any number of activities.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Best Applications


These shorts are best used for day hikes and adventures where you need the flexibility to move between backcountry and frontcountry on the same day. They do well on distance hikes too, but we find that the roughness of the fabric is not ideally suited for comfort in the long haul. If you are looking to pack light, they can easily double as a swimsuit.

These shorts have great carrying capacity and are good for day hikes...
These shorts have great carrying capacity and are good for day hikes and shorter adventures.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Value


At $130, we don't think that the value is quite there. Not that we don't enjoy these shorts, we just think that is a bit much to pay for any pair, regardless of most factors. However, that is not to say we don't think they will last. For the committed hiker, there is no reason why you couldn't get hundreds of good wears out of them.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Palisade is the short you grab when you need a simple pair that performs. Every pocket is zippered, so you never have to worry about objects falling out, and careful design elements, like the felted inner waistband, add to the impression that these Top Pick winners are made with an eye toward actual hikers. Though there are a couple of things that we would want to change about this model to make them truly top of the line, we would gladly buckle them up for our next adventure.

Ben Applebaum-Bauch