I recently put my hands on some of the most popular canvas work shorts so I could evaluate them on several things, including weight, durability, and comfort. My conclusion was this: The Carhartt Canvas work shorts are my favorite option due to durability and fit, but if you prefer stretch canvas shorts (to add a bit of comfort), the Dickies Tough Max shorts will be the best option.
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These are my choices for the best canvas work shorts:
- Carhartt Men’s 10″ Canvas Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Dickies Men’s Tough Max Duck Carpenter Shorts (click here to view)
- Carhartt Men’s 11″ Rugged Flex Rigby Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Ariat Men’s Rebar DuraStretch Made Tough Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Timberland PRO Men’s Son Canvas Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Canvas Utility Hiker Shorts (click here to view)
- Duluth Trading Co. DuluthFlex Fire Hose 9″ Cargo Shorts (click here to view)
- Carhartt Men’s 11″ Rugged Flex Rigby Cargo Shorts (click here to view)
- Diamond Gusset Jean Co. Light Weight Stretch Canvas Shorts (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Red Ants Pants Original Work Shorts (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Carhartt Original Fit Crawford Short (click here to view)
Obviously inseam length is something you will want to consider when buying canvas shorts for work, but you’ll also want to consider things like number of pockets and fabric blend.
Although many types of canvas work shorts will use 100% cotton, some brands will use a stretch fabric blend to give you something that is both tough and flexible.
Some canvas work shorts will also have a gusset added to help improve your flexibility and range of motion while wearing the shorts.
In this article let’s take a closer look at these shorts so you can find a style that works for you. I’ll also discuss my favorite canvas work shorts, and what I consider when buying work shorts.
Comparing the Best Canvas Shorts for Work
Here is a chart comparing the top 3 options on my list. I also own these shorts and have photos below in article. *weight in pounds based off size 32
Here are a few differences to consider:
- Material – The first Carhartt canvas shorts on our list use 100% cotton, while the other two use a stretch fabric canvas blend.
- Weight – The first Carhartt shorts weigh 0.95 pounds. The Dickies shorts weigh 0.89 pounds. And the Carhartt flex shorts weigh 1.01 pounds. Fabric weight and blend, inseam length, and design can all impact total weight.
- Length – The first Carhartt shorts use a 10″ inseam, while the other two options (Dickies and Carhart Flex) use an 11″ inseam.
- Ruler Pocket – Both Carhartt options have a ruler pocket under the tool loop on the left leg. The Dickies shorts do not have this ruler pocket.
- Belt Loops – Both Carhartt options have more and wider tool loops in comparison to the Dickies shorts.
- Fabric Weight – The first Carhartt shorts use a lighter-weight 7.5-ounce canvas that might be better for the brutal summer months.
Let’s take a closer look at these canvas work shorts, including more photos, so you can decide what option might be best for you. After that, let’s discuss a few things to consider when buying work shorts.
Best Canvas Work Shorts
Carhartt Men’s 10″ Canvas Work Shorts
Carhartt is synonymous with workwear. When you think of Carhartt, you think of tough, cotton canvas.
In the middle of summer, perhaps you want that canvas toughness, but not the heavyweight fabric that retains heat. These shorts use a lightweight 7.5-ounce cotton canvas fabric which will allow your legs to breathe a little bit.
This is the current price of these Carhartt cotton work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – Made of lightweight 7.5-ounce, 100% ring-spun cotton with sewn-on-seam belt loops, this canvas carpenter short delivers a rugged sturdiness but with summer-friendly comfort.
- Pockets – Offering all the storage you could need for tools and essentials, there is a left leg ruler pocket; a right leg tool pocket; two front pockets; and two heavy-hauling back pockets that are reinforced to prevent blow-out.
- Fit – Cut with a generous fit throughout the seat and thigh and a 10-inch inseam. In my experience, true to size and wasn’t too tight or too baggy.
- Tool Loops – These shorts have two tool loops. On the left leg they have a traditional carpenter hammer loop, and on the right leg they have a utility band. Pictures below.
Carhartt’s heavyweight cotton canvas is made with a 12-ounce fabric. These shorts use a lighter-weight 7.5 ounce cotton canvas.
The 7.5-ounce cotton is awesome because it is a nice blend of toughness and comfort. The canvas fabric can stand up to tough work conditions, but the lightweight material lets your legs breathe a little bit.
