First Look Gear Review

Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody Review

   

Down Jackets - Men's

  • Currently 4.3/5
Overall avg rating 4.3 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: February 27, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $243 - $349 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  Incredibly light, compact, warm for its size and weight, stylish.
Cons:  Expensive, does not pack into its own pocket, doesn't fit as well as other Patagonia jackets.
Best Uses:  Backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, and around town. Too expensive to be used rock climbing unless you really take care of it.
User Rating:     
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 (4.7 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 16, 2013  
Overview
Our first impression of this jacket: Amazed at the warmth it gives for its weight. We also think it is one of the better looking down jackets and love the blue color. Below are our first impressions after using the jacket for a month. See our Down Jacket Review for jackets that have been fully evaluated.

Weight
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The Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody has one of the better looking hoods and it cinches down to keep out the wind. We also really like the blue color.
Credit: Chris McNamara

The Ultralight Down Hoody (9.6 ounces in Medium) is the next lightest down jacket we have tested after the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer (7.5 ounces in size Medium). It is not a perfect comparison because the Ghost Whisperer doesn't have a cinch on the hood or a chest pocket. The Medium in the Ghost Whisperer is warmer and a little bigger than the Medium in the Ultralight Down Hoody. There are lighter jackets, but most of them don't have zippered pockets and are geared mainly for the ultralight backpacking crowd.

Because of this low profile baffles, it does not feel like you're wearing a down jacket. It's hard to compare it to anything else because it is about the lightest way to stay warm. We put it side-by-side with one of our favorite new insulated jackets, the Rab Xenon and indeed the Unltralight Down Patagonia does keep you warmer.

Style and Colors
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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket (left) packs just a little smaller than the Patagonia Ultralight Down (hoody Right). However, the Ghost Whisperer packs into its own pocket whereas the Patagonia requires you to keep track of a small stuff sac
Credit: Chris McNamara

This is a very stylish jacket thanks to the color and variable width low profile baffles. We love the blue color. We have not seen it in many garments and hope Patagonia uses it for more jackets. And it's a good thing we like the blue because we don't particularly care for the other two colors it comes in. The outer material makes the black too shiny and the only other color is a bright yellow.

Packed Size
The jacket comes with a stuff sack. It will likely takes us only two months to lose it. It's better when jackets pack into their own pockets as does the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket. You can pack this into a hand pocket, but it is not very compact. It would be ideal if the chest pocket were a little bigger and you could compress the jacket into that.
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The Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody can pack into its own pocket. However, it is pretty bulky. It comes with a stuff sack. The stuff sack is fine if you don't lose the stuff sack, and don't mind keeping track of it.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Wind and Water Resistance
When you cinch down the hood it doesn't cover your chin. So when the wind really kicks up it's hard to keep the lower part of your face warm. For a $300 jacket, it would be nice if they put a little micro fleece in the chin area. We have come to expect this from most high end jackets and now miss it. That said, at least the hood does cinch so you can keep the hood from filling with an icy wind blast.

The DWR coating does a nice job of keeping the down dry in a light drizzle. It won't keep you dry in a steady rain. We don't know how durable the DWR coating is. But it's a good bet it will fade and need to be maintained over time
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The Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody will repel a light sprinkle due to the DWR finish.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Sizing
The fit of this jacket is off by one size: a medium is the same size as a small Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody. Our main tester wears a Small in just about everything Patagonia. But the Small version of this jacket was too small. We exchanged for the Medium, which fits well almost everywhere. The exception is the stomach, where there is too much room. The hang tag from the jacket said "alpine fit" but this jacket seems catered to a slightly girthier body type than other Patagonia jackets.

Hood
The hood cinches down to block out the wind. However, when you cinch it down, it does not cover your chin. It also does not fit over a helmet.

Other Versions
It comes in a version without the hood: the Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket. It also comes in a Women's Version and without a hood.

