Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $649 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Stylish looks, quality materials, lightweight, useful ski features
Cons: Material feels a bit stiff, expensive, afraid the potential lack of breathability could affect the down insulation.
Best Uses: Resort skiing or snowboarding
The Patagonia Primo Down Women's Jacket is a warm, stylish, and high quality ski jacket that took the award for Editors' Choice. This jacket has a lot of special features to keep you warm, looking good, and functioning well on the ski hill. We really like its down insulation, special pockets for iPods, keys, and ski passes as well as its removable snow skirt. It is also constructed from quality materials. This jacket is lightweight, comfortable, and moves well with the wearer when shredding pow. Because of its top of the line materials and quality construction it is also one of the most expensive jackets in this review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A down insulated jacket with a waterproof exterior and useful features tailored towards skiing, the Primo Down is a high performance layer for cold days on the hill.
The Patagonia Primo Down Women's jacket is super warm. It is insulated with 700-fill-power goose down that is much lighter in weight than the insulation found in the Enigma and Whirlibird jackets, but it feels just as warm and very wind resistant. Even on the coldest days at the hill we paired this jacket with a base layer and thin mid-layer and were toasty. We really like that its hood is insulated with down as well, and fits over a ski helmet to keep any heat from escaping from the head or neck. It also has a clever neck baffle of down that keeps cold air from getting in down your back and seals warm air in.
The Primo Down is one of few jackets in this review, along with the Arc'teryx Meta and Arc'teryx Andessa, to use Gore-Tex fabric for its outer shell. Gore-Tex is the most widely regarded waterproof/breathable membrane on the market. We found that water beaded well and rolled off well on this material in our own tests.
The two layer recycled Gore-Tex material used on this jacket has a permeable membrane that is supposed to let moisture out when you sweat. Our testers have found that sometimes Gore-Tex is not as breathable as we would like, and becomes less so over time when the jacket gets dirty. This makes us a little nervous about how this jacket will perform over time, because down insulation becomes less effective when it gets wet. The Primo Down does have pit-zips for for extra ventilation and airflow when you're really earning your turns.
The Primo Down excels in the ski performance category. It has several clever features meant to keep you comfortable on the ski hill. We especially like the removable powder skirt and the clever media pocket that keeps your iPod tucked away and allows your headphones to poke through to the interior of your jacket. It has plenty of pockets including a large interior for goggles, a small zippered interior pocket for your keys, and a ski pass pocket on the sleeve. Other jackets that had good ski features were the Helly Hansen Enigma - Women's the Arc'teryx Meta, and the Orage LouLou .
This jacket has a simple design that is form flattering and looks good. It is not flashy like the Josie or the Bugaboo, but we still think our testers look great in it. The Primo Down has a complimentary colored lining that you can see on the outside in the hood, and it comes in a variety of pleasant colors.
Comfort and Fit
Being so lightweight is an advantage for the Primo Down, which adds to its comfort. Compared to the heavy Enigma and Bugaboo, this jacket feels like you're wearing nothing at all. We did find the material a bit stiff when we were sitting on the chair lift, but the soft chin guard on this jacket makes up for it. We also liked that its hemline was long and covered our backsides. Our medium sized testers found this jacket very comfortable and roomy enough to put an extra layer underneath – although we rarely felt like we needed one.
With all of its special features, this jacket was made for skiing and snowboarding at the resort. It will keep you warm on the coldest days and has extra venting for warmer spring skiing days.
The Primo Down is one of the most expensive jackets in this review, which may be a barrier to some. It has high quality materials and we believe it will last a long time with proper care. If you are looking for something that has many of ski features and versatility but at a lower price point, we recommend the Columbia Whirlibird Interchange - Women's or the Orage LouLou.
The waterproof exterior, well insulated interior, and combination of excellent ski features makes this our favorite insulted ski jacket. We find it functional, flattering, and falling into an acceptable price range. It takes the Editors' Choice award for being the jacket we want to be wearing on a fun and deep powder day on our favorite hill.
The Patagonia Primo Down Jacket is the men's version and also wins our Editor's Choice Award.
The Patagonia DAS Parka - Women's, $300, is a synthetic insulated technical winter jacket and is the ultimate belay jacket for ice climbing or a warm layer for overnight ski tours. You can also find this jacket in the men's version, the Patagonia DAS Parka, which wins our Top Pick Award and retails for $300.
— Jessica Haist
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Most recent review: February 9, 2014
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