Upon first receiving the new Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, it was clear that it is still the best looking down jacket in our test, a feature that inspired us to wear it more often than any other when heading out on the town. While we like to focus our reviewing efforts on technical performance, we have to acknowledge, far more people are interested in finding a suitable warm layer for living their daily lives during the colder months than finding the best ice climbing jacket for their annual trip to Ouray.
A classic at this point, the Down Sweater was a tester favorite.
When it comes warmth, the Down Sweater Hoody doesn't wow our testers. Frankly, it just isn't ultra-light or ultra-warm. Yet, it manages to keep the wind out and the warmth in for most non-bone-chilling environments. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is good when compared to many basic down jackets, but, when compared to the more technical selection in our grouping, it falls short. Regardless of its relative shortcomings, it is more than adequately warm for low to mid-altitude ski touring and alpine climbing as an outer layer.
While it wasn't the absolute warmest down jacket in this review, the 800-fill power down does a nice job lofting up and trapping heat. Trying to stay warm around the fire on a chilly and windy night in Oregon.
This jacket uses a high quality 800 fill-power ethically-sourced down trapped in roughly average-sized horizontal sewn-through baffles to keep you comfortable when the temps dip. The fact that the hem has a cinch-able drawcord helps keep drafts from coming up from underneath, which is a problem that exists in some other "high quality" down jackets we have come across.
Our size large weighed in at 15.8 ounces, which makes it one of the heaviest in the roundup, but a high quality down hooded jacket with great features that weighs less than a pound is overall, not too bad.
If you are looking for the lightest jacket possible for when you haul everything on your back and ounces count, there are better options, but for use closer to the front country, this jacket does it all and isn't unreasonably heavy.
Different jackets packed different sizes. Here we have, from left to right; Patagonia, Feathered Friends, and the Arc'teryx Cerium Sl
The 1.4-oz 20x30-denier 100 percent recycled polyester ripstop shell of the Patagonia Down Hoody has a good DWR treatment and, despite feeling super soft and pillow-like, does a surprisingly good job of shedding rain. In years past, we tested the Down Hoody on some stormy days in New Zealand, and it fared well when exposed to mixed the precipitation in the mountains of Arthur's Pass.
While very little has changed over the years in this jacket's construction, other companies have been upping their game by incorporating hydrophobic down. We found that in our side-by-side testing, the DWR coating performed well, with only tiny patches of areas around the front zipper where the DWR coating had worn off.
Even though this jacket performed admirably in the DWR department, it was one of the first to wet out.
When it comes to fit, we feel that this jacket is one of the best. We experienced perfect freedom of movement throughout the shoulders and arms, something that we could not say just a few years back. Whether you choose to use this hoody as a mid-layer or an outer layer depends somewhat on the size that you choose to purchase.
From our experience, the Patagonia size chart presents a bit of a problem. However, we felt that Patagonia fixed the issue this year with what was obviously an adjustment to their sizing chart. We could make the complaint that the sleeves remain ever so slightly short, but in practice, this isn't much a factor. The fact is, this is one of the best fitting jackets in this review, leaving just enough room for a thin underlayer while staying snug enough to the body to not impede movement at all.
The Down Sweater Hoody fits nearly perfectly. It is not too baggy, but also has enough room underneath to layer if need be. You can see how high the collar comes up to cover half the face, and also how the sleeves are perhaps just an inch or so short.
No need for a hood?
Sometimes we get overzealous with our hoods and end up in a layered, tangled mess. To avoid this, you may want to check out the Down Sweater Jacket
. This hoodless version is perfect for those looking to layer with other hooded jackets, like insulating layers or hard shells.
This jacket doesn't stash away super small when stuffed into its pocket. It more closely resembles a pillow (awesome for plane sleeping; we tested) and is cumbersome when clipped to a harness. Despite feeling like it could have been compressed further with a more diligent design of the interior chest pocket, it was comparable to a few of the less-technical jackets in the test.
This jacket was one of the largest when packed.
There doesn't appear to be anything super special about the features present on the Down Sweater Hoody unless you take it as a complete package. The standard features of a waist drawcord recessed into the hand pockets, and the wrist cuffs are made of elastic that fits pretty much perfectly.
We loved that the hem drawcords were located in the handwarmer pockets, keeping them out of the way of our gear.
A single back-of-the-hood pull-cord does a wonderful job of cinching up around the top of the head instead of putting the drawcord over the ears like on many other jackets, however, the hood lacks a complete seal around the face and drafts can get in and give the ears a chill when it's really windy and cold.
a single pull-cord hood tensioner worked really well and released just as easily.
What makes the jacket so functional is some extra length in the torso and the fact that the front of the hood zips up over your nose when it's fully closed, giving you the extra touch of some soft micro-fleece to snuggle your nose against. It stuffs into its only internal zip pocket, and we couldn't help but wish it had some stash pockets buried inside of it as well, but alas, it doesn't.
We love the Down Sweater despite it not being the lightest or most technical.
This jacket has an about average price for a lightweight down jacket. Since we think it is such a great jacket, and it ranks so highly in this review, this presents a good value for most users. It is also backed up by Patagonia's ironclad guarantee, long known for being one of the most generous warranties in the outdoor industry, so it is hard to imagine not ending up happy with this purchase.
The hood fits over a climbing helmet pretty well but it is a little snug to zip up the main zipper all the way while wearing one.
The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody is not flashy, overflowing with gimmicky features, or coated in brand logos, which is exactly why we like it. This jacket is simple, highly functional, and backed by the very best of warrantees. We also love that it uses recycled polyester and traceable down. Its performance leaves us little to complain about, and as such, it was one of the higher-rated jackets in this review, and one that we wholeheartedly recommend.