Gear Review: Patagonia Baggies Shorts

Since 2014, I’ve used three different pairs of Patagonia Baggies (both the 5″ and 7″ models), all of which are still going strong at the time of writing. During this period I’ve covered more than 5,000 hiking miles (8,047 km) in Baggies, in conditions ranging from the Scottish Highlands to the Bolivian Altiplano to the sweltering Australian Alps in summer. Here is my take on the iconic shorts, which have been a core part of Patagonia’a catalogue since their release in the early 1980’s:

Patagonia 5″ Baggies – Australian Alpine Track, Victoria, January, 2019.

Details

Models: 5″ seam and  7″ seam

Cost (October, 2019): US$55 (*Often available at a significant discount through online retailers such as REI, Backcountry or Patagonia.com).

Weight (men’s large / my scales):

  • 5″ seam – 7 oz (221 g)
  • 5″ sans liner – 5.9 oz (167 g)
  • 7″ seam – 7.9 oz (224 g)
  • 7″ sans liner – 6.7 oz (190 g)

Materials (from Patagonia website): The most recent incarnation of the Baggies are made from 100% recycled nylon (Supplex) with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. They have an internal drawstring, an elasticized waistband, and are made in accordance with Fair Trade sewing practices.

My Baggies Collection (L to R) – Baggies 7″ Inseam Matcha Green (2019 Recycled Nylon model), 7″ Inseam Black, 5″ Inseam Port Blue.

Design

Pockets: Three in total. A rear snap pocket and two side pockets. The latter are large (big enough to hold most maps without having to worry about them falling out), self-draining (mesh corners), and the right one of the 2019 model has a loop attachment, which is ideal for hooking keys or a compass lanyard. Their vertical design comes in handy when fording deep rivers, as it helps reduce drag in the water; obviously a handy feature when swimming as well.

Mesh Liner: You can leave the undies at home when wearing the Baggies. Over the years I’ve generally been an advocate of going commando while hiking, but in two of my three pairs of baggies I decided to keep the liner. In addition to being airy, I’ve found it to be comfortable, while still retaining its elasticity over time (i.e. minimal sagging – I recently turned 50, so unfortunately I’m only talking about the liner).

DWR finish beads well in light rain or when splashing across watercourses.

Variety: There are lots of different colours and designs from which to choose.

Performance

When it comes to hiking shorts I want something light, not too short, not too long, quick drying, comfortable, big pockets, and not restrictive. The Patagonia Baggies tick all of these boxes.

5″ Vs 7″: I’ve regularly used both models over the past six years. I tend to wear the 5″ in warmer conditions, and the 7″ shorts when I’m combining hiking and travelling, and/or if I’m walking in a place where folks are a little more conservative in regards to dress standards.

Drying Time: One of the impressive things I’ve found about the Baggies is that though the material has a sturdy feel, they are relatively lightweight and seem to dry just as quickly as much thinner and less durable running shorts when wet (i.e. less than 20 minutes in the sun).

Comfort: I love the fit and soft feel of the Baggies. Despite their name they aren’t overly baggy, nonetheless they have ample leg room, and I’ve never found mobility to be an issue whether I’m hiking uphill, striding out on the flats, or doing some stretching at the end of a long hiking day (Note: I prefer all my shorts to be as roomy as practical. In regards to the Baggies, I size up from medium to large).

Breathability: The combo of lots of leg room and airy mesh liners means that the Baggies score well on the ventilation front.

Multifunctional: Among the things I like about the Baggies are their simplicity (no zippers) and multifunctionness – they are equally at home on trail, as they are at the beach or around town.

7″ Black Baggies – Finish of the Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland, 2018.

Durability

Double thumbs up. As with most Patagonia garments, Baggies are built to last. I’ve had my 5″ “Baby Blues” (Port Blue) since 2014, during which time I’ve put more than 3,000 miles (4,828 km) on them. This includes plenty of off-trail excursions (thick bushwhacks, scree descents, rocky scrambles, the occasional bum-sliding shimmy) which would have been the death of many, if not most other lightweight hiking or running shorts. Despite the beating they have taken, at the time of writing they are still showing very little sign of wear in either the elastic waistband, mesh liners, or the backside.

Value for Money

What constitutes value comes down to a balance between the long term effectiveness of your purchase and what you paid for it. At US$55 a pop (though as mentioned above, they are often on special at REI and Patagonia.com), at first glance Baggies are certainly not cheap for a pair of nylon shorts. However, unlike some other less expensive and less well made models, they aren’t going to blow out in the crotch, ass, or the waistband for literally thousands of miles. To me, that means they represent good value – like a Feathered Friends sleeping bag or Katabatic Gear quilt, you may have some doubts when you first shell out the cash, but when you see how well they perform and last over the long-term, those doubts will invariably fade.

7″ Matcha Green Baggies | Alta Via 1, Dolomites, Italy, September 2019 (Trip report still to come).

7″ Matcha Green Baggies | Stubai Hohenweg, Austrian Alps, October 2019 (Trip report to still to come).

Conclusion 

I look for five basic attributes (see Backpacking Gear Philosophy) in all of my outdoor gear: simplicity, functionality, durability, lightweight and value. The Patagonia Baggies meet all of these criteria, plus they look respectable and feel comfortable. I suspect they’ll be my hiking shorts of choice for many years to come.

