< Go to Insulated Jackets - Men's

Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia DAS Parka Review


Insulated Jacket

Click to enlarge
Top Pick Award
Price:   $299 List | $299.00 online  —  Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warmest contender tested, designed for cold weather climbing, great weather resistance
Cons:  Bulky and heavy
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Patagonia

Overview

The Patagonia DAS Parka, or "Dead Air Space" Parka, has been a cornerstone of climbing parkas for over 20 years, and this year it won our Top Pick for Warmth. It doesn't have any extra frills and features a boxy cut designed to fit over your other layers. It is by far the warmest model we tested and the best and most popular synthetic "belay jacket" for ice climbing and big mountain expeditions in damp, cold climates. In fact, it has several features that are optimized for climbing use, including big, internal mesh pockets for drying gloves and a main zipper that opens from the bottom up.

We think of our Top Pick winner as a relatively specialist piece, however, and think that most folks will be better served for everyday use by one of the lighter insulated models we tested. The Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody is our favorite jacket with medium insulation; it is a great mid-layer for really cold weather and a good outer layer for near freezing conditions. The second warmest model we tested, the Mountain Hardwear Super Compressor, is a bit more stylish for around town wear, but doesn't have the added weather resistance and big internal drop-in pockets that make the DAS a great belay parka.

RELATED: Our complete review of insulated jackets - men's

Compare Side-by-Side

Compare all Insulated Jackets - Men's >

Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Brandon Lampley & Chris Simrell

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 17, 2015
The Patagonia DAS Parka is the perfect jacket for hunkering down on winter climbs, especially ones where you might get a bit wet. It's a great backcountry ski parka for wet, coastal zones as well. As you'd expect, it received high scores for warmth and weather resistance, but it is heavy, doesn't compress well, and has a big, boxy look.

Our Top Pick for Warmth is a specialist piece that we really only recommend for a relatively small percentage of consumers. It could be the right insulated jacket for you if:
  • 1) You regularly face cold, wet climates and you're certain a winter jacket or down jacket isn't going to meet your needs.
  • 2) You are really hard on your gear and know that a rip in your down coat would leave your insulation flying away.
  • 3) You don't have the budget to invest in a warm down jacket and want great warmth at a lower price.

Performance Comparison


Click to enlarge
Rocking a rainbow layering system while ice climbing in Lee Vining Canyon in CA. Light hooded base layer, Arc'teryx Atom LT jacket, Marmot Essence ultralight rain jacket, and the DAS Parka over top when belaying and hanging out.

Warmth


The DAS Parka is the go-to standard in the world of super warm synthetic jackets. The newest generation uses two layers of PrimaLoft insulation: 120 g/m2 PrimaLoft Silver Hi-Loft throughout with an additional 60g/m2 of PrimaLoft Gold in the torso. This insulated jacket is primarily intended as a cold (or damp) weather belay parka and that is indeed its best place. The warmth of the DAS will be too much for most applications unless you're simply standing around all day in cold weather. The Mountain Hardwear Super Compressor is the second warmest model we tested, but isn't as well designed for technical use. You might consider it more stylish for casual wear though.

Click to enlarge
Chris Simrell stays dry and extra warm while racking up with the synthetic Patagonia DAS Parka layered over his shell.

The DAS's big warm hood features a single elastic cord adjustment at the back of the head that snugs it up well around the face. Additionaly, the collar easily covers up to the bottom of your nose and a stiffened brim on the hood helps keep falling snow and dripping water from your face. Finally, the main zipper is backed by an insulated storm flap for added protection from cold penetration the Super Compressor does not have this feature.

Weight & Compressibility


What can we say? While this parka earned the highest score for warmth, it also earn the lowest score for weight and compressibility. At 25.6 ounces, it's twice as heavy as the light insulated models we tested, but it's definitely at least twice as warm. Expect this jacket to take up a lot of space when you put it in your pack. The Patagonia DAS Parka comes with a stuff sack for stowing it away; however, it's like a wrestling match to get it in there. The PrimaLoft Silver Hi-Loft insulation that is the primary insulation prioritizes loft and warmth and thus compresses poorly compared to PrimaLoft GOLD and others. By comparison, the Super Compressor stuffs into its chest pocket and is much smaller when compressed.

Click to enlarge
This is as small as you'll get the DAS, it's takes a good bit of wrestling to stuff it into the included stuff sack, which has a clip in loop.

Comfort


We awarded the DAS a middle of the road score for comfort. Such a big parka, intended for wear over top of many other layers, doesn't incorporate soft, fleecy bits and it feels bulky and stiff. However, we did find the underarm construction to allow good overhead mobility without tugging up the hem.

