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Meet the Helm Hybrid Shorts

Stefan Loble

So many of my best adventures involve water; either by design or surprise. Yet while designing Bluffworks products to be worn anywhere, there was one realm we hadn’t entered: the water.

Nevermind that everything we make is machine washable (blazers too), we hadn’t designed anything to live in the water. Which was a shame.

That changes today as we introduce the Helm Hybrid short – a Bluffworks product made for both water and land.

Built for any occasion, these quick drying hybrid shorts go from the beach to the plane, and can take you from the ocean to the city in one trip.

Meet the Fabric

Helm Hybrid Shorts in Mussel Grey 

With the Helm, we took a step in the direction of swimwear, while keeping the fabric street appropriate, and amazingly soft. Think of how soft and natural our most popular Ascender chino fabric feels. Now, imagine trying to maintain that softness in a water short. It’s not easy; possibly impossible. It turns out, the secret was a smidge of cotton – not so much that it slows down the drying time, but just a little to maintain the soft feel.

  • Slightly heathered, abrasion resistant fabric with a soft handfeel.
  • Machine washable and wrinkle resistant.
  • Lightweight material that’s easily packable.
  • Moisture repelling, quick drying features.
  • UPF 50+ rating provides protection from the sun’s rays.

The core of Bluffworks’ product development process has always been materials testing. You may recall how we looked at 100 fabrics when creating our Threshold t-shirt, or how I once shot a round-the-world video in a blazer fabric that ultimately failed. Ugh.

As usual, we put the Helm fabric through the wringer... and in this case through the water, sand, and abrasive rocks of my home in Dakar, Senegal.

Perfect for a day by the pool, the bar, or the trail, our hybrid shorts bring welcome flexibility to a minimalist wardrobe or one bag travel.

Meet the Details

Helm Hybrid Shorts drawstring
Helm Hybrid Shorts side pockets viewHelm Hybrid Shorts back pockets view

Design is always about tradeoffs. We prioritized the production of a great everyday short that is periodically comfortable in the water.

Details include:

  1. Unlined for everyday comfort and flexibility.
  2. Stretch waistband with internal drawstring.
  3. A total of 7 pockets, including easy access thigh pocket and signature phone pocket.
  4. Mesh pocket panels with hidden holes to support drainage.

When traveling with a carry-on only, we prioritize gear that can serve multiple purposes. Adding a vibrant orange reflective logo over the back left pocket is a nod to the fact that we pull these shorts out of our bag not just for touring cities and going for a swim, but for our early morning runs too.

Helm Hybrid Shorts in Seaweed Sage

So what about pockets? Our Helm hybrid short boasts seven thoughtfully placed pockets, ensuring that your essentials are always within easy reach. Two front pockets provide quick access to your keys or wallet, while the internal left pocket offers discreet storage for smaller items. For added security, we've included a side seam zipper pocket and a right-hand patch pocket on the back, plus our signature phone pocket at the hip.

In construction, we considered comfort in wet conditions – so the front pockets, back zipper pocket, and cell phone pocket are all made with draining mesh that allows water to exit efficiently. In a clever twist, the back patch pocket has a vented drainage hole, but on the inside, where no one can see. 

Our Helm hybrid shorts debut in two new colors, Seaweed Sage and Mussel Grey – and I can’t wait to hear what you think.


Stefan Loble


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