PATAGONIA’S BAGGIES is one of those shorts that have reached icon status. Debuted in 1982, the Baggies was created as a versatile pair of shorts that could withstand outdoor activities while being comfortable enough to use every day. Over the course of four decades, the design has been improved and modernized while still staying true to the adventure-minded principle, and the Patagonia Baggies is now a pair of “active summer shorts that will go from land to water with ease,” says personal stylist Stephanie Gisondi-Little, with features that every outdoorsy guy and active dude dream of having: quick-drying fabrics, big pockets, breathability, easy fit, lightweight, and many more. “They are great for sports yet look pulled together and elevated compared to traditional athletic shorts,” says Gisondi-Little.
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In April 2023, I decided to grab a few pairs of Patagonia’s Baggies and test them out. After wearing these hybrid swim trunks to hike, swim, lounge, kayak, run errands, poolside/beachside hangouts, or just go about my everyday life, I now practically live in Patagonia’s Baggies shorts.
- Versatile for hiking, swimming, and any outdoor activity
- Fabric is lightweight, breathable, smooth, and rugged
- Quick-drying thoroughly in just 10-15 minutes
- Mesh lining means you can go commando in them
- Spacious pockets with mesh lining for drainage and ventilation
- Relaxed, motion-friendly fit for even big thighs
- Not for dressing up
- No UPF rating for UV protection
- Little to no natural or added stretch
|100% recycled nylon with durable water repellent finish
|Mesh liner made of 100% recycled polyester
|5″ or 7″
|Relaxed, not tight, and roomy at the seat and thigh areas
|2 deep side pockets—one with key loop—and 1 rear snap pocket
|Elasticized waistband with internal drawstring
|0.45lb for 5″, 0.5lb for 7″
The Fit Is Relaxing and Flattering
To thoroughly test out Patagonia’s Baggies, I wore them as often as possible—once for a whole week straight—and the fit of these shorts never ceased to amaze me. They are cut to be roomy around the thigh and seat areas so even guys with big quads will not feel a thing, and the silhouette flares out towards the hemline to give your thighs more wiggle room (when I’m just walking, the cuffs actually don’t touch my skin at all). Yet, despite the name, the Baggies is actually not baggy; the fit just looks and feels very casual.
I also love how these shorts have a longer rise so even when wearing the 5″-inseam option, they still provide me with enough coverage by hitting somewhere around my mid-thigh, and the 7″-inseam option hits just above my knees. The elastic waistband with an inner drawcord lets me easily cinch the waist to get a customized fit. Bonus: after putting Patagonia Baggies through wash-and-dry over five times, the waistband has not shrunk at all!
The Fabric Dries in a Heartbeat and Feels Rugged
Having heard a thing or two about how Patagonia’s Baggies is second-to-none at quick-drying, I tested it out firsthand by wearing them to swim at my apartment’s pool. Between each dip, I rested about 10 to 15 minutes on land under the sun, and the shorts were able to completely dry themselves and get ready for the water during that interval. After my last dip, I simply rested for about 10 minutes before wearing Baggies back to my bedroom and lounge—no changing needed, like nothing wet has ever happened to these shorts.
In addition, the fabric of Baggies feels nothing like the nylon activewear you’re familiar with. It’s extra soft yet rugged and has a twill-like smoothness that’s sturdy and cool to the touch. I love how lightweight it feels as well, which makes it perfect for both in-water and on-land activities. However, the fabric has little to no stretch, though the fit is more than roomy enough to not restrict your movement.
The Mesh Liner Is Commando-Friendly
A standout feature of Patagonia’s Baggies is its mesh liner that allows you to wear the shorts without underwear—but only if you want to. In my experience of wearing Baggies to hike, walk, swim, or lounge, I found that the mesh lining actually fits more like boxers than boxer briefs, meaning it doesn’t have the performance-level support needed down there for any athletic activity. On the other hand, the loose fit of the mesh liner also allows me to wear underwear with the Baggies and feel just as comfortable. In fact, for swimming and lounging, I go commando in these shorts by default, and the lining feels smooth, soft, and chafeless against my skin. For hiking and running errands outdoors, I usually put on a pair of briefs or trunks beneath the Baggies, and I basically do not feel the mesh liner at all because it is so relaxed and breathable as if I’m just wearing a pair of unlined shorts.
The Pockets Are Extra Functional
Sometimes, seeing is believing. I’ve heard about how big the pockets of Patagonia Baggies are, but seeing and feeling them in person was something else. The pockets are extra deep, sturdy, and spacious enough to handle large smartphones or even a regular-sized water bottle in each pocket, as well as some more bits and bobs like wallets and keys. But be mindful of carrying too much: once filled to the brim, the pockets kept slapping my thighs when I walked and pulling the fit down unless I really tightened the waistband around my hip.
I’m also happy to inform you that the pockets have their own mesh lining as well. That spells out good things because it’ll provide both drainage in water and ventilation on land. While wearing the Baggies to swim, I’ve never once felt dragged or weighed down because the pocket’s mesh lining lets water pass through easily once out of the water which also helps with the overall quick drying. On land, I’ve found that the mesh pockets actually turned up the breathability by letting more air in to keep the sides of my thighs dry.
The Versatility Is Perfect for Active Guys
Having somewhat lived in Patagonia’s Baggies for a few months, I think that every active guy should own at least one pair. As mentioned before, Baggies has no natural stretch, but the incredible fit alone takes care of all the heavy work. For instance, whether it’s hiking at the Palisades Interstate Park or doing StairMaster in them, I noticed my hip and thigh movements were smooth and never restrained by these shorts. While wearing Baggies on a plane, its breathability, smoothness, and relaxing fit kept me at ease on the uncomfortable flight seat for hours. When I wore them to weightlift at the gym, my thighs remained dry and felt cool thanks to again the fit and breathability. Not to mention several other occasions I’ve attended in Patagonia’s Baggies, like wearing it as board shorts to walk the beachside or as everyday shorts to walk my friend’s dog in the park.
That is not to say Patagonia’s Baggies is not without flaws: I definitely wouldn’t wear it as part of my work outfit to the office, and during leg days, it’s a pass for me. However, for just a mere $65, it could do most, if not all, for me. I’ve never before owned a pair of hiking shorts so versatile for adventures yet can seamlessly transition to cater to my casual, everyday life, especially considering that some gym shorts, swim trunks, or hiking shorts can only do what they do respectively but will cost much more than $65. So rest assured that no matter what awaits you in the day, once you put the Patagonia Baggies on in the morning, you’ll be ready for it all.
Style and Commerce Editor
Maverick Li is the Style & Commerce Editor of Men’s Health, where he covers clothing, footwear, watches, and grooming. He was previously the Assistant Commerce Editor at Esquire.