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.
Outdoor Research Wadi Rum - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Stylish, comfortable, versatile
Cons: No water resistance, not as lightweight
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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|Pros||Stylish, comfortable, versatile||Trendy, comfortable, lightweight||Comfortable, stretchy, long||Affordable, water resistant, breathable||Lightweight, water resistant, versatile|
|Cons||No water resistance, not as lightweight||Shorter inseam, no water resistance||Only one pocket, not the most flattering||Unnecessary belt, small cargo pockets||Runs 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%)|
|Venting And Breathability (20%)|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|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 (Flashdry™-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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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