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

Exofficio Sol Cool Nomad Short - Women's Review

A more conservative pair of shorts that are ideal for flat trails.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $70 List | $69.95 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Anti-odor, moisture wicking, quick drying
Cons:  Expensive, runs large, not ideal for incline
Manufacturer:   Exofficio
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 5, 2019
  • Share this article:
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 8
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 6
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9
  • Features - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The ExOfficio Sol Cool Nomad is a lightweight hiking short with a whole gamut of features. Casual, travel-inspired, and more conservative in style, the main setbacks reside with the fit. When compared to others we tested, comfort and mobility were simply outranked in our tests. In the end, sticking to the flats and partaking in casual travel is best for this model. For a more athletic short of a similar length, we recommend our Top Pick Winner, the Columbia Back Beauty.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $69.95 at MooseJaw
Compare at 2 sellers
$27.95 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$47.95 at MooseJaw
Compare at 2 sellers
$24.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$55.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
72
100
0
78
100
0
77
100
0
76
100
0
74
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Anti-odor, moisture wicking, quick dryingTrendy, comfortable, lightweightComfortable, stretchy, longAffordable, water resistant, breathableLightweight, water resistant, versatile
Cons Expensive, runs large, not ideal for inclineShorter inseam, no water resistanceOnly one pocket, not the most flatteringUnnecessary belt, small cargo pocketsRuns big, abrasive waistband
Bottom Line A more conservative pair of shorts that are ideal for flat trails.A highly comfortable, performance-based hiking short.Boldly athletic, these shorts are lengthy and comfortable.Functional and fun, these shorts cover all the basics.For water sports or hiking, these classic baggies are light and casual.
Rating Categories Sol Cool Nomad Short Aphrodite 2.0 Short Back Beauty Long Sport Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Versatility (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Features (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
Specs Sol Cool Nomad Short Aphrodite 2.0 Short Back Beauty Long... Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Weight (in oz) 4.9 oz 4.4 oz 5.4 oz 5.1 oz 5.2 oz
Material 100% nylon 95% nylon, 5% elastane OMNI-SHADE and OMNI-SHIELD 89% polyester/11% elastane Max Lite double weave OMNI SHADE 100% nylon Perfecta Plus II 100% nylon (92% recycled)
Water Resistance Sol Cool™ Jade quick-dry None (Flashdry™-XD quick-dry) Omni-Shield repellancy Perfecta Plus II quick-dry DWR coating
Sizing (waist, length options) 2 - 16 XS - XXL, 4" or 6" inseam XS - XL XS - XL XXS,XS, S, M, L, XL
Sun Protection Yes, UPF 50 No Yes, UPF 50 Yes, UPF 30 No
Convertible, or option available? No No No No No
Pockets 5 3 1 4 2
Waist Strap/Fasten Two metal snaps and zipper fly Elastic waistband with drawstring Elastic waistband Elastic waistband with plastic snap and zipper fly, optional belt Elastic waistband with drawstring
Other Features SILVADUR coating in fabric activates silver ions to reduce odor, zip stash pockets, tricot-lined waistband Flashdry-XD quick-dry fabric, triple needle stitch for durability, zip stash pocket Elastic, athetic, contoured fit, one stash pocket Zip cargo pocket, quick-dry nylon fabric Fair Trade Certified sewing
Warranty 1-Year Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty One Year Good Faith Guarantee One Year Good Faith Guarantee Ironclad Guarantee

Our Analysis and Test Results

At first glance, these shorts have hiking written all over them. When it comes to pocket space and material perks, this piece of apparel shines. The fit runs large and sits baggy on the hips for us, which drastically impacted how this model ranked among the others tested.

Performance Comparison


Our lead tester is shown hiking a climber's approach trail in Indian Creek  Utah. These trails steepen quickly  which means lots of high-stepping. Unfortunately  these shorts didn't fare well on the incline and became a nuisance with immobility.
Our lead tester is shown hiking a climber's approach trail in Indian Creek, Utah. These trails steepen quickly, which means lots of high-stepping. Unfortunately, these shorts didn't fare well on the incline and became a nuisance with immobility.

Comfort and Mobility


We appreciate the tricot-lined waistband on these shorts, and the Sol Cool Jade nylon is light and relatively soft to the touch. Yet when it comes to mobility, they aren't nearly as flexible as the other shorts we recently tested. The fit is awkward for us; baggy around the hips but tight around the hemline. The legs taper, which isn't convenient for our curvier, athletic bodies, and becomes a true annoyance when we're trying to high-step or hike up an incline. We had to continually pull up the shorts to move; over time, the nylon stretched out a bit as well. This was seen as both a pro and con.

A wider fit in the hips and a tapered leg makes for an awkward fit in these shorts.
A wider fit in the hips and a tapered leg makes for an awkward fit in these shorts.

Venting and Breathability


Weighing in at 4.9 ounces for the size we tested, the material is moisture wicking and truly lightweight. Moisture-wicking qualities help regulate body temperature as you sweat. Another neat advantage to how well they vent is that we were able to stay cool - despite their extended length - during the summer.

Versatility


Style-wise, the Sol Cool Nomad is what we would call conservative. They have a traditional traveler look, which isn't as appealing to wear around town or to dress up for dinner. Activity-wise, these shorts fare well as a hiking short - as long as things stay relatively flat. Unfortunately, they aren't highly transferable to other activities such as rock climbing, cycling, or running. Their length does allow for more versatility from spring to fall, which can be a huge plus.

These shorts aren't as versatile as some of the others we tested  especially when it comes to needing flexibility.
These shorts aren't as versatile as some of the others we tested, especially when it comes to needing flexibility.

Water Resistance


These shorts don't boast water resistance in their product description, yet they performed just as well as the DWR coated Patagonia Baggies. During our test, the water beaded nicely and barely absorbed into the fabric at all. After five minutes, the majority of the water easily rolled off. The nylon dried quickly thanks to its thin and technical nature.

The results of our water resistance test. These shorts were exceptionally resistant.
The results of our water resistance test. These shorts were exceptionally resistant.

Features


Much of the accessory features are geared to fit and protect items like passports. These shorts have five pockets, two of which have zippers. With a secure double snap closure and zip fly, tricot-lined waistband, anti-odor technology, UPF 50, and belt loops, these are the most featured shorts of the group we tested. Well-thought-out in this aspect, but we wish the nylon had a bit more stretch.

Accessory pockets and material features are where the Sol Cool Nomad shorts truly shine.
Accessory pockets and material features are where the Sol Cool Nomad shorts truly shine.

Best Applications


Designed with the casual traveler in mind, hiking is certainly an aspect. Still, these shorts are best for those low-key endeavors that don't involve intense inclines. From spring to fall, they'll keep you cool and smelling fresh, thanks to their odor-resistant properties.

Value


Made in China, these ExOfficio shorts retail for a hefty $70 and have a one year warranty. While this is typical of the brand, you are definitely paying for all the neat features provided. While not the most expensive pair we recently tested, they are a bit steep for our practical hiking purposes. Bottom line, if you can afford them and do travel often, they are a quality item.

These shorts are utilitarian and soft to the touch.
These shorts are utilitarian and soft to the touch.

Conclusion


The practicality of these shorts provides a casual hiking option for easy to moderate trails and for those wanting more coverage. They ranked in the middle of the bunch, so depending on what you prioritize, these will nonetheless be a dependable and athletic choice.


Sara Aranda