Patagonia Ice Nine Suit
The Ice Nine Suit has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best hard shell suits for 2020.
The best winter mountaineering shell I have ever seen. Bright colors for visibility in low visibility situations or avalanches. Heavy duty Gore-Tex material prevents punctures from ice axes, crampons, rocks from hit when doing a sitting glacade. Many many zippered vents full length removing the need to take your plastic boots off in order to put on the one piece shell. Best piece of kit I have ever purchased.
- Durable fabric with extra fabric in needed places like around ankles where crampons are known to tear gear to shreds
- 3 ply Gore-Tex, taped seams
- High visibility color fabric excellent for whiteout conditions
- Numerous zippers for venting and allowing one to put it on without having to take off your plastic boots.
- One piece prevents snow from getting into your gear or up your back in a sitting glacade or in high winds
- Hard to find, I don't think that Patagonia makes it any more...
- Not great if trying to camouflage yourself in the snow lol
I have put mine through an enormous amount of abuse and falls and the suite is still intact with no patches or holes and is still the first thing I grab when going on a winter mountaineering expedition. I do a lot of solo mountaineering and am glad that the color makes me stand out in the white background of winter.
Of all the expensive gear I have for winter mountaineering this is the one piece that I always get compliments on. The full length zippers allow not only the obvious ability to put on your bulky plastic/rigid boots but also allow for full ventilation keeping you cool when hiking below the treeline or above the treeline on a sunny/warm winter day.
No one wants to sweat when hiking in conditions where the weather can turn on a dime and fall to negative 40 degrees F. It is just a shell so any sweat that does accumulate from a difficult hike or a trip and fall into a frozen stream will freeze over night and a simple shake with remove all the frozen crystals.
The suite is light and comparable to bottom and top shells. You will never get snow blown up under your jacket in high winds or when doing long and fast sitting glacades on the way down. The suite has pockets in all the right places allowing you to keep some things readily available and close to your body and thus keeping it warm, batteries, lighters etc. do not work all that well in sub zero temps.
The suit fits well in all the right places with adjustable cuffs or cords etc. The suite is durable, waterproof, breathable, light weight with numerous places to vent. Oh, I almost forgot, there is a zipper exactly where you would want it if you suddenly have to go #2!!!!!
If you can find one get it, and if you don't want it call me!!! This is one piece of gear that I would love to have two of or gift it to my brother.
Source: received it as a personal gift
Wow! Big price but an absolutely incredible suit. I have owned several one-piece suits in the past (all of them supposedly "custom-fit") which never fit right -- this one is perfect.
The fabric is an outstanding mini-ripstop w/tougher fabric in wear areas. The suit has internal elasticized suspenders, full leg zips which form the rainbow butt zip, pit zips too. The zippers are all "dry zippers" -- that is, they have a monofilament which expands in water causing a better seal.
The only complaint I have about them is that they are a bit stiff at first. Pit zips are hard to access while wearing a pack, but they do have the extra velcro "stay open" flaps on them. The front chest pockets are vertical reach through, with a "panic pocket" also. They work great. There are internal gaiters which work well, plus elasticized cuffs at the bottom of the hem.
My only critique (so far) of the suit is that the Mango colour, while spectacular (!) does get very dirty, very quickly from carabiner oxide, etc.
The workmanship of the suit is the usual (outstanding) from Patagonia -- no loose threads, crooked stiches, etc. The price is steep, but in comparison to most of the one-piece suits out there, the extra $ are well spent.
Fabric: 3-ply Gore technologies waterproof/breathable laminate
Price Paid: $1200 CDN(!)