Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Dynama Shorts

After half a decade of outdoorsing, I finally pulled the trigger on a pair of hiking shorts. They weren’t a category I was actively avoiding, but they never did anything for me. I gravitate towards shorts that are short, sleek, stretchy, (and ideally cheap). I could drop $65 on a pair of dumpy cargo dad shorts, or I could go to Lululemon and save money. (Mark that as the first and last time those last 6 words get strung together). I got a running vest to keep my phone and chapstick accessible. They went in a wristlet around town.

Until COVID summer hit.

Now I’m walking the dog or walking just to walk. I don’t really need cash or an ID, and I’m skeezed out at the idea of popping my purse down in a grocery cart. So I needed pockets.

I picked up a pair of Mountain Hardwear Dynama Shorts during their seasonal sale after lusting after my Ski Wife’s pair. They still have a few color/size combos left for $27 or 55% off. And now I live in them. A few of the reasons why I love them:

  • Sizing and Inseam options! They have a 4-inch, 6-inch, 9-inch Bermuda, a plus size Bermuda, and a line that includes capris, crops, pants and skirts. 4 inches is still a smidge than my running shorts, but still shorter than the 5 to 8-inch shorts that make up most of the market and dwarf my short legs. Also, HELL YEA for price parity on extended sizes.
  • Fabric! They’re still super lightweight and breathable like a running short, but the fabric is a super stretchy plain weave that also feels more durable. I like that I can scramble and bushwhack in these without worrying that I’ll slice through the fabric or snag the mesh.
  • Body skimming in the legs! The other downside of scrambling in running shorts is that they’re designed to be very airy and loose, and even with a liner, I can feel a little exposed when other parties are coming up from below. And since these don’t have a liner, I like that I can move confidently knowing all my assets are covered. Now, from a casual wear perspective, it’s not the most flattering look for me, since I’ve got a straight/apple and a wider leg short helps balance out my proportions, but I think my neighbors at the dog park and the grocery store have all agreed that we’re not giving 100% these days.
  • Yoga waistband! Seriously why are we making women’s clothing without it? Forgiving fit, no chafing or pinching, efficient bathroom breaks. There are pages and pages of tutorials on Google teaching women how to add them to jeans or dress pants yet so many brands keep giving us takedowns of men’s products.
  • Pockets! They aren’t the best, but they’re there, which is more than I can say for my running shorts. Zipper closures would be great, but they hold keys, cards, and chapstick just fine. My phone isn’t the most secure in the back pockets, but it’s practically a tablet, and I just pop it in the brain of my pack for any scramble-y or exposed terrain.

Would I pay $60 for them at MSRP, probably not. But the $45 range and under feels fair. They’re also quite similar to the Patagonia Hike Happy Shorts, but made of a more durable nylon, easier to find on sale, and have that yoga waistband, and the lines are a bit more flattering. (Although the zip pockets on the Hike Happy Shorts definitely score points).

And if anyone happens across the Dynama pants in Icelandic blue, hit me up because I want them so much!

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