In my experience, these shorts fit true to size. Here I am wearing these Carhartt shorts:
Overall though, the cotton canvas used on these shorts is a lightweight cotton in comparison to traditional firm duck Carhartt material. Here’s the weight of my size 32:
Here is a close-up look at the material of these shorts:
As you can see, it has that canvas look to it. Expect toughness, just don’t expect these to be super heavyweight (which is a good thing for summer). These shorts use a traditional button closure, zip fly.
These shorts have two tool loops, one on each side of the shorts:
The next two options (Dickies and Carhartt) do not have the extra tool band on the opposite side. And again, these shorts are 100% cotton, and the next two options use a stretch canvas fabric blend.
Click here to buy these Carhartt canvas shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Dickies Men’s Tough Max Duck Carpenter Shorts
Do you prefer a stretch canvas to give you added flexibility? If so, these Dickies shorts are one of my favorite work shorts because they provide flexibility without compromising the toughness of the shorts.
This is the current price of these Dickies flex work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – Need something durable but don’t want it stiff? These shorts use a 9-ounce duck, cotton/polyester/spandex fabric blend that gives you a durable fabric that is also flexible. Dickies’ “Tough Max” fabric provides two times the strength and durability, as well as abrasion resistance, than an all-cotton fabric.
- Tool Loop – These shorts have a hammer loop on the left leg. Dual utility pockets on the right leg.
- Pockets – Two front scoop hand pockets and two rear pockets. Dual tool utility pockets on the right leg for storing basic work essentials and/or your phone.
- Fit – The regular, modern work fit sits slightly below the natural waist. The 11-inch inseam hits below the knee, providing excellent coverage.
The main takeaway with these shorts is they use a stretch fabric blend to give you a combination of toughness and flexibility. It’s easy for me to bend and kneel while wearing these shorts:
That said, the material itself still feels like a canvas fabric. This is not flimsy material. It still has plenty of toughness for a work site:
Overall, it’s also a lightweight short that won’t weigh you down. Here’s the weight of my size 32:
Standard front and back on these shorts with side dual utility pockets on the right leg, and a tool loop on the left leg:
Again, if you prefer a little bit of stretch in your work shorts, these shorts (or the Carhartt shorts we discuss next) are a great option. But don’t expect these shorts to feel like gym shorts.
Yes, there is flexibility, but it is just enough to matter. The overall toughness of the shorts is not compromised. When I put these shorts on, they still have that canvas feel to them.
Click here to buy these Dickies stretch canvas shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Carhartt Men’s 11″ Rugged Flex Rigby Work Shorts
These Carhartt shorts are very similar to the Dickies shorts we just discussed. When I bought them, these Carhartt shorts were the more expensive option, but do have a few extra design details compared to those Dickies stretch shorts.
This is the current price of these Carhartt flexible canvas shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – This stretch short is constructed of 8-ounce, 98% cotton/2% spandex canvas. Carhartt’s “Rugged Flex” durable stretch technology provides added ease of movement.
- Pockets – There’s room for your cell phone and work essentials with multiple utility pockets, including reinforced front slash pockets in addition to a right leg pocket.
- Tool Loops – These shorts have a tool loop on the left leg. Dual utility pockets on right leg.
- Fit – Move comfortably throughout your day with a relaxed fit that sits at the natural waist and is cut generously through the seat and thigh. The 11-inch inseam is an optimal length for a wide array of heights.
Here I am wearing these Carhartt stretch canvas work shorts:
Yes, I can comfortable bend and crouch while wearing these shorts:
My size 32 weighs 1.01 pounds, making these shorts a little heavier than the Dickies shorts we discussed first.
Yes, although these shorts have a flex fabric blend, they do still have a canvas toughness that can hold up on a job site:
Tool loop on the left leg and dual utility pockets on the right leg:
Again, if you prefer a stretch fabric blend, it’s really close between these shorts and the Dickies shorts we discussed prior. It may just come down to which brand you personally prefer.
These Carhartt shorts have extra belt loops, and also have the extra utility pocket below the tool loop (ruler pocket) that the Dickies shorts we discussed first don’t have.
