This jacket is built to last several chilly seasons of ice climbing or resort skiing
Price: $199 ListPros: Mobile, warm, durable, fleece lining is cozy, excellent wrist cuffs Cons: Not very breathable, small zipper on chest pocket, too warm for very active use, bulky Manufacturer: Patagonia
With excellent mobility, a cozy fleece interior, near weatherproof construction, and a price point that screams "Bargain!", the Patagonia Adze Hybrid Hoody was one of our favorite jackets in this review. It is clear that this softshell was designed with care and attention to detail. Whether you're rock climbing in the shoulder seasons, ice climbing, or skiing, this jacket will keep you toasty and dry. The Adze is great for chilly conditions, but it lacks the enhanced breathability of lightweight softshell jackets like the Black Diamond Alpine Start. The Adze is the heaviest jacket in this review, making it a poor choice if you want a maximum performance-to-weight ratio. Still, it is much more affordable than most other top-scoring softshell jackets except for the Best Buy winning Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hooded, which retails for much less.
If you want a fleece insulated softshell that is comfortable to wear around the crag or the coffee shop, you should definitely continue reading about the Patagonia Adze Hybrid Hoody.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Adze is a great cold weather piece that's ideal for things like spring/fall rock climbing when the temperatures drop just a little too much. We also liked it for around-town wear on chilly days.
In our waterfall test, the Adze Hybrid scored the second best, with the Patagonia KnifeRidge Jacket splashing slightly ahead. Unless you plan on following suit in ultra wet environments, then we think the Adze provides a superb amount of weather protection for a softshell jacket. After all, if the weather really deteriorates, you'll want to throw on a hardshell jacket or rain jacket anyway. The "hybrid" designation of this jacket's trendy name refers to the mapping of different fabrics throughout the jacket. The hood, body, and back of the jacket feature a robust softshell fabric while lightweight material lives under the arms for increased mobility and breathability. A honeycomb style fleece material is used on the back of the jacket and the front has a lightweight fleecy material. The cozy fleece insulation makes this jacket ideal for moderate output activities in mild climates or high output activities in very cold environments.
In our old softshell review, we tested the Adze jacket (the predecessor to the Adze Hybrid). The Adze is very similar to the Adze Hybrid except that it lacks un-lined stretchy side panels. Therefore, it was no surprise that our testers independently rated the hybrid version as slightly more breathable. Still, with a breathability of 5/10, this hybrid softshell is far from being ultra breathable. The side panels of the Adze Hybrid help dump heat and increase breathability, but don't compensate enough to keep us dry when working hard. If you use this jacket for moderate output activities or in very cold environments, the lack of breathability compared to warmth and weather protection could likely be a moot point for you. If you constantly run cold, this piece is likely an ideal softshell for you.
With this in mind, we found this jacket best suited to relatively low output activities in cold conditions. In a product video made by Patagonia, the company claims that the jacket "hoards your heat." Our use of this jacket wholeheartedly backs up this claim, but for us this was a big downside of this softshell. Simply put, it was too warm for most of our uses and didn't feel breathable enough to compensate. If you want a softshell for high output activities like backcountry touring, you'll probably want one like the Best Buy winning Outdoor Research Ferrosi or the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Shell, our Top Pick for Skiing. Both of these jackets breathe much better than the Adze, but offer less water and wind resistance.
Mobility & Fit
"Wow! This thing is really mobile!" said one tester has he put on the jacket for the first time before leading a sweet rock pitch in Indian Creek. For a jacket that's relatively bulky and heavy, the Adze is an exceptionally mobile softshell. While reaching up toward that perfect pick placement or out-of-reach jug, this is the only jacket in this review that feels 100% unrestrictive. Others, like the Editors' Choice winning Patagonia KnifeRidge or Top Pick winning Black Diamond Dawn Patrol come very close, but the ease of movement in the Adze is especially notable. This jacket has a regular fit and none of our reviewers complained about it feeling baggy or tight
Weight & Packed Size
If weight and packed size aren't important to you, then you won't be bothered by the fact that this jacket scored among the poorest. This is hardly a surprise, however. There is no way that the weight of a fleece-lined jacket can compete with that of un-lined competitors. If weight is a large consideration for you, then you should stay clear of fleece-insulated softshells like the Adze and the Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody. Instead, you should opt for a lightweight softshell/rain-jacket combination. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi combined with a lightweight rain jacket like the Outdoor Research Helium II yields a combined weight of less than 20 ounces.
You shouldn't buy the Adze if you want a packable layer, but you should buy the Adze if you want one durable jacket that's comfortable to wear around town, the crag, or down the ski hill. In all of these uses, you'll be wearing the jacket the whole time so you won't notice a few extra ounces. The increase in weight comes with an increase in warmth and comfort. If that's what you're looking for, then the Adze will be ideal for you.
While some features of the Adze are excellent, others are only mediocre or plain old subpar. Overall, we give this softshell a 7/10. Let's start with the few features that we think could use improvements before jumping into what we really love. First, the zipper on the napoleon chest pocket has a super small slider that is nearly impossible to maneuver with even medium weight gloves. Fortunately, this can easily be fixed by adding a zipper pull. Second, the rear hood adjustment cord lock is hidden under a canopy, making it difficult to release with gloves. Third, the two front hood adjustments are external. While this makes them super easy to adjust, whipping winds can cause the pull tabs to whack you in the nose. This is painful, but it's the price you pay for easy adjustment. These details are minute, but worth noting. Let's move on to the features we really love.
First, the fabric surrounding the wrist cuffs is very stretchy, doesn't bunch, and fits over or under gloves easily. Further, the material easily stays on your arms when you pull the sleeves up to vent heat. Second, the pockets are located relatively high, making them usable with harnesses and hip belts. Third, the hem can be adjusted in the pockets or externally. Fourth, the seams and stitching look very polished and professional. Finally, one external chest pocket on the left and an internal on the right are lined, keeping your phone or chapstick cozy.
This jacket is available in four stylish colors. Unlike some other shells, this jacket doesn't look overly technical, so it's easy to wear it around town as casual wear.
The Patagonia Adze Hybrid Hoody is a great jacket for anyone who wants something that's durable, cozy, and weather resistant. If you don't push your heart rate to its limits on a consistent basis, then this jacket will be a trusty companion for cold weather use. Activities like mild weather downhill skiing and frigid ice climbing quickly come to mind as perfect adventures for this jacket. We also loved using it for fall rock climbing when the weather was just a little too cold and windy for just a fleece.
At the bargain price of $199, this jacket entered the review as a top contender for our Best Buy award. However, we ultimately gave that award to the Outdoor Research Ferrosi because it is $60 cheaper and is so high performing that it won our Editors' Choice Award last year. That said, the Adze and the Ferrosi are fundamentally different shells. The Ferrosi is a great jacket for high output activities and warm weather climbing while the Adze is great for cold, windy conditions where you aren't putting out as much heat. If you want a protective softshell that will keep you warm and comfortable, the Adze packs a serious value-driven punch.
When it comes to breathability, the Adze makes noteworthy strides over past variations of the jacket, but was not breathable enough for activities that really heat you up. That said, if you're cold blooded, you might really appreciate the extra warmth and weather resistance that this jacket provides. The superb mobility makes it ideal for rock climbing and ice climbing in cold environments.
In this article, we walk you through all of the criteria...
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