Shorts Review : Big Al vs Fjällräven

Here is a written review to go along with the video review I just publishing on my Youtube channel.  I am comparing my two favorite pair of camping shorts - the Big Al model 222 camo shorts that I bought off the Gostwear website, and the Fjällräven Barents Pro shorts that I got off the sale rack at Cabela's for an insane price.

The fit of both pair of shorts is very similar though I would say that Big Al are every so slightly smaller.  I wear a 36 and both of these are 36 and both fit very well, so the difference is only slight.  They both have plenty of belt loops though the Fjällräven have 8 to Big Al's 7.  That is one of my pet peeve's with a lot of pants and shorts is that they don't have enough belt loops - when they are too far apart you can get sagging and slipping.

Regarding pockets the Big Al only has a right rear pocket, and the Fjällräven do not have any rear pockets at all.  I'm left handed and always carry a hanky in my back pocket, so both pair miss out as far as I'm concerned.  Front pockets on both pair of shorts are deep, and I've never had an issue with stuff falling out unlike other types of outdoors shorts that I own. Both pair also have cargo pockets on the legs - the Big Al have them both on the side of the legs while the Fjällräven has one of the side and one on the front of the leg.  Actually on the side where the pocket is at the front there are two cargo pockets one enormous one behind a smaller one.  And then to the side of those is a tall narrow pocket with a cover flap at the top and bottom - I've never used that pocket it it seems to me it is designed to carry a hatchet with the handle hanging out the bottom.  The Big Al shorts use regular buttons for the pockets, while the Fjällräven use snaps.  The snaps are definitely a better choice but the buttons are still not that difficult to use.

Both pair of shorts are made from 65% polyester and 35% cotton.  Fjällräven calls this combination their G-1000 material.  That is still enough cotton to make you uncomfortable even dangerously so if you were to get soaked when it was colder out.   See my fabrics for outdoor clothing article where I talk about how I ended up capsized in the Ottawa river in May of this year while wearing the Fjällräven shorts - I definitely got a good chill because of the cotton in them.  However I've also worn both pair swimming throughout the summer and it is not really an issue in that type of situation. They do not dry quickly so do not think of them as quick dry- but you can hang them out in the sun and they'll be almost dry in an hour or so.  By comparison a good pair of 100% polyester shorts you could wear them until they were dry.

Both pair of shorts are well made with strong seams that hold up well.  I've been wearing the Big Al shorts quite a lot for two years now, and the Fjällräven have gotten a good summer of use this year.  They both look like they'll hold up well for some time to come.  I managed to burn a small hole in the Fjällräven shorts when I struck a match and a spark from the tip of the match landed on them. Even though I brushed it off almost instantly it still burned a small hole.  I would expect the Big Al shorts to do the same since they are the same combination of materials.

The Fjällräven are definitely the better pair of shorts, but I would say only slightly.  And the price  difference is quite staggering - $38 for the Big Al and $130 for the Fjällräven.  Though luckily I got mine on sale for only $30 which was truly amazing.  I definitely would not pay full price for the Fjällräven so when these eventually wear out I'll probably be reaching for another pair of the Big Als, or perhaps try something else off the Gostwear site.

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