f you’ve been keeping up with leg day at the gym, you’ll be more than happy to grab your shorts for an upcoming hike or summer vacation. You’ll be able to show off those rock-hard calves as you surge up the mountain or as you take a stroll on your city break. However, if you’re hiding some pale pins under those skinny jeans of yours, you’ll have to compensate with some top-notch cargo shorts for men.

Cargo shorts become popular with several men because of their multifunctionality. Originally a descendant of the combat pants sported by British and American soldiers during World War II, they’re designed to be tough and durable.

The best manufacturers maintained these standards, which makes them perfect for laboring, hikes, and other outdoor pursuits with your male gang.

Many have conveniently sized pockets that make carrying your everyday items easy. This is why you see them on every street corner, park bench, and a subway stop in the city from California to New York during the summer and spring months.

The right styles can pass the approval of the sternest golf club rules, making them useful in a sporting environment. You’ll also see them being sported from tee boxes, fairways, and greens all over the world. The pockets are handy for keeping your tees, ball, pencil, scorecard, glove, and marker all together throughout your round.

The problem with cargo shorts for men is that finding the best can end up taking far too much time than you have. To help, we’ve taken the legwork away and sourced the best for you.

Our search was narrowed down to 12 exceptional options that offer something for every guy. We feel you’ll find one that fits you perfectly.

What can I wear with cargo shorts?

Cargo shorts for men have, of course, had their critics. However, if you take a quick online search for these Hitler-defeating items you’ll see that many style gurus and male fashion advisors are advocating the cargo short look.

The question is, what are they pairing them with? Many of them recommend matching your cargo shorts for men with monotone colors. They are really favoring the plain white tee and cargo short combo. Did you know research has found that a plain white tee can make you more attractive to women?

You do now. Before you go out and buy seven plain white tees, there are other great combinations to consider. Other options to pair your cargo shorts with are things like sweaters and hoodies. You can top off your look with a pair of Vans or a nice-looking backpack like the ones made by Herschel.

Giving blanket advice is tricky because the combinations you go for in terms of color and prints will depend on the shorts themselves. You don’t want to match busy colors with other busy colors, but you also don’t want to put too much of one singular color together.

Some simple rules to live by are don’t go above three colors and no more than one pattern per a whole outfit. Follow these rules gents and you’ll have to allocate some free time for some Saturday dates – plain white tee or no plain white tee.

Are Cargo Shorts Comfortable?

Cargo shorts for men are extremely comfortable. With clothing, we usually have to decide between being fashionable or being comfortable. Just look at the bunions on some women’s feet if you don’t believe us. It was the cargo shorts’ overly comfortable aspect that gathered haters saying they weren’t fashionable in the first place.

Cargo shorts may be starting to change opinions at the top table in fashion and design circles for their style. However, nobody has ever questioned the comfort that cargo pants afford.

The new designs and combinations of cargo shorts for men are now destroying the idea that you have to pick between style and comfort.

If you’re solely looking for comfort, the cargo short’s latest appearance on the catwalk won’t leave you disappointed. In fact, they still remain exceptionally comfortable. Many of their designs – but not all – are with a relaxed or loose fitting.

They give you a great range of movement or free feeling when jogging to catch the train or when finishing a bit of home DIY.

Are Cargo Shorts For Men in Style?

Some questions are difficult to answer. While we’re good here at Men’s Gear, we can’t see into the future just yet. Our site owner is meeting with a Genie next week to see about wishing for it though. You’ll know when we can because we’ll start reviewing the top 10 crystal balls and time machines of 2030.

Until then, we’ll use logic – and right now they’re in.

Like many clothing items and fashion accessories that disappear and rally again, we suspect that cargo shorts will go through the motions too. The good news is that right now cargo shorts are in and they’re likely to stay that way for a good while. Heck, they did disappear for a while, so we don’t expect it’s just going to be a show-your-face type of appearance.

For guys who like to invest in long-term clothing, this is good news. However, if you’re a man who likes to refresh your closet each season or more frequently, you could have been browsing our list already. If you’re a normal guy like us, we think you’ll enjoy our list of the best cargo shorts for men.

Take a look below, as we’re sure you’ll find something you’ll be interested in.

1) UNIONBAY Men’s Survivor Belted Cargo Shorts

UNIONBAY have been supplying quality clothing items to sporty men in America for the past 30 years. These 100% cotton and relaxed-fitting Survivor Belted Cargo Shorts are a quality addition to their range. They come available in an impressive 15 different colors, so there’s got to be one color you’ll like.

Even one for every day over the next 2 weeks. No matter which color you choose, you’ll get that vintage look that’s very much in these days. They’re also available in bigger and taller sizes so no man-mountain is left out.

