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Patagonia Women’s Dirt Craft Shorts and Jacket

Marti Bruce reviews the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket and shorts for Blister Gear Review.

Patagonia Dirt Craft Shorts

Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts

Size: Small

Stated Features

  • 9” inseam
  • 3-layer pad
  • DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Waist adjustment
  • Secure zipper back pocket

MSRP: $149

Reviewer: 5’ 4” 120 lbs.

Test Location: Whitefish, MT

Test Duration: 12 rides

Intro

Mountain biking is a growing sport, and Patagonia is jumping into the mtb-apparel fray.

I happen to be a fan of Patagonia’s base layers and jackets, so I was excited to see if their Dirt Craft Bike Shorts and Dirt Craft Jacket measured up, and to see if they offered something different than the competition.

Features and Construction

Two things initially struck me when I tried on these shorts: (1) The inner short is really comfortable, with possibly the best chamois I’ve used. (2) They’re not very long, which I’ll discuss below in the Fit section.

The inner short is made from a polyester/nylon blend, and has breathable panels of nylon/spandex, as well as an MTB specific 3-layer chamois. The chamois is form fitting, and is the least bulky pad I’ve used that still provides sufficient protection.

The inner short detaches from the outer short with a few small button clasps, so that you can mix and match if you want to use a different outer short.

Marti Bruce reviews the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket and shorts for Blister Gear Review.

Marti Bruce in the Patagonia Dirt Craft jacket and shorts, Whitefish, MT.

The outer short is constructed much like a lightweight hiking short. It’s a stretchy nylon/spandex plain weave (96% nylon, 4% stretch fabric) that’s breathable. The outer short works well for going incognito as a non-biker; it’s casual enough that you could easily use it for everyday wear.

The Dirt Craft shorts have a button closure and a zipper fly. It’s an actual button, so it doesn’t annoyingly come undone when you’re riding, which is an issue I’ve had with other shorts that have a metal snap button.

There’s also an elastic button system on the inside of the shorts for tightening or loosening the waist. The elastic works for tightening the shorts, but it comes set on the last button—meaning you won’t be able to loosen the shorts if you’re close to the bottom of their size range. The shorts have belt loops but don’t come with a belt. They also don’t have any vents, but this didn’t bother me. I found the shorts to be breathable enough, even on an 80-degree F ride.

Fit

The biggest thing I noticed about the Dirt Craft shorts was the length. I prefer more of a freeride fit (shorts that hit at or slightly below the knee). The Patagonia shorts are shorter than my preferred length, falling 1-2 inches above the knee (an area that I often hit on rocks, handlebars, or roots when I crash). In order to feel comfortable wearing these shorts on all-mountain rides I have to wear kneepads. I feel OK with the length for XC riding, though.

I’m bigger in the hips than I am at the waist and the chamois and shorts fit me well. I didn’t need to make any adjustments in the waist. (Patagonia clothes generally fit me well.)

Pockets

The shorts’ thigh pockets aren’t very big and don’t have zippers. I could fit an iPhone, but just barely. My phone didn’t fall out—going uphill or down—but I feel like if I crashed hard my phone might go for a tumble.

There’s a zipper pocket in the back. It’s quite small, though, and probably only good for carrying something small and flat, like cash or a folded-up trail map.

These aren’t the shorts for you if you like to ride with a lot of stuff in your pockets; some chapstick, money, and a trail map are about all that will fit comfortably.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a freeride short, something longer will likely suit you better. However, if you’re looking for a super comfy XC short—and you don’t need too much room in the pockets—these are the shorts for you. The plush chamois has become one of my go-to garments, but you might want to plan on using a different outer short for more downhill-oriented rides.

Marti Bruce reviews the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket and shorts for Blister Gear Review.

Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket

Patagonia Women’s Dirt Craft Jacket

Size: Small

Color: Bandana Blue

Stated Features

  • DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Bluesign® approved to minimize impacts on people and the environment
  • Secure zippered hand and chest pockets
  • Drop tail for back protection
  • Velcro tabs for cuff adjustment
  • 95% nylon (60% recycled) 5% spandex stretch

MSRP: $129

Reviewer: 5’ 4” 120 lbs.

Test Location: Whitefish, MT

Test Duration: 12 rides

Features and Construction

The Dirt Craft Jacket is made from 95% nylon + 5% stretch fabric, and I find the blend to be flexible, breathable, and comfortable. Unlike a typical rain jacket, the Dirt Craft Jacket doesn’t cling to your arms. I can wear just a jersey underneath and even though the jacket doesn’t have any vents, it stays light and breathable.

There’s a pull cord on the inside of the jacket to tighten the waist, but on me, the jacket fits well as is, so I don’t have to crank the waist down. The jacket’s cuffs have adjustable Velcro.

The Dirt Craft Jacket has a longer tail to keep your back covered when you’re bent over a bike, and I found that the back didn’t creep up or bunch up when I wore a hydration pack.

Pockets

The chest pocket is a good size for a cell phone or sunglasses. The hand pockets are a standard size, big enough to fit a cell phone, keys, tire irons, energy bar, and multi tool between the two pockets.

Fit

The jacket has longer arms compared to most size Small jackets — the arms extend to the middle of my fingers. The velcro cuffs fit snugly, unlike elastic cuffs which can sometimes ride up and leave a gap between the jacket and glove.

Some jackets have a weird “belly shirt” fit on me, and don’t fully cover my waist. I have a longer torso, and the Dirt Craft jacket covers my upper body without riding up, which is awesome.

Marti Bruce reviews the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket and shorts for Blister Gear Review.

Marti Bruce in the Patagonia Dirt Craft jacket and shorts, Whitefish, MT.

The Dirt Craft Jacket has an overall looser fit than some size Small coats. The jacket is loose enough to layer underneath, but it’s not baggy. It did flap in the wind when riding downhill fast, so if aerodynamics is your thing, you might opt for something more form fitting.

On the Trail

I wore the jacket in temperatures ranging from 40 – 65 degrees F. The jacket is a great layering garment, and I would consider using it (with additional insulating layers) to protect from the wind in temperatures as low as 25 F. The DWR finish is good for a bit of rain, but this wouldn’t be my first choice for a day of rainy riding.

Bottom Line

When I received this jacket I wasn’t overly excited; I have a lot of jackets, and all have their strengths—but also have their weaknesses. So I expected the same from the Dirt Craft.

But after my first day using this jacket, it’s become my favorite garment for biking because of its breathable, high-quality construction, and the fact that it covers my waist and wrists and doesn’t cling to my arms. It’s definitely a garment I would recommend to fellow riders, and it’s well worth the price.

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