Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $60 - $129 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros: Stretchy, breathable, non-restrictive, recycled materials.
Cons: Not windproof; only suitable for high output activities.
Best Uses: Hiking, cold weather running, cross-country skiing.
The Patagonia Traverse is a stretchy, highly breathable, non-windproof softshell jacket for high output pursuits like running, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The jacket weighs just under 10 oz, which makes it the lightest softshell tested; it weighs 1/3 as much as insulated softshells like the Outdoor Research Lodestar. This is an excellent and inexpensive piece for short duration winter activities that demand more breathability than a windshell.
See our full Softshell Jacket Review where we compare the other softshells tested.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Patagonia Traverse is a very lightweight and highly breathable softshell. The jacket is made exclusively of one material: 4.7 oz./ square yard, 70 denier, 93 percent polyester, 7 percent spandex with four-way mechanical stretch and DWR finish. The jacket is stretchy and wind resistant, but not windproof (its not intended to be). Weighing just under 10 ounces, this is the lightest and most compressible softshell we reviewed.
The Traverse walks a fine line between softshell and windbreaker. No insulation makes it, more or less, just the outermost layer of other softshells (such as the Arcteryx Gamma MX). This gives you the flexibility to wear a thin baselayer underneath.
The jacket works well in aerobic conditions where you need a high degree of articulation and demand some wind resistance. The jacket is best for constant motion activities. If you stop the wind will whip through the jacket and you'll get cold quickly. The inability to block strong winds makes the jacket considerably less versatile. When compared to Patagonia's Houdini wind jacket (which weighs 4 oz), the Traverse is heavy and bulky. This is not a jacket we woud ever want to carry on a multi-day trip of any type-- it provides very little weather protection and warmth for its weight. But the Traverse is intended for short term day use activities that last no longer than one day. The jacket is remarkably comfortable for running and cross-country skiing.
Good value for a very narrow range of activities. See a Prive versus Value Chart here.
— Max Neale
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Most recent review: March 1, 2013
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