As a follow-up to our field test of padded sailing shorts reported on in the March 2012 issue, Practical Sailor recently tried out a pair of Camet International’s Rio men’s sailing shorts, which did not arrive in time for the initial comparison. Made in the United States, the Rio padded shorts underwent the same testing as those we evaluated in the March issue, and testers compared the results to those of the Best Choice in that test, Gill’s performance padded shorts (model 1644). (Camet’s women’s Wahine shorts got the pick for the ladies padded shorts in that test.)
The tests were designed to evaluate ruggedness and durability, comfort, ease of use (inserting foam pads), drying time, odor resistance, color retention, and any tendency for the fabric to shrink. Each pair also was evaluated on its features, including pockets, zippers, Velcro closures, fasteners, stitching, and the quality of material and construction. (For further details on the testing protocol, see the March article online.)
Bench testing included an accelerated wear simulation: Donning test shorts, testers swayed their hips back and forth 50 times across 120-grit sandpaper affixed to a 2-by-4 length of lumber. Like other top brands of shorts we tested, the Camet Rio’s Cordura-reinforced abrasion-resistant seat became fuzzy, but not worn through, after the abrasion test.
The shorts’ waist has belt loops, two adjustable Velcro tabs, and is fastened with a well-secured button, which field testing found to be more durable than a metal clasp—besides, a button can easily be replaced at sea.
The long Velcro strip running across the external rear of the shorts, which seals the single large pocket accommodating the seat pads, withstood 25 openings with no noticeable wear. The two Velcro tabs on each of the flapped cargo pockets at the front of the shorts also held up well. The right cargo pocket houses a smaller interior pocket, secured with Velcro, where a cell phone or other small device can be stored. The zipper functioned smoothly and is non-metallic, so rusting isn’t a factor.
The Rio shorts are made of soft, brushed, mid-weight Supplex, a patented nylon fabric designed for fast drying. Like the Wahine shorts, the Rio pair dried quickly in the open air. After full immersion in a tub of salt water, the Rios were barely damp after 15 minutes hanging on a clothesline in the breeze and were dry to the touch after a half-hour, earning them an Excellent rating for dry time.
The Rio shorts also passed the odor-resistance test with flying colors, having no discernible stink after being soaked then sealed in a black trash bag for 72 hours.
The shorts have no inner lining, but the crotch is gusseted to support a full range of leg movement. All of the seams are double-stitched, so the construction should hold up well for many sailing seasons. The shorts, with a 1-inch-wide white stripe running down both sides, are not only stylish but they are also quite comfortable, testers noted.
Care instructions call for the shorts to be washed in cold water and tumbled dry at low heat. In tests, repeated washing did not fade the dark blue color.
As a bonus, the shorts have a UV protection rating of UPF 40, which blocks 97.5 percent of the sun’s rays.
Bottom line: Priced at $80, the Rio shorts are one of the least expensive padded sailing shorts we’ve tested this year, and their test performance was on par with the top picks from the March report. The Camet Rio men’s padded shorts earn a PS Recommendation and Budget Buy pick.