Review: Patagonia Altvia Shorts

Review: Patagonia Altvia Shorts

Purveyors of outdoor gear since 1973, Patagonia is traditionally known for its climbing and skiing gear. This spring saw the introduction of a hiking line called Altvia. We got the chance to test out the Patagonia Altvia Shorts this summer and found them to be a lightweight, strong and versatile.   

The Patagonia Altvia shorts in the Valais


  • Material: Made of 86% recycled polyester/14% spandex dobby with four-way stretch and a PFC-free DWR finish (durable water repellent coating that does not contain perfluorinated chemicals)
  • Waist size tested: 35 inches
  • Inseam: 10 inches
  • Weight: 215 grams
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam

What is Altvia?

Altvia is a play on the Italian words, Alta Via. Directly translated from Italian, Alta Via means High Road. There are lots of “high roads” in Italy, but the Alta Via Uno (High Road One) in the Dolomites takes hikers from Dobiaco to Belluno. It’s one of the most well-known, and for good reason, the views are stunning, the huts are cozy and the food is outstanding. Who wouldn’t want to hike in the Dolomites and the Patagonia Altvia Shorts are perfectly suited to the task.  

What are the Patagonia Altvia Shorts?

The Altvia Shorts are Patagonia’s foray into hiking-specific shorts. They have five pockets, two zippered hand pockets, two zippered back pockets, and one zippered thigh pocket on the right leg. They are made of an 86% polyester 14% spandex material that breaths well and has a lot of stretch, which I found to be these shorts’ strong point. 

How do they Fit?

The Patagonia Altvia shorts fit very true to size. They have a 10 inch inseam which works really well while hiking. It keeps the shorts at mid to above knee level and keeps them out of the way on large step-ups. Their stretch and light weight keep them near unnoticed while on the trail.

Waist Band

Rump Shaker

For the Altvia short I went with a 35-inch waistband even though I traditionally go for a 36. Both sides of the waistband are partially elasticized and this allowed me some room to breath. On each side of the shorts, there is a small section of elastic that blends in really well with the shorts and goes unnoticed until you wear the shorts. This allows the short to stretch to s slightly larger size and then hold snugly.


Once I loaded the pockets with phone, wallet, and more they tended to slide a little. This was when it was time for belt Loops! I love belt loops. All shorts should come with belt loops.


The Patagonia Altvia shorts feature an inseam of 10 inches, which for me, seemed a little short. In reality, it was perfect. This fits just above my knees and allows free movement while I am wearing them. I am 6’1! with a 32 inch inseam so I was pleasantly surprised. I also have rather thick thighs and the stretch in the legs was really appreciated on steeper trails, especially on large stairs.  


On each leg, there are two zippered hand pockets. Enough room for a phone or large wallet. Each pocket is lined with a tight-knit mesh. It breaths but does not allow anything to escape. 

There are zippered pockets on the back of each leg. Both pockets are made of the same tight-knit mesh as the hand pockets. They are not quite big enough for a Rite in the Rain but will hold a smaller iPhone. I rarely use back pockets so mine went empty. 

On the side of the right leg is an angled thigh pocket. You won’t fit a map in here or a rite in the rain but you will fit an iPhone in there. It’s a handy little pocket to have though could be a little bigger. I often found myself putting my wallet in this pocket. Anything heavier will lead to the pocket swinging as the pocket is positioned more to the side than on the front of the thigh.   


I was already a fan of Patagonia clothing and these shorts did nothing but confirm why. They proved to be comfortable and easy to wear. There are just enough pockets to carry the minimum required, though I would love a swap of a map-sized pocket in exchange for one or both of the back pockets.

The 10-inch inseam concerned me before I had a chance to try the shorts on. I normally like under-knee-length shorts and often oversize my bottoms as I have rather large thighs and find I need bigger waist sizes to get the required thigh size. I often find shorts and pants to be restricting, especially when taking large uphill steps. This was not the case with the Patagonia Altvia shorts. Ten inches felt like a lot and with the stretch I was not restricted at all.

The shorts wore light and cool on hot summer days and looked good enough to wear to a casual dinner. Some technical gear looks a little too out of place at the dinner table, almost like you are trying to make a statement. These shorts were not that, and I really enjoyed wearing them this summer.

Pros: Durable, stretchy, and lightweight

Cons: Larger thigh pockets would be nice

If you are interested in checking out the Patagonia Altvia Shorts head on over to Patagonia, and check ‘em out!

Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free pair of Patagonia Altvia Shorts. This in no way affected our opinion and review of them.