The 6 Best Patagonia Baggies Alternatives for Men and Women

Technology + Gear
by Suzie Dundas Jun 11, 2024

Even if you’ve never worn Patagonia Baggies shorts, you’ve almost certainly seen people wearing them. Realistically, you’ve probably seen a lot of people wearing them.

That’s because Baggies were one of the first shorts from the now-global outdoorsy brand, introduced in 1982. The brand touts them as ideal for “pretty much anything,” and they come in dozens of colors and patterns for men, women, and kids.

Women’s Baggies have a five-inch inseam, and also come in a “Barely Baggies” style (2.5-inch inseam) and a “long” style (with a seven-inch inseam). People buying men’s styles can choose from the standard baggie in a five-inch inseam, a “long” style with a seven-inch inseam, a more minimal version (without pockets) with a 6.5-inch inseam. There’s also a hemp version, also with a 6.5-inch inseam. Depending on the pair, they’re $59 to $75, and most styles are made with quick-drying fabrics and recycled materials. They have a loose fit and an elastic waistband, and front hand pockets.


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Sounds pretty good, right? And they are — for many people. But if you’ve tried them and can’t find the right fit, or don’t like the fabric, or just don’t quite like how they look during summer adventures, there’s no need to worry. Patagonia Baggies alternatives are readily available from other outdoor companies, which likely designed similar shorts in response to the ongoing popularity of Baggies.

We tested six of the best Patagonia Baggies alternatives from our editors’ favorite outdoor brands — and these are the standout winners.

We hope you love the gear we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to make a purchase. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Stio Second Light Short: best ultra-light alternative

Photo: Suzie Dundas
  • Available sizes: Men’s: S-XXL; Women’s: XS-XL
  • Tester info: Tester is 5’7″ and normally wears a S
  • Size tested: M
  • Price: $69

The Stio Second Light Short was my favorite Patagonia Baggies alternative I tested, finding the sweet spot blend between comfort and outdoorsy style. To me, they look like a pair of generic, modern-cut shorts that can match any and all outdoor occasions. The downside is that they’re probably the least-similar to Patagonia Baggies, with an inside liner, no side pockets, and a limited palette of only a few color options.

However, they have plenty of perks, too. They’re very, very lightweight, and while it hasn’t gotten above 75 degrees Fahrenheit where I’m testing (in Squamish, British Columbia), I have a feeling they’ll be my go-to hiking short on hot days through the summer. The fabric is recycled nylon, which feels like a very thin, swishy fabric, like a lightweight windbreaker. When I got caught in a rainy downpour, the thin fabric felt like it was sticking to my legs here and there. But it also dried quicker than expected — certainly far quicker than a swimsuit or thicker fabrics — so I wouldn’t think twice about getting these wet on kayak trips or beach days.

Patagonia Baggies alternatives - stio second light

Ignore the bad lighting, focus on the shorts. Stio Second Light short in medium on the left, small on the right. Photo: Suzie Dundas

The other iffy thing about these shorts was the sizing. I tried both a small and a medium and felt like they both fit fine. I went with the mediums as they had a slightly baggier look, to make them fit more like a true Patagonia Baggie alternative. But I felt like I was in between sizes, which may mean they run a touch small.

Pros: Very comfortable, super lightweight, dries quickly, modern style

Cons: No pockets, potentially not as durable as thicker fabrics

Tim, Matador‘s transitional content editor, recently tested a few additional pairs of Stio shorts for men and ended up really liking the two pairs he tested.

Buy Now: Women’s Second Light Short
Buy Now: Men’s Second Light Short

Free Fly Apparel Bamboo-Lined Breeze Short: best for movement

patagonia baggies alternatives - guy in free fly shorts

Photo: Tim Wenger

  • Available sizes: Men’s S-3XL, Women’s XS-XL
  • Tester info:  Tester is 5’7″ and normally wears a size 30 or size S
  • Size tested: S
  • Price: $68

What I like most about the Free Fly Men’s Bamboo-Lined Breeze Active Short is that it avoids what I dislike about most activewear shorts – an external-facing drawstring. It eliminates the need for frequent re-tying, and spares you from the lame-looking aesthetic of swaying drawstrings or (worse yet), a visible bowtie in the front of your shorts.

I also appreciate how they fit looser at the bottom and have a built-in underwear liner. The liner isn’t mesh, so it’s actually comfortable, and comes with the added bonus of making these shorts yoga-appropriate. I won’t be taking them on the river this summer, but for land-based recreation, they’ll get all sorts of use.

The Men’s Breeze Active Short also looks good for just about any fitness-based activity. I opted for the 5.5-inch inseam because I do a lot of stretching and ab-focused exercise that requires positioning my legs at various angles, and this mid-length hits the sweet spot between enough thigh coverage and room to move. I keep them in my gym bag, but have pulled them out for yard work or casual bike rides with my daughter.

