Patagonia is no-doubt filled with mountain bikers on staff. So, it stands to reason that they would introduce a fine pair of MTB shorts. That fine pair of shorts is the new Dirt Craft shorts and they are available now.

Patagonia Dirt Craft Shorts Features:

  • Stretchy, nylon/spandex outer fabric with DWR treatment
  • Polyester/spandex liner features seamless 3-layer chamois
  • Daisy chain waist adjustments
  • Two hand pockets and a single zippered leg pocket
  • 11.5″ inseam
  • Gusseted crotch for extra comfort
  • Articulated knees
  • MSRP: $150
Dirt testing on Barrel Roll in Santa Clara, UT.

Dirt testing on Barrel Roll in Santa Clara, UT.

Full-featured MTB Shorts

These days, mountain bike shorts come in all flavors and sizes. Some even come without a chamois liner, which makes me wonder if they are even bike shorts at all. That’s not the case here as Patagonia has paired the Dirt Craft Shorts with a fine, multi-density liner (more on that later) and packaged it as a true MTB short — thank goodness.

The Dirt Craft sits squarely between XC and Trail on the fit spectrum. If you’re looking for an ultra-baggy pair of shorts, you might want to look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a proper-fitting and functioning pair of shorts for everyday adventure, you’re in luck.

As you’d expect, Patagonia has poured over every detail of these shorts (experience counts) and it shows. I have several pairs of MTB shorts that use Velcro at the waist to cinch things down. That’s all fine and dandy for a few rides, but eventually, the edges of the straps start to curl up and your jersey ends up getting held hostage and frayed by it. Instead of that, Patagonia has employed a simple hook and daisy chain to fine-tune the waistband. In practice it works awesome an stays put nicely. The only caveat is it does sometimes pop out of the selected loop in the wash, but re-tightening is easy enough.

A simple daisy chain system delivers reliable fit adjustments.

A simple daisy chain system delivers reliable fit adjustments.

On the front, the Dirt Craft Shorts feature two ample hand pockets and a single leg pocket on the left leg. That pocket has been positioned perfectly so as to not get in the way of pedaling. I can carry my phone there on a ride and it’s hardly noticeable. A coupe of energy gels will be quite at home there.

I’ll say that if you do need to cinch the waistband down more than 2-3 loops in, the front hand pockets to tend to flare out a little. Maybe a different angled opening would reduce that tendency?

Lets talk more about the liners. Again, I’m in the camp that if you are selling a “mountain bike short” then it better be a “mountain bike short.” For me, that means it includes a liner — none of this “pair it with your favorite shorts” garbage. I mean, if I’m going to wear my favorite bibshorts, then why would I want to wear another pair of shorts on top of it? The liners are comfortable, stay put and offer excellent padding in just the right areas. I’ve had zero chaffing issues and really do quite like these liners.

The included liner features an Italian-made chamois.

The included liner features an Italian-made chamois.

Durability has remained solid and these shorts never get in the way. The are invisible in every sense except actually being invisible — nobody wants that. I quite like them and give the nod to Patagonia for delivering a stellar short on their first foray.

The Good

  • Simple daisy chain for waistband adjustments
  • Side leg pocket allows unnoticeable phone/gel carrying
  • Great length and fit — not baggy, not tight
  • Comes with a great liner — as it should
  • Stylish and functional as casual shorts sans liner

The Bad

  • Pockets flare out when waistband is cinched
  • Expensive
  • Daisy chain always pops off during the wash (requiring me to remember where it was each time)

The Bottom Line: Patagonia Dirt Craft Shorts

Patagonia has done a lot right with the new Dirt Craft Shorts. The liner is fantastic — supportive and comfortable — and the shorts themselves are just the right fit — neither baggy or tight.

Buy Now: Available at

In Summary

8.6 Great New Shorts

Patagonia knows a thing or two about making excellent products and the all-new Dirt Craft MTB shorts are worthy of the Patagonia name. With an excellent fit and a solid liner, the Dirt Craft shorts are expensive, but ultra comfortable.

  • Comfort 9
  • Fit 9
  • Durability 9
  • Chamois 8
  • Value 8

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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