From weekend adventures to casual days at home, drawstring cargo shorts are a warm weather staple for men. Known for their laidback vibe, utilitarian pockets and breathable fabrics, these versatile shorts can be dressed up or down to suit any guy’s style.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find your perfect pair, including:
- The top drawstring cargo shorts for every budget and style
- What to look for when choosing your ideal cargo shorts
- Style, fit and length considerations
- Smart ways to wear them for any occasion
- Answers to frequently asked questions
Whether you’re new to the cargo short scene or a seasoned veteran, read on to become a cargo shorts expert!
The Best Drawstring Cargo Shorts for Men
When it comes to drawstring cargo shorts, today’s man is spoiled for choice. Dozens of brands offer their take on these classic shorts, using innovative fabrics and design details to upgrade this wardrobe staple.
To help you narrow down the options, we’ve highlighted the top five drawstring cargo shorts that provide the ideal blend of comfort, performance and style.
1. Dockers Perfect Short Cargo Short
For guys who want an elevated cargo short, Dockers’ Perfect Short is a great choice. Constructed from a cotton and elastane blend, these shorts provide stretch and mobility while maintaining a structured silhouette.
- 8-inch inseam hits just above the knee
- Hidden stretch waistband with inner adjustable drawcord
- Angled front pockets and Velcro flap back pockets
- Offered in both flat front and pleated versions
- Available in military-inspired colors like khaki, olive and navy
Perfect for: Work environments that allow shorts, going out, casual social events
Price range: $30 – $60
With their refined styling and flexible fabric, the Dockers Perfect Shorts are cargos you can dress up or down effortlessly.
2. Carhartt Force Cargo Short
Guys who demand rugged dependability from their clothing know and love Carhartt. The Force Cargo Short brings Carhartt’s signature durability to a warm weather essential.
- Made of 12-ounce, 100% cotton Carhartt Force fabric
- Triple-stitched seams for strength
- Multiple utility pockets and hammer loop
- Sits at the waist with roomy seat and thigh
- Inseam lengths from 7 to 11 inches
Perfect for: Yard work, hiking, camping, blue collar jobs
Price range: $30 – $55
With their workhorse DNA, these Carhartt cargo shorts are built to handle the outdoors, worksites and everything in between.
3. Patagonia Lightweight Cargo Shorts
For those who prioritize performance and sustainability, Patagonia’s Lightweight Cargo Shorts check all the boxes. They’re constructed from quick-drying recycled nylon with a DWR finish.
- Available in 5-, 7- and 9-inch inseams
- Elastic waistband with adjustable internal drawcord
- Streamlined cargo pockets and back mesh pockets
- Made from bluesign® approved fabric with 50+ UPF sun protection
- Offered in understated solids and camo prints
Perfect for: Hiking, climbing, fishing, water sports, eco-conscious dressers
Price range: $55 – $75
With Patagonia’s signature commitment to the environment, these rugged yet refined cargo shorts are designed for outdoor adventurers.
4. Wrangler Authentics Cargo Short
When you want casual, everyday cargos without blowing your budget, Wrangler Authentics fits the bill. These relaxed shorts are made of soft yet durable cotton poplin.
- Classic flat front design
- Cotton poplin fabric with hint of stretch
- Multiple side cargo pockets and back welt pockets
- Available in inseams from 5 to 11 inches
- Offered in army green, navy, khaki and other colors
Perfect for: Casual everyday wear, hanging out on weekends, concerts
Price range: $20 – $30
For guys that want a basic, affordable cargo short, Wrangler Authentics brings reliable quality.
5. KUHL Renegade Cargo Short
If maximum comfort and range of motion are your top priorities, KUHL’s Renegade Cargo Short delivers. It’s crafted from the brand’s proprietary KORE fabric blend that includes cotton, ripstop nylon and spandex.
- Lightweight, four-way stretch fabric
- Gusseted crotch prevents binding and tearing
- Multiple pockets with Velcro and snap closures
- Fixed waistband with belt loops and drawstring
- Offered in versatile neutral colors
Perfect for: Hiking, climbing, travel, daily activities
Price range: $55 – $85
With their unrestricted comfort and utilitarian design, KUHL’s Renegade Shorts are prepared for adventure.
Now that you know the cargo short landscape, let’s explore what makes a pair right for you.
What to Look for in Drawstring Cargo Shorts
With the variety available today, deciding what to look for in your cargo shorts is key. By evaluating these factors, you can zero in on the perfect pair to match your needs:
- Intended use – Will they be used for outdoor activities, casual wear or going out? Prioritize function or style accordingly.
- Fabric – Natural fibers like cotton and linen breathe well. Synthetic blends add durability and stretch.
- Fit – Do you prefer a roomy classic fit or a modern tailored cut?
- Length – Consider your height. Inseams between 7 and 9 inches work for most.
- Pockets – Multiple cargo pockets add utility. Back welt pockets streamline the look.