On that note, my first thought when I pulled these shorts out of the package they arrived in was, “These are perfect dad shorts.” This was confirmed when I walked into the living room and my wife declared, “Those are some nice new dad shorts you got there.” 

It’s true – the Men’s Breeze Active Short are dad shorts. But they’re stylish, cool dad shorts – the shorts dads wear while traversing a trail or an airport terminal with their kiddos. They’re fit, functional, and versatile – exactly the type of dad I want to be.

Pros: Straightforward cut, comfortable liner, no outward-facing drawstring

Cons: Built-in brief dries slower than mesh, some reviewers report difficulty with sizing (view Free Fly Apparel’s exchange policy here)

– Tim Wenger, Transactional Content Editor

Looking for women’s Free Fly feedback? This same editor recently reviewed the Free Fly Apparel brand after wearing its gear for a few years. Here’s a deeper dive into the brand and why it’s her go-to for travel and outdoor adventures.

Buy Now: Free Fly Men’s Bamboo-lined Breeze Active Short
Buy Now: Free Fly Women’s Bamboo-lined Breeze Short

Cotopaxi Brinco Patterned Short: best for style points

Patagonia baggies shorts alternative - cotopaxi

Photo: Suzie Dundas

  • Available sizes: Women’s XS-XL, Men’s S-XXL
  • Tester info: Tester is 5’7″ and normally wears a S
  • Size tested: S
  • Price: $70

Style-wise, I think it’s clear the Cotopaxi Brinco Short wins for flashiest and most fun Patagonia Baggies alternatives. (Based on the pattern, not based on my collective fashion choices above). Patagonia Baggies are known for coming in lots of cool patterns, but I think the Brinco’s “Tempest/Hot Punch” combo, inspired by a topographic map, is pretty darn rad. It’s one of four equally cool color options, as well as four bright solid-color options. They’re similar to other pull-on athletic shorts, including the Baggies, with two front pockets and a back pocket with a button closure. The materials are similar, too, with both the Brinco Short and Patagonia Baggies made from recycled nylon.

I have only one beef with the Brinco Short, and it’s not something that will bother everyone: there’s a vertical seam on the inside of each thigh, and I rubbed my skin sometimes when hiking. It wasn’t bad, and I say this as an afterthought because I don’t think everyone will experience it. On most of the online models, the waistband comes up a bit higher than it does on me. But my slightly odd proportions means they’re semi low-rise on me (about three inches below my belly button). So the shorts sit a bit lower on me than they’re designed to.

If you have relatively normal-ish proportions, I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I still very much like these shorts and will wear them quite a bit. I’m just not sure I’d wear them for extra-long hikes or other adventures where the rubbing, albeit minimal, could become a larger problem.

Otherwise, the elastic waist, pockets big enough for a phone, and quick-dry material make them a worthy Patagonia Baggies alternative for all the same types of adventures. In my testing, light rain and splashing beaded off the Brinco Short. And when fully submerged (tested in my bathtub), they dried so quickly that you could almost see the water evaporating off.

Pros: Comfortable, cool pattern, excellent quick-dry performance, straightforward sizing, UPF 50

Cons: More expensive than Patagonia Baggies, non-inclusive sizing, inside seams could be annoying

Other Matador editor have tested Cotopaxi gear and really liked other pieces, too. Check out our recent reviews of the Fuego Down Jacket and the Teca Fleece Jacket.

Buy Now: Women’s Brinco Short
Buy Now: Men’s Brinco Short

REI Co-op Trailmade Amphib Short: best budget-friendly pick

Patagonia baggies alternatives - REI short

Photo: Heather Leyva

  • Available sizes: Men’s: S-3XL; Women’s: XS-3X
  • Tester info: Tester is 5’1″ and normally wears a size XS
  • Size tested: XS
  • Price: $14+

At just over five feet tall, I’m fairly petite, which can make buying shorts a little tough. So it’s always nice to find a pair of shorts that not just fit well, but also look a bit stylish. Some of the reviews noted that the lack of stretch can make these hard to slip on, which made me question whether to go up a size, but I found they fit true to size for me as someone with a straight and narrow hip build.

I didn’t try a petite size as I often do, but the inseam and level of coverage felt proportional to the XS size, and I didn’t feel like I was swimming in fabric or wearing a style meant for a taller body. The waist lands right above my belly button and the length strikes that comfortable balance between being a short-short and coming so close to the knees that it makes my legs look stumpy.

There are a number of finishes that make this a perfect everyday short, both on the road and at home. Whereas Patagonia Baggies rely only on an elastic waistband, REI’s Trailmade Amphib Shorts add a built-in belt. I found it to be better for wearing with backpacks or anything else that may make your shorts ride up or down on your hips. They’re a slightly more outdoorsy Patagonia Baggies alternative, with a durable water repellent finish, 50+ UPF protection, and a more durable-feeling fabric weave.

