How to stay cool and comfy under your shorts or trail trousers

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Liner Shorts


  • • Great fit and sizing, with 9in inseam
  • • Comfy 3-layer chamois that’s just the right size
  • • Grippy leg cuff that doesn’t leave a mark
  • • Great environmental and labour ethics


  • • Umm... I suppose I'm a bit pretentious getting posh pants


The Calvin Klein of mtb liner shorts: Patagonia’s Dirt Roamer


Price as reviewed:


Helmet aside, there’s no item of mountain bike clothing more important to me than a decent chamois, buy one of the best mtb liner shorts out there and your unmentionables are practically guaranteed to stay dry and comfy. Patagonia’s new Dirt Roamer is top of the washing pile, it’s either wheezing round in the machine or it’s actually about my person, and no other liner short is getting a look in at the moment.

The Dirt Roamer chamois is no naan bread, it proved comfy without being bulky

Design and specification

My wife hilariously calls the Roamers “nappy pants” because the padded chamois so resembles the poopy diaper of our toddler. That’s not quite fair though, while baby Toby’s nappy is likely to sag down to his knees and – ideally for him – spill its contents across the carpet, the Roamer is snug as a pair of boxers and actually one of the most form fitting liners I’ve tried. I’ve yet to soil myself in them either.

The chamois itself is made from 3D engineered foam, which basically means it’s made to fit your shape down below, rather than being flat like, say, a T-shirt. It’s also made from three layers, Patagonia says, which presumably means there’s varying degrees of support and cushioning. It’s certainly thicker just under your sit bones, and tapers away towards the front, with a cutaway section running down the middle.

Wavy lines of silicone keep the leg cuffs from moving, all without leaving a nasty red mark on your skin

The short itself is made from a blend of recycled nylon and elastane, it’s pretty snug and – like the Rapha Trail Liner – offers a small amount of compression. There are mesh panels either side designed to improve wicking and breathability, while the legs stretch low down your thighs and overlap with most kneepads I use. 

That’s a really good feature because it removes the unsightly gap betwixt short and pad, and it’s also double security for wandering kneepads that might slip down. There’s a wavy pattern of grippy silicone running round the inside circumference of each leg opening, it’s there to stop it riding up when you’re pedalling.

Finally, there’s also a little pocket either side on each thigh, although I didn’t find it very useful as my shorts and trousers have much bigger and more secure storage compartments.

Storage pockets will proabably prove useful for some riders, they will hold bars and gels snugly


Compression clothing like socks and shorts were all the rage a decade ago, the premise was that applying some pressure to the muscles would increase bloody supply, reduce inflammation and promote recovery. I’ve no idea if this is the case here, but the Dirt Roamers are easily the comfiest liners I’ve tried. Yes they’re snug, but it’s not something you notice when riding, other than the fact everything is precisely where it should be.

There’s no chaffing inside the Roamer, with flat stitched seams and the great precurved shape of garment it fits well in all the right places, while the chamois is neither too bulky or too skinny. The liner also kept me dry and fresh, a credit to how well it breathes.

Is £90 for a liner short too much money, when you can get a pair of riding pants for less?

And then there’s the price. In the past we’d have lambasted the Dirt Roamer for costing so much money, particularly an item that’s so slim and rarely seen. But I’m not going to do that, first because it’s so comfy I can’t do without it. And second because it’s made from recycled materials, and in a Fair Trade Certified factory where the workers get a decent rate – all that costs money, but it’s well spent. Everything else I’ve used from Patagonia has lasted almost forever too, so I’m seeing this as an investment.


Patagonia has made the Calvin Klein of liner shorts, the Dirt Roamer does everything right, from wicking moisture to cushioning your butt, and I like the socially responsible stance on labour and the environment.


Sizes :XS-XXL