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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

OR: Cool New Gear Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt, Jacket, and Hoodie

Patagonia's latest line of down products may make you rethink how you layer from here on out.

Back in the day, down was reserved for big super-warm jackets that made you look like the Michelin Man. We all know that's changed in the past few years and Patagonia's most recent foray into down products has us salivating. The Ultralight Down Shirt ($250), designed as both an outer and insulating layer, features cubes of 800 fill down and could replace your fleece mid-layer if Patagonia has it's way. The company introduced it last year but are now expanding the line with a jacket ($279) and hoodie ($299) for this coming fall. We're psyched to test them out. Look for a full report later in BACKPACKER.

--ANTHONY CERRETANI

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Ryan T.
Feb 21, 2011

I have Patagonia's Down Sweater(full zip and hoody) as well as the UL Down Shirt. While I agree there are other down products on the market that are less expensive I stick with Patagonia. Patagonia's dedication to closing the loop on its products is second to none. The down Patagonia uses is all ethically sourced and the shells are recyclable through Patagonia's(the shell on the Down Sweater is 100% recycled polyester to begin with) Common Threads program. Sustainability costs more and for me is worth the extra cash.

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Feb 04, 2011

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the buckaroo
Jan 27, 2011

...Patagonia, ArcTeryx, Mt. Hardwear, Marmot, Sierra Design...quality comes at a price. TNF was once in this league. Dollar for dollar, though, REI branded garments have the best bang for the buck.

I have drawers & closets crammed full of the above manufacturers...but I'm a whore when it comes to loyalty. Show me a better product & I'll switch in a heartbeat.

Jesubmar
Jan 27, 2011

Yes, agree with many of the posts above, Patagonia garments are pricey. That being said they are good looking and chic, however that is not my cup of tea. I prefer synthetic insulation garments, they are less expensive than down and perform better under harsher conditions. Synthetic insulation will keep you warm when your body water vapor has saturated it or when your water bottle accidentally opened in your backpack and soaked your insulating layer. Try sleeping in a snow cave for a few days with a down insulated sleeping bag/jacket or any extended backpacing in wintertime/wet conditions and you'll know what I mean.

ToddR
Jan 27, 2011

I have had the Montbell for three years now. It leaks feathers like crazy now. Don't know if there is the same problem with Patagonia, but I will be going with Patagonia next time.

Chico TD
Jan 27, 2011

I don't have a Patagucci ( as my gear-shop, manager friend calls it,) down sweater . Mine is a Cloudveil, purchased on sale .It is a great product ! I do have many Patagucci garments and love them all. I believe they are of the highest quality and while they do cost more I would rather save a bit longer and buy one of the best. I find their performance on the trail to be unmatched and their service after the sale is impeccable.

Dave
Jan 26, 2011

Agree with many, Patagonia must have funneled some $$ to get this attention. I like their light and mid weight long underwear, but it's also over-priced. I've used Montbell and found it better for the price, and there are cheaper ways to go that do just as good a job. Patagonia's prices are way out of line.

Anonymous
Jan 25, 2011

I bought a Montbell last year and absolutely love it. Definitely cheaper. Especially if you shop around.

Fritz
Jan 25, 2011

I got Patagonia's first pile jacket in 1978 or 79 and have been wearing it ever since: skiing, backpacking, and around town. It's gotten tighter as I've gotten older, so I now have a Micro Puff and my son wears the pile jacket backpacking! Great clothes!!

mark
Jan 25, 2011

MontBell makes good stuff, very UL. Too UL for some people, really. And partly due to sizing... MB generally runs a size smaller than most clothing manf's. Kinda like light bread, where the slices are only half as wide as regular bread...no wonder it has less calories doh! :) Seriously MB does make quality gear if you are looking for UL threads... I like paty, have a few down garments and Softshells's from them, good stuff. Can't go wrong with either, really as long as the fit is right.

Jeff
Jan 25, 2011

Patagonia stands by all their products. I have return 3-10 year old jackets with no question... the money spent is well worth it. Same goes with ArcTeryx.

Fly16
Jan 25, 2011

I have the down sweater which I bought on sale or I could not have afforded it. But my best midlayer is a cheapo fleece jacket I got at JC Penny on sale for pennies. High price plus a "green" brand name don't necessarily equal the most functional product.

debmonster
Jan 25, 2011

The Montbell UL inner down jacket is lighter (8 oz. vs. 12 oz. for Patagonia) and $50 less expensive than the Patagonia (but I bet Patagonia spends more $$ in ads so they get featured). The Patagonia fill weight is 3 oz. and the Montbell is 2 oz., so the Patagonia may be a bit warmer. Down sweaters are not intended to be used while hiking (except maybe for mountaineering), but more for the time when you stop to have a snack, or lunch, or setting up camp after hiking, under your rain shell, etc. If you wear a down jacket while hiking, you will probably sweat into it and negate the insulating function and have no way to keep yourself warm. Personally, I don't recommend wearing a fleece jacket while hiking either because most are too heavy and make you sweat. A light base layer with a light merino wool sweater, softshell jacket or microfleece vest works better.

Lee S
Jan 25, 2011

I picked up a Patagonia Down Sweater last autumn for this winter season.... it's awesome!

Hands down the warmest jacket I have... the only time I wear it is when it's less than 20ļF or i'm sedentary (lounging around camp and crap like that)... if you're climbing or keeping a pretty good pace on the trail it's WAY too hot.

Plus Patagonia has a great warranty... if it breaks just send it in for repairs or replacement! Usually free, besides shipping.

Stu
Jan 25, 2011

I don't own any Patagonia products... I kind of see them more as a fashion statement then actual usable gear in the field. I'm sure the $300 down shirt will keep me warm an cozy on the trail but I'll be wearing it when I live in a box. That's half a months rent for a lot of folks.

sierracanon
Jan 25, 2011

I also have a MontBell down inner jacket. Almost identical product, and about a hundred bucks cheaper. Love the MontBell.

Jonsie
Jan 25, 2011

Echoing price problem of others. All the other great retailers are at about the same place concerning price with similar products. Patagonia needs to come back down to earth.

Bruce
Jan 25, 2011

I have the Montbell inner jacket.. cheaper, and awesome. It is far better then a fleece because when it is in my pack, it is the size of a water bottle. I even use it under my motorcycle jacket in the spring and fall since it is so light, thin, and warm!

Michael
Jan 25, 2011

I don't see anything new or really innovative here, just a really expensive shirt. I never understood down as a midlayer in this age of synthetics and cheap wool. It doesn't matter how warm/small it is if it's susceptible to degrading due to sweat. e whole point of a goretex shell is sweat can leave...which means it must pass through your midlayer...

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