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Patagonia DAS Light Hoody Review

A versatile and lightweight insulated jacket that offers superior weather resistance, and remains impressively warm
Patagonia DAS Light Hoody
Photo: Patagonia
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $329 List | $329.00 at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, wind and water resistant, quite warm, durable face fabric
Cons:  Expensive, no hem drawcords, hood is slightly tight with a helmet on
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 22, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weight and Compressibility - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 8
  • Breathability - 15% 5

Our Verdict

Alpinists crave synthetic insulation so as to not risk soaking a down jacket when their life is on the line, but the Patagonia DAS parka has always been too bulky and heavy to consider bringing on a large climb. Enter the brand new DAS Light Hoody, which we found to be the best overall synthetic insulated jacket. Its PlumaFill insulation acts much like down while retaining awesome water resistance, and this light jacket is both packable and warm. While it may be the perfect alpine climbing layer, it also works fantastically for ski touring, cold weather cragging, or just wearing every day as a winter jacket.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $329.00 at Backcountry$146.21 at Backcountry
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$299.00 at AmazonCheck Price on REI
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$299.00 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, wind and water resistant, quite warm, durable face fabricLightweight, warm, great wind protection, sheds water well, affordableVery warm, comfortable fit, seals out the weatherVery comfortable, great fit, breathable, impressively warm, great mobilityWarm, good water resistance, comfortable, excellent mobility, stylish, durable
Cons Expensive, no hem drawcords, hood is slightly tight with a helmet onDoesn’t breathe well, fit isn’t very athleticHeavier than most, not very breathable, priceyPricey, not as warm as thicker layers, doesn’t stuff into itselfExpensive, annoying hem cinching buckles, not the lightest
Bottom Line An amazing jacket for active outdoor pursuits that is an ideal fit for wearing all the timeAn ideal outer layer for throwing on during windy and cold days outsideSuper comfortable and very warm, this jacket is a go-to choice all winter long, regardless of what you are doingAn excellent fitting jacket that is comfortable and breathable for use when active, and also serves as a great lightweight mid-layerComfortable, mobile, and stylish, this jacket is ideal for any use
Rating Categories Patagonia DAS Light Hoody Rab Xenon Hoodie Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody Arc'teryx Proton LT Hoody
Warmth (25%)
8
7
9
5
6
Weight And Compressibility (20%)
9
9
5
7
6
Comfort (20%)
6
6
9
9
9
Weather Resistance (20%)
8
8
7
5
6
Breathability (15%)
5
5
4
9
7
Specs Patagonia DAS... Rab Xenon Hoodie Arc'teryx Atom AR... Arc'teryx Atom LT... Arc'teryx Proton...
Measured Weight (size) 12.0 oz (L) 11.0 oz (L) 17.6 oz (L) 13.4 oz (L) 14.5 oz (L)
Insulation 100% recycled 65g PlumaFill 60g Stratus 120 g/m2 Coreloft body, 80 g/m2 underarms, 60 g/m2 hood - with Dope Permair 20 in armpits 60 g/m2 Coreloft Compact w/ Stretch Fleece panels on sides Coreloft Compact 80
Outer Fabric 10 denier Pertex Quantum Pro Atmos ripstop Tyono 30 denier nylon 20D Nylon Tyono Fortius Air 20 (84% nylon, 16% elastane)
Stuffs Into Itself? Yes Yes, clip loop No No No
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia DAS Light Hoody is the little brother of the DAS Parka, which has been around for more than 25 years. That said, it doesn't feel heavy and bulky like the DAS Parka, and doesn't really embody the word "parka" at all. Instead, it feels much more like some of Patagonia's thinner synthetic jackets, such as the Micro Puff, but is noticeably more wind resistant, warmer, and includes an upgraded and more durable Pertex Quantum face fabric. While this is the very first version of this jacket, it feels like a highly refined, nearly perfect offering that quite possibly leaves no room for improvement — an impressive feat!

