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REI Co-op Active Pursuits Review

These athletic, lightweight shorts come with an interior liner and ventilation holes that help you stay cool
REI Co-op Active Pursuits
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $45 List | $44.95 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, elastic waist, dry quickly
Cons:  No rear pockets, no fly
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 20, 2021
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 8
  • Features - 25% 6
  • Versatility and Style - 20% 5
  • Venting and Breathability - 10% 8
  • Weather Resistance and Dry Time - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Active Pursuits is a pair of hiking shorts that are meant to keep you cool. Lightweight and breathable, this pair keeps its features basic. The interior liner provides support on trail runs while remaining stretchy and comfortable. The ventilation points are a thoughtful addition that help dissipate heat. The elastic waist accommodates a range of waist sizes and they dry fast when they get wet. These shorts are meant for those who like to move quickly and don't need a lot of extra features. While we like these shorts, we generally recommend spending a little bit more to get the Patagonia Nine Trails, a much nicer pair of shorts geared toward the same usage.

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Price $44.95 at REI$65.00 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, elastic waist, dry quicklyLightweight, odor resistant, zippered pocketsGood water resistance, many pockets, inexpensiveGood water resistance, inexpensiveComfortable, elastic waist, inexpensive
Cons No rear pockets, no flyNot super stylish, liner limits versatilityUtilitarian appearance, pocket openings a little smallMaterials feel cheaper, no waist adjuster, fabric not stretchyLimiting pocket configuration, no belt loops
Bottom Line These athletic, lightweight shorts come with an interior liner and ventilation holes that help you stay coolA 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 simple shorts are inexpensive and practicalA fast and light pair of shorts with just a couple of features keeping it from the top
Rating Categories REI Co-op Active Pu... Patagonia Nine Trai... REI Co-op Sahara Ca... Columbia Silver Rid... The North Face Para...
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Features (25%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Versatility And Style (20%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Venting And Breathability (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Weather Resistance And Dry Time (10%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Active Pu... Patagonia Nine Trai... REI Co-op Sahara Ca... Columbia Silver Rid... The North Face Para...
Weight 5.8 oz 6.6 oz 5.9 oz 6.9 oz 6.8 oz
Material 86% polyester/14% spandex 100% recycled polyester Nylon 95% nylon, 5% elastane 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Water Resistance Not specified DWR coating DWR finish Omni-Shield coating DWR finish
Sizing (waist, length options) S-XL XS - XXL 30 - 40 28 - 42; 8", 10" S - XL; 10", 12"
Sun Protection UPF 50 Not specified UPF 50 UPF 50 UPF 50
Convertible, or option available? Pants, shorts No Pants, convertible available Pants available No
Pockets 2 hand, 1 embedded zip 3 5 5 4
Waist Strap/Fasten Elastic, drawstring Elastic/Draw string Button and zip fly Button and zip fly Button and zip fly
Other Features Ventilation holes, interior liner Odor control liner, waist drawcord, reflective logo Relaxed fit, integrated belt, gusseted crotch Regular fit, stain repellancy Relaxed fit, included belt

Our Analysis and Test Results

With a 7-inch inseam and lightweight fabric, these shorter shorts will keep you cool. The 86/14% polyester/spandex blend also makes them comfortable.

Performance Comparison


This shorter, lighter pair is great for warm summer days and drying...
This shorter, lighter pair is great for warm summer days and drying quickly after a storm.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Comfort & Mobility


These shorts have a lot going for them on the comfort front. Their high proportion of spandex makes them extra stretchy. The elastic waist can also adjust to different sizes, which makes them useful if you are planning to use them on a longer trip where your waist size might fluctuate.

The thin fabric and short 7" inseam of this model makes these shorts...
The thin fabric and short 7" inseam of this model makes these shorts cool and comfortable.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

The interior liner is somewhat sheer and even stretchier than the main body of the shorts which helps to maintain both support and mobility. It has a briefs-style design (as opposed to something more like compression shorts) which feels more restrictive to some people, but we ultimately didn't find it distracting.

Features


This model is highlighted by a simple feature set. It has two traditional front handwarmer pockets. In addition, the righthand side has an embedded zippered pocket for keys or other small items that you can't afford to escape mid-activity. We found this pocket to be the best inclusion of all. The elastic waist stays up on its own, but the inclusion of a drawstring as well adds some additional security.

The right side has a double pocket: a traditional handwarmer pocket...
The right side has a double pocket: a traditional handwarmer pocket on the outside and a zippered inner compartment for keys (or a snack).
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Notably, this pair does not have any rear pockets. In most cases, when all we needed was our keys, this wasn't an issue. However, we did occasionally find ourselves reaching back for a pocket that wasn't there and wishing that it was.

Versatility & Style


As far as style goes, these are most definitely a pair of outdoor activewear shorts. There's just no way around it. That's not a bad thing if that's what you are going for, but the straight-from-the-workout look is what this pair is bringing to the table. They are great for trail running, day hikes as well as longer backpacking adventures.

With their stretchy elastic waist, drawstring, and lightweight...
With their stretchy elastic waist, drawstring, and lightweight material, they are great for long-distance hikes or trail runs in the backcountry and could even be used for front-country sports like soccer.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Because of the tight cut of the liner, they aren't ideal for activities like yoga or fitness classes that require a lot of stretching. However, their design essentially makes them a bathing suit, so they are a great stand-in for swimming, paddling, or other watersports.

Venting & Breathability


There are a few features we really appreciate that are focused specifically on venting and breathability. The inseam is shorter to begin with, meaning that there is less fabric overall. The interior liner is sheer and very breathable.

Ventilation holes on both hips help disperse heat.
Ventilation holes on both hips help disperse heat.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

The pockets are mesh-lined and there are even sets of holes at each hip to facilitate ventilation. On top of that, these are among the lightest shorts that we have tested. Taken together, there are a lot of elements that are geared toward good ventilation and increased breathability.

Weather Resistance & Dry Time


Water resistance is not a strength of this pair. In fact, they absorb precipitation immediately. In a heavy storm, they also get rather heavy. However, on the plus side, their thin fabric also dries very quickly.

They aren't waterproof, or really even water-resistant, but the...
They aren't waterproof, or really even water-resistant, but the interior liner dries much faster than underwear.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

These shorts thrive in warmer, dry weather and allow for really nice air flow on breezy days.

Value


These shorts offer strong value. As one of the least expensive models in this review, they earn a performance mark that exceeds what we would have expected. Though you might need to wash them more frequently (as a consequence of the interior liner), if you prefer more athletic hiking shorts over traditional hiking shorts (with more pockets, features, and thicker fabric), this pair works and keeps costs low.

Conclusion


The REI Co-op Active Pursuits stands up to its name by offering high performance and comfort for trail running and hiking. The shorter length and ventilation points help you stay cool in the heat, and the basic features have enough of what we needed to find a lot of utility with this pair.

We love how lightweight and breathable these shorts are. They are...
We love how lightweight and breathable these shorts are. They are priced fairly and work well for an athletic crossover short that serves sport and recreational needs.
Photo: Piper Van Cleve

Ben Applebaum-Bauch