The warm hood is large enough to fit over a helmet, but if you wear it without a helmet, it's not very snug. A stiffened brim provides protection from drips and snow and the single elastic adjustment works well with a cord lock on the back of the head. The zippered hand pockets have insulation on both sides; this is a nice feature for warming up cold hands, but we wish they were a little deeper. A roomy zippered pocket on the exterior left chest provides ample easy-access storage. Two large, mesh drop-in pockets live on the inside of the jacket next to your tummy. These are excellent spots to dry a pair of wet gloves or even store two water bottles to keep them from freezing. We'd like to see a little larger zipper pulls for use with heavy gloves, but the existing ones work well enough. The elastic wrist cuffs fit snugly which is appreciated for warmth and wind resistance. Finally, the hem cinches tight with a cord lock on either the left or right hip.

Click to enlarge
Large, mesh drop-in pockets on the interior of this parka are perfect for drying gloves or storing water bottles so they don't freeze.

Weather Resistance


Weather resistance is the other metric (along with warmth) where the DAS earned a perfect score. This jacket's 20D nylon ripstop shell fabric has a PU coating and is exceptionally water resistant. This is essentially why you would want to opt for this jacket over a more compressible, lighter weight down parka it resists water well, and will keep you warm even if you get wet. This parka is designed for warmth while being relatively inactive, such as belaying on ice routes or in the big mountains. In these scenarios, temps might be warm enough to have liquid water running down the ice or rock and wet snow falling from the sky. The synthetic insulation in the Patagonia DAS Parka can handle getting damp. This jacket is also very wind resistant. The PU coated outer fabric stops the wind and even if it didn't, the super thick insulation would stop it on its own.

Click to enlarge
We wish the zipper pulls on this parka were a little bigger, but you can still grab 'em with gloves. The elastic wrist cuffs fit nice and snug for warmth and wind resistance, and stretch enough to easily don the parka over your big, warm gloves.

Breathability


Sadly, this jacket offers essentially no breahtability, and is definitely the least breathable of the products we tested. That's the reality of such a thick synthetic parka that also uses a PU-coated water resistant shell. For the most part, this is not a layer you will use when on the move with the potential to overheat. The exception… some folks love this parka for the downs when backcountry skiing in maritime climates like Alaska. There's often snow falling, and that snow is often heavy and wet. Black is the perfect color for the lining of this jacket. On multi-day trips, turn it inside out and let the sun bake away any accumulated sweat when you have the chance.

Style


This is not likely to be a jacket you or your friends find attractive for around-town wear. It is big, bulky, and box shaped. The hem of this parka is quite long, covering more of your butt for warmth. We suggest sizing it so that it will fit over all your other layers.

Click to enlarge
This big, warm parka has a boxy cut, especially over the tummy. Plus the hood is pretty big if you're not putting it over a helmet.

Best Applications


This jacket is the best thing going for ice climbing belays in conditions that might have liquid water around. It's also a great option for cold winter work where a tear in a down parka would have your goose down "flying away." The DAS also has a place on extended expeditions to places like Alaska or Patagonia where dampness through use and inclement mountain weather conditions are a big concern for down parkas.

Value


At $300, the DAS Parka isn't cheap, but it's only a little more expensive than many of the light models we tested. A similarly warm down parka will set you back up to twice as much. For warmth-to-price ratio, it is hard to beat this parka. However, remember that a well-cared-for down coat will last longer than a synthetic one.

Click to enlarge
Over the hardshell jacket, over harness, over everything. The Patagonia DAS is the warmest synthetic 'belay parka' out there.

Conclusion


The Patagonia DAS Parka has been around for a long time, but has been regularly updated with advanced insulation and water resistant fabrics. It is the best synthetic "belay parka" out there and will keep you warm and dry in all but the most heinous conditions.

Other Versions


Click to enlarge
Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Parka and Fitz Roy Down Hoody - Women's
  • 800 fill 100% traceable down insulation
  • 1 lbs 3oz
  • Ideal for very cold belays and mountain bivy
  • $450
Brandon Lampley & Chris Simrell

Where to Buy?

Seller Price  Shipping Cost Visit
Backcountry $299.00 FREE!*
MooseJaw $299.00 FREE!*

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 7, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Mar 7, 2016 - 09:15am
sele · Mountain Biker · New York
Hi
First time ordering Patagonia items from backcountry.com
So I got 75% Discount Patagonia Items when use code on wativ.com you are more discount on this site so you need a more discount you check it on this link
http://wativ.com/promo-codes/backcountry-com
http://wativ.com/promo-codes/backcountry-com/

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No


Have you used the Patagonia DAS Parka?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Backcountry $299.00
MooseJaw $299.00
Compare prices at 2 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Helpful Buying Tips

Unbiased.