Patagonia Stretch Element Jacket
The Stretch Element Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best waterproof jackets for 2024.
I saw it first in a shop last fall and told myself I want it. It's a cool looking jacket! I was lucky to get it via Patagonia DM list for stuff (I used to work in an outdoor shop - but we never stock this jacket) so the price I payed for it was really cheap, but now after I used it for nearly a year, I am happy to say that if I was on the market for a new jacket, I wouldn't mind paying the full price for it.
And about the jacket itself: the fit is fantastic! I'm 5.10 and slim with short torso 17.5inc and size S fit me great with any layering system - great fit over a T-shirt, or when it's getting cold - Cap3-4, an R1 and Solo jacket - snug, but fit and I can move around freely.
I didn't use it with a helmet yet, but it's sure big enough for one, and the way this hood fits without an helmet is impressive! The main zip is the Swiss Riri - and boy it's waterproof! and bulletproof as well! it's tiny bit stiff.
About the fabric itself - put it this way - when my buddy put it on, he told me it feels like a soft shell! and he is right - it's not far from that - feels a bit like my old figure4 jacket. it's nearly as soft, don't make noise, and when I wear this jacket on, I nearly feel it! And the shoulders are reinforced so no signs of wear also after carrying my 30kg pack on for weeks upon weeks. I also love how nice it fit around my neck and keep the wind out.
I also own an Arc Beta AR (and older XCR GTX) and I like it a lot, but the Stretch Element is of a different league, and breathes like a champ! Way better as much as I can tell.
So yes,, I used to sell gear by Patagonia, but not anymore so I have no dealing with them, and yes - I love the Stretch Element, and I think it's one of the better WP jacket you can find. Simple, do the job, do it all.
Price Paid: 125$
This is a really nice jacket, I picked mine up at 160 USD, which I think is an excellent price for what you get. The jacket is very lightweight, but has many useful features. It has five decent size pockets, a really good adjustable hood, and plenty of ventilation options. This jacket works well for mountaineering, climbing, ski touring, backpacking and due to it being cut longer at the back then at the front as a cycling jacket (even more so if purchased in the retina burning orange).
What I don't particulary like are the zips. They are very stiff (don't twist and bend as easy as a conventional zip) and move only with a good tug. As a result of this, they are impossible to operate with one hand and because they don't bend as easy as normal zips, the pit zips press uncomfortably into my arm pits. After a while I don't seem to notice this that much though.
All in all I am very happy I bought this jacket though and would recommend it to anyone.
Fabric: erm, not gore-tex but similar stuff
Price Paid: $160 USD
Patagonia no longer makes this jacket, however you can still find it from catalog outfits. It is light for a three-layer waterproof, breathable shell and packs down about the size of a cantaloupe. I love the fit and feel of it and it has well thought out features like inside pockets big enough for a water bottle. The zippers are a little stiff, but after using them for a while I am now used to it. This is now my go-to jacket whenever the weather turns sour. It is worth every one of those many many pennies I paid for it.
Price Paid: more than I wanted to
First, Patagonia still makes this jacket. It now comes with the Composite Seam System. It's very lightweight and durable. I always have it with me. It rains a lot in Louisiana. I got mine on sale at Patagonia.com.
Fabric: Stretch Nylon
Price Paid: $215
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