I have been told many times that in order to not die, I will need a down jacket. Okay, maybe no one said I would die, but I’ve met some resistance against me bringing a synthetic jacket.
“But, if it gets wet it will be useless!”
“You’re gonna be cold!”
“RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE”
I hate to say it, but down isn’t exempt from the rules of being wet and useless. As for being cold, I admit it has happened… when I was getting blasted by wind and snow on top of a peak in December. However, one rule proved to be true: Keep hiking and you’ll stay warm. Wearing only a t-shirt under the jacket maybe didn’t help, but I digress (Did I have warmer layers with me? Yes. Did I feel like putting them on? Not so much). What about when I’m not hiking? If I’m not hiking, I’m sleeping. If I’m not sleeping, I have a sleeping quilt I can wrap around myself for more warmth.
As for the rabbles? Psh.
My ‘thing’ is that I like to have a few good layers rather than relying on one thing entirely. If I went with one super-warm jacket, that’d be great sure. But I wouldn’t wear it while hiking, because you’d get too hot, which creates sweat, which isn’t conducive to staying warm in the cold. If it’s only a little chilly, I’ll just wear a tshirt and deal with it. If it’s colder, I’ll throw on my nanopuff. If it’s cold as absolute *insert something really cold for comparison*, I have things I can throw on under it to create more warmth. If I throw on my rain jacket on top of all this, I absolutely cook. Hurray. That being said, I haven’t had to do any of this yet.
Before we get into the fun stuff, I would like to make it known that I run pretty warm as a person. This has been mentioned to me multiple times. Plus I have this weird super power where any window directly by me tends to fog up. I will use this power for good. So with that said, make sure it works for you before you get all crazy and head up K2 in it. I can’t make guarantees about whether or not it’s the jacket for you, this is just what I like about it.
- This jacket has kept me warm through all seasons (sans Spring. That will be tested soon… very soon). From a summer summit, to a rainy fall in Washington, to snowy mountains in the winter. Is it as warm as my heavy duty snowboarding jacket? Hell no. Is it warm enough to where I feel like I won’t die? Yes. I stay comfortable, which is good enough.
- Three pockets: Two on the sides, one on the interior. I’m not frantic about having storage on my person considering I’m carrying an entire backpack, but I have to admit it’s nice to be able to throw random junk into my pockets that I might need later in the day.
- Patagonia is a company that loves keeping things practical it seems. The inner-pocket can be used to compress the jacket into itself in a nice little bag, much like the Houdinis that I just reviewed. I love this so much.
- The bottom of the jacket can be cinched down. This was so nice on my winter hikes. It prevented chilly wind or snow from getting into my jacket, which in turn kept me warm.
- This thing is tough. I wore it on my hike up Kings Peak which was nothing but jagged talus. My arms were constantly brushing up against sharp rocks, I was frequently crab-walking down steep slopes, and there are virtually no signs of wear. Then multiply that by all the trips and hikes I’ve been on where it’s consistently exposed to more rocks, mud, branches, etc. I am not worried about this thing ripping on me. It even survived me in a drunken stupor refusing to sleep in my tent (Oh yeah, I need to share that story at some point).
- It isn’t as useless when wet as you’d think. Of course it doesn’t insulate as well, but on my trip up to Goat Rocks where it was nothing but wet ridiculousness everywhere, I wasn’t too bothered. It definitely got soaked through, but it wasn’t sopping wet (just so I’m not giving you the wrong image here). The outer material does a good job at repelling rain to a certain point, long enough to give you a moment to find a good place to stop, or to dig out your rain jacket. Due to it being mostly polyester, it dries out pretty quickly. Huzzah for synthetic materials!
- I like my gear to be comfortable. I’ve experienced the horrors of uncomfortable gear over the years, so I make it a point to pick things that don’t eat the flesh off my body from all the constant friction. So with that said, this jacket is super cozy.
- It makes a fantastic impromptu pillow.
- It’s cheaper than some of the more popular options out there (I’m looking at you Ghost Whisperer. To be fair though, that’s a legit jacket).
- And you can do this, which is.. something.. I guess. In all seriousness, it’s a good way to keep your face warm.
- It might not be as pricey as some of the other jackets out there, but it’s still a cool $200. I came from a world where I only ever spent $70 max on jackets. This absolutely blew me away. So my impression on the price was negative considering that, but now it seems slightly more reasonable to me. Especially since it delivers.
- Stupid REI doesn’t carry the version with the hood. If I had known they had a model with a hood, I would have been all over that shit. Alas I have the collard version, but I can make it work with my magic Buff. Just know that this exists, and you should go for that instead (unless you hate hoods for some reason?).
- It doesn’t insulate as well as a down jacket would. That’s not a huge concern for me, but if it is for you then I’d maybe look for something else.
- Obligatory weight comment: Being synthetic, it’s a little heavier at 12oz. Its Ghost Whisperer counterpart only weighs 7oz. Ouch.
Take a Look for Yourself
If I lived in a world where the universe didn’t lead me to the Nanopuff, I would have gone with the Ghost Whisperer. I am constantly being blasted by nothing but praise for this jacket, so that’s hard to ignore. And like I said above, it’s lightweight. I am only slightly envious of people who went this route, but I love my jacket. And I mean.. I can’t afford to replace it at this point. The only thing I don’t like about the Ghost Whisperer is it has this weird glossy quality to it. I know you shouldn’t buy gear based on visuals alone, but they’re so.. shiny.. Anyways, check it out! These too have a hooded option if you so desire, I’m just going for equivalents here.