The pockets on these cargo shorts for men are oversized to help keep more of your possessions at easy reach at all times. The shorts will also sit just above or at the knee. This will quieten some critics of the cargo short who show distaste to shorts that go past the knee.

One last feature worth mentioning is that the shorts come with a D-ring belt. We suspect the oversized pockets will make these great cargo shorts for outdoor adventures including fishing. Some of the neutral colors will even help them pass golf course committee inspections.

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2) LEE Men’s Belted Wyoming Cargo Shorts

Also available in a wide range of color and style options are these cargo shorts from Lee. When you buy from a recognized brand such as Lee, you know you’re going to get quality and durable materials. They come in a relaxed-fitting like the ones above and are also made from 100% cotton.

They do differ in terms of inseam length as they have an extra 0.5 inches which may allow the hem to venture past your knee.

One of the best features of these cargo shorts for men is that they have a lot of pockets. First off, the side pockets are deep and slanted and have a back pocket with button fastening. These are complemented by a cargo-style pocket on the leg, again with a flap and a button to keep your valuables secure.

They make for another great option for outdoor use on hikes. However, they may also be a solid choice for tourists as there is plenty of room for your wallet, phone, hotel key card, city map, and all those excursion leaflets you get handed.

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3) Wrangler Classic Relaxed Fit Cargo Shorts

Another recognized brand is Wrangler and it won’t be the last time you see a pair of their awesome cargo shorts on our list of the best cargo shorts for men. They don’t come available in as many colors as the previous ones have offered, but all their colors remain monotone and classy.

They’re supplied with a relaxed fitting and a 10-inch seam that boasts comfort in any outdoor or manual task the day leaves in your path.

Their sleek appearance combined with a relaxed fitting and six pockets makes them one of the most versatile cargo shorts heading down the Men’s Gear catwalk. Whether you’re strolling downtown, climbing Mount Fuji, or appreciating some well-cooked meat and veg as you dine alfresco on a summer’s eve, these shorts won’t look out of place.

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4) UNIONBAY Cordova Messenger Cargo Shorts

Another UNIONBAY pair of cargo shorts you should know about are these Cordova ones. They supply these in a pleasing number of color options and are available in sizes for taller or bigger men. They do have one striking difference, however. Whereas the Survivor model was cut above the knee, these hang below the knee.

They also have adjustable tabs at the cuffs so you can somewhat taper them in.

We feel these cargo shorts for men would be great for hiking and especially camping. Being able to tie up your shorts at the hem may help keep the mosquito bites away while you’re sipping a few cold ones around the campfire with your wolfpack.

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5) Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts

It’s not the first time we’ve featured some of Columbia’s garments on Men’s Gear. That is a testament to their proven quality. Our panel isn’t so easy to impress. These classic-fitting New Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts certainly did impress us, and we feel they’ll get a few of you checking them out further too.

They have plenty of pockets typical of cargo shorts but they change the game at your waistline. As well as belt loops, these shorts have a partial elastic waist that can be adjusted.

They’re rather innovative as their manufacturing includes fabric with an Omni-shade rating of UPF 50 so your clothes don’t get damaged by the sun’s rays.

This is as well as Omni-wick technology will repel moisture to keep you dry and cool. These cargo shorts for men would be perfect for guys who live in hotter climates or are planning a summer city break in the near future.

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6) Wrangler Classic Relaxed Fit Carpenter Shorts

Wrangler has joined us again to show off these impressive Carpenter Shorts. Some of you may argue that these aren’t the typical cargo shorts you’ve been reminiscing about. Rather, their appearance and features are somewhat similar.

They’re called carpenter shorts for a reason. They’re perfect for men completing some manual handyman-type work. Whether you’re a professional or enjoying some DIYing, you’ll be pleased to know that these shorts have a hammer loop and two pockets on the opposite side.

That includes one utility pocket for your knife and one for your smartphone and two back pockets. Pocket overload!

Wrangler hasn’t simply stated that these would be great for craftsmen and woodworkers without careful consideration. You can tell they’ve really put some thought in and consulted some carpenters to create these cargo-type shorts. They’ll always be functional and have a relaxed fitting to get them through the working day comfortably.

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7) Levi’s Snap Cargo Shorts

Probably the most famous of brands to pass the Men’s Gear red tape today is Levi’s. These guys have been stitching up garments and jeans of outstanding quality for as long as we can remember. It turns out their cargo shorts are not bad either.

Their Snap Cargo Shorts are mostly made of cotton and feature a button closure and relaxed fitting. They’re the stereotypical shape and nostalgic appearance of the cargo short of years gone by. They come available in four different solid colors which maintain their Levi’s class and avoid the novelty prints and designs.

