Vintage looking and highly casual, the Patagonia Baggies have summer written all over them. The main drawbacks are the fit and unlined waistband, which can be irritating when worn for more extended periods of time. While some like the baggy look, the bagginess sometimes lends itself to an unflattering bunching of material; it seems to be a hit or miss with the fit. Regardless, being lightweight and versatile make the Baggies a popular short. Best suited for warm-weather hiking and the casual activity, we did run and cycle in them, too. Despite the old-school look, they are a relatively technical pair of shorts.
Patagonia Baggies 5" - Women's Review
Cons: Runs big, abrasive waistband
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Baggies are known for their old-school style, yet as we move forward as an industry, these shorts are now made with recycled nylon and Fair Trade sewing practices. With this modern take, the material is lightweight and thin, yet still water-resistant and durable. The sizing runs large for this model, which can easily contribute to a "too baggy" and unflattering silhouette. Being unlined and having wide leg openings can also be an issue despite the five-inch inseam, particularly when stretching out or doing an activity on the floor or on a boat (if you're not wearing a swimsuit, for example.) Still, the classic and casual style is hard to ignore.
With average marks in some metrics and high marks in others, the overall ranking lands this pair well below the top competitors.
Comfort and Mobility
With ample legroom, mobility is of no concern with these shorts. We found that high-stepping, stretching, and even all-day casual wear can be done effortlessly. The nylon is light and relatively soft but wrinkles easily. The main drawback is the comfort of the waistband, which is an unlined elastic band with a drawcord. Over long periods, the stitching along the waistband becomes abrasive against the skin. The high waist itself can also be uncomfortable for those who are used to wearing mid to low-rise bottoms.
Venting and Breathability
The Baggies are airy and vent well. The nylon is treated with a water-resistant finish, however, which might diminish breathability a tad, particularly on sweaty hikes. Still, having a five-inch inseam and wide legs make it super easy to air out. This is one of the metrics this pair scores high.
Write a list of all the stereotypical summer activities, and these shorts will likely apply to all of them. From water sports to a picnic in the woods, these shorts take casual to a whole new level. They have mesh pockets for activities that will benefit from the easy draining of water. We can pull them on easily, and we found that they are decent for short runs, spin class, or for rock climbing (maybe wear some spandex shorts underneath?).
Versatile from activity to activity, they also fare well in town. "Vintage" is trendy, and they fit the old-timey bill. Our lead tester wore them to the movies and happily received compliments. A potential drawback is just how ideal they are for summer, actually, meaning they aren't very practical for colder temperatures or the shoulder seasons.
Coated with DWR (durable water repellent), water beads incredibly well when it's lightly raining out, or you splash across a creek. During testing, we sprinkled water, and the droplets stayed until we brushed them off five minutes later. With what little water did absorb, the nylon dried within minutes. This is a neat feature for summer shorts, and this pair earns one of the highest scores for water-resistance.
Minimally designed, there are only two pockets in the front. These pockets are spacious enough for an iPhone, keys, and little knick-knacks, and we appreciate how deep they are. With no added sun protection or other accessory features, this model scores fairly average when compared to the others we recently tested.
On the cheaper side, relative to the others, the Baggies are affordable and are made in Vietnam. Backed by Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee, we feel that, for the brand and their growing sustainability practices, this is a great value.
Overall, these shorts are fun, airy, and comfortable enough for the casual outing or day hike. The baggy style is a turn off for some, but if the fit works for you, then these shorts will surely become a wardrobe staple.
— Sara Aranda