Silica xerogels were prepared by sol-gel process and non-supercritical drying. Two kinds of reinforcements, SiC whisker and short carbon fiber (CF), were chosen to control the shrinkage during drying process and improve the mechanical properties of xerogels. Microstructure and mechanical properties of samples were examined. It was found that the addition of SiC whisker could greatly improve the elastic modulus of silica xerogels, while short CF could prominently decrease the volume shrinkage ratio but could not improve the elastic modulus. Analysis showed that the difference between the two reinforcement mechanisms was caused by the interface and the size of the doped fiber and whisker.