Down Sweater Hoody Vs. Ultralight Down Hoody
Which should you get? The Down Sweater is the better value as it is $50 less expensive and warmer. You get more down for your buck. The down sweater also fits over a bike, skiing or climbing helmet. The Ultralight packs down to about half the size of the Down Sweater but does not pack into its own pocket like the down sweater. The Ultralight has a chest pock and the Down Sweater has a pocket inside the jacket. We feel the Ultralight is better looking but the Down Sweater comes in more good colors (we only really like the blue in the Ultralight). So it all comes down to looks, weight and warmth. The Ultralight feels like you are wearing light shell where the Down Sweater feels more like you are wearing a down jacket. We never thought we would say the Down Sweater feels heavy, but it is much bulkier and heavier than the Ultralight (but still much lighter than the typical down jacket).


  • Photos
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Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 27, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.7)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 50%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Feb 27, 2014 - 02:01am
Guoster · Mountain Biker · Flagstaff
Now that the price of this can be found for around $200 when there are good deals, this jacket is everything that it was meant to be. I concur with all the strong points of strengths the review states regarding this jacket, and on top of that, I disagree with the sizing complaint. I am normally a small, and the small fits me beautifully. It's perfect to Patagonia slim sizing. Specs on me: 5'9", 43" shoulders, 38" chest, 31" waist, 24.5" arms from shoulder. If anything, the waist area had more room than the usual slim fit Patagonia items. I've never had the self contained packing jackets before, but I don't foresee a problem with losing the stuff sack; I think that keeping it perpetually in one of the three pockets at all times would be easy to do. Looks wise, this jacket stands out from the crowd of puffer vests and jackets from both actual outdoor enthusiasts, and J. Crew or the like. Branding is subtle as usual on the left chest, and the jacket design with the brand gives a nod to your dedication (and money) to performance.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 6, 2014 - 10:43pm
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
This jacket hits a real sweet spot between warmth, light weight, and functionality. It is warm and very light but fully featured and seems like it will be fairly durable as well.

I wear a medium in everything, and just got a medium in this jacket. It is a good fit although a bit boxy in the waist area compared to some other slim fit patagonia items. Less boxy than the down sweater and the nanopuff pullover though. All in all a good fit for a slim build (6' 160-165). Warmth is good, very light, hardly notice you are wearing it. I think the hood adjustment is key especially if you are going to use this with a hoodless quilt or in windy weather.

Compared to the ghost whisperer, which I also tried in both a medium and large, the fit on the ultralight hoody works better for me. In the Ghost whisperer the medium was too tight in the shoulders, but the large was huge in the waist. And the hood does not tighten down. I was willing to pay a small weight penalty for that one key features and likely a bit more durability, and would rather support Patagonia than MHW as it seems the quality has gone downhill since they were assimilated by Columbia.

I plan to use it for ultralight summer backpacking, hiking, climbing and maybe under a shell for skiing as well. Seems like a great choice so far!

Pockets are great, zippers work well. Only (very minor) negatives are that it does not pack into its own pocket, and the neck coverage could be a bit higher. But for the intended milder weather use, this is not a big deal.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 15, 2013 - 02:50am
Kwaltfitch · Climber · CO
The Ultra Light Down Hoody is fantastic! I agree with the OGL's pros in that it is really exceptionally warm for its weigh and I feel the baffling ensures a very small likelihood for cold spots and creates a great look. I will say that this jacket is not cheap, but if you were to consider that as a con then you have to compare it to the editors choice for ultra light down jackets, the Ghost Whisperer Hoody; with the Pata Ultra Light you get an adjustable hood, a chest pocket, and 10-denier ripstop (vs. 7-denier in the ghost)… all for only 1.8 ounces more weight and it is the SAME price as the Ghost. Also I have done plenty of climbing in this jacket and feel that the fit is great and I certainly do not baby my gear and have had no trouble with it at all, the new fabric Patagonia is using for this piece really takes abuse pretty well. All in all I cannot say enough good things about this product, pair it with something like the Ama Dablam from Marmot (like I have) and you can cover a huge range of cold temps!

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