Shorts for Billy Goats & Others
By Everett Potter
Once upon a time, back in the mid 1970’s, men’s shorts were either made of polyester in a pastel color and worn by your father on the golf course or they were heavy, cut-off jeans you wore if you were under 30. In 1975, an American climbing pioneer named Royal Robbins created a new kind of men’s shorts. He called it them the Billy Goat for their toughness and he wore a prototype on a number of his first ascents of some of Yosemite’s most famous big wall routes. The shorts he designed had to be durable enough to withstand Yosemite’s granite walls as well as be comfortable. Both Robbins and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard were co-leaders in the so-called clean climbing movement back then, and both went on to start companies focused on creating earth- friendly and durable apparel.
The Billy Goat Shorts are a pure cotton, thick-yarn canvas with a “peach finish and enzyme stone wash (that) create a comfortable, aged effect. The partial elastic waistband makes it perfect for climbing and hiking.” They were a considerable improvement over truncated Levis, the kind of shorts that immediately make you daydream about a long walk or grabbing the tiller on a sail boat. $52.
If they’re a tad too outdoorsy for you, then check out their Traveler Stretch Shorts, which have a more contemporary design, come with UPF 50+ protection, secured pockets, moisture wicking, wrinkle resistance, mesh pocket bags, and added stretch for a greater range of motion. These are what you want to wear when you’re boarding the plane for Cabo or Maui for 10 days of adventure $65. There are women’s versions of both, priced the same, with slightly different styling. www.royalrobbins.com