5.11 Vaporlite Short Review

Like many cyclists or weight lifters, I’ve got a problem. So many of the pants and shorts that are available simply don’t fit my legs or butt. Oh sure if instead of a 36″ waist I go for a 42″ they fit, but that doesn’t count.

For a while I’ve been looking at trying out stuff from 5.11 because I’ve been told many times that are made for men that need to move around lots and have muscles. Lucky for me we got Joint Force Tactical locally and I finally got to try on some 5.11 Vaporlite Shorts.

The Loves

First off, these shorts fit perfectly in the proper waist size. It hasn’t been uncommon for me to need to go to every store in the mall in 2 towns and still walk out with nothing that fits.

Second, they’re light and comfortable. These are light enough that instead of swim trunks on camping trips I’ve grabbed my Vaporlite shorts as a spare pair of shorts and skipped swim specific wear. They are comfortable in the water and dry quickly.

Third, they have so many pockets which is super helpful for the random stuff you end up carrying when you have 3 little kids. The two main front pockets even have a reinforced area for a knife clip which keeps the wear to a minimum.

I use the extra back pockets to hold my keys on their paracord keychain so they don’t jangle around as I walk. This still leaves the regular Velcro closure rear pocket free for my Field Notes Expedition.


If I had written this review a month ago I wouldn’t have had anything to put in the dislikes. That’s one reason I wait so long to review anything, then I know how it’s going to wear over a number of months.

With the 5.11 Vaporlite short I’m starting to notice that the crotch is coming unstitched with about 6 months of use. Compared to other shorts I’ve worn camping, bike commuting, hiking, and climbing these are wearing much faster and they’re not notably lighter than some of my other pairs of shorts.


Based on fit and function, yes I love these shorts and you should buy them. Based on their wear, I’m much more reserved. I guess I’ll see over the next few months how the seams hold up to continued regular use. If you’re not bike commuting then the wear may not be an issue at all since you won’t be putting the extra wear on the crotch that I do.

Get the 5.11 Vaporlite on Amazon