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Patagonia Piolet - Women's Review

The Patagonia Piolet Jacket
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Price:  $299 List
Pros:  Cozy, warm, surprisingly breathable, fabric is soft and comfortable, most affordable
Cons:  Small zippers, less durable fabric, heavy, not very compressible, weatherproofing is subpar
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 23, 2014
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OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 20% 5
  • Mobility - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Weight - 15% 3
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 5% 5

The Skinny

The Piolet has been discontinued.

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.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia Piolet hosts many comfort features, but at the expense of weight and weatherproofing.

Performance Comparison


Loving the mobility and comfort features of the Patagonia Piolet Jacket. We took this on a 5-mile crosscountry misson and it was surprisingly awesome. Good Job Patagonia!
Loving the mobility and comfort features of the Patagonia Piolet Jacket. We took this on a 5-mile crosscountry misson and it was surprisingly awesome. Good Job Patagonia!

Weather Protection


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.

The two-layer Gore-Tex definitely doesn't perform like the three-layer. Instead  it absorbs water after about 1 minute  but still keeps you dry. We didn't like how the hood funneled water down the collar of the jacket.
The two-layer Gore-Tex definitely doesn't perform like the three-layer. Instead, it absorbs water after about 1 minute, but still keeps you dry. We didn't like how the hood funneled water down the collar of the jacket.

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.

The regular fit allows us to fit layers underneath the jacket  while giving us full mobility. Yee haw!
The regular fit allows us to fit layers underneath the jacket, while giving us full mobility. Yee haw!

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.

The pit vents were a big help while we went out searching for some ice to climb. It got a little warm as we trudged uphill in the backcountry of Silverton  CO.
The pit vents were a big help while we went out searching for some ice to climb. It got a little warm as we trudged uphill in the backcountry of Silverton, CO.

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.

Features


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.

One of the many great comfort features is the hood is detached from the collar. When the hood is down  your neck is still protected by a wonderful fleece-lined collar of comfort.
One of the many great comfort features is the hood is detached from the collar. When the hood is down, your neck is still protected by a wonderful fleece-lined collar of comfort.

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 cuffs on this jacket were the second largest tested of the fleet. Great for putting gloves over OR under.
The cuffs on this jacket were the second largest tested of the fleet. Great for putting gloves over OR under.

Durability


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%.

Versatility


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.

Best Applications


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.

Cross country skiing is a great way to use the Piolet. Add a base layer and voila! You have a cozy  breathable set up that won't leave you sweating too bad.
Cross country skiing is a great way to use the Piolet. Add a base layer and voila! You have a cozy, breathable set up that won't leave you sweating too bad.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.


Amber King