Photography by Richard Giordano
When I left Western Canada south on the Pan-American Highway nearly a decade ago, quality outdoor gear was not my priority. Our budget was tight, plus we were going to Mexico and Costa Rica—a hoodie and cheap windbreaker would certainly cut it, right? A blustery night with freezing temps at the summit of Guatemala’s Acatenango volcano changed everything. Timeless, versatile, and well-constructed pieces that take a beating form the cornerstone of the long-term overlander’s wardrobe. Patagonia’s Down Sweater Hoody has now become a part of mine.
Rated as a lightweight puffy, this jacket contains 3.5 ounces of 800-fill power 100% Responsible Down Standard down. I chose a size small to fit my five-foot-three frame, which provided enough room for a fairly thick fleece or jacket layer underneath without looking too boxy or bulky, but didn’t feel like overkill when paired with a long-sleeved base layer. The women’s version tucks in at the waist and flares at the hip, avoiding the dreaded Paperbag Princess vibe.
The ability to layer proved effective for temperature control while driving, camping, hiking, preparing meals outdoors, and walking around town during a recent trip to Iceland. Back in Canada, I paired the jacket with a single merino base layer for hikes in the woods at -3°C (26.6°F), and the jacket performed very well for a lightweight version in sub-zero temps, keeping me toasty warm with no complaints. In the fall, I stomped around Calgary, where the jacket was functionally casual during dog park visits with friends and dashes from morning yoga classes to coffee dates with my significant other.
The single-pull cinchable hood is a comfortable size and allows room for a beanie or toque, while the front zipper features a wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage near the chin, effectively preventing scratching at the neck. A drawcord hem adjusts the hoody at the hip, and fleece details around the face and inside the pockets add a pleasant touch. The elastic wrist cuffs are stretchy enough to tuck a pair of gloves into but are also comfortable without them. An internal zippered chest pocket converts into a stuff sack, but cramming the jacket contents into the pouch is a bit of a mission. Once stuffed away, however, the package measures 10 x 6 inches and features a handy carabiner clip-in loop.
In Fall 2022, Patagonia upgraded this jacket, including a new 100% recycled shell fabric made of nylon ripstop from recycled fishing nets and a durable water-repellent coating without perfluorinated chemicals. The new version also contains 4 ounces of 800-fill power down, drop-in interior pockets for added storage, a total weight of 343 grams (12.1 ounces), and a repair patch kit. There is an identical men’s version and another without the hood if that’s your jam.
As a wardrobe staple, this puffy ticks all boxes: it’s versatile, lightweight, warm, packs down small and works for casual sightseeing. Plus, Patagonia’s environmental and social responsibility efforts, mail-in repair policy, and Worn Wear programs provide assurance for those who encounter any issues or want to reduce their overall impact and consumption of gear.
$329 | patagonia.com
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