User Review: Patagonia Men's Ready Mix Jacket
Fabric: 3.4-oz. double-weave stretch woven polyester with Deluge DWR finish
Fill: none; mesh
Price Paid: $199 (retail)
I bought the Ready Mix as a lightweight replacement for an old North Face 3-ply Gore-Tex shell that was a bit too heavy-duty for the conditions I was encountering while backcountry skiing. I wanted something soft to the touch, yet water repellant enought to hold up under wet Sierra snow fall. The old Gore-Tex really feels like a suit of armour in comparison; the Ready Mix feels phenomenal to touch and wear.
I started using the jacket while running up hillsides carrying packs with 25 lb loads (11 kilo). In the rain, the DWR coating just sheds water like a duck's back. Although only time will tell if a brand new DWR coating holds up against prolonged moisture, at first glance this jacket seems able to cope admirably.
I also found the Ready Mix functioned in a far broader temperature range than my old NF, and worked pretty well even without traditional pit-zips (only the front torso pocket-vents). I found myself getting far less sweaty and since I didn't need to be unzipped all the time, I was also less affected by heavy mists and wind. As a result, I got less cold when stopped at rest.
When used in a skiing situation, one might be better served while touring with a windstopper layer like the Mountain Hardwear Tech series over polypropylene (if that). But when the wind really kicks up and the snow falls, a shell like this just rules. I should probably mention that I wear a high-waisted bib that makes a shorter length jacket like the Ready Mix more practical (my old Gore-Tex jacket extended halfway to my knees). All my layers fit under this jacket comfortably, though I only put them all on while sitting inside my tent (and then, only when I'm not in my sleeping bag cooking -- in short, rarely). Usually, I wear polypro, Mountain Hardwear windstopper Tech jacket, Montbell inner jacket, Ready Mix (comfortable to around 10 degrees or less).
Compared to my bomber NF, the Ready Mix seems 'insubstantial.' But when light is right, you can't really lug the heavy artillery. All lightweight gear seems flimsy at first, and you may have to baby it a bit more. The thing to watch out for on this jacket would be the main zipper. It's a scary proposition to imagine you're in the middle of the unknown and it fails, since there is no backup closure system.
The issues I would focus on as a potential buyer are:
1. How much wetness am I going to be in?
2. Do I trust the DWR coating, and for how long?
3. How much do I trust that thin zipper and no backups?
4. Is weight more important than bombproof?
5. Do you like to exert yourself in near-rain conditions?
All in all, the Ready Mix works great for many things. I will post a report further down the line to update how the DWR finish is wearing and continue to watch the zipper for any trouble. With those reservations aside, a highly recommended piece of gear.