Shorts for the Cooling Days of Fall

A couple years ago, my friend Kevin met me in Jackson Hole for a few days. He was wearing a wool Icebreaker t-shirt with an illustration of a fir tree on it. I saw a lot of that little line-drawn tree—his bags didn’t show up for days and he kept wearing what he’d worn on the plane. Amazingly, the tee never showed wear nor, from my distance, seemed to take on funk.

That same kind of durability and all-day, every-day wearability also infuses Icebreaker’s Compass shorts, which I’ve been rocking all summer.  Not literally all summer as in never-take-them-off, but all summer as in they’ve been a go-to hiking short since the sun passed the equinox two months ago. Made of 70 percent wool and 30 percent polyester canvas, the Compass feels soft but is heavy duty—built with a rugged but comfortable fabric that seems it can handle anything thrown at it, from long days of hiking to sliding down rocks on your rump. Two deep pockets anchor the front, while there’s one zippered on front, one in back, and a built-in webbing belt, which is removable if it interferes with your backpack belt (mine didn’t).

As the heat of August gives way to Indian summer, the Compasses are the perfect option for the cooling days of the mountains or the warm/cold bipolarity of the desert. Their heartiness at times felt a little much for the summer sun, but autumn is when they’ll come into their own. At $150, yes, they’re a heck of a lot for a pair of shorts, but they will last a long time, I suspect, even if you wear them every day. Kev, are you listening?