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links, which means ‘The Hiking Life’ receives a small commission if you purchase an item after clicking on one of the links. This comes at no additional cost to the reader, and helps to support the website in its continuing goal to create quality content for backpackers and hikers. 


Comments

Gear Review: Patagonia Baggies Shorts — 15 Comments

  1. Have you tried the Baggies Lights? They’re a little slimmer fitting but so light and supple it’s like being naked. They’re a thinner fabric so they dry in no time at all but they feel tough enough. I love the hell out of them.

    • Thanks for the comment. No I haven’t tried them, but as I mention in the article, when it comes to shorts I tend to opt for a roomy fit over a slim one.

  2. Cam,
    Do you have any new pairs purchased in 2019? I have some older pairs that I love but I am very dissatisfied with my new pair. The fabric is much stiffer and doesn’t seem to soften over time. And secondly, the fit is different, both the short and the liner. The liner seems very loose except for the elastic resulting in an odd fit.

    • Hey Gerry,

      The green pair in the photos is a 2019 model. I must admit I haven’t noticed the liner or fit changes you mentioned, and they seem to feel as soft as my older ones. They are only a few months old, so hopefully they will prove to be just as durable as well.

      Cheers,

      Cam

  3. Hi Cam, nice review, (bet even Patagonia couldn’t have better photos from crazy, wilderness places for their own ads)!. You may get a little flack from many of the younger hikers re. the length, but I have heard of many converting to shorter, 5-7″ shorts during a through hike. I’m on your side for this one, I need room, (large thighs here), and enjoy rather steep terrain, and don’t need my knee catching on shorts, or binding & chaffing.
    I have a pr. of Patagonia shorts, (not sure the model, I ripped tag off), but like your, they show very little room. And, amazingly, the liner still holds the goods, unlike many others that wear out).
    Sometimes, “overkill elastic” waistbands can bunch up and chaff me, (mine are borderline.

    Haven’t bought any news ones lately, but, as one poster here, I noticed a difference in feel of a newer Capilene shirt, (a bit less soft & absorbent, I know they use more recycled fabs now).
    Nice to support a co. that supports the wilderness & environment too.

    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for the comment and the kind words about the photos. I don’t do so many gear reviews, and when I do get around to one, it’s invariably based on a lot of time spent in the field with the featured item. I’m always a bit wary of the “fashion model / I’ve used it for a couple of weekends and here’s my take” reviews.

      Re: Durability – Although I haven’t noticed a difference in the shorts, I agree completely in regards to the Capilene shirts. The recycled ones don’t last anywhere near as long as the ones I owned back in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

      Cheers,

      Cam

  4. Baggies are great. I wear them daily for morning workouts, around the house and day hikes. I rotate around five pair. Guess I need to try them on a longer backpacking trip. I just wasn’t sure how comfy the mesh liner would be after multiple days on the trail. You’ve convinced me to give it a try.
    Thanks!

  5. Hi Cam

    Good review and fabulous pics!

    I do a lot of swimming when I’m on the trail.

    Would these double as swim-trunks when there are people around – ie would they remain modest enough in conservative countries?

    And if you’re going to dry them when they’re on, do you find they chafe when wet or do they stay comfortable?

    • Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for the kind words. They can definitely double as swim trunks, and I think their length make them fine for that purpose in conservative countries.

      Personally I haven’t any chafe issues while walking after they’ve been soaked. That said, in general I tend not to have too many chafe issues, so I’m not sure if other folks have had different experiences on that front.

      Cheers,

      Cam

  6. I think overall baggies are more conservative to running shorts as well. I have a pair of patagonia strider pro running shorts. Insanely comfortable. They are kind of too revealing and thin for casual wear around a trail town. I know most thru hikers could not care less about the way they look, but it’s nice to have a little decency when hiking town to town. I may just try out some baggies on the PCT. Your seal of approval is always appreciated. Plus, what kind of person wears shorts with no pockets? What color will your next pair be? Floral pattern maybe?!

    • “……it’s nice to have a little decency when hiking town to town.”

      I agree. This particularly holds true when you are hiking in more conservative regions or countries.

      As for future pairs, I tend to like simple colors that don’t draw too much attention. The “baby blue” pair are extravagant for me (they were half price)!

      • Thanks for the response Cam. I noticed I’ve never seen you mention RailRiders clothing. I have to assume you have encountered them here in America. Small company out of Massachusetts. Highly regarded adventure/travel clothing. Their clothes are seasonal but they make a pair of shorts called the Too Tough Trunks. Very similar to Patagonia Baggies but in my opinion a slightly better design. I encourage you to check them out. They currently still have a few pairs in their outlet. Phillip Werner has been using RailRiders clothing here in the White Mtns for quite some time. Skurka recommends RR for his Alaska trips. I own a few pieces and they are still going strong after years of daily use. The eco mesh pants are great performers when pants are necessary. Check out the too tough trunks and let me know what you think.

        https://www.railriders.com/men-too-tough-trunks-p-1094.html?cPath=116_162

        • Hi Timothy,

          Thanks for the message. I’ve been aware of RR clothing for a while, but up until now have never personally used any of their stuff. As you mentioned, it seems to be held in high regard by a lot of people. The shorts look good, and if I end up heading back to Alaska/Yukon/Lapland in the next few years, I may pick up some of their insect shield items.

          Cheers,

          Cam

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