Carpenter shorts can be essential for workers who need the tool loops and utility pockets to function efficiently on the job. Most all major workwear brands offer carpenter shorts, which gives you a wide variety of options.
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These are my choices for the best carpenter work shorts:
- Carhartt Men’s 10″ Canvas Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Dickies Men’s Tough Max Duck Carpenter Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Loose Fit Carpenter Shorts (click here to view)
- Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Carpenter Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Carhartt Men’s 11″ Rugged Flex Rigby Work Shorts (click here to view)
- Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ripstop Ranger Cargo Shorts (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Carhartt Women’s Original Fit Crawford Shorts (click here to view)
I’ve worn the Carhartt 10″ canvas shorts for several years. They use a lightweight canvas fabric. Yes, it is tough enough for work, but it isn’t as heavyweight as other types of canvas fabric, which makes them more summer friendly.
Many carpenter shorts will have a gusset to help improve comfort and range of motion.
In this article let’s take a closer look at the best carpenter shorts so you can find a style that works best for you. Let’s also discuss four things to consider when selecting carpenter work shorts.
Best Utility Carpenter Shorts for Work
Carhartt Men’s 10″ Canvas Work Short
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. Here’s what they look like:
This is the current price of these Carhartt carpenter 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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:
Click here to buy these Carhartt work utility shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Carpenter Short
Wrangler has a specific line of apparel dedicated to workwear known as Riggs Workwear. You can buy this short in both a denim version, and a ripstop version. I own the denim version.
Here’s what these Wrangler Riggs Workwear Carpenter Shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Wrangler carpenter work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – Built for both utility and maximum comfort, these shorts are made with 100% cotton. The fabric may differ a bit based on color. Triple-needle stitching in the important areas for reinforcement.
- Pockets – These shorts have two front scoop pockets, two Cordura®-lined back pockets, an oversized watch pocket, and one right leg cell phone utility pocket.
- Tool Loops – Yes, these shorts have a hammer loop on the right leg and a utility band on the left leg.
- Gusset – These shorts have a crotch gusset that not only provides more space for you to comfortably bend and crouch, the gusset also helps take stress off the seams, which helps the shorts last longer. A 10.5-inch inseam provides sufficient coverage down near the knee.
These are my go-to denim work shorts. Here’s what mine look like:
My size 32 denim version weighs 1.41 pound, but you can also buy these shorts in non-denim, which I’m guessing weigh less.
Here’s a look at the gusseted crotch which adds comfort and freedom of movement:
One thing I like about these shorts is they have durable back pockets that are lined with 1000 denier DuPont Cordura:
Yes, these shorts have the hammer loop on the right leg, but also have a smaller tool loop on the left leg:
Click here to buy these Wrangler Riggs work 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 flexible stretch fabric for more freedom of movement? If so, these Dickies Tough Max Duck Carpenter Shorts might be a great options for you. They blend flexibility with durability to give you something that is comfortable, yet tough enough for a job site.
Here’s what these shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Dickies carpenter 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 comfortable and flexible. Dickies’ “Tough Max” fabric provides two times the strength and durability, as well as abrasion resistance, than an all-cotton fabric.
- 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.
- Tool Loop – These shorts have a hammer loop on the left leg.
- 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 to hold up at 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 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 work 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
If you prefer Carhartt, but want something with a stretch fabric blend, these are a great option. These shorts are very similar to the Dickies shorts we just discussed above, only they have a little bit of a softer feel to the touch in my opinion.
Here’s what these Carhartt shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Carhartt work 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 work shorts:
Yes, I can comfortably 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:
If you are shopping for stretch carpenter shorts, I think it comes down to these shorts, or the Dickies shorts we just discussed prior. When I bought them, the Carhartt shorts were more expensive, but also had a few extra details, like more belt loops, and an extra utility pocket under the tool loop.
Click here to buy these Carhartt flexible work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Other Carpenter Shorts to Consider
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Loose Fit Carpenter Shorts – These Wrangler shorts have a loose fit that won’t hug tight against your legs. They feature a left leg hammer loop and right leg utility pockets. Made with 100% cotton. Click here to view these shorts at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ripstop Ranger Cargo Shorts – These Wrangler Riggs work shorts are a sort of hybrid between carpenter shorts and cargo shorts. These shorts have side cargo pockets, a right leg tool loop, and are made with 10-ounce 100% cotton ripstop fabric. Gusseted crotch for extra comfort. Click here to view these shorts (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- *Women’s* Carhartt Original Fit Crawford Shorts – If you are a woman looking for carpenter work shorts, these Carhartt Crawford shorts have multiple utility pockets and a side tool loop. They are made with a 9.5-ounce stretch canvas for flexibility. Slightly fitted through the hips, with a mid rise. Click here to view these shorts at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
4 Things to Consider When Buying Carpenter Shorts
How many pockets do you really need? Having too many pockets can be overkill and just add bulk and weight to your work shorts. That doesn’t help anyone. But not having enough pockets can be a problem too.
Most carpenter work shorts will have utility pockets on at least one leg that can store basic work essentials, and even your phone. If you need more pockets, and are looking for cargo shorts that have a carpenter hammer loop, I’d recommend the Wrangler Riggs Ripstop Ranger Cargo Shorts from our list.
If you prefer cargo shorts, visit our article about the best cargo work 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 article about the best stretch 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. If you need heavy duty canvas shorts, visit our article about the best canvas work shorts.
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.
For summer options, visit our article about the best work shorts for summer.
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, including the Dickies shorts. Most work shorts have a loose, relaxed fit. If you prefer slim, visit our article about the best slim fit work shorts.
A crotch gusset is extra material sewn into the crotch to add comfort and flexibility to your workwear shorts. Not only does it make it more comfortable to crouch, bend, and kneel, it also takes some stress off the crotch, which can help prevent tears and rips.
The Wrangler Riggs shorts on our list have a gusseted crotch if you think this is a feature that you need for your carpenter shorts. To read more about gussets, visit our article about the best gusset shorts for work.