The Royal Robbins Mountain Performance shorts feel like they’re made from tough cotton, but they are actually made from an even tougher nylon, which also has the benefit of being fast-drying. For yet more durability they have double seams throughout and generally they just feel like you could live in them for years without them wearing out. They get a crotch panel for extra comfort and you can fit a belt into the belt loops on the waist. The main hip pockets can take an OS map pretty easily and on the left leg there is a zipped pocket that takes a small guidebook. The length is good for general walking as it comes to the knee and does not ride up too far when scrambling. For someone who wants a hard-wearing pair of shorts with some useful pockets these are great. But if you are an ultralight hiker the Royal Robbins Mountain Performance shorts weigh the equivalent of carrying an extra 100g gas stove in your rucksack compared to other shorts. I had a size 36 pair and although the waist was fine the legs and general leg freedom were not as good for me as the stretch options. The two leg patch pockets are a little short for small guidebooks. Some elastication in the waist and a brushed lining in the waist would make the fit even better.
Material nylon canvas
Weight 362g (size 36, without belt)
Made in Vietnam
Stores in the UK 6
Royal Robbins Mountain Performance are excellent tough shorts that may not be the lightest option available but they are rugged and well-designed for hill-walkers.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2011