Stretchy, durable, and super soft, the Patagonia Active Mesh Boy Short is a longtime favorite of some of our testers. One of the first things we noticed about it was how much thicker the material was than others in our review, and our testers had mixed feelings about it. Other than its stretchy, soft material, we had a few gripes that kept this product from being one of our award-winners. It was the slowest to dry of any product we tested as well as one of the heaviest. The leg openings frequently rolled up on us, and we found it to be less breathable than some of its competitors. In the end, we found the performance of the Active Mesh Boy Short to be average, and we preferred its sister, the Barely Hipster significantly.
Patagonia Active Mesh Boy Short Review
Cons: Slow to dry, heavy
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Active Mesh excels at burliness, though not everyone who tested them were in favor of their thick design and less-than-stellar breathability. Slow to dry and heavy, we would not recommend this product for super sweaty or wet backcountry adventures where packability and drying time are vital.
While we loved certain qualities of the Active Mesh Boy Short, not everyone here at OutdoorGearLab was in unanimous agreement. The material is decently soft, and though it caused us no discomfort, we weren't blown away. A mix of nylon and Spandex, this product is very stretchy, making it a great buy for active use where mobility is key, like hiking or climbing.
However, the material on this product is very thick, leaving some of our testers wanting more-- er, I mean, less. While some of us liked wearing a bulkier pair of undies, the Active Mesh Boy Short was not quite as breathable as we would have liked for intense, sweat-inducing missions. Also, the thick material gave us pretty intense panty lines, which may or may not be of concern to you depending on your style and/or pant choice.
The Boy Short is a pretty modest design, with a moderate waistline and lots of booty coverage. If we ever have to change in semi-public spaces or use our undies as swimwear, we'd be delighted to have this model.
Unfortunately, we did occasionally find that the leg openings curled up on us, and we had to adjust them more frequently than we would have liked. Every time the leg openings rolled up, whether we were on a road trip or hiking into the mountains, they slowly started to constrict our thighs. For this reason, we're not sure this is an ideal fit for women with curvier bodies.
On the other hand, the waistband of the Active Mesh Boy Short was one of our favorite parts of this design. It kept us free from sore spots under pants or a pack and helped keep these undies in place and wedgie-free.
Judging by the thickness, we were worried about how the Active Mesh would hold up in a formal drying test. We soaked all our products in water, wrung them out as best as we could, and hung them to dry. We waited and waited and even found that our suspicions were correct. The Active Mesh Boy Short was the slowest to dry of any products we tested.
With a drying time of about an hour and forty minutes, the Active Mesh had a similar time to a standard pair of cotton undies. On the other end of the spectrum, some models dried in more than half the time. We would be cautious bringing these undies on backcountry missions where the ability to dry out sweat is crucial or on trips where sink-washing and air-drying is the name of the game.
Weighing in at 1.5 ounces, the Active Mesh was among the heaviest models in this review. Now, we do realize that we're talking fractions of ounces, which is why "packability" accounts for a much smaller percentage of final scores than the above metrics. That being said, everything adds up, and we were surprised to see that some of our favorite undies weighed half as much as this product.
Built of thicker material than some of its competitors, the Active Mesh Boy Short takes up more space in our backpacks, which may or may not be something to think about when purchasing depending on what type of adventure you're embarking on.
Although receiving one of the lower scores in this review, many of our testers still reach for the Active Mesh Boy Short on occasion. We liked the thick material and modest coverage, especially that one time our tester fell on a cactus in Zion National Park and needed to hike out sans-pants, feeling grateful that these undies can almost pass as shorts. The burly material makes us confident we'll have these undies for years to come, especially when compared to some of the thinner (though more breathable) merino wool models.
At $29, the Active Mesh Boy Short isn't cheap, but it's right in the middle of all the undies in this review. We think they are a reasonable value for their solid comfort and okay fit, but paired with a slow drying time and heavier weight, we just weren't blown us away. We might be more inclined to recommend them for a lower price, but overall, they're probably priced just right.
While our main undies testers was a long-time fan of the Active Mesh Boy Short, she was forced to admit that many of the products in this review are better purchases. While soft and stretchy, the heavier build, slower drying time, and decreased breathability finally forced us to hang these up and grab a lighter pair.
— Lauren DeLaunay