Macpac Stretch MTB shorts

By Justin Walker 9 April 2014
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Move freely through tight singletrack and down steep, rocky descents.

Macpac has been producing MTB gear for more than a year now. It is one of the best regarded outdoor brands, so you’d expect its products to be well researched, well made and, most importantly, perform well.

Macpac’s Stretch MTB Shorts are the company’s second attempt at riding shorts and are a real step up from the first models, thanks mainly to the addition of a Pertex Equilibrium outer and four-way stretch capabilities. It makes a huge difference not being hindered by clothing catching on your legs when you’re manoeuvring through tight singletrack or about to negotiate a steep, rocky descent where you need to shift your weight around above the bike.

The fabric’s stretch removes this potential hazard. The Equilibrium fabric is tough – impressive, considering its light overall weight – and, on my only “off” when biking in these, the shorts got super dirty, but the fabric didn’t tear. Add in protection against wind chill – and a modicum of water resistance – and it’s easy to see why Macpac chose this fabric.

MTB shorts are more than the material, however, and the Stretch variant includes other innovations. The inner chamois is removable so, if you don’t like the standard one, you can pull it out and replace it with your preferred option.

I did this after a week and there was no difference in how the shorts sat on my body – plus, I got the benefit of my super-cushy chamois! Other features include two zippered pockets (for my large, apeish hands these were a tad too small) and one leg pocket (also zipped). For commuters, there is reflective piping.

My only concern with the Stretch Shorts was the long-term durability of the adjustable side-tabs that help you tailor the shorts to fit. I adjusted these for quite a while before I got the right fit and was initially concerned that the tabs were not big or strong enough. After a couple of weeks’ riding they have not budged, but I would love for them to be more substantial; I reckon the bigger the better for durability.

This second incarnation of Macpac’s MTB shorts has impressed so far. I’ve only ridden in them for two weeks, however, so am keen to see how they perform over six months. Will the fabric and the Velcro side tabs make the grade?

So far, so good – stay tuned for an update early in 2014.

RRP $159.95