Patagonia has been making top quality outdoor gear for decades and just recently the company entered into the mountain bike market with a line of shorts, jackets, and jerseys designed for the trail. I’ve been testing the Dirt Craft shorts for a few months now, and I’ve found them to be solidly reliable, comfortable, and most importantly, functional, for mountain biking.
The Dirt Craft mountain bike shorts are offered in tan or black for $149, which includes a removable, padded liner (chamois). The outer shorts are DWR (durable water repellent) coated and are constructed mostly of nylon, with a little bit of spandex for stretchability. As a certified B-corp, Patagonia likes to point out that the fabric used in the Dirt Craft shorts is bluesign approved, which means it’s sustainably-sourced and produced.
Starting from the inside out, the included liner is very soft and comfortable, particularly the waistband, which has an almost cotton-like feel to it. Unlike other liners I’ve tested, this one doesn’t dig into your waist, yet somehow it manages to stay in place all day. The chamois itself is fairly unremarkable, though kudos to Patagonia for finding the right balance between too thick and too thin.
The outer shorts are more form-fitting than others I own and actually, I’m pretty stoked about that. Tight shorts are for roadies but the billowy, baggy, and long shorts some mountain bikers prefer aren’t all that functional on the trail, since they tend to get snagged on the bike and flap in the wind on fast descents. Once again, Patagonia seems to have struck a nice balance with a functional short that sports a flattering fit.
With three pockets, the Dirt Craft shorts offer enough storage for odds and ends out on the trail. The top front pockets don’t have any type of closure, so I basically just use them for my hands. 🙂 However, the zippered pocket is a good place to stash a phone for easy access without worrying you’ll lose it out on the trail.
The Dirt Craft shorts also offer excellent breathability, though not through any sort of obvious venting. I think part of this has to do with the length (they ride just above the knees) and the thickness of the fabric. Whatever it is, it just works, and has kept my upper thighs comfy and sweat-free, even on fairly-warm spring rides.
The waist closure on the Dirt Craft shorts is well thought out, with a solid button and an integrated, adjustable belt on the outside of the shorts. Some shorts I’ve owned try to hide the adjusting straps inside the shorts, but this usually ends up being uncomfortable due to the buttons and clips digging into my waist. Patagonia keeps the waist strap simple and accessible so you can make adjustments during the ride without losing your dignity.
If it sounds like I like these shorts, it’s because I do. They’re well designed and constructed for sure, though my one complaint is the tan color of the shorts I tested. The color just looks dirty to me, though I suppose I’ll appreciate this the next time I wash these shorts after a really muddy ride.
Patagonia has taken a stab at creating a high quality pair of mountain bike shorts and I hesitate to say this, but I think they pretty much nailed it right out of the gate. I suspect I’ll be wearing these shorts for years to come.
Thanks to Patagonia for providing the Dirt Craft shorts for review.