2017-09-20

Gear Review: Patagonia stand-up shorts

In my pursuit of non-synthetic clothing, it's been surprisingly hard to find really good robust clothes that fit my needs. For years I've bought various types of synthetic shorts, because they last so long, but I finally found shorts that last a long time without being synthetic.

I'm currently wearing my second pair, which are my town shorts. My first pair are starting to look a little long in the tooth but are still what I wear in warm weather the rest of the time. The core of the fabric is still solid, but the pockets and cuffs are ragged and unraveling.

If you read this blog, you know that I expect a lot from my clothes. I beat them up hard, and own very few pieces.


The good:
  • The advertising is not wrong. These are some of the best wearing shorts I've ever owned, including synthetic. I've been wearing a pair of these as my only shorts (besides while in town) for around a year, and I'd already owned them for some time as a secondary pair. As mentioned above, they look worn, but they are not spent yet.
  • Fit is plenty loose enough for hiking, rock-climbing and other physical outdoor pursuits.
  • While chafing is of course worse than it is in something not made of cotton, it's a lot better than I expected it to be. I've done 18 mile days in these, and it worked well.
  • For those of us with short legs (I wear a ~31x26"), it's nice to have a short that doesn't go over the knee. This length also means less fabric to get soaked in the rain, and have to dry. They are a not short-shorts by any means and look pretty classy when I wear my unstained pair in town.
  • Being 100% cotton they are biodegradable, so when I do wear them out they get to turn back in to plants again someday, rather than ending up as tiny specs of plastic polluting my drinking water.
  • The pockets are deep and well-made. The front pockets have no holes even after all this wear, the rear pockets hold my wallet well and I never worry it will fall out (even after the velcro ripped out of my first pair).
The bad:
  • They are still cotton. This means if you are in an extremely humid climate, doing 20 mile days on a through-hike, you better have tough thighs or you'll probably chafe. Similarly they don't dry very fast.
  • The length can be annoying. For example, they are not ideal for climbing, the legs are short enough that it takes a bit to get the harness up over the legs. For canoing they expose too much of my leg to sunburn.
  • If you want ALL non-sythetic, they do have a little velcro in them. Not a big deal though.
As mentioned, I like them enough that I bought another identical pair. I hope they keep making them so I can keep buying them. 

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