Patagonia’s entry into the mountain bike apparel business has been long awaited by fans of the California company’s well-crafted approach to outdoor gear, including the staff of CMC and our sister magazine, KMC. We got our dirty editor hands on the Dirt Craft shorts and jacket last fall and have been putting them through the paces of a muddy Cumberland, B.C winter and spring.
First off, the shorts. The Patagonia Dirt Craft shorts look conservative, as expected. They come in either black or rattan, have very little visible bells and whistles to much up the clean design, and sport only two modest logos which double as reflectors in low light. Clean and simple. The rattan colour stained easily in the thick loamy mud of Vancouver Island so we’d opt for black if you’re riding anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe rattan suits the California landscape the shorts were made in better? Either way, let’s move on.
The fit is incredible. While the 11.5” inseam may be a bit short for DH/freeride missions including knee pads, for everything else it feels comfortable, and manages to keep you looking normal at the post-ride coffee shop or pub session. No one enjoys looking like a dorky cyclist in public. These shorts get that. They are a little pricey at $149 USD / $179 CDN, but Patagonia backs up their gear with the best guarantee in the business so consider that in your purchase.
The details: Patagonia kept the details subtle but effective. A daisy chain built-in belt customizes the shorts to your size easily and on the fly. Belt loops allow for your own belt to be used as well. The pockets felt fine for me. The zip side pocket is deep. I don’t keep anything in my pockets while I ride (that’s what packs and jackets are for) so I’m not sure how well I’d say they work. The liner is held to the stretchy outer with easy-to-use snap loops so they can be removed or connected easily. The liner has open mesh panels to keep your junk cool when you’re really givin’er, eh.
Summary on the shorts? We love ‘em. Other than the rattan colour staining, there is nothing negative to focus on if you’re in the market for an XC/all mountain/endure short. This is a versatile, good-looking, simple short with just enough attention to the details so you don’t notice them, which is the whole point of functional gear.
Onto the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket; another win. This simple jacket is far from being the tech beast that something like the, say, 7Mesh Revelation Jacket is, but its simplicity is probably more in line with the average rider’s needs. For short 1-3 hour rides, quick shelter, or commuting, the Dirt Craft would be a good option. Stretchy DWR fabric keeps you relatively dry. Multiple zipped pockets hold your stuff. The fit is comfortable on and off the bike. The drop hem in the back is short, so it won’t cover your ass as well as other jackets, but it also allows for a more versatile piece to wear in public. In short, this is not the hardcore Cascadia, wet-weather piece, but it is an all-around solid jacket that could be used for trail running, hiking or running to the store. At only $149 CDN or $129 USD—and combined with Patagonia’s more or less lifetime Iron Clad guarantee—those looking for a quality, long-term jacket that doesn’t look too tech-weenie will be happy.
Overall, Patagonia’s entry to the MTB market has been a solid showing. We look forward to seeing what else they come up with next, especially if they inject some of that famous technicality of their climbing and skiing products.