To describe them perfectly, just think of that one buddy who’s good at football, quiz night, pool, and talking to the ladies. They’re an all-rounder and are perfect for use on a remote trip, a vacation, city visit, or for a summer barbeque with friends and family. Which color will you get?

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8) Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Shorts

A lot of the cargo shorts we’ve shown you so far have been completely or predominantly made from cotton. However, these are a little different and are manufactured with 65% polyester. They may also be the most fashionable on our cargo shorts rundown as well.

They don’t look as bulky as the traditional cargo short usually does due to a comfort slider waistband. This waistband reduces the build-up of elastic in certain areas and eliminates the need for adjustable tabs. When it comes to pockets, it sticks with tradition in a sleek way.

Two cargo pockets have a hook and loop closure and an expandable rear pocket with the identical fastening method. You can pick these up in six different block colors and each one wouldn’t look out of place at the bar, a festival, in the workshop, or on a stylish hiker down a mountain trail.

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9) CQR Urban Tactical Cargo Shorts

Another contender for the most stylish award is these Urban Tactical Cargo Shorts by CQR. They come available in a great selection of attractive colors. Not only are they stylish, but they’ve also got some ruggedness within their design. If you see touches of the military in them, you wouldn’t be wrong.

When wearing these shorts, you’ll have six pockets of various sizes and depths to store your everyday items or even tools. The fastening of the pockets changes between zips, Velcro, and buttons. One of these pockets is slightly hidden to add to their military feel.

All this is on top of features such as a fitted waistband, and an overall design to maximize movement.

Being modeled on military aesthetics makes these cargo shorts for men best for active outdoor use. However, if we saw you wearing them down the bar we wouldn’t make fun of you.

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10) Coleman Hiking Cargo Shorts 

We love it when the title of the product tells you their target audience. These Coleman’s Hiking Cargo Shorts do just that. If you’re a hiker and haven’t been sold on anything we’ve shown you so far, maybe your time has come.

Everything about these shorts screams ‘take me outside!’ They’ll almost be joining your dog wagging his tail at the front door ready for a walk. First of all, they’re made with 100% nylon which is fast drying so even the wetter hikes and adventures will be no match for these shorts.

For the warmer expeditions, the material will not falter under sun exposure as UV-A and UV-B rays are resisted thanks to the UPF 50+ weaving.

The material is also very durable and will not tear easily. If you do decide to go off trail, at least your shorts will come back in one piece.

As for these cargo shorts’ other perks, they come with a removable belt that has a quick release button. They also have a good selection of zippered, Velcro, hidden, and expandable cargo pockets to choose from. You’ll be able to keep more important hiking gear such as knives, compasses, or maps closer with these shorts.

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11) WULFUL Cotton Casual Cargo Shorts

We had to get to them eventually. A lot of our picks steered away from the novelty army-like designs that are quite distinctive with cargo shorts for men. We did this to appeal to the sleeker and more modern looks. However, some guys within the Men’s Gear club like the camouflage designs.

We think these ones are a fantastic choice for those guys.

These casual cargo shorts for men come in seven different but all equally quirky colored camouflages. They’re so colorful, we don’t think they could be classed as camouflage anymore.

We’re really impressed with their lightweight, breathable, and loose-fitting aspects. All of which will make daily activities and more strenuous tasks easier.

The old faithful won’t just be happy with the camouflage print but the short’s layout and pockets as well. They include typical cargo pockets with buttons, plus hand and back pockets too. There’s lots of storage space here. They even have snaps too!

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12) Dockers Classic Fit Shorts

Last but by no means least are these Classic Fit Shorts straight from the design room at Dockers. We included them because they offer the same convenience and performance of the previous offering. However, they have a brighter palette than some of the other ones we’ve shown.

If you were disappointed by the darker colors on display so far, we hope these have brightened your read.

The classic fit allows you to still have enough room for active tasks. These cargo shorts for men come with side pockets and a back pocket, all of which are large enough to fit your smartphone easily. They don’t have the traditional leg pocket we’re used to seeing on cargo shorts for men.

Interestingly, they also have a shorter inseam of 9.5 inches, which make them appear more modern. For this reason, we suggest these be your vacation shorts to be worn as you hunt down the best bistros in the city or to fine dine in on an evening.

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A Final Word

That concludes our top picks of what we consider as the best cargo shorts for men. If you’re reading this from the future, please don’t judge us on not including those smart cargo shorts that make you fly.

Especially don’t judge us for the ones that change color at your command. We didn’t see it coming!