I tested in both the dry heat of Colorado and the humid environment of Jamaica, and the shorts dried fast even when nearly soaked, so sweat and moisture never reached super uncomfortable levels, even without a liner. The front hand pockets are joined by a zippered back pocket with a drainage hole, creating enough room for the small things I reach for too often to put in a pack, like my phone or sunglasses. The zipper on the back pocket adds security, useful for everything from walking around new places on vacation to keeping my cash secure when walking to an out-of-the-way riverside fishing spot.

For anyone taking these into more adventurous territory, the material’s durability promises longevity. It’s made with 89 percent ripstop nylon and 11 percent polyester. Snags may not drop off the shorts as easy as water does, but one small tear won’t lead to needing a new pair of shorts midway through a hike or fishing trip.

Pros: Petite fit for smaller sizes, water repellent and quick drying, lots of pockets

Cons: Not a lot of stretch, curvy bodies may need to size up

– Heather V., Denver, CO

Buy Now: Women’s ($34+)
Buy Now: Men’s ($14+)

Stio Drifter Short: the most like actual Patagonia Baggies

patagonia baggies alternative - drifter short stio

Photo: Suzie Dundas

  • Available sizes: Men’s: S-XXL; Women’s: XS-XL
  • Tester info: Tester is 5’7″ and normally wears a S
  • Size tested: S
  • Price: $59

Two from the same brand? You bet, since Stio makes two strong contenders for Patagonia Baggies alternatives. If the Second Light Short looks a little too much like gym-wear or not durable enough, you may be happier with the Drifter Short. The Drifter Short is very similar to Patagonia Baggies, with a slightly thicker fabric, a quick-drying finish, and two hand pockets (one with a smaller zipper pocket). There are no pockets on the back, making these a good pick for buyers who get annoyed by sitting on their Chapsticks or sunglasses during a hiking snack break. Were it not for the small Stio logo on the bottom right, you’d think these actually were Patagonia Baggies.

 stio women short pockets

The Drifter Short has a small zipper pocket easily accessible in the front. Photo: Suzie Dundas

Style-wise, these shorts are certainly not formal — that’s not really the point of athletic shorts, after all — but it’s fair to say they may be the most versatile for wear outside of outdoor scenarios. With fresh color options, a curved hem that creates a clean, horizontal line across your thigh, and a regular fit that skims your hips without being tight, they don’t look quite as much like backpacking clothing as a few other Patagonia Baggies alternatives we tested. Like the men’s Breeze Short above, the drawstring is internal, so you can tuck your shirt in and show a clean waistband.

I ended up ordering this pair in a small and a medium and kept the small, though both felt like they could have worked. If you prefer a looser fit, consider sizing up. But most reviewers thought they fit fairly true to size.

Pros: Relaxed fit, secure zipper pocket, slightly more tailored style

Cons: No back pockets (good and bad), limited sizing (XL is the largest)

Buy Now: Men’s
Buy Now: Women’s

Actual Patagonia Baggies: a tried-and-true staple

Photo: Tim Wenger
Photo: Tim Wenger
  • Available sizes: Men’s: XS-XXL; Women’s: XS-3X
  • Tester info: Tester is 5’7″ and normally wears a size 30 or S
  • Size tested: S
  • Price: From $65+ (often on sale)

Two years ago, after a decade of staring from the outside in, I finally broke down and got a pair of Patagonia Baggies with a five-inch inseam. It look less than a week to realize that my long-time avoidance of the Baggies due to them being “too popular,” was self-detrimental — they are great. Baggies are perfect active shorts for activities like hiking and bike commuting because they’re flexible while retaining a tough and durable recycled nylon outer shell. That gives them basic water resistance, which is a must-have —  getting caught in the rain on a bike commute is the worst if you’re clothes immediately soak through).

However, it’s that same nylon that made me give the Free Fly Bamboo-Lined Breeze Active Short’s the advantage. Baggies are less flexible, so they move less with your body during activities like yoga. I’m also not a huge fan of the mesh liner in Baggies as it feels like I need to wear boxers too, which gets to be too many layers on hot days. That said, Baggies are better styled for full-day use: I can wear them on a trail and then out for a beer without worrying about swapping shorts in the car.

Patagonia Baggies also last a long time. After two years of consistent use, I still feel great about wearing my teal-blue Baggies regularly. They’ve met with dirt, mud, grass, and various types of ergonomic office chairs, and come away the better for it. The shorts are broken in and ready for summer number three. Bring on the adventures.

Buy Now: Women’s ($59)
Buy Now: Men’s ($65)

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