Patagonia Stand Up shorts
From the archives

Archival Endorsement: Stand-Up Shorts

I’ve been keen on Patagonia’s Stand-Up Shorts since I was 12, when I bought my first pair in Salt Lake City during a climbing trip. I still have that pair, much abused and much loved. God knows how a pair that I bought when I was 12 is now too big for me – some kind of waist shrink and a better sense of properly-fitting clothes, I guess.

It’s the giant rear pockets that make the short. Quite a few other companies copied the double-layer seat/giant pocket (Gramicci, Columbia, etc), but nobody pulled it off like Patagonia. Some earlier versions didn’t bring the pocket all the way into the waistband, giving kind of a lederhosen look:

I much prefer the current version, although I tend to rip the Velcro off and add buttons:

The Stand-Up shorts are still available for men. Women are, unfortunately, subject to the moodiness of Patagonia’s production schedule – it seems as though women have access to Stand-Up shorts every three or four years. I’m happy enough with the current offering, especially since they offer multiple inseam lengths (I’m fond of the 5″ inseam). But I’d really like to explore some archival versions of the short, when they used canvas that was so stiff that the shorts actually stood up by themselves, or when Patagonia sourced workman’s corduroy from the UK. For now, I’ll comfort myself with view-only Stand-Up shorts from Backpacker Magazine in 1981. Men’s were in 11oz canvas (they’re now in 8oz) :


Got to love those billowing 60/40 parkas, too. A gear guide from Texas Monthly in 1981 shows more women’s Stand Up shorts:

I’m also liking Kelty’s Trail Short, in a cotton/poly blend, also from 1981. You might try LL Bean’s recent take on the front-pocket cargo short.

6 thoughts on “Archival Endorsement: Stand-Up Shorts”

  1. I was wearing my stand-ups yesterday. There’s not a much in Patagonia’s lines that I care for style-wise, but the stand-up shorts are keepers. And their down sweater for layering under a Filson parka when it gets bitterly cold.

  2. Note re. the magic shorts: They may be too big but I’m betting they’re QUITE short in the inseam, since you grew what, 8 inches since then?

  3. Hi AC, do you have updates/fit pics/thoughts on the Hunting World pants you bought some time ago?

    I know they are cheap, but I am not sure I need more khakis at this time.

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