The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Fjallraven Abisko Short Review

These unique shorts are durable and well-made.
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Price:  $125 List | $124.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Durable, deep front pockets
Cons:  Expensive, not water resistant, comfortable
Manufacturer:   Fjallraven
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 25, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 8
  • Features - 25% 7
  • Versatility and Style - 20% 5
  • Venting and Breathability - 10% 6
  • Weather Resistance and Dry Time - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Fjallraven Abisko shorts seem right at home on a long trek where the necessity of a hefty load is already a foregone conclusion. Their combination of burly and stretchy fabrics makes them both comfortable and durable. The pockets on these shorts are meant to carry. This model is super hefty, which means that their versatility is somewhat limited and their style may not be for everyone. However, we are impressed with their construction and quality. They are certainly not for going fast and light, but if you need a pair for the long haul, these are an excellent choice.


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Price $124.95 at Backcountry$69.00 at REI
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$49.95 at REI$64.99 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Pros Durable, deep front pocketsComfortable, stylish, water resistantLightweight, odor resistant, zippered pocketsGood water resistance, many pockets, inexpensiveVery stretchy fabric, well-positioned pockets, drawstring
Cons Expensive, not water resistant, comfortableA little tight when sitting down, no integrated beltNot super stylish, liner limits versatilityBaggy fit, utilitarian appearanceMore expensive, baggier feel
Bottom Line These unique shorts are durable and well-made.These comfortable, functional shorts really impressed us on our adventures.A lightweight, breathable pair of shorts that are equally comfortable on a run as they are on a backpacking trip.These thin yet water resistant shorts are a great option for the practical, budget-minded hiker.These full-coverage shorts have really practical features for a long day on trail.
Rating Categories Fjallraven Abisko Short Patagonia Quandary Short Patagonia Nine Trails Short REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Short Marmot Limantour Short
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Features (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
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8
Versatility And Style (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
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6
Venting And Breathability (10%)
10
0
6
10
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8
10
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8
10
0
8
10
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7
Weather Resistance And Dry Time (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs Fjallraven Abisko... Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine... REI Co-op Sahara... Marmot Limantour...
Weight 10.7 oz 7.1 oz 6.6 oz 7.1 oz 8.9 oz
Material 65% polyester, 35% cotton 95% nylon 5% spandex 100% recycled polyester 94% nylon / 6% spandex 88% Nylon 12% Elastane
Water Resistance Greenland wax treatment-ready DWR coating DWR coating DWR finish DWR coating
Sizing (waist, length options) 44 - 60 28 - 41; 8", 10", 12" inseams XS - XXL 30 - 40 28 - 40
Sun Protection Not specified UPF 50+ Not specified UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? No Pants available No Pants, convertible available Pants available
Pockets 4 (plus secondary mesh pocket inside right cargo) 5 (plus right coin) 3 5 4
Waist Strap/Fasten Double button and zip fly Button and zip fly Elastic/Draw string Button and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Regular fit, lower front waist, higher back waist, stretch fabric in lower back, reinforced seat Classic fit, curved waistband, gusseted crotch Odor control liner, waist drawcord, reflective logo Relaxed fit, integrated belt, gusseted crotch Regular fit, reinforced seat, belt loops
Warranty Limited lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

These shorts are different than the rest. Though their utility is geared toward heavy use, and there are a lot of hikes we wouldn't want to take them on, we can't help but appreciate the thoughtful details that make these shorts the workhorses that they are.

Performance Comparison


The Fjallraven Abisko shorts are comfortable and come with a nice set of features. Their niche style and versatility, and limited breathability put them in the middle of the pack.

These shorts are right at home the type of backpacking trip where it's ok to carry some extra ounces.
These shorts are right at home the type of backpacking trip where it's ok to carry some extra ounces.

Comfort and Mobility


These shorts combine two kinds of fabric to achieve a balance between comfort and durability. The front, lower back/hip area, and lower legs are all made from a 63% polyamide/26% polyester/11% elastane blend that is extremely stretchy. The seat and portions of the pockets are made from a super durable 65% polyester, 35% cotton blend that is fairly stiff and meant to put through the wringer. The crotch is gusseted (with the rugged poly/cotton blend), and the stretch fabric facilitates a high degree of mobility; our testing showed that it was all in the right places. We especially appreciated the strip of stretch just below the waist, which really helped the shorts stay in place when wearing a pack.

The eye-shaped gusset in the crotch increases space and user mobility along with it.
The eye-shaped gusset in the crotch increases space and user mobility along with it.

The limiting factors include the longer inseam and their weight. Between the heavy fabrics, pockets, and zippers, we noticed the weight over a pair like the Patagonia Nine Trails.

