Coalatree designs eco-friendly clothing that is designed to wear from the mountains to the city. I remember seeing their Trailhead Pants on Kickstarter, but didn’t love the loose ties at the bottom of the legs. When I saw their Trailhead Shorts for a great price on Huckberry, I decided to give them a try.
These shorts are made from a ripstop nylon 4-way stretch blend with a DWR coating (88% bluesign nylon/12% spandex). The outer face of the fabric shows a prominent grid pattern (characteristic of the ripstop nylon) while the inner face has a soft weave and is borderline fuzzy.
This gives the shorts quite a bit of weight and makes the fabric quite thick. While I don’t feel like the weight hurts the warm weather wearability, I think it would put the pants into a cooler weather category for me. As far as the stretch is concerned, these are by far the stretchiest shorts I own.
Fit & Style
At an 8.5” length, I think Coalatree nailed the length, at least for me. I find them short enough that they don’t get in the way during active pursuits, but long enough that they are my style for wearing in other situations. Additionally, the weight of the fabric gives them a better than average drape for performance shorts.
Unfortunately, the grid pattern gives these shorts away as performance apparel, and for me makes them solidly in the casual wear category. They look better than my Patagonia Baggies Longs (our review), but other than those, these are my most casual shorts.
That brings me to what I see as some confusion over what the shorts want to be — they have elastic, an external draw string, belt loops, and a false-fly. The false-fly helps step up the looks a little bit when wearing with an untucked shirt. For me the wide elastic band does a great job keeping the shorts up (and is very comfortable), making the belt loops and external draw string unnecessary. If I were to redesign the shorts, I’d put the draw string inside the waist band and get rid of the belt loops.
These shorts perform excellently for active and everyday wear. The high level of 4-way stretch combined with the gusseted crotch keeps these moving with your body in any way you manage to stretch them. The DWR does a great job keeping them dry in a drizzle, which is needed since the thicker fabric doesn’t dry instantly.
As far as pockets go on this type of shorts, Coalatree did a nice job. The front pockets are designed appropriately so your phone doesn’t try to fall over on its’ side (a problem I have with the Baggies pockets). The two rear pockets are a nice touch as well, with the right rear pocket having velcro on the closure. There is also a small pocket inside the front of the shorts sized for a key.
These are also packable into the right front pocket. I don’t find this necessary, as they pack better folded or rolled. This doesn’t detract from the shorts, however, as there are no extra closures or anything needed to add this feature.
Lastly, Coalatree claims these shorts are anti-microbial, but doesn’t indicate any special treatment. In my testing, I found them to perform the same as my other nylon shorts odor-wise.
Overall, these are nice casual shorts. They have taken over my Baggies as my favorite casual shorts, and I like that they go easily from casual to active activities.
If you are looking for an active short that looks decent enough to wear into town, these are worth a look and I’d certainly recommend them over Baggies.