Click here to buy these Carhartt canvas shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Timberland PRO Men’s Son Canvas Work Short
If you are looking for heavy duty canvas work shorts, these shorts use a heavier weight of fabric than our first three options. Here’s what these Timberland PRO canvas shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Timberland PRO heavy duty work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – Yes, these shorts are made with a durable 9.5-ounce, 100% washed cotton canvas. Because it is pre-washed, that means although it is durable, it won’t feel overly stiff and uncomfortable.
- Pockets – These shorts have traditional five-pocket styling with a right-leg tool pocket keep your tools, phone, and other essentials where you can easily reach them.
- Fit – These shorts have Timberland PRO’s original fit that won’t hug tight against your legs. A crotch gusset ensures you have extra space in the crotch for bending and crouching. Long 11-inch inseam provides plenty of coverage.
Click here to buy these Timberland PRO heavy duty canvas work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Other Canvas Work Shorts to Consider
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Canvas Utility Hiker Shorts – These Wrangler shorts are made with 100% cotton. They feature easily accessible cargo pockets for storing essentials. These shorts have a relaxed fit and an 8-inch inseam that will finish above the knee. Click here to view these shorts at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Duluth Trading Co. Men’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose 9″ Cargo Shorts – Duluth Trading Co. is another trusted name in workwear, and they are well-known for making comfortable workwear. These shorts have the “Fire Hose” canvas material for toughness, but also have spandex added for flexibility. They have 11 total pockets and a relaxed fit that won’t hug tight. Gusset added to crotch for extra comfort. Click here to view these stretch canvas shorts.
- *Women’s* Red Ants Pants Original Work Shorts – Red Ants Pants is a women’s workwear brand based out of Montana that makes premium workwear here in the USA. Their Original Work Shorts are made using heavy duty 12-ounce cotton canvas. These shorts feature side utility pockets for storing essentials, and come in both a straight and curvy fit. Click here to view these canvas work shorts.
- *Women’s* Carhartt Original Fit Crawford Shorts – If you are a woman looking for canvas work shorts, these Carhartt Crawford shorts have multiple utility pockets and a side tool loop. Yes, they are made with a 9.5-ounce stretch canvas for toughness and flexibility. Slightly fitted through the hips, with a mid rise. Click here to view these canvas shorts (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
4 Things to Consider When Buying Canvas Shorts
Do you prefer 100% cotton or would you like a stretch fabric blend that increases flexibility and range of motion? Our list contains both options.
Stretch work fabrics have gained popularity over recent years because they increase freedom of movement, and are more comfortable to wear. To see more options, visit our articles about the best stretch shorts for work and the best elastic waist shorts for work.
But some people prefer 100% cotton, and there are instances where 100% cotton canvas can be more durable than a stretch fabric.
You’ll also want to consider the weight of the material. For example, I like the Carhartt shorts at the top because the fabric is a lightweight canvas that is, yes, durable, but also lets my legs breath a little bit.
How many pockets do you need? Having too many pockets can be overkill and just add bulk and weight to your workwear shorts. That doesn’t help anyone. But not having enough pockets can be a problem too.
Most work shorts will have a carpenter short design, with utility pockets on at least one leg that can store basic work essentials or your phone. In our list, we also included several types of canvas cargo shorts in case you need to maximize the amount of pockets on your work shorts.
If you prefer cargo shorts, visit our article about the best cargo work shorts.
You will definitely want to consider the inseam of these shorts. Obviously, your height matters, but a 10″ inseam will often hit near the top of the knee.
If you prefer long-fitting shorts, we have a couple options on our list that have 11-inch inseams. For shorter options, visit our article about the best short inseam work shorts.
And regarding fit, most work shorts have a loose, relaxed fit. If you prefer slim, visit our article about the best slim fit work shorts.
Canvas shorts are undoubtedly tough, but one drawback is they can be a bit stiff. As we discussed earlier, buying a stretch fabric blend is one way to combat this.
Another way to improve the range of motion that you have in you work shorts is to buy shorts that have a built-in crotch gusset. A crotch gusset is a diamond-shaped piece of material sewn into the crotch area to provide extra space for bending and crouching.
The Timberland PRO, Duluth Trading Co., and Diamond Gusset shorts on our list all feature a crotch gusset. This is a great way to add increased comfort to your canvas work shorts. To read more about gussets, visit our article about the best gusseted shorts for work.