Patagonia shorts put me in a quandary

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A short, open letter to Patagonia to clear up some confusing shorts. — Lead photo: Wavefarer Stretch Walk short (left) and Quandary ten inch short (right).

Dear Patagonia,

Your shorts put me in a quandary.

More specifically, your Wavefarer Stretch Walk Shorts, and, of course, your ten inch Quandary Shorts (you probably saw that one coming). You see, I recently bought the Wavefarer shorts at REI, with a massive discount due to my member dividend; I spent a stunning ten dollars. I loved them so much, I decided to buy a pair of Quandary shorts for more rugged pursuits, i.e., hiking backpacking, etc. I assumed they would be of sturdier material and build.

I already wear my Wavefarers, or WFs as I’ll say, around the house, hiking, or maybe a quick dip in a river…

The funny thing is, when I received my Quandary shorts, I more or less thought they were eerily similar to the Wavefarers. Now, I don’t have an immense problem with this, since I love both, but I was under the modest impression that the Quandarys would be beefier.

Let’s compare & contrast

Is there any difference between the two other than slight feature differences? For instance, both feature a super soft and stretchy nylon material, that dries quick and offers lots of sun protection. Both are cut almost the same and both of these feature the same ash tan color, one I which was deeper in shade.

The Quandary features a regular button closure and zip-up fly, side cargo pocket and anatomical crotch, alongside burly stitching on certain seems. For the Wavefarer, we see a button fly, mesh-lined pockets, and a handy drawstring, with slight pocket variations than the aforementioned. Accordingly, both are $69 at


Details aside, is that it? In true inquisition, will my Quandary shorts last longer if I’m tumbling around on rocks and dirt? Or, can I abuse both pairs of shorts equally? Will some fierce mountain monster be unleashed if I go hiking in the Wavefarer? Would it spell certain doom for a pristine alpine lake if I swim in my Quandarys? These are serious questions that require serious answers.

I’m of course going to do both regardless, but it would be nice to know if there are major differences beyond my meager perceptive abilities.

-Yours in the outdoors, Carlos.

Updated 5/4/16 In true customer service fashion, Patagonia actually responded! Here’s what they said:

Hello Elias Visuals,
Thanks for your comments and questions!

The Men’s Quandary Shorts are designed more with Hiking and Rock climbing in mind, while the Wavefarer Stretch Walk Shorts are designed for use in and out of the water. Both are great crossover pieces for casual use, which emphasizes the versatility of that 96/4 Nylon/Spandex blend fabric with 40 UPF that both utilize.

As you’ve noticed, the styling is different between these two pieces. The pocketing on the Wavefarer Walk Shorts offers a more casual look, and features mesh in the lining so that water can drain quickly. The more up and down drop in style pockets on the Quandary Shorts will provide more security for items when climbing and scrambling and the omission of one back pocket to include a side pocket allows access while wearing a harness.

The Wavefarer Walk Shorts will also feature that draw string at the waist for added security going in and out of the water. This is not included in the Quandarys as the draw string would likely prove uncomfortable when wearing a harness.

Hope this helps clarify!

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