The Patagonia Wanaka Down jacket is a durable winter coat that is as comfortable during winter ranch work as it is walking the shop fronts in a city's downtown. Insulated with traceable goose down, this jacket is warm and covered by a canvas-like waterproof shell that provides a stormproof barrier to the winter's cold. It boasts an array of features, and came close to our award winners in terms of scoring. Ultimately, we preferred the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka and gave it our Editors' Choice award, but this model is still a great pick.
Patagonia Wanaka Down Review
Cons: Shorter length, awkward pocket design.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Wanaka Down is what we consider a medium weight winter jacket. It weighs in at 2.9 pounds, which is certainly lighter than the Canada Goose Expedition Parka but a step up in warmth and weight from the Helly Hansen Dubliner Parka. It is an urban-friendly design, and we were complimented on its style as we walked around the ski town of Mammoth. It is available in a variety of solid dark colors, so it can be paired easily with other clothes.
This jacket did well on cold wintry days, keeping us warm and comfortable despite winds and snow. With 6.2 ounces of 600-fill-power goose down that is stitched through, we stayed warm in this jacket and did not develop cold spots. This is not likely due to its relatively light down fill, but due to the thick waterproof shell which blocks out the wind. The hood is also insulated, as is the thick fleece lined collar.
One of the things we liked most about this jacket was the comfortable rib knit storm cuffs covered by a longer sleeve, a design we liked more than the cuffs on The North Face Gotham II Jacket. This keeps the style clean and classy, and keeps the wearer warm and free to use a variety of glove styles. A double-sided storm flap keeps drafts from entering in the front center zipper, and three hood adjustments allow for a snug fit around the face when the wind is whipping. A standout feature on this model is the adjustable draw cord along the bottom hem, a warmth saving addition used by many technical parkas, such as the Rab Neutrino Endurance, but few casual ones.
Using their proprietary two-layer waterproof/breathable fabric called H2No, Patagonia ensured that the insulation, and the wearer, would be protected from nasty winter weather. We liked this fabric, have tested it on their rain jackets, and are impressed by its waterproofness. The feel of this outer shell is like canvas, and it shed snow much better than the DWR coated fabrics, such as on the Columbia Gold 650 TurboDown Hooded jacket, which makes it a better contender for cold and wet weather. The removable hood keeps snow and rain off your neck when it is needed, and large flaps cover the hand pockets so that even when you are taking your hands in and out of your pockets there is no worry that moisture will get inside.
With a plush micro fleece covering the collar and zipper, soft yet snugly fitting rib knit cuffs and silky polyester inner lining, this a comfortable jacket, though not as cozy feeling as the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka, which has more insulation around the core. We didn't notice it while we walked wearing the jacket, but when sitting down the stiffness of the H2No fabric caused the front to bunch up and become rigid and uncomfortable, especially around the neck, which may not be large enough for some who like to wear layers or a scarf underneath. While the hand pockets do have fleece lining, it is only on the back of the hand side, and the inside is the unlined canvas-like material. We would have preferred fleece on both sides, or at least a polyester lining.
This jacket is fully featured and includes most of the key designs we like to see on a winter parka. The hood is removable, adjustable with three draw cords, and is attached primarily with a zipper not snaps. There are four exterior pockets that are closed by either zippers or snaps. We liked the storm flap on the hand pockets, though the zippers can be hard to manipulate with one hand, and the snaps on the chest pocket are even more difficult to close one handed, especially when wearing gloves, though this pocket felt like it was more for appearance than for actual use.
The cut of this jacket is trim without being athletic. It is long enough to cover the waist but short enough that you can still put your hands into your pants pockets, and features a drop tail hem that gives a bit more coverage in the back. All of the insulation is hidden underneath the outer H2No shell, so you can stay warm without looking bulky. We liked the casual style of this jacket, and received compliments from strangers on its appearance. It does have one of the highest hems of this review, so if you are looking for a longer coat that still scores well on style look to the Marmot Njord Down.
This is a durable jacket that will withstand plenty of wear and tear, even if you use it for carrying or stacking firewood. The outer shell held up well to abrasion, and will last you a long time. The only durability issues we foresee are the thin elastic draw cords that have to contract some very stiff heavy-duty fabric. Patagonia stands behind their products for life, so if you have a problem with durability they should take care of it for you.
This jacket is a great option for the casual wearer who needs a warm jacket that is also durable and will hold up to the rigors of everyday life. If you want to be fashionable as well as functional, this jacket is a good choice.
For $399, this jacket is a good value, considering its features and use of ethically sourced goose down. While the Best Buy winning The North Face Gotham II is less expensive, this jacket has a clean style and quality construction that may be worth the extra investment.
The Patagonia Wanaka Down is warm, durable, and weather resistant — all the things we look for in a good winter jacket. It looks good, and doesn't break the bank.
— Ryan Huetter