The Patagonia Galvanized jacket is unique in our softshell review in that it features a three-layer waterproof/breathable fabric called H2No. Why don't we call it a hardshell then? Because it blends stretchy spandex material and has the same unrestricted mobility and breathability that we look for in a softshell. We find it to be very useful in severe weather conditions where range of motion and ventilation are still desired, and it is more effective in these conditions than the average DWR treated softshell found in this review.
The updated Galvanized jacket, pictured above, retains the feature set of the previous model, but now boasts more eco-friendly fabrics and production methods. In addition to being Fair Trade Certified sewn, all of the polyester used in the jacket is now recycled material. The price of the jacket has also dropped $50 — not too shabby! We're now linking to this updated version.
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested this jacket during one of the snowiest winters on record in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our objectives included a lot of ski days in inclement weather, both on and off-piste. We love its weather protection, mobility, and breathability, not to mention its low weight.
Hands down, the Patagonia Galvanized provides the best weather protection of any softshell we reviewed. The outer material is a 3-layer waterproof breathable fabric called H2No, which is treated with a DWR finish to help it bead off water in the rain or snow. The seams are taped, like a hardshell jacket, to make it incredibly water-resistant. The larger fit allows for complete coverage of the waistline, and the adjustable hood easily fits over climbing and ski helmets. All of the zippers are coated with polyurethane, ensuring a watertight closure, and the oversized cuffs are easily secured around bare wrists and heavy gloves alike with a velcro strap.
This jacket falls somewhere between a hardshell and a softshell. With a 3-layer shell, we would have expected it to breathe about as well as a black plastic garbage bag (at least when compared to highly breathable models), but we were quite surprised at how well the stretch woven shell performed when working hard on steep uphill climbs. Underarm zippers open wide to dump heat out when you are overheating. Unlike most hardshell jackets, which can be very uncomfortable to exert yourself in, we found that we kept the Galvanized on our backs more often while ski touring, rather than keeping it in the pack until precipitation got too intense.
While many of the softshells we tested have an athletic, trim fit that does not allow for much more than a base layer underneath, the Galvanized is roomier. We could comfortably fit a fleece base layer and a light or medium weight insulated jacket underneath while still feeling mobile and unrestricted. We would describe the fit as being more freeride-skier inspired than fitted alpine climber inspired, so consider sizing up or down depending on how close you would like your jacket to form to your body.
At 17.5 ounces for a size medium, this jacket lands about in the middle of the weight range of our tested models. However, it offers much more weather protection, providing a very appealing usefulness to weight ratio.
The Galvanized is rich with features, most of which will appeal to all potential users and a couple of which are specific to the skier crowd. The full-size hood has 3-way adjustments and fits over even the biggest helmet. Two large handwarmer pockets and one chest pocket give you lots of room to stuff energy bars or sunscreen, and long underarm zippers give you options to customize your ventilation.
The more unique feature is the concealed Recco reflector, a small passive tab that aids ski patrollers in recovery in the event of an inbounds avalanche. While quite common in ski clothing, this is the only jacket in the softshell review that has a Recco sewn in. Style-wise, this layer is stylish with an adventurous look that's equally at home standing in line at the coffee shop or commuting to work.
This piece definitely costs more than the average jacket in our review. However, it offers breathable waterproof construction with top-notch features, and it's backed by Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee. For the alpinist in need, we think it's worth the price.
This protective layer is both a softshell and a hardshell at once. It has great breathability as well as waterproofness, a combination that is not easy to find. This is a jacket we would not hesitate to recommend if you are up against challenging weather and don't want to question when your softshell is going to soak through.
In this article, we walk you through all of the criteria...
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