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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
Photo: Outdoor Research
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Price:  $70 List | $69.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stretchy and comfortable, soft waist liner, drawstring
Cons:  Waist gets loose, only one zippered pocket
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 20, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 7
  • Features - 25% 6
  • Versatility and Style - 20% 7
  • Venting and Breathability - 10% 7
  • Weather Resistance and Dry Time - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a comfortable and lightweight pair of shorts. The thin and highly breathable fabric makes them ideal for warm weather hiking. 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 to stand in while 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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $69.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$47.99 at Backcountry$65.00 at REI
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$50 List
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$44.95 at REI
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Star Rating
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Pros Stretchy and comfortable, soft waist liner, drawstringComfortable, stylish, water resistantLightweight, odor resistant, zippered pocketsGood water resistance, many pockets, inexpensiveLightweight, elastic waist, dry quickly
Cons Waist gets loose, only one zippered pocketA little tight when sitting down, no integrated beltNot super stylish, liner limits versatilityUtilitarian appearance, pocket openings a little smallNo rear pockets, no fly
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 tripThese thin yet water resistant shorts are a great option for the practical, budget-minded hikerThese athletic, lightweight shorts come with an interior liner and ventilation holes that help you stay cool
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Fe... Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine Trai... REI Co-op Sahara Ca... REI Co-op Active Pu...
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Features (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Versatility And Style (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Venting And Breathability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Weather Resistance And Dry Time (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Outdoor Research Fe... Patagonia Quandary... Patagonia Nine Trai... REI Co-op Sahara Ca... REI Co-op Active Pu...
Weight 6.7 oz 7.1 oz 6.6 oz 5.9 oz 5.8 oz
Material 86% nylon, 14% spandex 95% nylon 5% spandex 100% recycled polyester Nylon 86% polyester/14% spandex
Water Resistance DWR treated DWR coating DWR coating DWR finish Not specified
Sizing (waist, length options) 28-38; 8", 10" 28 - 41; 8", 10", 12" inseams XS - XXL 30 - 40 S-XL
Sun Protection 50+ UPF 50+ Not specified UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? No Pants available No Pants, convertible available Pants, shorts
Pockets 2 hand, 1 zip thigh, 2 back 5 (plus right coin) 3 5 2 hand, 1 embedded zip
Waist Strap/Fasten Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Elastic/Draw string Button and zip fly Elastic, drawstring
Other Features Drawstring, waistliner Classic fit, curved waistband, gusseted crotch Odor control liner, waist drawcord, reflective logo Relaxed fit, integrated belt, gusseted crotch Ventilation holes, interior liner

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


This casual, comfortable pair of shorts is a good option for day...
This casual, comfortable pair of shorts is a good option for day hikes.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Comfort & Mobility


In terms of comfort and mobility, we found that these shorts try to balance this metric against style. The fabric has a lot of stretch and the crotch is gusseted to increase space. However, the legs feel like they have a comparatively narrow diameter and they ride up a bit when sitting down.

The interior waist liner is a soft felt material that reduces...
The interior waist liner is a soft felt material that reduces abrasion.
Photo: Piper 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.

The gusset (additional strip of fabric) increases space in the...
The gusset (additional strip of fabric) increases space in the crotch for additional comfort.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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. We did, however, find that the opening is somewhat small and difficult to reach a hand into.

The cargo pocket has a smaller opening but can still hold essential...
The cargo pocket has a smaller opening but can still hold essential items like snacks or a phone.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

These shorts also have traditional belt loops as well as 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.

The drawstring is a little more challenging to tie than other...
The drawstring is a little more challenging to tie than other models, but it is hidden away on the inside of the waist to keep these shorts looking a little more put together.
Photo: 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.

When held up to the light, it becomes clearer how thin and...
When held up to the light, it becomes clearer how thin and breathable this fabric really is.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

They dry quickly but these shorts are not especially...
They dry quickly but these shorts are not especially water-resistant. On the left, water soaks through the porous fabric quickly.
Photo: 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.

Value


Their initial performance is strong but in terms of value, we would look elsewhere first. Because the material is thin, we have concerns about its long-term durability when it comes up against abrasion and snags from rocks and thorns. Also, these shorts aren't specialized for a particular activity, which can definitely be an asset, but depending on what you are hoping to do, your money could be better invested in a pair that is tailored to your specific needs.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a comfortable, breathable, and lightweight short that functions well for many summer trail adventures. Though our testers had some issues with the fit, we think the right person will really love these shorts.

These stretchy shorts are nice for hiking or other outdoor activities.
These stretchy shorts are nice for hiking or other outdoor activities.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Ben Applebaum-Bauch