Patagonia Dual Aspect Hoody
$249, 16 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
What if you could find one jacket that serves as on-the-go insulation in cool to cold temperatures, functions as both a middle layer and an outer layer that sheds snow and light rain like a soft-shell jacket, but breathes better than most soft shells, so that you rarely take it off? Patagonia’s Dual Aspect Hoody does all of that—and this hybrid jacket has design elements that raise it above even many of the cutting-edge, breathable-insulation apparel pieces out there, I decided after numerous days of backcountry skiing in it.
Skiing in temperatures ranging from around freezing to single digits, with howling winds and below-zero wind chills above treeline, and conditions varying from warm sunshine to lightly falling snow, I wore this hoody as an outer layer on long ascents and over rolling terrain, and then pulled a soft-shell jacket on over it (and sometimes a vest) to ski downhill. Most impressively, while I got somewhat sweaty skiing uphill, the jacket moved moisture out quickly enough that my base layer dried within several minutes of moderate exertion skiing downhill. I wore it for hours straight some days, removing it only when skiing uphill at a pace that kept me warm in shirtsleeves.
The design’s foundation consists of durable, 70-denier Polartec Power Shield fabric (96 percent recycled polyester) with mechanical stretch and a DWR (durable, water-repellent finish), bonded to a Polartec Power Grid knit, in the front, back, shoulders, and outer sides of the sleeves. This “shell” fabric delivers snow-shedding properties where snow lands on you. The jacket also uses stretchy Polartec Power Dry fabric (54 percent recycled polyester) in the hood, side panels, underarms, cuffs, and hem (read: under your pack’s hipbelt) for superior fit and breathability where your body gets hot, as well as providing adequate warmth for temperatures ranging from the 30s Fahrenheit to well below freezing.
The stretchy, balaclava-style hood provides an ideal level of warmth and breathability for a variety of conditions, and fits over a lightweight beanie and under a helmet or the hood of a shell jacket. Although the sleeves lack thumbholes—which would seem to me perfect for this garment—they’re long enough to pull inside heavy gloves or over the wrists of lighter gloves. The zippered chest pocket is roomier than most, and the two zippered hand pockets sit above a climbing harness or pack hipbelt. All three pockets are mesh, so you can quickly dry a wet hat or gloves (if you’re carrying extras) inside them using body heat.
The Patagonia Dual Aspect Hoody is an extremely versatile, all-season piece that excels for moderate- and high-exertion winter sports.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy a Patagonia Dual Aspect Hoody at backcountry.com.
See also my stories:
“Why and When to Spend More on Gear: Part 1, Packs and Tents, and Part 2, Rain Jackets, Boots, and Sleeping Bags”
“The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun”
“Buying Gear? Read This First”
“5 Tips For Spending Less on Hiking and Backpacking Gear”
“My 10 Most-Read Gear Reviews”
“Ask Me: How Do We Begin Lightening Up Our Backpacking Gear?”
“10 Smarter Ways to Think About Your Layering System”
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on Gear Reviews at left or in the main menu.
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