Photo courtesy Stio

I Found the Perfect Men's Travel Shorts for a Town-to-Trail Lifestyle

Technology + Gear Outdoor
by Tim Wenger May 15, 2024

I first heard of the clothing brand Stio in a rather unlikely place – high in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. There, I met a guy named Sam Thackery, a mountain guide who led our week-long backcountry ski touring trip and, I gleaned, is also an athlete ambassador for the company. I’ve come to believe through years of high-altitude reporting that there is no greater endorsement for a brand than that of a mountain guide who lives and thrives by their gear every day. Learning that Stio is based in Jackson, Wyoming, only furthered its credibility. Suffice it to say I badly wanted to get my hands on some Stio by the time I returned home to Colorado.

The first thing I bought from Stio was the Mens Colter Mid, an insulated boot-shoe crossover that served as my daily driver this past winter. This spring, I returned for more in the form of three pairs of shorts – the Men’s Coburn 8”, the Men’s Coburn XT, and the Men’s Cut Bank. They’ve since become my go-to travel and outdoor rec shorts. Here’s why.

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Stio shorts are perfect for a town-to-trail lifestyle

I uphold two criteria when shopping for shorts. First, they must shift seamlessly between a coworking space and a hiking trail without looking out of place or inappropriate in either location. Second, they must fit my grandpa butt in a semi-flattering manner so as to conceal its flatness while simultaneously not being too baggy or puffy. If water resistance factors into the equation, that’s a grand slam.

Stio Coburn and Coburn XT shorts review

Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger

I opted for the Men’s Coburn 8” inseam in Canyon Rock ($89). This is my favorite pair of the three. Stio ditched the internal drawstring on these shorts but kept the water resistance and casual fit. To test the versatility of these shorts, I first wore them on an eight-hour travel day flying between Grand Junction and Los Angeles. Through two plane rides and a layover, the relaxed fit never left me pining for a change of clothes – in fact, I attended a happy hour event in LA in them before heading to the hotel.

Throughout the trip – a five-day conference of travel industry pros and journalists – I wore the same Coburn shorts to a multiple meeting and on the plane ride home. Other than a couple spot wipes to maintain a clean appearance, the shorts rocked it all without the need for maintenance. Water resistance is present, which proved pertinent when I was caught in a brief rainstorm while walking through town. That’s thanks to the brand’s trademarked Tetotic Twill nylon fabric.

Stio incorporates its trademark T-Lock snap on top of a zippered fly on all its shorts. This prevents the fly from coming undone, and in my experience prevents a button from rubbing the skin and causing discomfort. Best of all, the shorts are incredibly comfortable and fit a reasonably athletic build seamlessly. I’m 5’7” and quite active, and I prefer fit to fall somewhere between “casual” and “hipster tight.” These shorts hit that mark – they’re above the knee but never make me feel like I’m wearing “short shorts.”

Stio Coburn shorts specs:

  • Custom Stio T-Lock snap at waistband closure with zippered fly
  • Regular Fit: casually shaped design that’s not too tight and not too baggy
  • Inseam: 8” or 10″
  • Weight: 11.7 oz
  • Embroidered Stio® logo

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I mixed the Stio shorts order between 8” and 10” inseam length due to the need for versatility in activewear and bleisure. I like the shorter inseam to hug my legs tighter above the knee, particularly when I’m going to be sitting for extended periods, like on an airplane or bus trip. The Coburn XT option ($99) is ideal for trail days and warm camping nights because it offers everything the normal Coburn shorts do, and adds a small zipped pocket on the front . Here you can keep stuff like a pocket knife or lighter that isn’t comfortable in the main pockets.

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Stio Cut Bank shorts review

Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger

Stio’s Cut Bank shorts ($89) double as a trail-ready and social-meeting-ready option. They offer SPF 50 sun protection and a vertically zippered pocket on the right thigh that, again, is big enough for a pocket knife, lighter, pen, or other small accessory. The internal drawstring keeps the shorts tight without having to tighten my belt to an uncomfortable point, a touch I admire particularly given my normal disdain for drawstring shorts. The Teton range skyline is nicely depicted along the rear inner waistband, an homage to Stio’s hometown that serves as a motivating touch to look at when you grab the shorts to put them on. On a hike, they allowed air to flow easily and keep cool, while still fitting my torso and legs in a manner conducive to active movement (without being super baggy).

The Cut Banks in Magnet color, as mine are, look great with a nice button-down shirt in just about any color scheme. This means they make the “cut” for typical workwear among the mountain town professional set. Remote workers, travelers, and staffers of companies based in such locations rarely need to appear more formal than what these shorts can pull off.

Stio Cut Bank Shorts specs:

  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Inseam: 10”
  • Odor resistance
  • Soft elastic waistband with an adjustable drawcord for a customized fit
  • Zippered right thigh pocket and back pocket for secure storage
  • Handy drop-in pocket to stash a phone or keys

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