Patagonia Glade Runner Jacket
This lightweight (20 oz.) Gore Activent jacket is…
Fabric: 2.5 oz. Polyster Ripstop with Activent Membrane
Price Paid: $75 on sale
This lightweight (20 oz.) Gore Activent jacket is a nearly perfect shell for downhill and backcountry skiing, mountain biking, or any other sweaty pursuit—provided you understand its limitations. It is totally windproof, and will shed dry snow and light mist, but it will soak through under steady sleet and rain. It will also not last long in heavy bushwhacking, but then neither will any other Activent/Microfiber shell that I know of. Patagonia calls this membrane Pneumatic (but it was developed with Gore before it became available to other designers as Activent).
The key to the Glade Runner’s success is that it’s more of a full-blown parka than other Activent designs. It is cut slightly below the waist in the front with a much longer back and has: hem and waist drawcords, fully adjustable Velcro and elastic wrist closures, a double storm flap on the full-length front zipper, a hood, and two fleece-lined exterior pockets. Unlike unlined Activent shells (where the membrane is exposed on the interior) the Glade Runner is lined with dense mesh in the sleeves and upper torso and taffeta below the waist. This eliminates the “saran wrap” feel against the skin so common with unlined Activent jackets.
For day skiing (where wind and snow are the problem elements), this jacket makes more sense than Gore-Tex: it repels wind and snow just as well, is far more breathable, and lighter and less stiff. The fleece-lined pockets are great for storing glasses/goggles without scratching, and the hood folds into the fleece line collar so it’s not flapping around and collecting snow. But like other stowable hood arrangements, the collar is relatively bulky with the hood hidden away. The hood is not lined, but it does have a small brim and Patagonia’s excellent arrangement of drawstring adjustments (front and rear).
The ripstop polyester shell has a very good water repellent treatment and dries much more quickly than comparable nylon materials, but you will get soaked quickly in a heavy rain because the seams aren’t taped and the membrane is not waterproof. It functionality it is comparable to the 60/40 parkas of old: weatherproofing the same, abrasion resistance less, weight and bulk, much less.
I also once had a pair of Pneumatic side zip pants that were less successful all around. They were light and windproof and could be put on over skis, but the unlined fabric was too thin to resist tears from steel ski edges and bike chains, and the seat soaked through on wet chair lifts. These pants are still made as a pull-on model with no zippers at all. The Glade Runner no longer appears in Patagonia catalogs, but can be found at their outlets.