The Patagonia Piolet jacket stands out for its wealth of comfort features and excellent breathability. The fabric is also softer than your average hardshell and provides the most mobility - allowing you to move with ease. These comforts, however, come with a trade-off. It was the heaviest jacket tested with the least packability. As a result, it was vetoed from long multi-day excursions, but still has a place for daily around-town use and single-day adventures.
Patagonia Piolet - Women's Review
Cons: Small zippers, less durable fabric, heavy, not very compressible, weatherproofing is subpar
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Piolet hosts many comfort features, but at the expense of weight and weatherproofing.
The two-layer Gore-Tex fabric gives this hardshell great waterproofing - similar to the Mountain Hardwear Torsun - Women's. When put under water for upwards for one minute, the fabric becomes saturated but maintains its ability to keep you dry. One thing we didn't like about the Patagonia Piolet's hood design was that it was not big enough and the water funneled right into the interior of the jacket while standing in the shower. Despite that unfortunate design flaw, it still did a good job of protecting us from the wind, and it was also relatively warm with its liner sewn inside.
Mobility & Fit
The two-layer fabric that comprises this hardshell is surprising mobile. We can dance, do handstands, and jump around in this jacket - and it will follow. The fabric flexibility is comparable to the Outdoor Research Clairvoyant, but not as light. The design is also larger than the Clairvoyant, allowing you to pack layers underneath for better mobility overall. The fit is regular and somewhat boxy. It is also one of the longest jackets tested, comparable to the Mountain Hardwear Torsun.
Breathability & Ventilation
We were surprised to see how well the Gore-Tex two-layer fabric performed. It kept us cool while cross-country skiing and while hiking uphill. The internal mesh fabric or "hanging liner" breathes and wicks moisture away from the skin. This fabric was more breathable than Gore-Tex Pro (as expected), but not as breathable as Gore-Tex Active. It also hosts nice pit zips for when the fabric just isn't doing the trick.
Weight & Packed Size
This is where the Patagonia Piolet lost points. Weighing in at 18.90 ounces and packing to a size a tiny bit smaller than the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Women's, it was the heaviest shell tested. It was also the largest of the medium weight shells when packed down. As a result, it wasn't as versatile as the others.
And this is where the Patagonia Piolet shined! Hosting a ton of cozy features, we would recommend this jacket for anybody who is prioritizing comfort over technical features. Starting with the shell fabrics - it is soft and moves with you. The comfortable internal mesh provides warmth, as do the fleece-lined pockets and collar.
The hood is detached from the collar, meaning that when you put your hood up or down, the whole collar is present to keep you protected from the weather. Though, like all jackets tested, the hood does not detach. The cuffs allow you to put your gloves on over or under. Finally, it is helmet, harness, and backpack strap compatible.
The durability of this shell sits in the middle of all the jackets tested. The two-layer Gore-Tex is not as durable as its three-layer counterpart, and it has tiny-toothed zippers - making it more vulnerable to blowouts as well. If you happen to come across a defect, give Patagonia a call. They back their products 100%.
As a result of its heavy weight, we would recommend this product for any activity except long expeditions or serious adventures that require lightweight outerwear. If you're looking for a shell like that, take a look at our Editors' Choice Winner, the Arc'teryx Theta AR Jacket - Women's. Instead, take the Patagonia Piolet out on the chairlift, up to your favorite mountain, or out for a day of ice climbing, hiking, or cross-country skiing. It's not the most versatile shell tested, but it has its place for less serious day missions.
Single day adventures that require a bad weather layer is the best application for this hardshell. This includes ice climbing, cross-country skiing, or just running errands in the rain. It is not the best ultralight option.
This was the least expensive jacket tested, with a price tag of only $299! However, if you're looking for a jacket with more features and for a good price of $350, check out our Best Buy Award winner, the Mountain Hardwear Torsun.
The Patagonia Piolet is a great option for those looking for a great shell that will protect you from the elements. It's not the best for lightweight expeditions but has its place for daily missions like cross-country skiing, ice climbing, or just running errands around town.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 23, 2014
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