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Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Patagonia Knifeblade Softshell

Classic softshell for any winter sport

by: Kelly Bastone

(Andrew Bydlon)
(Andrew Bydlon)

All-Purpose
Ski-touring or snowshoeing in cold, windy conditions calls for a classic softshell that hits the right balance between protection and breathability. That’s the Knifeblade. Skinning through flurries, wind, and single-digit temperatures near Wyoming’s Baldy Knoll yurt, our tester found that it “shed snow and blocked gusts effectively, and breathability was good enough to let me keep it on while carrying a 40-pound pack uphill.” The Polartec Power Shield Pro fabric is supple and stretchy, so that despite the close, athletic fit, our tester felt unconstrained. Two hand pockets are big enough for climbing skins and multi-function as giant vents; the third pocket on the chest holds a phone or snacks. Cuffs, hem, and helmet-compatible hood are all fully adjustable. Downside? It’s spendy for a nonwaterproof shell. $379; 1 lb. 3 oz.; m’s XS-XL; w’s XS-L; patagonia.com



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