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Patagonia Ascensionist Soft Shell Jacket

rated 4.00 of 5 stars

The Ascensionist Soft Shell Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best soft shell jackets for 2022.

photo: Patagonia Ascensionist Soft Shell Jacket soft shell jacket

I bought this jacket a while ago for three-season mountain backpacking and hill walking, and absolutely love it.  I was looking for a very breathable, non-membrane jacket for (very) active use. After comparing several brands and "technologies", this suited me most.

I tried the Large and Medium size and took the Medium. I am 1.81 m. tall, have an athletic build and rather long arms NS legs—it fits me perfectly. I especially like the articulated arms and good sleeve length—when reaching up my wrists stay covered nicely. There doesn't seem to be much difference in arm length between size M and L.

Some people seem to take issue with its "skinny" fit, but then it's intended to be a slim fit jacket. Patagonia state on the tag: "Closer-fitting (Slim-fitting technical garments may be worn over baselayers and light midlayers)".

And as stated on their website it is intended for Alpine Climbing, Ice Climbing, Backcountry Skiing and Mountaineering, a demographic with few beer guts I would think.

I wear it with one to two layers underneath (mostly Icebreaker Merino), and that is absolutely enough for the fast moving activities I bought it for.

But be advised, it IS a Slim Fit.

This seems to be more typical of European outdoor brands, but luckily Patagonia also manufacture true technical close fit garments with long sleeves like the Ascensionist, otherwise I would have had to look elsewhere...

The only quibble with this jacket is that the side pockets are not above a rucksack's hip belt. On the other hand that makes it easier to put your hands in the pockets when you're not wearing a pack.

This jacket has quickly become one of my favourite garments.

Price Paid: € 225

I nearly bought this (but didn't); here's why:

The pockets are too low (they clear a harness maybe, but not a rucksack's hip belt) and the sizing is similar to the stretch element, which is SKINNY FIT. It is supposed to be a shell, so it should have room for a thin layer and if it doesn't then it better slide pretty easily over anything that you can squeeze under (which I doubt). Besides, if it is so tight, then it would be layered over, in which case the pockets should definitely be higher (you wear it non-stop so it is always going to be under the rucksack whenever the rucksack is worn).

Also, the sleeves are too long and bunch up, especially with gloves on, on the next size up when you are forced to choose a comfortable fit for a normal torso (or do Patagonia have access to radical new demographics indicating that the population is getting THINNER?).

This could have been the soft shell that appears to be missing from Patagonia's lineup, if I am not mistaken: a thin soft shell with a hood and technical pockets, sleeves, and length.

So at least check your sizing first if it seems to fit the bill (you skinny so and so).

Price Paid: N/A

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Weight 19.2 oz / 544 g
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Price MSRP: $225.00
Historic Range: $70.00-$250.00
Weight 19.2 oz / 544 g
Fabric 5.3 oz Polyester, 45% recycled, DWR finish

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