Like other similar jackets that use a Pertex Quantum shell fabric, this one has no exterior stitching, which drastically improves its level of wind resistance. It comes with a helmet-compatible hood that fits well with both a helmet or without but also cuts out many of the drawcords one would typically expect on such a jacket, ostensibly in the name of saving weight. And this tactic sure has worked, as this jacket is one of the very lightest in this review while offering warmth levels that far surpass many of the other super lightweight options. While we initially tested this jacket on springtime ski missions, it soon morphed into a climbing shell, then into a backpacking jacket, and within a few months, we found ourselves wearing it nearly every day that the temperatures called for some insulation. It is incredibly versatile and one we expect that almost any outdoor enthusiast will love. It does not currently come in a hoodless jacket version and can only be purchased with a hood.

Performance Comparison


The DAS Light Hoody is light, warm, functionally windproof and...
The DAS Light Hoody is light, warm, functionally windproof and highly water-resistant, and impressively durable and comfortable. The only downside is the elevated price. Here on a 13er summit in Colorado before a spring ski descent.

Warmth


The DAS Light Hoody is filled with 65g recycled PlumaFill insulation, which is a tad bit thicker and heavier than the more common 60g insulation used in many of the comparable synthetic jackets. That said, this jacket is pretty darn light, and not super thin, so we aren't surprised that it doesn't offer the same level of warmth as some of the much thicker and heavier competitors also included in this review.


We can honestly say we have never been cold while wearing this...
We can honestly say we have never been cold while wearing this jacket. Here at a snack break before beginning the ascent of North Sister in the Oregon Cascades. The 65g PlumaFill insulation is both warm and lightweight.

The highly wind-resistant outer face fabric certainly gives this jacket a leg up over the increasingly common active insulated layers, which are generally far more breathable, but also allow in a lot more wind, making them feel less warm overall. In fact, for how thin and light the DAS Light Hoody is, we are very impressed with how warm it is and comparing different jackets side by side in the middle of cold winds and frigid evenings convinced us that this is one of the warmest lightweight jackets you can buy.

Weight and Compressibility


Our size large test jacket weighed in on our independent scale at 12.0 ounces, which means that it is indeed one of the three lightest jackets in this review, and considering its other positive attributes, immediately wins praise from us for the ability to take it anywhere without feeling like you are lugging around a lot of extra dead weight.


When it comes to compressibility, however, we found some problems. Much like other Patagonia jackets we have tested in the past, this one comes with a pocket that the jacket can be stuffed into for easier portability, but we also found that the pocket is a bit too small, and it takes so much effort to stuff it that we usually didn't want to bother. Stuffing a synthetic jacket repeatedly will work to break down the interior fibers quicker, costing you loft and warmth, and stuffing it into the tiniest little ball one can is not only a pain but seems undesirable for the longterm life of the jacket. We most frequently opted to stuff this one into our packs loose.

The DAS Light is on the left. As you can see, it fits in its own...
The DAS Light is on the left. As you can see, it fits in its own pocket a little bit smaller than some other jackets, but we found it so hard to stuff that we literally couldn't get the zipper to close, negating some of the advantages of this feature. Regardless, this is one of the lighter jackets we've tested.

Comfort


This jacket is designed to be used as an outer layer, thrown on over the top of whatever else you may be wearing when extra warmth is needed. With that function in mind, it fits rather large and loose, which certainly doesn't affect how comfortable it is but does make it seem a bit too large, spacious, and baggy, especially when worn only over a simple t-shirt or similarly thin clothing.


The front zipper is two way. This feature helps when wearing a...
The front zipper is two way. This feature helps when wearing a climbing harness, as it makes it easier to access the belay loop, provided you have thrown the jacket on at a belay and don't have it stuffed into the waistbelt itself. It also allows one to ventilate from the bottom if you get hot.

That said, we found no constrictions in the fit when we moved our arms about to the sides or overhead, and love the amount of space in the shoulders and back. The hem is long and low, so doesn't ride up easily, and the fabrics themselves are slippery and smooth against the skin, although they can be fairly loud and crinkly as well. The hood is designed to be helmet-compatible, and this feature works just fine, although the fit of the collar and neck can be a bit tight when wearing the hood with a helmet on, in contrast to the perfectly comfortable fit without the helmet.

