Ripstop shorts provide a toughness that can pay serious dividends on the job. With fabric designed to deter tears and rips, these shorts stand a better chance of lasting over the long haul.
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These are our choices for the best ripstop work shorts:
- Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ripstop Ranger Cargo Short (click here to view)
- Carhartt Men’s Cotton Ripstop Cargo Work Short (click here to view)
- Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Carpenter Short (click here to view)
- Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts (click here to view)
- 5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts (click here to view)
- Smith’s Workwear Men’s Ripstop Performance Belted Shorts (click here to view)
- Dickies Men’s Relaxed Fit Lightweight Ripstop Cargo Short (click here to view)
- *Big & Tall* Boulder Creek® Ripstop Cargo Shorts (click here to view)
- *Women’s* 5.11 Tactical Women’s Taclite Pro 9″ Short (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Columbia Women’s Silver Ridge 2.0 Cargo Shorts (click here to view)
Many types of cargo work shorts use a ripstop material because canvas, being stiff, can cause cargo pockets to be bulky and awkward. Yes, there are a few types of canvas cargo shorts on the market, but not many.
Probably the most important thing you will need to consider when buying ripstop work shorts is how heavy you want the material to be. Do you want a lightweight short that won’t weigh you down, or do you need a heavier, more durable, material?
In this article let’s take a closer look at the shorts on this list and I will use photos of the shorts that I own. Let’s also discuss what you’ll want to consider when buying ripstop shorts.
Best Ripstop Shorts for Work
Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Ripstop Ranger Cargo Short
Many are familiar with Wrangler, but did you know Wrangler has a specific line of apparel dedicated to work clothing called Wrangler Riggs Workwear? And they make what I consider to be the best heavy duty ripstop work shorts.
Here’s what these Wrangler Riggs Men’s Ranger Shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Wrangler ripstop cargo shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – The Ranger cargo short is an ideal option for surviving summer days on a tough jobsite. Resistant to rips and tears, the 10-ounce ripstop cotton construction features reinforced contrast taping on the pockets for enhanced durability.
- Fit – In my experience, these shorts fit true to size. They have a relaxed fit through the seat and thigh along with a gusseted crotch for increased range of movement.
- Pockets – These shorts have two front pockets, two rear pockets (lined with 1000-Denier DuPont Cordura), two cargo pockets with button snap flaps, an oversized watch pocket, and a right-leg hammer loop.
- What Makes These Shorts Unique – Toughness. In my experience, these are the most well-rounded cargo work shorts for durability. Made with 10-ounce ripstop fabric, they have Cordura lined back pockets, and a tape measure reinforcement on the front pocket.
These are my go-to cargo work shorts. These shorts are made with a dependable ripstop material that, in my experience, holds up well over time.
As mentioned above, these shorts have a crotch gusset that provides extra space for comfortable bending and crouching:
These are sturdy work shorts, and my size 32 weighs well over a pound:
If you prefer lightweight work shorts, I’d recommend skipping to the Columbia Silver Ridge shorts we discuss later. They are made with a lighter-weight ripstop material.
But the main takeaway is these Wrangler shorts are built to last. Not only are they made with ripstop fabric and have a tape measure reinforcement on the front pocket, they also have durable back pockets that are lined with 1000 denier DuPont Cordura:
Click here to buy these Wrangler work shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, these shorts fit true to size.
Carhartt Men’s Cotton Ripstop Cargo Work Short
It’s impossible to discuss workwear and not mention Carhartt. They offer a wide range of work shorts, including ripstop cargo shorts. These shorts are quite similar to the Wrangler Ranger shorts we discussed first, with a few small differences.
Here’s what these Carhartt shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Carhartt cargo ripstop shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Material – The 9.5-ounce 100% ripstop cotton construction of this short is designed to bear the brunt of tough jobs, resisting snags, rips, and tears. Reinforced front ledge pockets provide added durability, helping to minimize wear and tear.
- Pockets – These shorts have two front pockets, two rear pockets, and two generously-sized cargo pockets with snap closures. There is a hammer loop on the left leg.
- Fit – A comfortable, relaxed fit through the seat and thigh as well as a gusseted crotch offer maximum ease-of-wear. An 11-inch inseam is an optimum length for a variety of heights.
These shorts are actually very comparable to the Wrangler Riggs Ranger shorts we discussed first. Which is better? Truthfully, it’s very close. I’ve stuck with the Wrangler shorts because I just found that I liked the design.
But these Carhartt short are also very tough, and built to last. They have Cordura-lined front pockets and, yes, are made with durable ripstop fabric.
One detail that sticks out about these shorts in a positive way compared to the Wrangler Ranger shorts I wear, is these shorts have deep front ledge pockets, that make it very easy to get your hand in and out of your pockets. Might be worth considering.
Click here to buy these Carhartt ripstop shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Wrangler Riggs Workwear Men’s Carpenter Short
We discussed the Wrangler Riggs Ranger Cargo Shorts earlier, but if you are looking for ripstop carpenter shorts, they do also make those. I actually own the denim version of these shorts, so I can give some pretty good insight on these shorts even though the denim version obviously is not ripstop material.
Here’s what these Carhartt shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Wrangler ripstop carpenter 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 ripstop. 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.
- 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.
- Tool Loops – Yes, these shorts have a hammer loop on the right leg and a utility band on the left leg.
