The women's REI Sahara shorts used to have side pockets deep enough for a cell phone, but they changed the style, apparently to make them "cuter," and now they aren't large enough or easy to get into. So now there are NO women's cargo shorts at REI with pockets that will fit a cell phone. However REI DOES carry EIGHT brands of thong underwear. Just sayin'.
And that is one of the reasons I wear mostly men's clothing. Men's clothing is functional whereas women's clothing is "cute". Cute does not equal functional. Check out the men's shorts and see if you can find something that fits and meets your requirements for functional. You might have to use a belt, but the men's shorts will probably also be cheaper and of better construction.
Hi @JillGat - Thanks for reaching out! As a woman who loves to leave the bag at home and just carry things in my pockets, I agree that it can be difficult to find great options in this category. While they are not cargo shorts, I wanted to pass along three pairs of shorts that I've been really happy with pocket sizes on:
One of the reasons we're most excited about this community is to hear feedback from customers. We have noted yours and are going to pass it along to our product team.
Yes, there are a few women's shorts at REI that have upper pockets that are a little larger, but that placement is not idea for carrying things because of the bend of the leg at the hip. I found the old-style women's REI Sahara shorts to be perfect while walking the Camino across Spain. Most of what I carried was in my backpack, but I carried my passport and money in one side pocket and my cell phone (mostly for taking pictures) in the other pocket. Being the forgetful type, I made it a habit to pat my side pockets before starting off to walk. It was also handy to have these valuables on my person to avoid them being stolen. I use those pockets, along with a backpack, while hiking in the wilderness, too.
Being the only real women's cargo shorts in the store, I'm not sure why REI would reduce the pocket size in the Sahara shorts. I used to manage a backpacking store and made sure to order a variety of styles of clothing that would meet different needs for outdoors people, being aware that women who care more about style than function would likely be shopping elsewhere for clothing most of the time, anyway. REI already has a number of kinds of bootie shorts and didn't need the ONE cargo short style to be changed.
Clearly real cargo shorts still sell to people who go outdoors, because the men's department sells a number of them. As others recommended, I guess I'll buy them in the men's department, if I can find some that fit. It just irks me that women's clothing, even in an outdoors shop, has to be designed to accentuate the figure. I find this insulting. I hope you will pass this along to the upper management. Thanks!
While I understand it can't be a replacement for the comfort of the cargo shorts, I have found a fanny/waist pack to be a great addition to my hiking and backpacking setup. It is large enough of my essential wallet items, phone, a snack and more! Running shorts offer more ventilation for my own comfort, so the fanny pack was the solution to adjusting to no pockets at all.