Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gear Review: Kavu Big Eddy Shorts

Big Eddy Shorts by Kavu

I love thrift stores. My favorite pair of shorts for all outdoor endeavors, be it hiking, backpacking, canoeing, or anything else were purchased for under $5 from a thrift store. They are nylon Big Eddy Shorts by Kavu. A short time after getting them and realizing how much I liked them, I looked them up online to see about getting another pair or two. When I saw they go for $55 new, I thought “too expensive.” I was wrong about that.  I’ve come to realize given they are still going strong after two years of serious abuse, AND they were used to begin with, the Big Eddy’s are definitely worth the asking price (provided the ones manufactured today are built as well as the pair I got.) Of course, they can also be found on sale a bit cheaper from time to time. The bottom line is that for my tastes and my purposes, they are superior to all other shorts and surprisingly versatile. I am just as comfortable wearing them to dirtbag around the backcountry as I am to hang out in a coffee shop or bar. Here’s why I like them so much…

Form and Function
Kavu Black Big Eddy Shorts
Huge rear pockets cover almost the entire back half
of the Big Eddy's. 
The Big Eddy’s are a study in careful simplicity. Compared to many shorts with multiple zippered pockets and compartments, these shorts are more like a minimalist, ultra-light backpack design. They have smart design where they need and nothing extra. The nylon material has a bit of give, and the shorts offer a wide range of movement thanks to a fully gusseted crotch. They have two hand pockets and two rear pockets. All four pockets are HUGE and VERY deep. The front pockets are made of a durable mesh while the back pockets are the same nylon as the exterior of the shorts inside and out. The rear pockets also have a small Velcro tap closure, and the right pocket has a separate wallet/cash compartment with its own velco closure. I’m able to carry just as much comfortably and securely in these four pockets as I do in many shorts with extra cargo pockets on the side. Because they are so deep, I never lose things out them either. While I’m not usually a fan of Velcro, I can’t complain with its use in this design. The same goes for the elastic waist and built-in built – I’m not usually a fan of either. For some reason, I love it on these shorts. Somehow because of the cut and construction, which includes a zip fly and snap button, the elastic band stays “hidden” under your shirt and doesn’t result in that uber-nerdy “pleat poof” look that can happen when shorts balloon out below an elastic waist. Which brings us to the next topic…

The Kavu Big Eddy shorts somehow manage to be loose and comfortable without looking like baggy toddler pants. They hang relative straight on the leg. They are also a perfect length with their 10” inseam. These shorts have a very simple, classic look with straight lines. They never go out of style. What makes me love them enough to write an effusive blog post, however, is that they actually function better than most shorts I use for outdoor activities. This is “Hall of Fame” status in my world – an article of clothing that looks better than most others AND functions better than all I’ve tried.

The backside of Kavu Big Eddy Shorts
The pair of Big Eddy’s I own are made of a mid to light-weight nylon that has held up exceptionally well despite a ton of backcountry, water, and in-town use. They have double stitched, reinforced seams as well as the gusset crotch already noted. As I mentioned, I bought these used at a thrift store a couple of years ago. Despite their prior use by a stranger combined with the very, very heavy use I’ve given them, they are still holding strong. I’ve had to re-stitch a small section of seam here and there (a given with any of my heavily used and abused clothes), and the mesh pockets have also needed a stitch-up from lugging my sharp, heavy keys in them, but, overall, they still have a lot of life in them. The only caveat I can offer is that I don’t know when these were manufactured. I plan to get myself a brand-new pair soon, and I’ll update this post as soon as that happens to offer a compare and contrast. If the currently used materials and construction are of a similar quality, these shorts are a no-brainer and well-worth their asking price.

Where to Buy (no relation to this site)

Direct from Kavu for $55; Amazon for $20-$60

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