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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Short Review

Lightweight and breathable shorts that have a lot of stretch for high mobility
outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review
Credit: Outdoor Research
Price:  $75 List
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 10, 2022
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7.0
  • Features - 25% 8.0
  • Versatility and Style - 20% 7.0
  • Venting and Breathability - 10% 8.0
  • Weather Resistance and Dry Time - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a comfortable and lightweight pair of shorts. The thin and highly breathable fabric makes this model ideal for hiking in dry hot weather. Though the legs are somewhat slim, the gusseted crotch provides additional mobility. The basic feature set served us well and we appreciate the thoughtful inclusion of elements like the soft interior waist liner. They dry quickly after a storm and are versatile enough for hiking, climbing, or out on the water. We have a couple of concerns about their durability but all in all, this is a nice pair of shorts for a variety of summertime adventures. Note that we purchased and tested the 10" length, as there is also an 8" length available.
REASONS TO BUY
Stretchy and comfortable
Soft waist liner
Drawstring
REASONS TO AVOID
Waist gets loose
Only one zippered pocket

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Stretchy and comfortable, soft waist liner, drawstringComfortable, stylish, water resistantLightweight, odor resistant, zippered pocketsVery comfortable, integrated belt, discrete crotch ventsGood water resistance, many pockets, inexpensive
Cons Waist gets loose, only one zippered pocketA little tight when sitting down, no integrated beltNot super stylish, liner limits versatilityDifficult-to-access pockets, not super stylishUtilitarian appearance, pocket openings a little small
Bottom Line Lightweight and breathable shorts that have a lot of stretch for high mobilityThese comfortable, functional shorts really impressed us on our adventuresA lightweight, breathable pair of shorts that are equally comfortable on a run as they are on a backpacking tripA comfortable, feature-filled pair of shorts with a unique array of pockets and an integrated beltThese thin yet water resistant shorts are a great option for the practical, budget-minded hiker
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Fe... Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine Trai... Prana Stretch Zion... REI Co-op Sahara Ca...
Comfort and Mobility (35%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Features (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Versatility and Style (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Venting and Breathability (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Weather Resistance and Dry Time (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Outdoor Research Fe... Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine Trai... Prana Stretch Zion... REI Co-op Sahara Ca...
Weight 6.7 oz 7.1 oz 6.6 oz 9.1 oz 5.9 oz
Material 86% nylon, 14% spandex 95% nylon 5% spandex 100% recycled polyester 95% recycled nylon 5% elastane 96% recycled nylon, 4% spandex
Water Resistance DWR coating DWR coating DWR coating Not specified DWR finish
Sizing (Waist, Length options) W: 28" - 42:
L: 7", 10"
W: 28" - 41"
L: 8", 10", 12"
XS - XXL W: 28" - 42"
L: 8", 10", 12"
W: 30" - 44"
Sun Protection 50+ UPF 50+ Not specified UPF 50+ UPF 50+
Convertible, or option available? No Pants available No Pants available Pants, convertible available
Pockets 2 hand, 1 zip hip, 2 back 5 (plus right coin) 3 5 6
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Elastic/Draw string Button and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Drawstring, lined waist band, harness compatable waist Classic fit, curved waistband, gusseted crotch Odor control liner, waist drawcord, reflective logo Standard fit, integrated belt, ventilated gusseted crotch, elastic key loop Relaxed fit, Elastic on back waist, gusseted crotch

Our Analysis and Test Results

The 86%/14% nylon/spandex blend creates a high-mobility, comfortable short. They are lightweight while including enough pockets and features to keep them practical.

