Cargo Shorts Buying Guide

There are many styles of shorts to consider for seasonal or sporting needs of men. One of the most popular choices is cargo shorts, which are readily available during the summer months from many sources. They can be found in both brick-and-mortar retail locations and online. Some men appreciate having a variety of shorts styles for their seasonal needs while others strictly prefer cargo shorts. The style appeals to men from many walks of life.

Features of Cargo Shorts for Men

Men’s cargo shorts are developed from the concept of cargo pants. Cargo pants are heavyweight pants constructed with lots of exterior pockets that serve the needs of workers especially well. Cargo pants are loose fitting, allowing ease of movement for people who need a good range of motion in the line of work. Material tends to be thick and protective.

These features extend to the design of cargo shorts, providing a loose fit, thick composition, and plenty of pocket storage. Patch-like pockets are created on the outer legs of both cargo shorts and pants, providing a utility area that serves the needs of a worker who needs to store a small tool or other implements. Additional front and back pockets are included for wallets, keys, or other items.

Cargo shorts vary somewhat in features and have been adapted for more casual use. While the loose fit is maintained in most designs, some cargo shorts have a closer fit. Many modern designs maintain the patch pocket style, but there are also more subtle pockets used in other cargo shorts styles.

Sizing of Men’s Cargo Shorts

Men’s cargo shorts are sized according to waist measurement in inches. While men’s pants include length, men’s shorts are not dependent on this measure. Sizing for men’s shorts is based on waist lengths ranging from 26 inches to 44 inches although specialty stores may carry larger sizes. Some designers of cargo shorts use materials that are flexible and include elastic waistbands. In these cases, sizing may be generalized as small, medium, large, and extra large.

Selecting a pair of men’s cargo shorts for a teenager can present some challenges because of lengths. A teen who hasn’t begun his growth spurt may find some cargo shorts styles to be too long. In the case of an online purchase, special attention should be given to product descriptions and images in order to evaluate lengths. It’s also important to keep receipts and packaging for these items in case a return is necessary.

Materials Used in Cargo Shorts

The fabric used in cargo shorts for men can vary. Most designs are created of cotton, an excellent choice for workers and athletes who deal with sweaty summer conditions. However, the thicknesses may vary. Denim, for example, is sturdy and thick, excellent for recreational and casual wear. Denim also works well for a work setting. Similarly, thick khaki or camouflage cargo shorts are suited to work environments though they are extremely popular in casual use.

Thin cotton material is more appropriate for recreational wear or for casual wear in a club setting. Colorful cargo shorts have been created in a range of summer color choices for men, ranging from simple blues and greens to more bold colors like red and yellow. These are appropriate for those who like to wear striking colors. Similarly, plaid cargo shorts provide colorful apparel choices for men during summer. These are usually of lightweight construction, comfortable for extreme summer temperatures.

Wearers of Men’s Cargo Shorts

There are a variety of settings that are suitable to the wearing of men’s cargo shorts. While some are based on the need for this clothing item, others are based on preferences.

Workers and Cargo Shorts

Those who work outdoors may find that cargo shorts allow for comfortable dress in the course of warm weather activity. Not all outdoor jobs are suited to shorts, and cargo shorts are inappropriate in heavy labor settings that involve lots of tools and equipment. However, there are many who are able to wear shorts in the context of work.

Young Men and Cargo Shorts

There are many brands that market cargo shorts and other apparel to young men in their teens and early adult years. Cargo shorts that appeal to this group are often created with bold colors or graphics.

Adult Levis Cargo Shorts

Simple style and color choices in cargo shorts are more appealing to mainstream consumers. Well-known Levis brands create denim and khaki cargo shorts with simple logos. They are known for quality and simplicity.

Athletic Cargo Shorts Options

The long cut and loose fit of cargo shorts has allowed for a transition in the world of athletic shorts. It’s now possible to find fleece cargo shorts created much like sweat pants. Though not common, these are useful in that they provide flexibility in workout wear. They also provide the external pockets that allow an athlete or exerciser to keep track of important items like cell phones and keys. Nike also markets athletic cargo shorts in a fabric blend. These generally lack pockets. The athletic cargo shorts style is also beginning to be used in creation of fan apparel for both college and professional teams.

Best Times to Buy Cargo Shorts for Men

Timing can make a huge difference in finding the right pair of cargo shorts. The need for which they are being purchased can determine availability, and poor planning can lead to difficulty in finding the pair desired. Workers can especially experience this challenge. During the introductory period for summer wear being displayed and marketed, work shorts tend to be available in abundance. However, the most popular choices and sizes tend to sell out quickly. Finding specific uniform or work brand cargo shorts for men in stock is more difficult as the summer fades away.

Similarly, early spring is the best time to find cargo shorts for young men. As popular choices are placed on the shelves either in a store or on display online, they begin to sell quickly. By the middle of the summer, these items are in short supply. If an individual is shopping for the current year’s summer fashion, quick decision making can be important.

Late season shopping is excellent for those looking for good deals. As summer transitions are made in store displays, summer fashion is moved to sales and clearance racks. At the end of the summer, families may use yard sales or online auctions to sell summer clothing that is no longer needed.

Finding athletic cargo shorts is less restricted by season as there is use for such products throughout the year. However, licensed cargo shorts in fleece and athletic material may be more readily available as particular sports seasons begin.


Men’s cargo shorts serve a variety of apparel needs. There are options for nearly every age and interest level. The timing of one’s shorts shopping should be based on urgency and need. It’s possible to find great deals by paying attention to seasonal sales cycles. It’s also possible to use online retail options to track down sizes that are in short supply or out of season.