Like I mentioned earlier, I own these shorts in the denim version (denim is not a ripstop material). Here’s what mine look like:
So if you are looking for a ripstop carpenter short that has a tool loop on one leg, and utility pockets on the other leg, these shorts are a great option. They have many of the same features as the Wrangler Ranger Shorts we covered first, but without the side cargo pockets.
Click here to buy these Wrangler Riggs ripstop shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
Columbia is well known for making outdoor active-wear. What I like about these shorts are they are very lightweight, and might be a nice option when the summer turns brutally hot.
Here’s what these Columbia ripstop shorts look like:
This is the current price of these Columbia ripstop cargo shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about these shorts:
- Moisture Wicking – These shorts will wick sweat away from your body and distribute it in a way that helps it dry quickly. The evaporation process also naturally pull heat away from your body.
- Ease of Movement – These shorts have a partial elastic waistband and also have gusseted details to allow you to move freely while wearing these shorts.
- Low Profile Pockets – These shorts have low-profile pockets that aren’t too bulky. The pocket on the left leg is a zip pocket, giving you a secure place to store essentials.
- Material – Yes, these shorts are made with a lightweight ripstop nylon. They offer UPF 50 sun protection to help protect you from UV rays.
As I mentioned earlier, you’re buying these shorts if you want an ultra-lightweight work short. My size 32 weighs just 0.42 pounds:
They’re so lightweight it almost feels like I’m wearing swimming trunks. This lightweight, moisture-wicking material really allows your legs to breathe.
That said, the reason these are tougher than swimming trunks (and still usable for work and outdoor tasks) is they are made with a nylon ripstop material that discourages rips and tears.
Here’s a close look at the material. If you look closely you can see the ripstop weave:
Here’s a look at how mine fit. The inseam on these shorts is about an inch shorter than the Carhartt shorts we discussed first.
One thing I like about these shorts is the low-profile zip cargo pocket that gives me a safe place to store essentials:
An inseam crotch gusset allows you to comfortably bend and crouch on the job:
These shorts also have side-elastic panels on the waistband that help provide a snug, but comfortable fit around the waist:
The main takeaway here is you are buying these Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts for their lightweight breathability. The nylon ripstop fabric, despite being lightweight, is still tough enough to use for most jobs. Just don’t expect these shorts to take on a beating like a pair of canvas shorts could (ripstop vs canvas).
Click here to buy these Columbia ripstop shorts available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These shorts are machine washable.
Other Ripstop Work Shorts to Consider
- 5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro Ripstop Shorts – 5.11 specializes in tactical workwear. One thing I like about tactical work pants and work shorts, is they really maximize pockets. These shorts use a lightweight poly/cotton ripstop blend that is durable, but not stiff. One unique thing about these shorts is they have an elastic action waistband. Click here to view these 5.11 tactical work shorts (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- *Big & Tall* Boulder Creek® Ripstop Cargo Shorts – Do you need extended sizing? These Boulder Creek shorts are offered up to a size 68 waist and are made with a durable ripstop fabric. Side-elastic panels on the waist for extra comfort. These shorts featured cargo pockets and two secure zip pockets for storing essentials. Click here to view these Boulder Creek shorts (affiliate link takes you to kingsize.com).
- *Women’s* Columbia Women’s Silver Ridge 2.0 Cargo Shorts – For women who are shopping for lightweight ripstop shorts to use for work or other outdoor activities, these Columbia Silver Ridge Shorts are a great option. Made with durable ripstop nylon, these shorts have several pockets (including a zippered pocket), are stain resistant, and offer sun protection. Click here to view these Columbia women’s ripstop shorts (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
5 Things to Consider When Buying Ripstop Work Shorts
In general, ripstop shorts tend to be lighter in weight than canvas work shorts (there can be exceptions). But there is a wide range of ripstop work shorts, that do vary in weight.
Do you prefer lightweight, more comfortable work shorts? Or do you need something that is heavy duty and ultra durable?
I personally turn to a lightweight summer work short when the heat gets brutal, but which style is best for you will likely come down to personal preference and the demands of your job. I also prefer a flexible waist short for extreme heat.
Ripstop material, in general, doesn’t wrinkle as easy as other types of material. But if your ripstop shorts do wrinkle, you will want to be very cautious about using an iron as it can ruin your shorts. To read more, visit our article about how to iron ripstop.
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 work shorts will have utility pockets on at least one leg that can store basic work essentials, and even your phone.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, a lot of ripstop work shorts are cargo shorts. If you prefer carpenter shorts instead, visit our article about the best carpenter shorts.
You will definitely want to consider the inseam of your workwear shorts. Obviously, your height matters, but a 10″ inseam will often hit near the top of the knee. If you prefer long-fitting shorts, the Dickies shorts on our list have a longer, 11-inch inseam.
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 shorts (buying a stretch material is another way).
The size of the gusset can vary. Some styles will be smaller (diamond shaped), while others will run the full length of the short. Here’s a look at two gusset shorts I own:
There are several types of ripstop work shorts that have a crotch gusset. To read more, visit our article about the best gusset work shorts.
The Wrangler Ranger Ripstop Shorts at the top of our list (and pictured above) have a crotch gusset, and I feel like it adds a nice touch of comfort to those heavy duty shorts.