Patagonia Core Skin Jacket
Price Paid: 90€
This is an excellent piece of gear for climbing, high altitude trekking and as pointed by another reviewer, winter cycling. It is mainly for cold weather activities, as it is surprisingly warm.
I find the material comfortable against the skin and sliding frictionlessly over base layers if they are required. It can take considerable punishment from rock and mixed climbing with no signs of wear.
The jacket holds wind and repelled water excellently for the first 6 months. Now the DWR coating has worn off a bit, but that is not a problem as long as there is more snowfall than rainfall, and supposedly this coating can be reapplied. It is not meant to be anywhere near waterproof, so for continuous heavy rainfall a dedicated rain jacket is necessary.
As with all Patagonia gear, the fit is great for me as I'm more a skinny than a muscular type.
I won't comment on the price. As with all my high-end gear, I found this at a bargain price and for the price I paid I am more than satisfied with it.
The only thing that forced me to drop the fifth star is that the sleeves are too tight to be rolled up - which I consider to be an important thing in controlling body temperature. A hood would also add to its versatility.
I'm ready to recommend this piece of gear, but before making any decisions I'd advise to first check Patagonia's Mixmaster Jacket, which is a hooded version of this.
Fabric: Polartec Power Shield High Loft
Price Paid: $250
A great piece on paper. Polartec Power Shield High Loft material is a great product: wind, water and abrasion resistant with a fur like interior, and breathable. The problem is that the front torso of the jacket is only 23" long in a Men's Large. The back is 30" long.
I don't know who they make it for, but it is not for Tall folks. (They could put some of that back torso material in the front and solve the problem.) At 6'2", the front of the jacket does not even meet the top of my pants. That's not a good thing for outdoor adventures. When are the companies that make all the fine stuff going to realize that there is a market for Tall people?
Fabric: Polartec Power Shield
Price Paid: $169
Soft shell that set the benchmark a few years back is still on top. Ideal for back country skiing and alpine climbing. Trim athletic fit makes it easy to layer under even a slim hardshell (eg, Jetstream) or a belay parka. Yet has enough room underneath for both a Capilene base layer and R1 pullover for cold days. It's excellent stretchability and articulated elbows allow gymnastic moves despite the trim fit.
Phenomenal breathability. No overheating on back country yo-yos. Rain/snow haven't soaked thru yet, after more than a year.
I disagree with Chad. This is a better jacket and overall value than what Arc'teryx offers in this category. Core skin combines the best of Gamma SV and Gamma MX while exceeding both. My 2006 version shares with the SV the superior performance and durability of the heavier weave Polartec Powershield (the MX is the "lightweight" version). Unlike either Gamma version, Core Skin is lined with lightweight single-sided high loft R2 fleece (Polartec power-dry). Just enuf to keep the chill out, but not enuf to overheat except on unusually warm spring or fall days in the Rockies. And not enuf to add too much weight. Mine weighs 4+ oz less the SV and less than 1 oz more than the MX.
Despite this comparatively low weight, Core Skin has several features the Gammas do not: adjustable cuffs, draw-cord collar closure, longer length with drop-back hem for more coverage, light moisture-wicking fleece lining for warmth, an external chest pocket which the SV lacks, a big inside pocket for climbing skins, and extra-long torso zips for venting which the MX lacks.
All this with Patagonia's proven best-in-the-industry DWR finish, ironclad warranty, and customer service, as well as its typically lower price than Arc'teryx (not to mention its industry leading "put your money where your mouth is" enviro policies), makes it a "no brainer" in favor of Core Skin.
Price Paid: $230
Well, Patagonia is not kidding about how this jacket has a trimed-fit. I wanted a trimed fit like Arc'teryx jackets. However, this jacket is just too small. I'm 5'7" and 160lb so I should be a medium. However, this jacket fits me like a small. I purchased this jacket because I have a very good experience with Patagonia in the past and the description of this jacket tells me that it is exactly what I'm looking for.
I got this jacket two days ago and only wore it once and put it back in the box. It is going back. Why? It is not something I would use as an everyday jacket nor would I use it for skiing. The trimed-fit can be fixed by going up one size but the garmet of this jacket does not feel good against my skin. I tried on Arc'Teryx Gamma SV and I must say that Gamma is much more comfortable and a better buy. It may be a great jacket for climbers but not for me. that's too bad....it's a great looking jacket.
Only buy this jacket if you have seen it and tried it on. It will not be what you expected if you buy it online without seeing it first.
Price Paid: $200
This jacket is fantastic as a medium weight coat or a layer beneath a shell. The R1 fleece lining is soft and just warm enough without making you overheat in the spring or fall. It's not as waterproof as I'd hoped, but will get keep you dry through a shower. Biking every day through a Toronto winter is pretty messy and damn cold, but the Core Skin was excellent
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