These shorts have a dual button closure for extra security while on the move.
These shorts have a dual button closure for extra security while on the move.

Features


The Abisko shorts are notable for what they include and what they don't. There are four exterior pockets, and we really like the thought that must have gone into their size, shape, and positioning. There are two front hand pockets with zippers, and two thigh pockets with metal and plastic snap closures. The left thigh can accommodate a smartphone or a handheld GPS; in fact, its size and shape suggest that is exactly what it is meant for. The pocket also has an asymmetrical pleat that allows it to expand ever so slightly. The right pocket is much larger and is made from the stretch material (you can fit a small e-reader in there). It also contains a smaller mesh pocket that is large enough for a set of car keys or an energy bar.

The left leg pocket is precisely sized for a handheld devices  or in this case  a few protein bars.
The left leg pocket is precisely sized for a handheld devices, or in this case, a few protein bars.

There are no rear pockets, which is a little surprising on a pair of shorts that seems like it is designed to carry some weight; however, we don't really miss them because of how effective the other ones are. The two front pockets have zippers, which is great for security and peace of mind. They are also extremely deep - the deepest of any model that we tested. The opening to each of the hand pockets is also placed a little more toward the front, which we came to discover makes them easier to access with a pack hip belt clipped around your waist.

We love the front pockets for their full closure zippers and their depth.
We love the front pockets for their full closure zippers and their depth.

These shorts also come with a two-part closure for extra durability-- there are both an interior-facing plastic button and regular metal button to secure the waist.

Versatility and Style


This model doesn't scream versatility. Instead, they are high-quality and hefty, meant for trekking or hearty outdoor work. We would consider them for a day hike, but if you are looking to slim down on weight, these are not the shorts for you.

The two different materials are two noticeably different shades  adding to the intriguing style of these shorts.
The two different materials are two noticeably different shades, adding to the intriguing style of these shorts.

Their features are thoughtful and valuable for sure, but we don't think these shorts are particularly stylish. They are a little surfer dude meets lumberjack.

Weather Resistance and Dry Time


There is a lot going on with these shorts in terms of weather resistance; their length and thickness make them a good break against the wind. They don't have an official UPF sun protection rating, but we suspect they have you covered just fine.

The cotton blend (left) and the stretch nylon (right) are both thicker fabrics  but ultimately absorb moisture relatively rapidly.
The cotton blend (left) and the stretch nylon (right) are both thicker fabrics, but ultimately absorb moisture relatively rapidly.

We didn't find that the sturdier cotton-blend fabric (called G-1000) was particularly water-resistant, but Fjallraven promotes a wax treatment for many of its garments, these shorts included. The stretch fabric initially appeared to be water-resistant, but we ran into a similar issue as we did with the Marmot Limantour. Namely, the fabric is stretchy enough that as you move, water eventually works its way through the material. Because of their weight and thickness, they don't dry particularly quickly either.

Venting and Breathability


Venting and breathability are sort of a six-in-one, half-dozen-in-the-other situation. None of the pockets are mesh, and there are no obvious vent points. The stretch fabric offers some breathability, and the fit is loose enough that there is more airflow than with other pairs; however, the G-1000 fabric is heavy and hot.

The hand pockets are lined with the cotton/poly blend  meaning that they will absorb moisture and don't lend themselves to ventilation particularly well.
The hand pockets are lined with the cotton/poly blend, meaning that they will absorb moisture and don't lend themselves to ventilation particularly well.

Best Applications


These shorts are meant for trekking with a big pack across rough terrain. We envision a remote mountain traverse, with a lot of scrambling and careful descents. They are also good for traveling, especially if you need to keep important documents close at hand and secure. They are overkill for it, but we would also enjoy outdoor chores like lawn mowing or splitting wood - if that's your thing.

Thick material and quality construction mean increased durability  making these shorts great for trekking.
Thick material and quality construction mean increased durability, making these shorts great for trekking.

Value


Ringing in at $125, they are right up there as one of the most expensive pairs that we tested. For most people doing most activities, we can't totally justify the price tag. However, if you have had your eye on this pair specifically, or find that its best applications are exactly what you plan on using them for, then we don't think that you will be disappointed with what you get and how long they last you.

Conclusion


The Fjallraven Abisko shorts are a rare combination of comfortable and durable (emphasis on the durable). They are heavy and will be good on cold mornings before you have had a chance to warm up for the day. They are pricey, so their niche utility will likely be worth it to those looking for trekking shorts, but this thoughtfully designed pair of shorts is worth a look for any hiker who wants a high-quality garment.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch