The Patagonia Down Sweater is a long time favorite at OutdoorGearLab, and in this review, it certainly didn't disappoint. It is an excellent jacket that has been popular, for good reason, for a long time. It was very close to earning an award in this review, but this round, it was edged out by some pretty serious competition. We still think this is a very worthy jacket that will please nearly all who buy one.
The Down Sweater, versatile and comfortable.
The Down Sweater was one of the warmest in this review. It scored an impressive 9 out of 10, along with the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket, which was an award winner. The only jacket that beat these two was the impressive Arc'teryx Cerium with its massive loft and unparalleled warmth.
The Down Sweater is roomier than our award-winning jackets, which makes it feel very cozy but also translates to a bit more airspace. The higher loft and larger baffles, however, make up for this, and we found the jacket to be very warm for its size and weight overall.
We loved the chest pocket.
Additionally, the outer fabric is windproof, which helps to keep those cold gusts from giving you the chills. The hood is well designed, complete with fuzzy fleece where the jacket meets your face, adding significant warmth. And the model is sized a bit larger than our award winners, which allows you to add layers comfortably underneath.
Love Patagonia's Down Sweater, Not the Hood?
Patagonia's got you covered if you love the Down Sweater but are looking for something without a hood. The Women's Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket
still has everything you love about the Down Sweater, without the bulk of a hood.
At 9.5 ounces, this jacket is on the heavier end of this review. It is still a very reasonable weight to earn a spot in your climbing and backpacking packs. In fact, it may be a better bet, depending on your warmth needs. It is not as light as our two ultralight award winners, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, but it is quite a bit warmer. This may be an important tradeoff.
The Down Sweater is made of 800 fill power Advanced Global Traceable goose down, which is highly compressible. The jacket stuffs into an internal chest pocket and has a loop that can be clipped to the back of a harness.
Not the smallest jacket, but still relatively compressible.
It is not the smallest in this review, but it is undoubtedly an excellent choice for rock climbers and mountaineers who want a good, durable, warm jacket that is light and compressible enough to stuff into the smallest climbing pack you have or clip out of the way to the back of your harness. The Down Sweater is reasonably compressible for its size and weight. If this is your top priority, you'll love the Ghost Whisperer.
First, we appreciate how Patagonia has led the charge in setting a new standard for ethical use of down in outdoor jackets. Several years ago, Patagonia was the only manufacturer advertising their ethical sourcing practices—this year, 5 of the 10 jackets we reviewed boast responsible sourcing. That's awesome. Patagonia was above average and competitive with its simple features on the Down Sweater. For even stronger performances, our favorite are the Arc'teryx Cerium and the Rab Microlight.
The hood, comfortable, adjustable, and can handle a helmet well enough.
This jacket is among the more durable in this review. It boasts 20D and 30D recycled polyester ripstop fabric. We found the Down Sweater to be inspiring in the Durability metric and had no qualms about scuffing it up against rocks here and there. This is a jacket meant to be used, abused—and well loved.
The adjustable bottom hem keeps cold gusts out.
The modest score of 6 out of 10 that it earned in this metric is simply due to the competitive nature of this category. Only a few jackets surpassed it—the Rab Microlight Alpine, which was an award winner, and two non-award winners, the Canada Goose Hybridge Perren and The North Face Aconcagua. The Perren and Aconcagua were super burly and durable, but too heavy to be mountain ready in most applications.
Like most jackets in this review, the Down Sweater features a durable water repellent (DWR) finish which helps prevent the down from wetting out when you get unexpectedly caught out in a storm. This will buy you some time while you scramble to get your shell jacket on over your down jacket, but ultimately you will want to be sure you have a shell over this jacket in rainy weather or otherwise wet conditions. The Down Sweater has a slightly bigger, boxier cut, so it was not as easy to layer underneath our hard shell jackets, but still reasonable.
The Down Sweater has an iconic look to it; it's simple, straightforward, and offers fun colors. Patagonia has placed smaller baffles on the sides for improved mobility, but they also look cool. And of course, there is always the appeal of wearing something from the famed company, whether for looks or the ethics they stand for.
Stylish varied baffle design.
The Down Sweater is a great all around down jacket, as it can fit into many adventures and lifestyles. It can be layered under a shell, or you can fit warmer layers under it for colder conditions. It's a great layer for cold weather rock climbing, and an exceptional choice for mountaineering and ski touring in milder climates - when used in conjunction with a heavier fleece or other insulating layers. The Down Sweater is highly adaptable and always comfortable. And due to the street credibility of Patagonia, we think you'll look pretty cool sporting this jacket around town, too.
Patagonia is never the cheapest option out there, but as we know, you often get what you pay for. With Patagonia, you also can feel good about your purchase because the company consistently paves the way to new ethical standards, raising the bar for other outdoor manufacturers to follow, and that's awesome. That said, this jacket is still a great deal at $279, for the high-quality craftsmanship and durable design, as well as the versatility. It may not have gotten an award this time, but we're sure you'll love it for a long time to come.
Patagonia's Down Sweater never disappoints. It is a comfortable, warm, versatile jacket with many applications, but which excels in no particular category.
Patagonia sets the bar high, once again, with this great jacket.