Performance Comparison


outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - the outdoor research ferrosi is a lightweight, technical pair of...
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a lightweight, technical pair of shorts with strong breathability.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

Comfort & Mobility


These shorts have a slimmer fit but remain comfortable. The fabric has a lot of stretch and the crotch is gusseted to increase space. They ride up a bit when sitting down, but their elasticity keeps them from being restrictive, even when they get bunchy.

outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - a super soft liner sewn into the waist reduces chaffing over many...
A super soft liner sewn into the waist reduces chaffing over many miles.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

The interior waist liner is an excellent addition that reduces abrasion from a backpack hip belt. These shorts sit below the waist. We also found that they stretch out in the waist faster than the average pair when worn multiple days in a row on trail, which just makes us extra grateful for the included drawstring. A surprisingly rare feature, we are also pleased with the length of the fly, which comes down low enough to actually be practical, unlike other slim-fitting shorts.

Features


With a full complement of five pockets, these shorts are equipped to hold the essentials. They come with two front, two rear, and one right-side zippered cargo pocket. This last one feels shallow at first but the fabric is so stretchy that it can actually accommodate a large smartphone or multiple protein bars. The opening is larger than some other cargo pockets, making it easier to reach into.

outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - a hidden drawstring makes it possible to adjust the waist, even if...
A hidden drawstring makes it possible to adjust the waist, even if the shorts get a little stretched out over time.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

These shorts also have traditional belt loops and a drawstring to tighten them down if you find yourself without a belt. The front metal button is super easy to secure.

Versatility & Style


This is a pair of shorts meant for hot summer weather. We wish that more of the pockets had zippers for increased security and practicality. However, we found that they are an excellent choice for hiking, mobile enough for climbing, and thin and quick-drying enough for paddling.

outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - the ferrosi is good for hiking as well as lounging.
The Ferrosi is good for hiking as well as lounging.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Their style leaves them somewhere in the middle of the bunch with a somewhat unusual combination of qualities. They sit low, but also have a slim fit in the legs. The drawstring is hidden on the inside so they might just look like a nice pair of casual shorts for going out, but the cargo pocket is also somewhat prominent, which gives them a more utilitarian look.

Venting & Breathability


The thinness of the fabric means that they may not be the most durable pair but it does make them highly breathable. Coming in at just 6.7 ounces, these are among the lightest shorts in the category.

outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - lightweight fabric and mesh pockets are a couple ways that these...
Lightweight fabric and mesh pockets are a couple ways that these shorts keep hikers cool.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

The front and cargo pockets are all partially mesh-lined, though, in our experience with them, the airiness of the fabric makes much more of a difference for keeping cool.

Weather Resistance & Dry Time


Given their thinness as discussed above, we are pleasantly surprised by their water resistance. The DWR coating keeps water beading nicely even in moderate rain. Taken together, their water resistance and their thinness mean that they dry especially quickly as well. They are also rated to UPF 50+ meaning that they have been tested for (and protect against) sun exposure to a high degree.

outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - a durable water-resistant coating on the fabric enables water to...
A durable water-resistant coating on the fabric enables water to bead up and roll right off of these shorts.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

One compromise that these shorts make is with the waistband. Though the waist in general of most pairs of shorts is the thickest part that takes the longest to dry, the addition of the abrasion-resistant liner adds another layer that takes noticeably longer to dry (from both sweat and rain) than the rest of this garment.

Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Ferrosi?


The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a comfortable and breathable short that functions well for many summer trail adventures. They dry quickly and are a reliable combination of practical and stylish. They are somewhat expensive, but if you are looking for a thin, dry-weather active short, these ones will serve you well.

What Other Hiking Shorts Should You Consider?


If you are looking for breathability, you might also check out the Patagonia Baggies Longs, which have thick fabric but a super breathable liner. For an even more stylish option, we recommend the Prana Brion II. They aren't the most robust hiking shorts but they look great. If you want even more pockets, the REI Sahara Cargo is an affordable model with lots of carrying capacity.

outdoor research ferrosi short hiking short review - this reliable pair of lightweight breathable shorts is a good option...
This reliable pair of lightweight breathable shorts is a good option for your next adventure.
Credit: Sarah Van Cleve

Ben Applebaum-Bauch
 
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