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I finally tried Patagonia’s cult-favorite shorts—and I don’t know why I waited

Patagonia's iconic short is a summertime staple.

blue pair of Patagonia baggies, man wearing sunglasses, bucket hat, and Patagonia baggies Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

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After a year of not going anywhere, this could be the summer of adventure clothing actually going on adventures. And in men's shorts, you can't get more versatile than Patagonia Baggies. With an airy 5-inch inseam, the hybrid hiking pant/swimsuit has become the prototypical short short as of late, canonized through internet memes and celebrity endorsements from the likes of Jonah Hill, Kanye West, and Hailey Bieber.

All of the hype and publicity made me curious. I needed to know: Are the casual shorts really that great? To find out how well they perform IRL, I decided to test a pair out. I wore my Baggies while boating, lazing around at home, and on casual outings in Florida, and now I understand the fanfare.

What are Patagonia Baggies?

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Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

Patagonia's Baggies are a great summertime short.

Baggies first debuted in 1982 and have since become one of Patagonia’s core products. The shorts are best known for their waterproof polyester material and thigh-baring inseam length—the Baggies come in 5- and 7-inch inseams in men's sizes XS to XXL and in 3- and 5-inch in women's sizes XS to XXL. Made for the outdoors, they're available in a multitude of colors, like "Ultra Pink," "Bayou Blue," and "Surfboard Yellow."

What I love about Patagonia Baggies

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Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

These versatile shorts work well for hiking, swimming, and casual wear.

Patagonia does short shorts well. With a 5-inch inseam, these shorts are the right length for keeping cool. They sit above the knee, yet aren’t so short that they attract unwanted thigh attention. The elastic waistband fits snugly without binding and has a drawstring for holding it in place during active pursuits. They’re not tailored or tapered by the legs. Instead, they poof out and offer a roomy, relaxed fit which makes moving around easier.

Versatility is also a huge plus with Baggies. They’re solid as a pair of casual shorts or inconspicuous swimming trunks, and I find them easy to dress up or down. They look natural with a pair of hiking shoes or water sandals, but they also fit well with sneakers or—dare I say it?—a pair of penny loafers. The number of colors available only further adds to the seemingly endless styling options.

Patagonia Baggies have three pockets—two on the side, one buttoned in the back—that are surprisingly deep. They reach to the very bottom of the leg, stopping exactly at the bottom hem. This keeps a cell phone or snacks safe and secure, making the shorts great for hands-free hiking. The bottoms of the pockets are mesh, allowing for water drainage if used for swimming or boating. The right-side pocket also features an elastic loop to secure your keys.

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The breathable mesh liner proved comfortable and makes going commando an easy choice. I haven’t experienced chafing or any uncomfortable moments where the mesh liner rides up. Because Baggies are made with polyester and nylon, sweat dries quickly so the shorts feel airy on even the hottest days.

Wearing my Patagonia Baggies on a boating trip helped me appreciate them for their functionality. Jumping into the ocean didn’t give me the experience of ballooning swim trunks, thanks to an adequate amount of mesh in the shorts’ lining. When out of the water, I found that Baggies dry within 20 minutes of direct sunlight. And thankfully, after spending a full eight hours at sea, the ride home wasn't dampened by stinky shorts because of the Baggies’ superior ventilation.

What I don’t love about Patagonia Baggies

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Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

Baggies feature very deep pockets and a mesh liner.

Although there are utilitarian reasons for having deep-pocket shorts, I find the pocket depth slightly annoying. The sidepockets extend so far down the leg, any items inside of them slap the body while moving. I saw and heard my iPhone knock into my leg with each step I took while testing these out. The pockets also clearly illustrate the outline of everything held in them, which can make for a frumpy appearance in a casual setting. This isn’t a total buzzkill, but it did make me consider that wearing these empty-pocketed is the best route to go.

Are Patagonia Baggies worth it?

I recommend Patagonia Baggies to anyone in search of a versatile pair of shorts. With a 5-inch inseam and loose silhouette, the shorts are an ideal length and style for looking fashionable but not frumpy. They perform well as casual everyday shorts, swim trunks, or just general loungewear. At $55, you really can’t go wrong with investing in a pair of colorful Baggies you can wear for many summers to come.

Get the Patagonia Baggies from REI for $55

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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