Patagonia first introduced its Baggies in 1982 as a technical beach short. Considering all the innovations the brand has produced over the decades, Baggies were a modest technical feat. But the simplicity and utilitarian approach are precisely what contributed to its success. From an interview with Gear Junkie Patagonia rep Corey Simpson noted, “Yvon Chouinard wanted a pair of shorts that had mesh drain pockets that fit two tennis balls. They had to be quick drying and durable enough to climb or be on the river. They needed a simple silhouette.”
The Baggies feature a durable Supplex nylon fabric which, as of 2018, comes from 100 percent recycled nylon. They dry quickly thanks to the DWR coating and mesh lining and pocket bags which easily drain water. The pockets themselves are designed to reduce drag in the water, but also feature handy details like an internal key loop and flapped pocket. What’s more, they cost just $55.
Nearly 40 years on and the Baggies are as popular as ever. Fans have praised them for their simplicity and durability, wearing them in a variety of activities, from grueling hikes to surfing to simply hangin’ out.
Today, there are plenty of alternatives that follow in the footsteps of Patagonia’s beloved Baggies. They come in a variety of colors, in twisted details, clear homages and a variety of price points. If you’re looking to pick up some alternatives for your summer activities, whether that’s tackling the next mountaintop or tackling an afternoon with the homies, these are certainly worth checking out.
Uniqlo Stretch Easy Shorts
A fast-drying fabric made of a cotton-poly blend, Uniqlo’s Stretch Easy Shorts have a leg up on elasticity, making them a super comfy alternative. They come in a range of solid colors and feature an adjustable elasticated drawstring waist just like Patagonia’s, but include a patched rear pocket.
L.L. Bean Classic Supplex Sport Shorts 6″
L.L. Bean’s alternative uses the same Supplex nylon that made Patagonia’s Baggies famous, featuring quick-drying and water-repellant properties. They come with a mesh liner, elastic waist and are UPF50+ rated (just make sure to sunscreen your legs not covered by the six inches of shorts). They also come in several lengths and design alternatives, for even more options.
The North Face Class V 7″ Pull-On Trunks
From one iconic outdoors brand to another, The North Face’s option is made from lightweight nylon and has an elasticated drawstring waist, scalloped seams and a zippered rear pocket.
Everlane The Air Chino Drawstring Short
Leaning into the chino aesthetic, Everlane created a hybrid on the active beach short. These are cut with a feathery light 4.2 ounce cotton poplin with a touch of stretch and the minimalist eye for which Everlane is known.
Outerknown Nomadic Valley
These eco-conscious shorts are made with 100 percent recycled polyester that, like many options on this list, is quick drying. Unlike the storied original Baggies, these forgo the mesh lining which begets even more comfort.
Gramicci Nylon Packable G-Short
Gramicci’s shorts are a little more suited to scaling rock faces, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into a pair just for a summer fit. Made with Japanese nylon, they come with an integrated webbed belt, on-seam pockets, zippered rear pocket and are packable.
Noah Utility Shorts
Noah adds an extra cargo pocket to the thigh of its lounge-ready shorts. They’re crafted in Canada with a durable cotton twill and include on-seam hand pockets and trendy ’80s-style logo.
Outlier F.Cloth Bigs
Known for its technical prowess, Outlier’s F.Cloth Bigs shorts are an upgraded alternative worth considering. The fabric is woven in Sweden using a super lightweight canvas that’s made with 97 percent Cordura-grade nylon and 3 percent elastane with water-repelling coating and two-way stretch.
Battenwear Active Lazy Shorts
One of the breeziest of the bunch in this list, Battenwear’s Active Lazy Shorts are comprised of a 55/45 linen/cotton fabric. They’re comfortably roomy and come with two hand pockets and two rear patch pockets as well as an easily-adjustable drawstring waist.
Goldwin Cordura Shorts
A straightforward and minimally-designed option, Goldiwn’s Cordura Shorts are extremely lightweight and even more durable. They come with a smart, gusseted inseam for a better fit and plenty of storage space that’s also discreet.
And Wander Belted Reflective Shorts
And Wander’s high-end option is built in Japan with a lightweight and waterproof shell. It includes reflective panels, an integrated jacquard belt, hidden zippered hand pockets and taped seam cargo pockets.