Big thanks to ExOfficio and Backcountry.com for hand-selecting me to review this piece of gear for the benefit of the BC community.
I've never owned a pair of shorts that made me think, "you know what, these shorts are really friggin' handy!" But that was my first impression after pulling them on. Mine are 32" waist & 8.5" length in Dark Charcoal.
Belt: Starting from the top, these shorts come with a removable belt with a snap closure--the belt has a minimalist design, which is great because a typical belt buckle can snag on rock or gear when you're scrambling or maneuvering in close quarters. You don't have to worry about snagging anything on this low-profile buckle, and unlike an integrated belt, this one uses a normal belt-loop system can be put on/off without having to fish it through large sections of closed fabric.
Design: The material is lightweight nylon so it won't overheat and it's durable. On the inside of the belt line, there is a soft fabric liner to add a comfy buffer between the shorts and your skin. This is a very welcomed feature, particularly after a long day of hiking or backpacking as it'll save your skin from the brunt of typical waistband irritation. --A really nice feature for those who spend long days outdoors or planning extended trips, especially thru-hikes.
Hardware: The button clasp is nicer than most because of the way it's fastened to the material, it's a touch longer than most button closures, and the added length makes it's easier to fasten the waist--a small detail, but a noticeably nice touch. The zippers are fairly solid, light-weight, and low profile (you won't find gnarly steel teeth on these shorts' zippers, ouch).
Pockets: On the back there are two zippered pockets (Yes!), each side has a cargo pocket with Velcro closure, and the right cargo pocket has a top slide pocket that nicely fits an iPhone 6 for quick-n-easy retrieval--something that is super handy when you spot a moose moving through the woods and need to silently pull out your camera without startling it (I'm looking at you Velcro!). The top hand pockets are modestly deep, are mesh lined, and the right pocket has a change divider sewn into the bottom, again, a nice touch.
Overall: These are truly rad hiking shorts if utility is of any importance: Having two back-zippered pockets, two cargo pockets, a phone slide pocket and two hand pockets is really amazing, and they did all that while keeping the shorts lightweight and sleek so that you can still rally up boulders and bring your legs high without them bunching.
Sizing: Being able to choose your length is awesome: I avoid longer shorts for hiking since going up hills in longer shorts can cause knee abrasion against the fabric. These in 8.5" are perfect for me. Waist is spot on, and if not, you can dial it in with the belt.