Super warm jacket for the most part, with some really…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: lots
Super warm jacket for the most part, with some really annoying design faults.
- Super warm jacket for cold windy weather
- Worst hood design ever for cold windy weather
I really wanted to love this jacket. It uses Windstopper outer material. It offers a whopping 200 g of Primaloft insulation. Good pocket design. Nice cut. But there are some real problems with this jacket that really ruin it for me.
Remember this is the warmest synthetic-insulated jacket that Patagonia offers. It uses a fabric that is guaranteed to be windproof. This is the type of jacket that you would want for the coldest, nastiest days of the year. Every component of this jacket should be maximized to keep you warm. So why screw up some key design factors that make it all but useless?
A few positives: The body of the jacket is super warm. A veritable furnace of warmth for everything from your chin down. It is windproof. It sheds light rain very well. It has nicely-placed pockets; and lots of them. Despite all the insulation packed into the jacket, it's still pretty lightweight; but it is not very packable. Good cut and coverage. Good sleeve/cuff design.
Very minor gripe: It was marketed towards alpinists. So you might want to use it as a belay parka. But the fit is probably a bit too tight to fit over other climbing clothing. And, it doesn't have a bottom-separating zipper. You can't zip it up from the bottom to get access to your harness and belay device. This is a common feature on just about every other 'belay' parka on the market. (See Patagonia's DAS Parka. Note that this Apastron Hoody Jacket provides more insulation than the DAS Parka).
Less minor gripe: The 'hand warmer' pockets are not insulated. They won't warm your hands. There is a thin bit of micro-fleece but it is insufficient to really warm your hands in frigid conditions. For a jacket like this, the pockets should put your hands underneath the Primaloft insulation to really provide warmth.
Major gripe: The whole hood/neck/chin area. First of all, the area around the front of the chin is too low and too wide open. It doesn't come up high enough to cover your chin. You can't snuggle your chin and lower face down into the front collar area for warmth. Not only that, but the whole opening of this area is too wide. Wind/snow/sleet/hail actually seem to somehow get funneled down past and under your chin down to your chest. Diabolical.
Moving up from there, the width of the whole face area continues to be a problem. The whole front of your face is exposed to the wind/elements. Everything from your ears forward is fully exposed. And guess what... pulling the cinch cords to adjust the hood only makes it worse. It pulls even more of the hood away from the front half of your face. It's a cruel joke really. This hood is insulated and it does keep the top and back of your head warm. But the main part of your face, chin, etc are all fully exposed -- wide open to the elements.
I think they might have been trying to provide better peripheral vision or something. But what good is more peripheral vision in a windstorm on a 0-degree day with flying shards of icy snow? That's the kind of day that you'd expect to wear this jacket. A jacket like this should have a hood that you can completely shelter your whole head and face inside of. Instead, it leaves those critical areas fully exposed!
In my opinion these faults are inexcusable. To me, insulated pockets and a full-coverage insulated hood that protects your whole chin/neck/face are critical components in a jacket intended for the coldest, windiest, nastiest conditions. The fact that this jacket has such a poorly designed a hood (for these types of conditions) effectively ruins it.
I would recommend that you run away from any thoughts of purchasing this jacket.
If you want to stay warm, look no further. So I was…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $250
If you want to stay warm, look no further.
- Good fit
- Insulated Hood
- Hand pockets not insulated
- Hood could be bigger
So I was looking for a single outer layer with hood that I could wear over my work clothes and keep me warm while I'm waiting 10 minutes at my bus stop completely exposed to the elements in below freezing weather with strong wind gusts. However, I didn't want a big, heavy, ugly and bulky down filled jacket, so synthetic insulation was key. This jacket fit the bill perfectly.
First I have to mention my size. I'm about 5'11", 180 lbs and a large is a great fit. The sleeves are a bit long (I wear 32/33 in dress size shirts for comparison), with the sleeves coming up in between the base of my fingers and the first knuckle, but not something I can't deal with. I also tried on the medium in the store but it was way too tight. The jacket itself is very light and very comfortable to wear. It is so ridiculously warm that you really don't need to layer much at all with it. I simply throw it on over my work clothes and I never feel cold.
As expected, you definitely get Patagonia quality with this jacket. This jacket has Windstopper, and it definitely works great. I don't feel a thing in strong wind gusts. The outer material is not completely water-proof, but it's still pretty water-resistant. Light precipitation is easily wiped off as it beads on the surface.
As far as adjustability, there are velcro hand cuffs, drawstring for the hood, and drawstring at the bottom of the jacket to tighten the fit around your torso/waist. The jacket comes with two hand pockets, two chest pockets, and one small inside pocket on the left for an mp3 player or phone sized device.
I've mainly used this jacket while doing little to no physical activity, so I can't really comment on how it would perform if you used it actively. The lack of pit zips or other obvious ventilation methods seems to suggest that this jacket wouldn't be too good for active pursuits.
Now for some nitpicking... The hood is insulated and mostly fits my big head (size 7 7/8 hat size for reference), but I wish it was a little longer on the sides to provide more protection for my cheeks at the expense of some range of vision. The hood has a nice laminated brim that will wick away precipitation which I like.
Another drawback is that the hand pockets are not insulated. They are in front of the Primaloft insulation material so you really only have the outer material and inside lining keeping your hands warm. I usually wear gloves so it's not a huge deal but if you're not a glove person it might be a bit annoying.