- Closure – Drawstring, button, snap, or combination? Opt for security and adjustability.
- Color/print – Stick to versatile neutrals like olive, navy or khaki for maximum mix-and-match potential.
- Brand – Research brand reputation for quality, ethics and specialty.
- Budget – Set a budget to narrow options. Remember pricier doesn’t always mean better.
Once you decide on must-have features and preferences, you’ll be ready to start trying on shorts.
Finding the Right Fit and Length
One of the major benefits of drawstring cargo shorts is the ability to customize the fit. Follow these tips to find the perfect fit and length for you:
- Try shorts in both classic loose and modern slim fits to assess your preference. See how they complement your body type.
- When trying on, mimic motions you’ll do in the shorts like walking, bending, sitting. Make sure you feel unrestricted.
- For length, a properly fitting cargos should hit around mid-thigh and leave 1-2 inches of visible knee cap when standing.
- Consider your height – shorter guys should avoid longer lengths that overwhelm the frame. Tall men can opt for longer lengths without looking disproportionate.
- Loose shorts should fit well at the waist before the drawstring is tightened to prevent an overly baggy, shapeless fit.
- Don’t hesitate to size down if a slimmer fit is desired. Pay attention to upper thigh and hip room.
- The shorts should feel comfortable in both standing and sitting positions. Make sure they don’t pinch or pull anywhere.
- Trying shorts on with a shirt, shoes, belt, and accessories you’ll wear gives you a complete look. Step outside the fitting room to check full view in natural lighting.
Taking the time to assess various fits, lengths and combinations will ensure you select the cargo shorts that complement your physique and style perfectly.
Styling Drawstring Cargo Shorts for Any Occasion
Drawstring cargo shorts project a laidback vibe that makes them versatile for casual occasions. With the right styling, they can also work for events on the dressier side of the casual spectrum. Here are some ways to wear them:
Casual Daytime Looks
- T-shirt or tank – A basic tee or tank can’t be beat for running errands and relaxing on weekends. Go for neutral, muted tones.
- Polo – Step it up a notch by pairing cargos with a polo shirt. Solid colors or simple patterns work well.
- Light sweater or hoodie – Add a layer against the chill in spring and fall. Choose cotton or performance hoodies to match the casual vibe.
- Baseball cap – Finish off your casual look with a baseball hat. Contrast the hat color with your shirt.
- Athletic shoes – Sneakers are the perfect footwear for casual cargos. Focus on comfort and sporty style.
Going Out Looks
- Button-down shirt – Lean into smart casual with a button-down collared shirt. Play with prints and colors to show personality.
- Leather slip-on shoes – Swap sneakers for sleek leather loafers or slip-ons to elevate the look.
- Belt – Add a belt that coordinates with your shoes. It pulls the outfit together.
- Watch – A clean analog or digital watch boosts the style factor. Go for a casual canvas or leather band.
- Grooming – Shave or neatly trim your facial hair. Use product for a polished hair style.
Adding some tailored pieces and smart touches allows your cargo shorts to work for a cool night out.
Common Questions About Cargo Shorts
If it’s your first foray into the wonderful world of cargo shorts, a few FAQs may be on your mind:
Can you dress up cargo shorts?
While cargo shorts maintain a casual base, you can dress them up slightly for going out and events by pairing them with more refined pieces like leather shoes, button-up shirts or blazers. High-quality shorts in neutral colors also skew dressier. Just don’t reach for tees and sneakers!
Are cargo shorts still in style?
After falling out of favor in the late 2000s, cargo shorts are back in a big way for men thanks to streetwear and workwear trends merging utilitarian details with contemporary silhouettes. Focus on well-fitting modern cargo shorts in natural fabrics.
What should guys not wear with cargo shorts?
Flip flops, athletic socks, baggy graphic tees, tactical vests and anything with excessive visible branding should be avoided. Leave the cargo pockets free of bulky items if you want a streamlined modern look. Keep the shorts suited to the event.
Can I wear cargo shorts to work?
Most traditional offices require full pants, but some casual or creative workplaces allow shorts in warm months. Make sure to check dress code. If allowed, choose a dark neutral color, limit pocket usage, and pair with a polo or button-down shirt to look polished.
What shoes to wear with cargo shorts?
For casual looks, sneakers are the perfect match. More formal options include boat shoes, canvas slip-ons, chukka boots or loafers. Sandals work great too, just avoid overtly sporty styles. Match socks to shoes.
Asking these common questions will prepare you to rock cargo shorts with confidence.
Drawstring cargo shorts are the quintessential warm weather staple that deliver comfort, utility and easygoing style. With the top brands and reviews provided in this guide, finding your new favorite pair should be a breeze.
Focus on modern styles in breathable natural fabrics that complement your body type. Add some basic wardrobe pieces like tees, polos and sneakers for casual days or switch it up with button-downs and loafers for events.
With the right cargo shorts, you’ll be ready for whatever summer throws your way. So embrace this versatile classic and get ready for compliments!