This is as much a review of Patagonia and their incredible…
Fabric: Nylon H2No
This is as much a review of Patagonia and their incredible customer service as it is the Stretch Latitude.
After about 9 years of hard use, the interior laminate in my Patagonia Storm simply turned to flakes and dust after a wash. This jacket had protected me from the Appalachian Trail to the interior of the Amazon region. It had been used in just about every weather condition imaginable, worn probably 150 days each year for 9 years and stuffed in a backpack for many many more.
On a whim, I called Patagonia and told them that my jacket had finally failed and asked if there was anything to do to repair it. As I now live in England, the support employee asked to contact the Patagonia people in France, which I did. Patagonia's Stephanie in customer support told me to mail them the jacket for inspection.
Once Stephanie received the jacket, she informed that it was "very old" and she could not explain the de-lamination problem. She then said that I should look at the current offerings on the website and she would send me what I want to replace my Storm. What? I said. Her English was only fair so I thought she must have misspoken. Sure enough, she then recommended that I look at the site or take her recommendation of the Stretch Latitude as a replacement. I did choose the Latitude and she proceeded to send me one free of charge, post paid. I received it three days later. Needless to say, if Patagonia provides a suitable product for any aspect of my adventure or civilian life, I will happily pay the price.
OK. The jacket. When I first took it out of the box, I was struck by how stiff it felt. Because I ordered one in black and the seams are welded instead of stitched, it reminded me of a drysuit. Upon further inspection, the precision of the construction was apparent as was the apparent durability. Of course, the hood is large enough for a helmet, the pockets are well placed, the zippers are super tight and the drawcords are in the right spots. The armpit zips are really long and I could see how the wearer would benefit during anything strenuous.
Although I've only had it for a few weeks now, it has kept me bone dry in serious rain. I have also scraped it across a fair bit of granite while scrambling and it shows no signs of wear. Overall I would bet that I will be very happy with this jacket.
If I can find any fault at all it would be how stiff it feels and the associated noise it makes. I suspect that it will improve over the very near future. It is already a bit softer than when I first took it out of the packaging. I give it 4.5 due to the stiffness with an extra .5 point for the excellent customer support and the price tag of a 9-year-old Storm jacket, post to France and a phone call.