Buyer Stu get the chance to test this Patagonia Down Jacket.
At the start of October I was given offered a Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody to try out. I am lucky to have a number of insulated jackets from a number of quality brands, but not something as bright and cool as a Cosmic Gold insulator from sustainable fashion market leaders Patagonia.
At £280 is is certainly a premium price even among other quality brands like Rab and Mountain Equipment its more expensive for similar performance, so is the extra money worth spending? Hopefully I can answer why I think it is by the end of this review.
First off I need to talk about Patagonia as a brand and how they are one of the global leaders for a more sustainable fashion future. They are supporters of a number of charities, they helped create the 1% for the planet initiative, they founded Patagonia Action Works to resolve grass root level climate issues long term. We have a great article here where you can read in depth some of what makes Patagonia stand out, and how having less impact on the environment has been at there core for 50 years, not just recently.
So what does all this mean with the Down Sweater Hoody? First the fabric it is made from. Its a 20d ripstop nylon, lightweight, down proof, water and wind resistant, pretty standard stuff, but this nylon is recycled, and not only is it just recycled nylon, this is Netplus recycled Nylon so it is made with recycled fishing nets! So taking one of the worse offending pollutants out of the Ocean and making it into fabric, as you can imagine this is not a cheap process, but I think a very worthwhile one.
Next we have what it is filled with, in this case 800FP down, this is on the higher quality end of fill power, so it takes less of it to keep you warm. This down is 100% responsibly sourced, but what does that mean? The down Patagonia use is certified by The Responsible Down Standard this ensures the down is traceable from farm to product, animal welfare standards are kept high, and a credible 3rd party audits each stage of the down production. So if you want a jacket with quality down and care about animal welfare make sure its RDS certified.
Finally we have Patagonia supporting where the jacket is made in Bangladesh, they have partnered with Mamata and NGO which makes sure health care services and education are provided to low income communities in the are where the jackets are made. Every year since 2014 they have made donations to Mamata to help ensure the people who make these jackets have access to basic human rights.
Lets talk about the actual features of the jacket, it is mix of midi and micro baffles with stitch through construction, where you want warmth across the core the baffles are a bit bigger allowing more room for the down to loft and less cold spots from stitching, the side baffles and under the arm are mini baffles, these allow for a slimmer less boxy fit and better freedom of movement in the areas that need it. It has a really good hood with a single rear adjuster and stiffened peak. I found the hood to fit really well and not be annoying and bulky when down.
Another nice feature with the jacket is that it has 3 internal pocket along with the to handwarmer pockets. The internal drop pockets are great for keeping hats and gloves, and the Zip security pocket is ideal for a phone, its also where I keep the repair patches Patagonia supply in case of rips and small tears. The zip pocket also acts as a storage sack by turning it inside out and stuffing the jacket. Not something I ever use, as I prefer to roll into the hood, this method is quicker and easier unpack.
Inside stuff pocket Inside hood
That’s what its made from then and what it features, but does it work? I have used the jacket for a few weeks now, on colder morning dog walks, as a layer when hiking and on holiday in North Wales. I have found the fit of this jacket to be exceptional, the time they have spent mapping the baffles and making the patterns really shows. I am normally a size small and have this is a small. The hem is just long enough to keep my hips and waste covered and warm without impeding movement or being longer than a shell over the top. The hem is also closed fitting without having to use the adjuster, so no cold air is going to blow up inside.
The detail and fit of the neck and chin is great, when zipped right up it creates a fantastic warm seal without feeling claustrophobic, with the hood up you get a real warmth boost and feel tucked away from the cold. One negative is that has the hood is relatively low volume and the neck and chin fit so close, you cannot put the hood up and down with the zip done right up, it is too tight, also as a mid-layer the hood feels very bulky when down and under a shell jacket.
I have carried this in my pack as a warm layer at 420g it is not the lightest, but I found with the clever baffle design, great fit and high fill power down this jacket feels warmer than most other light insulator jackets I have tried, and I look forward to this being my go to puffy for sometime.
In conclusion I think that the investment you make in the jacket is not only rewarded in the fact that its one of the most sustainable, animal friendly and work friendly jackets but remove all that and its still a better jacket thank most competitors and worthy of the higher price.