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Patagonia Down Sweater Review

   

Down Jackets - Men's

  • Currently 4.1/5
Overall avg rating 4.1 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: December 5, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $131 - $229 | Compare prices at 9 resellers
Pros:  Light, compacts small, warm for its size.
Cons:  Expensive, limited versatility compared to other types of insulated jackets.
Best Uses:  Gener winter use in climates that range from cool to cold (but not really really cold places).
User Rating:     
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 (4.3 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  75% of reviewers (3/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 2, 2012  
Overview
The Patagonia Down Sweater narrowly misses getting the Editors' Choice award because its main fabric is not as durable as some of the competition. It is made with recycled materials, so if you are an Earth-conscious consumer, this could be a plus. Patagonia has a well-known and dependable warranty program, which could override the low durability scores. However, this jacket is expensive, and there other jackets that scored higher and cost less such as the MontBell Alpine Light Down Parka, which won our Best Buy award because you get the most for its price.

So why is this BY FAR the most popular down jacket you see in cities and mountain towns? Style and brand. People love the look of this jacket and people love Patagonia. Many of our testers own this jacket and love it. Most people who buy a garment probably care more about the looks and Patagonia logo than how it performs in intense outdoor activity versus the competitors. And again, it performed great in our tests… just not the best.

Some of our family members, even after seeing our scores and tests, still wanted the Down Sweater over the alternatives just because the brand and style are so important to them.

Check out our complete Men's Down Jacket Review to see how this compared to others.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
This jacket is so light, comfortable, and warm that I used is as my go-to jacket every time I headed out in the cold. I packed it with me on a chilly month-long float trip down the Grand Canyon in November and it became an indispensable piece for camping outside for that length of time.

The Patagonia Down Sweater weighs in at 11.3 oz, which is the next lightest jacket after the Mountain Hardwear Nitrous. For only 1.3 ounces more weight, the Down Sweater has the added features of zippered hand pockets and an interior mesh pocket that the jacket can stuff into rather than a separate stuff sack.

It weighs little yet delivers a surprising amount of warmth for its size and packs down small. It is of a weight that layers well in just about any temperature. For cool fall days it works on its own. For really cold winter days it can be combined with other fleece and shell layers. It packs down ridiculously small, which makes it ideal for fast and light backcountry excursions. For skiing, it can cram down in your pack for the climb up. At the top of the run, pull it out as you take off your skins or take a break for lunch. Because it has more baffles than the typical down jacket, it is a little more durable. We find even after crushing it down a bunch, it bounces back reasonably well, whereas many other down jackets we have to baby a little more.

Dislikes
After a lot of use I easily tore a hole in this jacket and was disappointed in its durability. But like everything, it has its tradeoffs. The fabric is light and stuffs easily, which are major pluses of this jacket, but the lightness makes it more fragile. The Down Sweater is made with a recycled polyester material that seems to be slightly less durable than the Pertex Quantum material on The North Face Catalyst or the Ballistic Nylon on the MontBell Alpine Light.

Best Application
This jacket is so light and packable it can be used for any kind of outdoor adventure, from long backpacking trips to clipping on your harness for a multi-pitch climb. It can be used as a mid-layer or an outer layer. It is also stylish enough and comes in many fun colors so it could be your every day winter jacket.

Value
At $200 for the non-hooded version and $250 for the hooded version, the Down Sweater is average in price for a lightweight 800 fill down jacket. Patagonia guarantees their products with a fantastic warranty. I have a friend who sent her Down Sweater back because the zipper started failing, and she got a brand new jacket sent to her. With a quality promise like this, it makes buying an expensive Patagonia product virtually risk-free.

We really like the hooded version of this jacket, which is called the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody. However, they charge you another $50 for the hood, which at $250 puts you toward the price range of the $300 Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero SL that is a lot more jacket for the money (but for more intense cold weather activities). Or, if you are looking for lightweight warm jacket, synthetic jackets like the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover or North Face Redpoint Jacket cost $50 less, are much more durable, and will keep you warm if they get wet. The Nano or Redpoint serve a similar function to the Down Sweater but we will much more comfortable about tossing it in the washing machine.

Other Versions
Patagonia Down Sweater - Women's, $219.
Patagonia Down Sweater Vest - Women's, $170.
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody - Women's, $280.
Patagonia Downtown Loft Jacket- Women's, $280.
Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody - Women's, $350.
Patagonia Down Sweater Vest - Men's, $180.
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody - Men's, $270.
Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody - Men's, $350.
Patagonia Primo Down Jacket - Men's, $650.


A big part of Patagonia is the history, manufacturing process, and philosophy behind their gear that is told in Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. Highly recommended reading.

The Footprint Chronicles: Patagonia Down Sweater

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 5, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.3)

75% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 40%  (2)
4 star: 40%  (2)
3 star: 20%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Dec 5, 2013 - 05:53am
whispersiren · Backpacker
Zipper broke after 6 months. For the price I thought it should at least give me a year without problems. Also the material is quite thin and has gotten some small holes. My final gripe is that it is a bit short.

I love the weight, feel and style of the jacket. The material is less shiny than other jackets which I also like and a nice choice of colors. I like the browns and earth tones.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 21, 2013 - 08:20pm
NomadicPatoux · Hiker · Calgary, Alberta Canada
I have worn this jacket for years, washed it many times and it still retains its warmth. Wore it up Kilimanjaro. I used it under my M10 jacket as and insulating layer and to keep things light and it worked perfectly. I have worn it around town to do errands and it is stylish enough as are all of patagonia products. Overall, it is a great product that lasts for a long time as long as you take care of it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 17, 2012 - 11:21pm
johngenx · Climber
Though it's had to be patched a few times, I love this jacket. Mine has seen years and years of abuse, and is still warm and is probably one of my most used outdoor clothing items. I have a different jacket for around town, saving the Patagonia for backcountry adventures.

It goes on pretty much every trip save for deep winter climbing trips where my big parka is called for.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 6, 2012 - 12:42am
Steve McNamara · Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab
The down sweater works in both cold and moderate weather. In cold weather, I keep it zipped and if the day warms up I unzip it. It works across many temperatures especially from 40 to 60°. I have not found another layer that does this as well as the Down Sweater.

I also like the look. It's Down but you don't look like the Michelin man.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Patagonia Down Sweater
Credit: Patagonia.com
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