A couple of years ago I purchased two pairs of used Patagonia shorts off eBay. I wasn't sure what they were, but they were cheap and looked comfortable. I admit they spend a lot of time hanging out in my closet. The fit was terrible, and I will go so far as to say they were embarrassing to wear in public. Unsatisfied with my current hiking pants, I decided to test out a pair of Patagonia Baggies for an overnighter. I was blown away, where have these been all my life? Oh yeah, stuffed in the back of the closet.
I emailed Patagonia to the skinny on how long the Baggies had been in production. Apparently they were introduced in the Fall of 1982. Like many of their products, Yvon Chouinard developed them for simplicity. He was searching for a 'do all' short that was simple and durable. The originals came with a modest 4" inseam (just enough to keep the mouse in the house apparently).
Initial Thoughts- The Patagonia Baggies come in Men's and Women's versions and a few different lengths. Although I can rock some shorties on a run, I prefer to not show brain around the campfire; so I went with the Long version. The inseam of these is a modest 7", still leaving the knee exposed. They are constructed of 4.3oz Supplex Nylon which has a softer 'cotton like' feel but still maintains the benefits of nylon material. (It should be noted that Patagonia also makes the Baggies Light which uses a lighter 3.5 oz ripstop fabric. The advantage being that the lighter design breathes better and has a less stiff feel.) The regular Baggies shorts have a DWR finish and have a UPF rating of 50. An elastic waistband and drawstring closure secure the shorts. There are two low profile pockets on the front and one snap closure pocket on the rear right side. All the pockets are constructed with mesh drainage. Underneath the outer shell there is a 2.2oz polyester mesh liner. No need for underwear underneath these bad boys. A relatively simple design with nothing more then what you need.
Actual Use- As mentioned earlier I decided to break these shorts in on four day backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon. Go big or go home. Either I was going to love these shorts or develop a terrible sunburn and chaffing. I happy to report that the Baggies live up to every expectation. Starting off internally these shorts were incredibly comfortable to hike in. I don't bring spare clothes when backpacking, so these shorts went on Thursday and didn't come off until Monday. There were no issues of chaffing from the liner. Because of the mesh interior I never felt like I was getting too hot. In the evenings it would cool down and so would my groin. In the past I have found that wearing pants and underwear creates a unfavorably hot environment that doesn't breath. The shorts really helped to combat that. The waist belt fit nicely against the body and was never too tight or lose. It adjusted to my body during the trip and gave me better freedom of movement. Another notable feature was the ability to easily drop shorts. Sometimes when you really got to go, constricting pants take too long to get down. I also liked having the option of getting in the water and knowing that the shorts would be dry by the evening thanks to the quick drying material. The downside to only wearing shorts was the potential for sunburn on the legs. Or if hiking in a bug invested environment they could also pose an issue. In the evenings when the temperatures did drop, I had a pair of lightweight pants to help trap the heat. I used my ultralight rain pants (since I was already carrying them), and they worked great.
Final Thoughts- The Patagonia Baggies are not for everyone, some people prefer to look the part and be up to date with fashion. For the rest of us the Baggies represent are style of simplicity, function and durability. If you don't want to waste your money having specialized shorts for each outdoor discipline, then these shorts are for you. They are perfect for sending a route, riding to the grocery store, going for a short trail run, or backpacking the Arizona Trail. If you would like to see the Baggies line, or other great products, visit Patagonia's website.
*This product was purchased for testing and personal enjoyment.