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The best gear is the kind that lasts. In 1,000-Mile Test, our reviewers return to favorite pieces of gear to see how they perform on the trail after multiple years and hundreds or thousands of miles.
In 2015, I set out to hike the Wilderness Coast, a rough trek that meanders between Pacific Northwest rainforest and rugged coastline along Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Sick of waterproof jackets wetting out or snagging in typical PNW forest conditions, I asked my friend, an arborist, which hardshell he used to stay dry while shimmying up massive evergreens. His answer? The Patagonia Triolet Jacket.
Patagonia promotes its Triolet as being a “jack of all trades” alpine jacket. And true to its word, this jacket is impenetrable in almost any conditions. A few years ago, I took it on an impossible-to-pack-for winter trip to Tonga, a tropical island chain in the South Pacific, followed by New Zealand’s South Island, where it was a good 50 degrees colder. It kept me bone-dry sitting on the bow of a dive boat zooming across the stormy Pacific ocean (not recommended—my jacket is still salty) and completely cut out 40 mph ridgeline winds on New Zealand’s Kepler Track in a driving snowstorm.
The Triolet’s brawn comes from a three-layer Gore-Tex construction and 75-denier face fabric that can handle all the rock-scraping and crampon-scuffing you throw at it. Five pockets (including an internal dump pocket and two sizable harness-compatible external pockets) and a helmet-compatible hood make this an ideal jacket for alpine pursuits, with enough room to stash skins, mittens, and other miscellaneous gear. The fit is generous: it’s meant to be layered, and feels baggy with just a baselayer underneath.
All that utility comes with drawbacks. The Triolet weighs in at a whopping 1 lb 3.4 oz.—a quarter-pound over many comparable hardshells. Breathability, despite massive pit-zips, is sub-par. In short: this jacket is major overkill for most summer pursuits. But for an exceptionally bomber shell that will keep you dry, warm, and likely last a decade of heavy use, the Triolet is hard to beat.
$399; Buy Now