Patagonia is a brand known for making products that last. Most brands would prefer you buy new stuff every year, but that’s not how Patagonia does things. Case in point: my oldest piece of apparel is a Capilene long sleeve top that I’ve owned for almost 20 years now. It feels unheard of to have any clothing still in rotation after that much time, but that basic black base layer is still in use. I don’t have that much gear with that kind of staying power; most tend to get retired to the storage bin or passed on after a few years. Needless to say, when a package with the Capilene Cool Trail tee, Cool Trail Bike Henley, and Dirt Craft Bike Shorts arrived, I was stoked, because they’re classic multisport pieces that have the capacity to last.
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Trail Shirt
- Fair trade certified sewn from Bluesign approved fabrics
- 4.4-oz 100% recycled polyester spun jersey
- Tagless design for zero chafing
- Locker loop for hang drying
- Comfortable, jersey-knit crewneck wicks moisture
- MSRP: $39
Like my classic Capilene long sleeve base layer, the Capilene tech tee is comfortable whether I’m in the mountains on my bike, going for a run, or hanging out post-ride in my camp chair. It’s a versatile top with a nice fit, suitable for a range of activities.
I’ve been on a merino wool kick the last few seasons, and I had the option of trying the merino version of this top. However, I’ve been finding several merino pieces that have developed holes after a few seasons. I still have them, with the idea that I’ll have them repaired at some point. That said, I do find the less expensive Capilene fabrics more comfortable than my merino pieces. I am careful to launder them more often than my wool pieces to make sure they don’t develop an unfavorable smell.
In terms of the fit, the Capilene Cool trail shirt has a “regular” fit. I’m 5’10”, wear a size 38 jacket, and weigh about 163lbs, and went with the small and find the fit spot on.
The Cool Trail shirt is a nice-looking and useful top that can be layered or worn on its own. At $39, they’re inexpensive enough to pick up a second in an additional color.
Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts
- Outer short fabric: nylon/spandex weave w/DWR finish
- Fair Trade Certified sewn
- Includes padded liner short
- Two front pockets, phone sized zipper pocket on left hip
- Hook and webbing waist adjustment
- 11.5″ inseam
- Made in Vietnam
- MSRP: $159
On the trail
Patagonia nails the fit and fabric with the Dirt Craft shorts. There’s just enough stretch, the length is just right to pair with knee pads, and the curve of the hem keeps it out of the way while pedaling. The light fabric is a great weight for warm weather and dries quickly. And while they’re optimized for cycling, they’re great off the bike as well, and I’ve even worn them paddling on the SUP.
They also include a liner with a comfortable and nicely constructed chamois.
My biggest regret with the shorts was not looking closely enough at the size chart. I went with a 30″ and a 31″ would have been ideal, though, at the time, it wasn’t an option. They seem to run slightly smaller though, so a 32″ would be have been a better option. I still manage to squeeze in though, and aside from my sizing snafu, I like the fit and silhouette of the Dirt Craft shorts. It’s a bummer I went too small, as the hook and webbing waistband adjustment is nicely implemented and one of the better waist adjusters I’ve seen on a pair of shorts. (On the upside, my nephew is going to be inheriting a sweet pair of almost new shorts this holiday season.)
The price tag may be a sticking point to a lot of riders as they are a bit more expensive than a lot of options. The high-quality chamois that is included adds to the value of the short as does the g-hook hardware and webbing; typically we see velcro/hook and loop adjusters on mountain bike shorts. That said, velcro wears out over time; the g-hook and loops should provide significant longevity.
In terms of how close these shorts are to my personal ideal, I do wish the pocket bags were slightly deeper. I also wish the zipper pocket on the hip was on the right (or on both sides) – apparently, the designer of the shorts was a lefty. I have been running my phone in the right-hand pocket and it’s not ideal it is a tight fit. (admittedly, phones are pretty big these days) Part of this is on me though and had I bought these shorts, (note: these items were furnished by Patagonia for the sake of this review) I would have immediately exchanged them for the next size up.
Overall, I’m a fan of both pieces. (as well as the henley, which I’ll touch on in a future post) They’re comfortable, look good and fit well, and baring an explosive encounter with the tarmac, I expect to have them in a regular rotation on and off the bike for years to come.
Check out the Patagonia MTB collection at Patagonia.com.