My pink Patagonia Baggies Shorts are the best shorts I’ve ever owned. In 2016, I wore them for 180 straight days when thru-hiking the 2,189.1-mile Appalachian Trail (AT); and in 2017, I wore them for 135 days while thru-hiking the 2,650.1-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I wore them every day, all day and all night on both trails—only taking them off for laundry in town.
My Baggies also had a life before the AT and PCT. I bought them pre-owned from someone else looking to give them a second life and wore them for five years prior. Their total mileage count exceeds the 4,839 miles from the AT and PCT.
“This day was truly special. I summited Mount Katahdin six months to the day of the beginning of my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Hiking the AT was one of the great experiences of my life. On the trail, I found the surest and purest things in life are time in nature, companionship with kind people and taking and using only what you need, rather than all we want.” Photo: Laura Johnston Collection
My Baggies endured every type of weather that we have in the United States: rain; snow; ice; hail; thunderstorms; humid East coast summers; arid, dry desert heat. They rubbed against the deciduous trees of the East and the evergreens of the West. They slept on hard, soft, root-filled and rocky ground. They always held up!
Together on the AT and PCT, two of America’s National Scenic Trails, my Baggies and I trekked across many regions of America, including some of the country’s most hospitable trail towns, places that are often as significant as the actual trail. The locals are the lifeline for thru-hikers—feeding you, providing access to showers, inviting you for a night indoors and home-cooked meals. They provide endless generosity or “trail magic” for hikers.
“Like all things in life, hiking through the entire state of California happened one step at a time.” Photo: Laura Johnston Collection
After the AT and PCT, I discovered one tiny hole from a campfire in my shorts. You repaired them for free, no questions asked, with a new pink patch. When the Patagonia employee at my local store in Washington, D.C., packaged them to send to the repair center in Reno, Nevada, she told me, “Don’t ever let them go!” I’ve pledged to take care of them like I would a good friend or hiking partner because they’ve taken care of me.
My Baggies remind me to do the right thing for the planet and public lands, and to repair and reuse what we already own. They also remind me about the value of fewer but treasured possessions. Yvon Chouinard once said, “You don’t need a different pair of shorts for every activity in your life. Why not have just one good pair?”
I have mine and pink is now my favourite colour.
This story first appeared at wornwear.com.
Banner Image: “After the AT and PCT, I discovered one tiny hole from a campfire in my shorts. Patagonia repaired them for free, no questions asked, with a new pink patch.” Photo: Laura Johnston
conservation and outdoor creative professional
from Springfield, Virginia. She is passionate about
encouraging others to get into nature for fun and
wellness, and to get involved in protecting,
promoting and preserving wild places. Her trail
name, Hey Girl, was given to her by fellow hikers
on the AT because of how she greeted other
women on the trail.