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

Outdoor Research Wadi Rum - Women's Review

A modern twist to the hiking short, they are both practical and urban friendly.
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Price:  $79 List | $44.08 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stylish, comfortable, versatile
Cons:  No water resistance, not as lightweight
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 5, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 8
  • Comfort and Mobility - 35% 8
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 6
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

At first glance, the OR Wadi Rum doesn't stand out as athletic wear. Nonetheless, they are just as comfortable on the trail as they are in town. Versatility is another strong suit, but we found the cotton-based material to be slightly thicker, stiffer, and more restrictive than the top performers. In the end, it's hard to ignore how cute they are, so if you're looking for a casual hiking short, these come highly recommended. For something much longer and more cargo-inspired, consider the Top Pick winner, the KUHL Splash.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Stylish, comfortable, versatileTrendy, comfortable, lightweightComfortable, stretchy, longAffordable, water resistant, breathableLightweight, water resistant, versatile
Cons No water resistance, not as lightweightShorter inseam, no water resistanceOnly one pocket, not the most flatteringUnnecessary belt, small cargo pocketsRuns big, abrasive waistband
Bottom Line A modern twist to the hiking short, they are both practical and urban friendly.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 Wadi Rum Aphrodite 2.0 Short Back Beauty Long Sport Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Comfort And Mobility (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Venting And Breathability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Versatility (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Features (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
Specs Wadi Rum Aphrodite 2.0 Short Back Beauty Long... Sandy River Cargo Baggies 5"
Weight (in oz) 7.6 oz 4.4 oz 5.4 oz 5.1 oz 5.2 oz
Material 73% cotton, 24% Cordura nylon, 3% spandex 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 Minimal None (Flashdryâ„¢-XD quick-dry) Omni-Shield repellancy Perfecta Plus II quick-dry DWR coating
Sizing (waist, length options) 2 - 12 XS - XXL, 4" or 6" inseam XS - XL XS - XL XXS,XS, S, M, L, XL
Sun Protection No 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 Plastic button 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 Abrasion-resistant fabric, hidden stash pocket integrated into waistband, gusseted crotch 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 Limited lifetime warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty One Year Good Faith Guarantee One Year Good Faith Guarantee Ironclad Guarantee

Our Analysis and Test Results

Fashion meets hiking practicality with the OR Wadi Rum. The name refers to The Valley of the Moon in Jordan, but we find these shorts to be more of a neat balance between urban and athletic wear. Designed with adventure and travel in mind, they are a unique pair with little to complain about. When compared to our list of essentials and the competition, they were out-performed by some of the more traditional activewear.

Performance Comparison


Easily worn with a sweater or a nicer blouse and flip-flops  these shorts transfer well into more urban environments.
Easily worn with a sweater or a nicer blouse and flip-flops, these shorts transfer well into more urban environments.

Comfort and Mobility


Constructed with a cotton, nylon, and spandex blend, the shorts don't stretch an incredible amount. Thankfully, with only a four-inch inseam, this wasn't as much of a limiting factor as we thought. We enjoyed the overall comfort, though the fabric resisted movement with our body just enough to detract from their mobility score. Relative to other shorts, they aren't as soft and are a tad on the heavy side as well, weighing in at 7.6 ounces for the pair we tested. The fit of the Wadi Rum was on the slimmer side, especially in the legs, but still true to size. We also appreciated how the material did not bunch up while hiking.

A very cute trail option with adequate mobility  the Wadi Rum is above average for versatility.
A very cute trail option with adequate mobility, the Wadi Rum is above average for versatility.

Venting and Breathability


It's difficult to breathe and vent well when cotton is involved; thus, these shorts performed fairly average for this metric. The use of nylon and spandex contributes to breathability, but the relative thickness of the fabric does not allow for moisture-wicking advantages. On the flip side, these shorts insulate better on early morning starts and overcast days. If casual hiking is what you're after, these nuances might not be of concern.

Versatility


These shorts were one of our favorites to dress up for a night out, and they fit right in with any fashion short, though the style might a limiting characteristic if you want something to look suited for the outdoors. Activity-wise, they are a great length for rock climbing, stretching, casual cycling, or using a foam roller. Despite mobility being slightly restricted, they cover the basics for a range of activities. Due to their length, they won't fare well in the colder seasons, but this is to be expected.

With trendy stitching and a plastic button  these shorts are both hip and practical.
With trendy stitching and a plastic button, these shorts are both hip and practical.

Water Resistance


There is no added water resistance to these shorts, which means they absorb water easily, yet gradually; this means that the water beads first before soaking in, which gives you time to brush the water away. They also take some time to dry - nearly thirty minutes in our test - which is much slower than the more synthetic options. We'd recommend the Patagonia Baggies if you're after a highly water-resistant option.

The results of our water resistance test. The OR Wadi Rum absorbed water slowly.
The results of our water resistance test. The OR Wadi Rum absorbed water slowly.

Features


Appropriately, the Wadi Rum has four deep pockets and one secret stash at the hip. Other features include a gusseted crotch, a plastic button, a zip fly closure, belt loops, and a small metal snap closure for the rear pockets that is uniquely offset (as in, out of the way of your hands and easily accessed). The stiffer material does have the added abrasion resistant perk, but there is no added sun protection or quick-drying advantage.

A closer look at the stash pocket near the hip for items such as chapstick or a single key.
A closer look at the stash pocket near the hip for items such as chapstick or a single key.

Best Applications


From casual to intermediate hiking, these shorts are best suited for mild summer ventures into the hills. Designed to transfer well into urban environments, the style is either a huge plus or an aesthetic distraction. Outdoor Research describes rock climbing as an intended use as well, but there are certainly more practical options out there.

Value


Made in Bangladesh and designed by a highly regarded brand in the outdoor industry, fashion does seem to cost all the more. These shorts retail for $79 and one of the more expensive pairs we tested, though they have a limited lifetime warranty. If you can foot the bill and you value the nontraditional design, you won't be disappointed with their casual athleticism. We do recommend you try the shorts on beforehand or purchase from a retailer that will allow for easy exchanges since they are cut a tad on the slim side.

Even the back pockets provide ample pocket space and the miniature snaps adds to the feminine look.
Even the back pockets provide ample pocket space and the miniature snaps adds to the feminine look.

Conclusion


We like how transferable the Wadi Rum are between activities and wardrobes and would highly recommend these shorts for their multi-functional construction. A potential staple to the wardrobe, they are either average or exceptional depending on what you prioritize and need. With comfort and mobility being a prized metric, they performed well on their own but were simply outranked in the end.


Sara Aranda