Men's bathing suits that look & work like regular shorts?
August 4, 2018 10:37 AM   Subscribe

I like to wear a bathing suit a lot of the time when I'm hiking in the summer, so that if I see some water I can jump in for a quick dip and then dry off with minimal fuss. I'd like it even better if I had a bathing suit that could do a convincing impression of a normal pair of shorts. Halp?

So my main shorts are Prana Stretch Zions, which I love. I love their looks, their comfort, their versatility and functionality. I love the single low-profile cargo pocket. They're great.

What I want is basically that, but in a lighter, quicker-drying fabric. I want belt loops, but also a hidden drawstring so that I can un-belt before going in the water. Liner or not, don't care. Fly can be button, snap, zipper, or nonexistant but not open or velcro, and if there's no fly it should still look like there is one. A full complement of pockets is a must-have, ideally including a low-profile cargo pocket like in my Zions.

They should also just look like shorts. You know how bathing suits tend to have a bunch of subtle design cues in the cut, seam placement, etc. that add up to say, "This is a bathing suit?" None of that.

I'd be willing to pay up to about $70 for the right item. Any ideas?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Target near me has this. I was shopping for shorts and they fooled me. Sorry I can't link you or anything, but try Target!
posted by dbx at 10:40 AM on August 4, 2018

Try Lucky Brand swim trunks.
posted by lydhre at 10:42 AM on August 4, 2018

Here’s a pair from Patagonia.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2018

Maybe these from Land's End? I know the lined women's board shorts fit this description fairly well (the unlined variety are too thin to pass as regular shorts). If you have a Sears nearby, check them out in person.
posted by bunnysquirrel at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2018

I have several pairs of those Lands End Khaki shake dry shorts and I love them. They are my go to hiking, swimming, tooling around town shorts. My wife calls them my tactical dad shorts. They don't have a drawstring but they have a built in belt. Their most unique feature is that they have a built in liner and a zippered fly. I have not seen that combination on anything else.
posted by mumblelard at 10:53 AM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. So far the closest to what I'm looking for are the Patagonias; they fit all my criteria, although if I were just buying shorts I'd probably pass them over because they're not really the cut and color that I favor. The Luckys don't have belt loops (I do need to wear a belt, that's where I mount my camera) and I think the Land's Ends look too much like a bathing suit—it's the pockets that do them in.

Yes, I know I'm being really picky. :-) I just wanted to offer some guidance in terms of what is and isn't working for me. Thanks so much for the suggestions so far!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:12 AM on August 4, 2018

Hybrid shorts is the term over at Sierra Trading. Here's an example with belt loops and a zippered cargo pocket.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:23 AM on August 4, 2018

Holy cow those Sierra Trading Post shorts nailed it! On clearance for $20, too! I bought two, even though I'm not sure I want two pairs of shorts in quite such a bright blue. I'll just dye one pair a darker shade. Yay!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:51 AM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

If those don't work out, you might try Outdoor Research which is having a sale on their lightweight shorts at the moment. I have a pair (probably from a discontinued line) that I bought at least a decade ago and they are quite durable & fast-drying.
posted by oxisos at 11:58 AM on August 4, 2018

Why not just swim in those nylon hiking shorts? I was at the lake on the 4th of July wearing a nylon utility skirt and a thing polyester top over underwear. I planed to go in the water up to my knees, ended up just swimming in my clothes because the water was unusually warm, and who cares? I hate wrestling a wet bathing suit, so this has become my new swimwear.
posted by theora55 at 12:01 PM on August 4, 2018

I saw a pair of shorts at a GH Bass outlet a couple weeks ago that were marketed as swim trunks, but for all intents and purposes looked like a normal pair of khaki shorts. Not sure about belt loops or pocket, but they were cheap and the Bass outlet has sales often.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:14 PM on August 4, 2018

O’Neill Loaded Hybrid Short has all that except for the cargo pocket – but the slash pockets zipper which makes them useful in the water. They are really light and dry really fast, and have a hidden drawstring and belt loops. I love mine, have them in khaki and blue and just ordered another of each in case they stop making them.
posted by nicwolff at 12:15 PM on August 4, 2018

My husband has the O’Neill hybrid ones as regular shorts. They’re very nice. They have a cargo short style.ETA a second also.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:56 PM on August 4, 2018

My SO loves the Quicksilver Amphibian Walkshorts. There is a zippered back pocket and side pockets.
posted by cholly at 2:29 PM on August 4, 2018

Walmart has these for $7, not very quick-drying though.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:14 PM on August 4, 2018

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