Oh, baby! Where do we even begin with the Patagonia Barely Hipster. A classic of the brand, we loved it immediately and were not disappointed even after weeks of rigorous testing. From the soft materials to the stretchy build and mega-breathable design, when we were dialing up the exercise, this product was our first choice. With a better than average drying time and impressively minuscule weight, we were happy to award this knock-out product our Top Pick for Breathability.
Patagonia Barely Hipster Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Breathable, comfortable, inexpensive
Cons: Tight fit
Our Analysis and Test Results
Looking to beat the heat? The Barely Hipster will get you where you need to go and keep you cool, dry, and comfortable throughout your mission, whether you're on the road for weeks or spending a few hours on the track.
It's hard to care much about other properties of your undies if they aren't comfortable, so for this metric, we looked deeply into the materials of each product.
How soft are they? How itchy are they? How thin or thick are they? Are they breathable? Time and time again, we just couldn't believe how soft the Barely Hipster is. The polyester construction makes for an incredibly stretchy design and near-perfect next-to-skin comfort. We were impressed with the material as soon as we took these undies out of the box, and the soft material was one factor that kept us always coming back.
The polyester material of these undies is very thin, creating excellent airflow and breathability for the hottest of trail runs or the stuffiest of plane seats. Our go-to metric for underwear comfortable is the ability to put them on and forget about them instantly, and the Barely definitely met this mark. One of the thinnest materials we tried on, this product truly lives up to its name: we barely realize we have it on! Similarly scoring products were the ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh, winner of our Editors' Choice Award for overall performance, as well as the Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini whose thin merino construction is a dream.
Even though "fit" is closely connected to "comfort," we wanted to separate the properties of the material from the larger picture properties of how the undies are built. In this category, we evaluated the cut, stability, waistband, and stretchiness to judge how well the undies moved and flowed with our bodies.
We loved the thin waistband and the low rise of the Barely Hipster. A happy medium between a cute cut and enough coverage, we appreciated the overall design. Our only complaint was in the leg openings. We found the thin seams to be a bit constricting, and if you care about visible panty lines, this is not the pair for you. However, we have to admit that these tighter leg openings may contribute to how well these undies stayed in place. We were happily wedgie-free in the Barely Hipster whether we were doing track workouts at full speed or casually sauntering in the hills.
As far as stretchiness goes, the Barely Hipster knocks it out of the park. With a crazy elasticity throughout, we were enamored with the full range of motion this product provided. The only place this was not true was in the leg openings which were a bit tighter than we would have liked, particularly for our curvier testers. The only fit we liked better was found on the Give-N-Go Sport Mesh; these undies truly found the ideal balance between stability and range of motion.
We did a formal drying time test for a few big reasons. One, we wanted to simulate the type of hand-wash and air-dry methods that we frequently use while traveling.
Next, we wanted some insights into how quickly we'd be comfortable once again during extremely sweat-inducing activities. To get down to business, we soaked every pair in water, wrung them out to dry, and hung them on a clothesline. On the day of the test, we were soaking up the sunshine in Bishop, California; with 9% humidity and a light breeze, the Barely Hipster took about 70 minutes to dry, putting it on the lower end of average.
While a few models were dry in less than an hour, just as many took upwards of an hour and a half, putting the Barely right in the middle. Few of the models that dried faster than the Barely were of even comparable comfort, however, and we generally found that an hour well exceeded both our expectations and the drying time of a normal cotton pair of undies. The only exception to this was with the Merino 150 which dried in an astonishing 47 minutes! Our Best Buy Award winner, the Under Armour UA Pure Stretch also dried in less than 50 minutes, but we found the fit of those undies to be a bit annoying despite their comfortable material.
We know that underwear doesn't exactly take up a ton of space, but when you're on the road or in the backcountry, every ounce counts.
The heaviest pair of undies that we tested tipped the scales at about 1.5 ounces, making the Barely even more impressive. At .8 of an ounce, this was one of the lightest models we reviewed. Other models that rang in under an ounce were the Merino 150, the UA Pure Stretch, and the Arc'teryx Phase SL.
Its thin material also aids in its ideal packability. We had no problem shoving these undies into the nooks and crannies of our packs and suitcases, which is a great feature to consider for adventures short on space. We found the thin material to be more compact when folded in half, especially when folded and placed side-by-side to its many great competitors.
The best application for the Barely Hipster is, quite frankly, just about anything you want it to be. Thin, breathable, and light, we this was our go-to choice for hot weather. Winner of our Top Pick for Breathability, the Barely was a close contender for the overall Editors' Choice Award winner, but ultimately lost out because of its tight leg openings. If you get a chance to try these babies on, though, and find that this is not an issue for you, we'd happily recommend this product for just about any adventure you could dream up.
Coming in at $22, the Barely Hipster is one of the least expensive pairs of ladies' underwear we tested. We find this product to be an exceptional value because of its excellence in all our scoring metrics. We test our products with as little bias as possible, and we try to ignore the prices during our hands-on testing phase. So it's always a great surprise to find that one of our hands-down favorite products is also one of the most affordable. At this price, we'll surely be stocking up our Barely undies. Buy, buy, buy!
With both an incredibly reasonable price and an outstandingly comfortable design, what more could you ask for? The Patagonia Barely Hipster is our Top Pick for Breathability, and we were completely enamored with its stretchy, thin material and low weight. For sweaty cardio adventures or for when quick-drying is key, look no further than the Barely. Other than its too-tight leg openings, we loved that these undies stayed in place, leaving us to romp around the world without stress or discomfort. We love these undies and feel pretty confident you will too.
— Lauren DeLaunay