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Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts active short

The Patagonia women's Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts pack a host of straightforward, well thought out features into a simple pair of shorts. The material and seams stretch together, offering an unrestricted range of motion, and the lightweight fabric wicks moisture, repels water, and dries rapidly. They were hands down my favorite shorts to ride in this past season.


  • Comfortable
  • Great stretch—including seams!
  • Adjustable waist
  • Zipper pocket
  • DWR coating


  • Had trouble standing up to thorn bushes—caused pilling

Testing Conditions: I tested the Patagonia women’s Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts as a member of the Trailspace Review Corps. I wore the shorts mountain biking in and around the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire from June through October 2018. I also brought them with me on an October road trip, mountain biking in Bentonville, Arkansas, and around Asheville, North Carolina. Temperatures during testing ranged from about 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 


                                                     Out for a spin

Fit and Comfort: I’m 5'4" with a fairly curvy lower body (35" hip, 27" waist). The Dirt Roamers comes in sizes ranging from 0-14. I usually wear a size 4, but as I find Patagonia to sometimes run small I ordered one size up and I’m glad I did. The size 6 fits perfectly. The 11 ¾" length inseam offers enough length to cover the bike short liners I own, but not so much as to feel baggy. 

The material is a 90-denier recycled polyester (87%) spandex (13%) blend. The shorts offer plenty of stretch, permitting me to jump in and out of my saddle without restricting range of motion. 

They come in gray (shown in this review) and purple. Usually I’m not a fan of purple, but this one I like (check it out on the Patagonia website). 


                                     Front view (above), rear and side views (below)




Water Resistance: The Dirt Roamer shorts incorporate a durable water repellant (DWR) finish. I tend not to bike on rainy days as traction is compromised and it can cause damage to bike trails. However, I did find the DWR finish helpful in repelling water when crossing puddles along the trail and spraying myself in the process.

Breathability and Moisture: The Dirt Roamer shorts are lightweight (weighing only 4.8 ounces according to Patagonia’s website) and breathable. When it comes to moisture wicking, the shorts perform well. I typically logged 10-20 miles of single-track riding per day and never experienced any chaffing or unexpected overheating.


                        21-mile day on the Back 40 in Bentonville, Arkansas, and no chafing! 

Just keep in mind that bike shorts and liners work together to wick moisture—one can’t do the job on its own. I often wore the Patagonia Endless Ride Liners (check out that review!) with the Dirt Roamer shorts and found this combination to offer great breathability and moisture wicking. I also wore them with my Specialized Mountain Liners and had no issues with fit or breathability. So, don't feel as though you need to get the Patagonia liners in order to get the most out of these shorts. 

The shorts incorporate snap loops at the hip to attach to the liners, for those who want to be extra certain things stay in place. I haven’t found this feature necessary as the shorts stay in place on their own, but it’s a common component of most bike shorts and is good to have if needed. 


                                                   Snap loops connect to liners

Abrasion: Articulated, sonic-welded seams are incorporated into the Dirt Roamer shorts. While this may sound like an unnecessary, tech for the sake of tech feature, it allows the seams to stretch along with the rest of the fabric. The result is a garment that moves and stretches with you as you bike, preventing chafing or hot spots from developing. 


                    Sonic-welded seam interior view (above) and exterior view (below)



Function/Ease of Use: The shorts are straightforward without unnecessary bells and whistles. They offer a simple, classic fit, pairing well with my other mountain biking apparel (Patagonia Nine Trails Bike Jersey, Prana Qunn Chakra Top, for example). The waist incorporates a zipper fly and button closure. The zipper has consistently functioned well without catching or unzipping during use. 

One unique feature of these shorts is the OppoSet adjustable waist. A thin strap runs along the right side of the waist, threading through the waistband of the shorts and connecting to the button closure. When you pull a tab on the strap it cinches the waist of the shorts, preventing gapping. I haven’t found the need to cinch the waist more than a small amount, but I love knowing this feature exists.

As someone with wider hips than waist, I appreciate apparel that takes my body type into consideration. There is nothing worse than worrying about your shorts riding down when extending your hips back on a steep descent. The adjustable waist allows riders like me to feel secure in whatever form of movement the trail demands without risk of indecent exposure ;-)


                   OppoSet adjustable waist cinched (above) and let out/normal (below)


The Dirt Roamer shorts incorporate one zipper pocket midway down the side of the left leg. I don’t mind not having any hip pockets as I find storing anything here just causes discomfort or restriction of movement through the hip creases while riding. 


                         Zipper pocket empty (above) and holding an iPhone (below)


The pocket is large enough to easily fit my iPhone 7, which is my source of trail maps thanks to Trailforks and MTB Project apps. I don’t even notice my phone in this pocket while I ride, despite the fact that it weighs essentially as much as the shorts themselves. 

Construction/Durability: Over five months of regular wear, the Dirt Roamer shorts have held up quite well. The seams show no signs of fraying or splitting, which is something I had been concerned about due to how much stretching they endure. 

The shorts have sustained repeated laundering without damage or wear. I wash them in the machine with cold water then line dry. There are no signs of odor associated with washing or line drying, and any smelliness leftover from biking that day rinses away in the wash. 

The only sign of wear I’ve noticed is some pilling as a result of a day spent bushwhacking through some particularly overgrown sections of trail. There were a few places where thorn bushes lined the path, and I think these are to blame for the pilling. I was bummed that the shorts didn’t hold up better on this adventure, but I get it. Pricker bushes are the worst!


                                                 Attack of the thorn bushes!!

Overall Impressions: I love the Dirt Roamer shorts! They fit great, allowing me to move without restriction, and stay in place while I ride. They’ve carried me through so many miles of single track this past season, and are ready to go for next season without hesitation. They are hands down the most comfortable bike shorts I own. The only feature I’d like to see in future iterations is a slightly more durable material that stands up to trail abrasion without pilling. 

Thanks to the folks at Trailspace and Patagonia for the opportunity to test and review the Dirt Roamer shorts!!



I've been mountain biking and fatbiking for the past four years. In summer months, I'm on my bike 2-4 days per week and I fatbike in the winter whenever snow conditions allow.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for testing and review provided by Patagonia)

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