Patagonia's Rubicon Rider was the most comfortable jacket in our test. Generous cut, long sleeves, and a brilliant hood and collar design add up to a jacket the wearer will want to live in. Living in this jacket, like all synthetic pieces, will result in ongoing degradation of the insulating value. Our test revealed no issues with the construction or durability of the Rubicon Rider, and the fabrics feel beefy to the touch. While the Rubicon Rider is priced basically similar to Best Buy The North Face Vortex Triclimate, the overall nod goes to the latter. This distinction is due primarily to the versatility of the modular style Vortex. We especially appreciated the stylistic approach of the Rubicon Rider. Coming in solid and varied colors and demonstrating a boxy look meets modern fashion standards. Again, for such a boxy and bulky-looking jacket, the Rubicon Rider offers the most comfortable package in our testing. Quite a feat.
Patagonia Rubicon Rider Insulated Jacket Review
Cons: Synthetic insulation, only moderately warm and moderately ventilated
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Rubicon Jacket vs. The Patagonia Rubicon Rider That We Tested
Since we tested this jacket, Patagonia gave it a new name, revised fit, new colors, and new interior prints. Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest version shown on the left and the older model pictured on the right.
Here's a summary of key difference between the updated Rubicon and the original Rubicon Rider that we tested:
- Fit — The fit of this jacket is now "regular" instead of "relaxed." According to Patagonia, the regular fit is slimmer than the relaxed while still intended to fit over midlayers.
We haven't yet tested this product, so be aware that the rest of this review reflects the original Rubicon Rider.
Patagonia is known for making excellent clothing in an environmentally sensitive fashion. We can't comment on the environmental impact of the Rubicon Rider, but we can say that this is an excellent jacket. It is the most comfortable in our test, and backs that up with excellent construction and features. If this jacket design were equipped with more durable down insulation, it would earn our Editors' Choice award.
The Patagonia Rubicon Rider scored solidly in the middle of our warmth testing. The synthetic insulation and rugged shell fabric give a solid and warm wrap to the wearer. Chris McNamara's use on Baffin Island (see personal stories below) confirms this middle-of-the-road insulation assessment.
In other online reviews the Rubicon Rider's weather resistance has been called into question. However, our testing in the ski setting and under the sprinklers shows more than adequate wind and water resistance. Like all jackets, the ultimate weather resistance of the Rubicon Rider is a function of both fabric performance and fit of the neck/head interface and cuffs. Like the Editors' choice Arc'teryx Macai, the Rubicon Rider brings climbing-tested long sleeves and a sophisticated full coverage hood to the table. Patagonia's proprietary H2No fabric and their excellent durable water repellent round out the package.
The Rubicon Rider pit zips come equipped with our preferred dual zipper pulls. However, the openings are short, compromising their effectiveness.
Fit and Comfort
The Rubicon Rider is scored at the top of our review for fit and comfort. The weather beating hood and collar also proves to be smooth and comfortable around the wearer's head. The hood and collar shape are similar to the Primo Down, but the drawstring combination is far more ergonomic. We greatly enjoyed the Rubicon Rider's long sleeves and simple cuffs. Finally, the generous hem length of the Rider covers and comforts.
Our testers preferences are clear, and we feel, consistent with current trends. Look around any ski resort and you will see most riders rocking board-culture driven outerwear. "Performance-baggy" is in. The most widely appreciated jackets expose their quilting, bristle with pockets, and hang well below the waist. The Rubicon Rider pulls off this style with aplomb. Polar opposite would be the short-waisted, smooth faced, and color-blocked Spyder Titan.
Chris McNamara used this jacket a bunch on a Baffin Island BASE jumping trip. It was a good weight for mild activity in 20-32F degree weather. When just standing around, he needed something much heavier. It fit under the wingsuit well and he used it on all his jumps. Below is one of his favorite jumps he made with this jacket:
First chair to last call, this jacket will take care of you. Day after day. This is an excellent all around jacket for an all around rider. If you also like Patagonia's social and environmental perspective, you'll fit right in.
Folks looking for a very comfortable, beefy feeling and well-pedigreed jacket will do no better than the Rubicon Rider. The price is not prohibitive, Patagonia offers an industry-leading warranty, and the construction seems to be sound. Our experience with other synthetic insulated Patagonia products indicates that their fill is not exempt from expected de-lofting. In other words, expect the insulation to lose puff with time, use and washing.
Between our ski testing team, and Chris' trip to Baffin Island, this jacket has seen a great deal of action on the backs of OutdoorGearLab reviewers. And all like the fit and finish. If the style works for you, and you want a synthetic insulated jacket, you won't do better.
— Jediah Porter