Patagonia Skyline Traveler - Women's Review
Cons: Runs small, average comfort
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|Pros||Versatile, water-resistant, flexible||Comfortable, water-resistant, breathable, versatile for general outdoor recreation||Lightweight, breathable, athletic, low price||Stylish, comfortable, versatile||Affordable, water resistant, breathable|
|Cons||Runs small, average comfort||Not the cheapest, not the most stylish||Baggy looking, no hand pockets||Minimal water resistance, minimal features||Unnecessary belt, small cargo pockets|
|Bottom Line||A very slim-fitting pair made with technical fabric that offers versatility and modest comfort||A versatile and high-performing pair of shorts with subtle styling and deep pockets||A seeming hybrid between hiking and running shorts, these aerobics-focused shorts offer high comfort but no hand pockets||Style and function combine to offer greater versatility, breathability, and high comfort||Functional and fun, these shorts cover all the basics|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Skyline T...||Mountain Hardwear D...||REI Co-op Active Pu...||Prana Alana||Columbia Sandy Rive...|
|Comfort and Mobility (35%)|
|Venting and Breathability (20%)|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Patagonia Skyline T...||Mountain Hardwear D...||REI Co-op Active Pu...||Prana Alana||Columbia Sandy Rive...|
|Weight (in oz)||5.3 oz||4.6 oz||4.9 oz||6.7 oz||5.1 oz|
|Material||88% nylon, 12% spandex||94% nylon, 6% elastane||86% polyester/14% spandex (liner: recycled polyester | rib: 91% polyester, 9% spandex)||95% recycled nylon, 5% spandex||100% nylon|
|Water Resistance||DWR||DWR||Minimal||Minimal||Perfecta Plus II quick-dry|
|Sizing (waist, length options)||0 - 18||XS - XL||XS - XL||0 - 14||XS - XL|
|Sun Protection||UPF 40||UPF 50||UPF 50||UPF 50||Yes, UPF 30|
|Waist Strap/Fasten||Button, zip fly||Elastic waistband||Elastic waistband||Double metal snap, zip fly||Elastic waistband with plastic snap and zipper fly, optional belt|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Skyline Traveler is constructed with Bluesign approved 88% nylon and 12% spandex, with an added DWR (durable water repellant) coating. The fabric is fairly thin and lightweight but feels durable. With a mid-rise design, the waistband is more traditional with belt loops and a button and zipper fly closure. We acknowledge that they are performance-driven, but the fit and overall slim design of the shorts are our biggest points of critique.
Comfort and Mobility
The material is flexible despite the 8-inch inseam and slim, next-to-skin design. Mobility, therefore, is sufficient, and actions like climbing or high-stepping while hiking is easily done for us. For the size 2 reviewed, we measured the weight to be around 5.3 ounces, which lands in the middle relative to others in this apparel category. The thinner material contours with our bodies, but because of the slim cut, we feel that the sizing runs small. Our hips and thighs are perhaps bigger than we think the design is ideal for, so sizing up will mitigate that too-snug feel (even though the waist itself is the right size). Slim cuts like this certainly make things complicated for cuvier bodies. Thus, all-day wear and general comfort are somewhat limited by the fit.
Venting and Breathability
The fabric does breathe fairly well due to the nature of the synthetic materials. The snug fit, however, doesn't help the ventilation factor. Plus, having a DWR treatment for water resistance doesn't help these qualities either. We measured the leg openings to be 18.25 inches in circumference, which is one of the smallest we've recently encountered. Even though the design itself has some sewn "vent slots" at the hemline, we feel they don't do very much if the fit is off and there's no room for air to move between fabric and leg. But again, this doesn't mean they aren't a high-performing competitor. Our lead tester hiked some sand dunes in them on a fairly hot day and didn't find the shorts to trap significant amounts of heat.
Sporty in design, the fashion sense can either be a hit or miss and is dependent on how well they fit you (or rather, how good the slim fit makes you feel). We do think there is some transferability between urban and non-urban settings, or from the trail to the brewery, but the longer inseam may not be appealing to everyone. They do transfer fairly well between athletic endeavors, however. Being long and stretchy means they are adequate to climb in, bike, stretch, etcetera. The low-profile waistband is comfortable beneath a pack with a hip belt. We are also more likely to wear them on colder days, utilizing the added length to help insulate, making them all the more versatile in the shoulder seasons.
One of the top scorers for this metric, we find the water resistance to be exceptional. Adding to their versatility and technicality in the outdoors, water beads readily and takes some effort or more significant volume for the water to soak in. Due to this high resistance, however, they are less breathable overall, which slows drying time when the fabric is wet. Either way, this pair is notable technical in this regard. It's difficult to balance this with breathability, but we feel this competitor does a good job.
The Skyline is fairly simple and streamlined with enough features to warrant an above-average mark. They offer UPF 40 and are 65% recycled. The waistband has a mesh liner to help promote airflow and also has an internal drawcord. This model has four pockets, two in front and two in back, and they are all satisfactorily deep. Since the fit is snug, however, placing items into the pockets isn't the easiest nor is it the most comfortable. The quick-drying aspect is on the higher end, though, despite the DWR treatment. Durability appears to be good as is typical with Patagonia apparel.
Characteristic of Patagonia apparel, this model seems to be of standard retail pricing. There are more affordable options out there are don't have as many fit issues of similar quality and similar length. Price aside, however, we are nonetheless fans of their functionality. So, if you're willing to play the fit game, we imagine this pair will endure countless adventures. If it's important to you to know where things are made, they are manufactured in Vietnam and are Bluesign approved.
We certainly applaud their technical design. From early morning hikes to hot midday ramblings by the river, they are versatile and provide fair comfort. Likely not the trendiest pair out there, they nonetheless go beyond our most basic hiking standards. We recommend trying them on in person, if possible, to mitigate the fit issues discussed.
— Sara Aranda
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