Arc’teryx Konseal Short 11″: Tested

By Aus Geo ADVENTURE 12 April 2023
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The Arc’teryx Konseal Short 11″ is touted as the ultimate pair of outdoor shorts. After nine months of testing, we reveal if they stack up.

“It’s hard to beat a pair of comfortable hiking shorts. Far from a ‘simple’ item of apparel, a good pair of hiking/outdoor shorts suited to your particular activities are akin to a unicorn in terms of finding a pair that work ‘just right’. Most of us will have a favourite type/brand/style that is their go-to for their favourite outdoor activities, whether that is minimalist and lightweight, or shorts made of more robust material, that are more versatile, while still being ‘presentable’ enough for a visit to the café or pub after said adventure is complete. Enter the Arc’teryx Konseal Short 11″.


The Konseal Short 11″ are, as you’d expect from a highly regarded brand, packed with features – and all of which are very handy when in the field. They are also very well made, again reflecting Arc’teryx’s attention to detail, with a high stitch-count ensuring tight seams, plus quality zips used throughout. 

The low[profile zip pocket on the right leg can hold small snacks for those long days running/walking/riding the trails.

The shorts are made from a breathable, four-way stretch fabric that is a combination of 69 per cent cotton (organically grown), 29 per cent nylon and 2 per cent elastane (for that bit of stretch). The fabric is treated with a FCO DWR (Durable Water Repellent – it’s also PFC-free) finish. With freedom of movement a high priority in a number of outdoor activities, such as more technical hiking, rock climbing, scrambling, etc., the shorts have a gusseted crotch area, as well as what Arc’teryx dubs a semi-elasticated waist. 

There are five pockets, with a low-profile zippered pocket on the right thigh, two deep hand pockets and two rear pockets. Fitment around your waist is adjusted via the concealed adjuster, and the front fly and zip are both robust and easy to use.

Related: Best foot forward: A guide to hiking

In the field

Since July 2022, when the Arc’teryx Konseal shorts arrived, they’ve seen plenty of use – for a variety of activities. Mostly, I have used them for my day hikes, but they’ve also been called in to service as an emergency pair of MTB shorts (even though they’re not designed as MTB shorts, smartly, the seams in the seat section of the shorts are positioned so as to minimise chafing from a bike seat anyway) and also done duty when paddling canoes and kayaks. Each time, for each activity, the shorts have performed with no drama – and that is, really, what you want from key apparel such as this. 

The concealed adjuster means it is easy to tweak the fit of the waist for a more snug fit, or to loosen it a bit if you’ve overindulged too much during the holidays.

The 11-inch (275mm) leg length has been, for this tester anyway, the ideal length, being just above the knee. The reason for this being ‘ideal, is that when shorts are longer, and go over your knee, this can inhibit leg movement. There’s just enough room in that zipped thigh pocket for a snack to be stored, while the two front pockets are (just) deep enough to hold keys, although my large iPhone 14 Pro Max won’t quite fit (I know – I need to leave the phone at home!). That concealed adjuster around the waist has come in handy for correct fitment, ahem, due to an over-enthusiasm on my part for food and beer on my part over summer. I don’t use the rear pockets, though, but they are of a decent size for some more small snacks if needed. The shorts have been treated pretty poorly, too, during the test period but the exterior fabric has held up well – and even when soaked through from rain, they have not been too ‘sticky’ on the skin. We expect them to still see plenty of use during winter, too, owing to their relative warmth when worn. (With winter approaching, it might be time to read our review on the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody, here.)

The final word on the Arc’rteryx Konseal Short 11″

There’s not too much to say about the Arc’teryx Konseal Short 11″ other than they do the job – and do it very well. After more than nine months of rough treatment and being worn for days in a row on some adventures, they have retained their shape and feel, with minimal marks/rips or worn-out areas. 

It’s the attention to detail in the design (obviously reflecting the design team’s outdoor experience) that really stands out, though, and has done since I started testing the shorts. The gusseted crotch, smart positioning of seams (and the high stitch count of these seams), plus the material blend’s comfort have all been appreciated. Even the pricing is not too bad – especially from a premium brand – and I’d have no problems suggesting anyone looking for a versatile pair of outdoor shorts check out this offering from Arc’teryx. 

RRP: $130 See Arc’teryx for more info.