Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid Shorts
That monkey.

Are a pair of shorts exciting enough to warrant a review? Probably not. There's not much to a pair of shorts (literally, not figuratively), so how much can there be to say about them? Not a lot. Still, when a piece of gear or apparel makes an impression, that impression is worth passing along. Any piece of gear that performs up to or above expectations, no matter how simple, makes for a better day on the water (or elsewhere). And, after all, money well spent is money well spent.

Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid Shorts
Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid shorts in 'Vallarta Khaki' (their photo, not ours).

Howler Brother's Horizon Hybrid shorts are one of those pieces of gear. A few pairs arrived earlier this year, part of planning for some winter trips to warm, salty destinations. And, in the half a year that has passed, they've spent very little time in the drawer. Instead, they've seen consistent duty on the flats, wading the stream, swimming in the surf, on my mountain bike and other less exciting places like the gym and garden.

What Works

Marketing Reality
There are no big surprises to reveal here, but there is a running theme: delivering on promises. Howler Brothers' markets all the same features that manufacturers of similar products do: quick drying, comfortable, stylish, functional and so on. And it isn't that the Horizon Hybrid shorts deliver where the other products fail to, it is just that Howler Brothers' offering does so in a way that I've repeatedly found cause to make note of.

The Horizon Hybrid shorts dry noticeably quicker than many of the other quick dry fabrics I've hit the water with. The fit is modern and stylish, with particular notice given to the shorts' sensible knee length that renders them equally as unwelcome on a urban basketball court as they would be in Richard Simmonds' 'Sweatin to the Oldies'.

Howler Brothers also notes that the Horizon Hybrid shorts have "enough structure to pull off parties and runs to the grocery store but have to always be ready for an unplanned swim". The idea here is that the shorts are not only good for sporting uses, but good for casual (read: public) wear as well. This is actually one claim that apparel makers often make with little substance behind it, but in this case it's actually true. And they're comfortable. Very.

It's also worth noting that they're particularly stain resistant thanks to their ripstop nylon construction. If durability is paramount to you when you're paying a premium for quality gear that touts its versatility -- and it should be -- then this is something worth noting. Apparel that soaks up and hangs onto every splash of coffee, drip of blood, smudge of motor oil and so on usually ends up getting retired early. These don't. That's good.

What Doesn't

Waist Sizing
Howler Brothers has woefully undersized these at the waist. But, there are two important things to take note of here.

First, they're probably truly sized rather than undersized. I know damned well I don't wear a size 34 waist, yet Lucky Jeans keeps making size 34 jeans that I fit into. My guess is they're trying to make me feel less fat so I'll keep buying their jeans. It's working.

Second, this "problem" is very easily solved: order a size up. In fact, if you're between sizes, pick the larger size and then size up again.

That Monkey
Sometimes I can do without the Howler Brothers monkey logo that finds its way onto pretty much everything they make, but in this case the monkey is considerably subtle and possibly even welcome.

Final Word

So there you have it. Way too much said about a pair of shorts. Make of it what you will.


Yeah, I recently had that experience with size 34s that were too small. ;)