The hood is helmet compatible, and has a gasket-like seal just under...
The hood is helmet compatible, and has a gasket-like seal just under the lip of the visor that can be tightened with a single drawcord on the back of the head. While the helmet does fit under the hood well enough, this also tightens up the fit in the collar and neck a bit.

The hung liner has intermittent seams sewn to bond with the...
The hung liner has intermittent seams sewn to bond with the insulation stuffed inside. This design allows the outer face fabric to remain nearly seam free, and therefore more wind resistant. The fabric shown here is slippery and smooth to the touch, and pretty soft and comfortable against the skin.

Weather Resistance


Among all of the synthetic jackets tested for this review, the DAS Light Hoody is surely one of the most weather-resistant, which is one of the primary reasons it's such a good outer insulating layer for winter climbing and skiing. The face fabric is Pertex Quantum Pro, sewn in large sheets with a minimum of exposed stitching, and this helps cut the wind. In many ways, it can be thought of as a heavily insulated wind shell. Our only minor complaint in this department is that there are no hem drawcords to help seal out all the wind, but if you are wearing a pack with a waist belt or a climbing harness, these accessories can also serve to seal off the lower hem, and cutting this feature makes the jacket both simpler and lighter.


The Pertex Quantum Pro face fabric has a polyurethane (PU) dry coating and a DWR coating finish. The combination yields very impressive results in our side-by-side water resistance testing, where we sprayed the shell with a garden hose for over a minute, exposing it to far more water at higher pressures than it would experience in a rainstorm. The jacket easily passed the test, inducing the water to bead up and fall off as well as any other we tested.

To test the efficacy of the DWR treatment, we sprayed the jacket...
To test the efficacy of the DWR treatment, we sprayed the jacket with a hose for about a minute to see whether water would soak in or be effectively repelled.

As you can see, the DWR treatment works well to cause the water to...
As you can see, the DWR treatment works well to cause the water to bead up, where it can easily fall off or dry. This test was performed after about two months of steady use, and proves that the DWR treatment is also impressively durable.

Breathability


With the great wind resistance comes an expected lesser ability to breathe when working hard. By running up hills in the hot sun while wearing these jackets, we tested which ones allowed for better air flow and moisture management, and this was not one of the better choices.


As an exterior warmth layer, we don't think that this jacket would be expected to be highly breathable, and we wouldn't choose to wear it if we were working up a sweat. Instead, we would throw it on over the top once we stopped to help ward off a chill or wear it in cold or chilly weather when we weren't working hard and getting hot.

This is not one of the more breathable jackets we've tested, due in...
This is not one of the more breathable jackets we've tested, due in large part to the excellent and not-very permeable Pertex Quantum face fabric. On a cold winter hike, while walking fairly slowly, we still found it to be comfortable enough, and it is easily vented by simply opening up the zipper.

Value


Compared to the rest of the competition, this is one of the most expensive choices you could make for a synthetic insulated jacket, especially a lighter weight one. While the price tag may scare away the budget-conscious, the fact is you are also getting Patagonia's lifetime guarantee, adding considerable value. Since we think it is easily among the best overall jackets for nearly any purpose, we think it is worth paying a bit extra for.

With a nearly windproof design, the DAS Light made for a nice shell...
With a nearly windproof design, the DAS Light made for a nice shell on this windy but sunny day of spring skiing in the Colorado.

Conclusion


The Patagonia DAS Light Hoody is an excellent synthetic jacket that is suitable for alpine climbing, ski touring, cragging, backpacking, camping, or pretty much anytime you are cold and want to feel warmer. It is impressively warm considering its light weight and is also comfortable and highly weather resistant. While it does cost more than most others, the high quality and incredible versatility of this piece make it worth the expense.

Sending temps are great on the wall, but usually require some added...
Sending temps are great on the wall, but usually require some added layers for hanging out at the base and belaying. Here cragging in the lower gorge at Smith Rock, we were thankful for the extra convenient warmth.

Andy Wellman