A Guide’s Review of the Ortovox Brenta Shorts

Review: Ortovox Brenta Shorts

Wearing the Ortovox Brenta Shorts on a cool afternoon in front of the Marmolada

As a Canadian, I feel like I should wear shorts all year round! But then I remember ski pants are cool as heck, so I don’t. But if ski pants ceased to exist, I’d wear Ortovox Brenta shorts year-round.  The Brenta shorts are rugged, breathable, and highly stretchable. They quickly became my go-to piece this past summer guiding.  


  • Outer Material: 91 % polyamide + 9 % elastane. 
  • Lining: 72 % polyester + 28 % virgin merino wool
  • Weight: 240 grams
  • Sizes Available: S- XXL
  • Sizes tested: XL and XXL
  • Country of Origin: China

What are the Ortovox Brenta Shorts?

The Ortovox Brenta shorts are rugged, stretchy and breathable shorts designed for, as Ortovox puts it, “demanding alpine tours.”  Considered technical mountain apparel by Ortovox, these shorts excel at just about any mountain pursuit. Well, any that you would want wear shorts on. Now I’m not an alpinist, nor do I play one on TV. But I am a hiking guide and have spent countless miles in these shorts.  From easy day walks to some of the toughest days ascending multiple ferrata ladders to down-climbing galore. The Ortovox Brenta shorts have been comfortable and stood up to everything I could throw at them. 

What are the Brenta Shorts Made of?

Close-up of the Ortovox Logo and the material on the Ortovox Brenta Shorts

The Ortovox Brenta shorts are made of 91 % polyamide and  9 % elastane. What this translates to is a pair of shorts that are not only rugged but have an amazing amount of stretch. The lining of the Ortovox Brenta Shorts is made of  72% polyester and 28% virgin merino wool. This translates to a very soft hand feel and shorts that do not get overly sweaty and therefore smelly with repeated days of wear. 

This a great reminder that the waist belt is made with Tasmanian Wool

The Ortovox Brenta Shorts are also water resistant and fast drying. Having hand-washed these a bunch over the summer, I can attest to their quick-drying nature never worrying that I may have to put on wet shorts in the morning. 



Shows the logo on the front left of the ortovox brenta shorts
The Ortovox logo on the front of the Brenta Shorts

The Martindale test is an internationally accepted abrasion test for the durability of a range of materials from cloth for furniture to material for outerwear such as these shorts. Above 30,000 cycles is recommended for commercial use, and above 50,000 means it shows no wear. The Ortovox Brenta shorts withstood over 100,000 cycles and so are exceptionally durable. For more on the Martindale test, check out https://oot-oot.com/martindale/?v=fa868488740a

The only time I over-extended the Ortovox Brenta shorts was in Croatia when I explored some abandoned buildings. I didn’t realize that the thorns from overhead-height rose bushes were the Achilles heel of my shorts and resulted in four pulls on various places of the shorts. I made sure not to pull on them but waited to trim the pulls with scissors. After that, no issues at all. 

Keep your shorts on!

Photo shows the waist belt system on the ortovox brenta shorts
The Waist Belt on the Ortovox Brenta Shorts

As most alpine gear leans towards the slimmer fit I agreed to test the XXL to allow for my larger quads and the shorts’ narrower fit. Luckily the waist belt is so adjustable that I was able to wear the XXL. According to Ortovox’s size chart, I am a solid large at 91 cm. So, how in the world did I wear an XXL?!?!

The waist is adjusted using a hook-adjustable belt that’s integrated into the waistband. From the smallest to the largest loop (there are 5), there is roughly 13 cm of adjustability. The loops are made of a webbing that continues around the shorts inside a tunnel and when it re-emerges on the left side of the shorts it terminates in an aluminum hook. There is no stretch in the loop and I think this would be a nice addition though mayhaps it is not included as that could create a weak point.

If you have a favorite belt, these may not be the shorts for you. There is no way to remove the sewn-in belt nor are there belt loops. 

Why XXL?

Why was I recommended XXL you ask? That was for my large thighs. Admittedly, the XXL fits my legs quite well with ample room to move and not need the stretch of these shorts. However, I was on the tightest belt loop available to keep the shorts on. So, I went out and bought a pair of XL shorts to try. I already really liked the shorts so why not have a second pair? The XL fit quite snug in the thigh but due to the stretch, they’re also very comfortable. If you like the look of a looser short then you can almost safely double size up. Want the waist to fit properly and don’t mind snug thighs, maybe go only one size up.  Despite being a 91cm waist, I would not get away with the Large size shorts, the legs then would be too small.


The Ortovox Brenta Shorts have a total of three pockets. Two zippered hand pockets sit at an angle and make placing objects in and out quite easily. The third pocket is designed as a map pocket and sits on the right thigh. Unless you fold your map in half you will not actually fit a map in here in its entirety. The top will poke out. What you can fit in is a large cell phone, wallet, or anything else of similar size. My iPhone 8 plus fits without a problem. 

Summary of the Ortovox Brenta Shorts

These quickly became my favorite shorts, not just for this season but for the past few summer seasons of guiding. I liked these shorts so much that I went out and bought myself a second pair to wear. The adjustability of the built-in belt meant I could get away with two different sizes. 

Wearing these in possibly Europe’s hottest summer on record meant I got to test their breathability to the max, and they were fantastic. I never felt too hot nor did I feel the need for side vents. 

The narrow fit of the legs does mean you’ll want to buy these in a store as I did, but you won’t regret your purchase rocking these for years to come unless you are a diehard old-school belt fan. 

Pros: Solid construction with amazing amounts of stretch.

Cons:  The legs may be too narrow for some and necessitate sizing up. Try in-store before you buy. 

If you are interested in checking out the Ortovox Brenta Shorts, smash the link and get clothed!

Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with free pair of Brenta Shorts. This in no way affected our opinion and review.

If you are interested in more Ortovox gear don’t forget to check our review of the Haute Route Pack, Piz Boe jacket and Traverse pack.