We've come to expect the best from Patagonia, and the Powder Bowl Jacket doesn't disappoint. It's a basic-appearing, highly functional hardshell that kept us dry and protected from the elements. As one of the longest-running designs in Patagonia's ski shell lineup, the Powder Bowl has all the features you need for a long day on the slopes, like watertight zippers on all five pockets and a roomy, helmet-compatible hood. It might not be the jacket for someone who wants something with more heft and warmth (though it is offered in an insulated version, too). Still, it's perfect for someone who has their layering system dialed and wants a great outer layer to protect them from the elements without standing in the way of getting after it.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket on March 23, 2022, with a closer look at value, as well as other suggestions for jackets that may better fit your needs and budget.
Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket - Women's Review
Cons: On the heavy side, not remarkably flattering
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Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket - Women's
$279.30 at Evo
|$450 List||$299 List|
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|Pros||Solid construction, highly functional, ski specific, breathes well||Warm, lofty insulation, soft, very mobile despite insulation, excellent comfort and fit||Relatively inexpensive yet high-quality, breathable, great mobility, great ventilation||Warm, three jackets in one, well-constructed with thoughtful features, versatile||Inexpensive, three jackets in one, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||On the heavy side, not remarkably flattering||Lackluster ventilation||Non-insulating, thin shell material, not for most casual skiers||Slim fit, heavy, poor ventilation when both layers are worn||Not very stylish, hood not helmet compatible, two layers don't work well when zipped together|
|Bottom Line||Great protection from the elements in a simple yet well-constructed design||A super warm and soft resort jacket with a cool utilitarian look, this is perfect for someone who runs a little colder||An excellent value for a high performing technical shell that serves inbounds or in the backcountry||This jacket is versatile and has all the necessary ski features for a long day on the hill, all at a reasonable price||A decent deal for two jackets that can be worn in three combinations, this is a great intro ski jacket|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Powder Bowl||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Columbia Whirlibird...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Patagonia Powder Bowl||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Columbia Whirlibird...|
|Main Fabric||150D 100% recycled polyester GORE-TEX with DWR coating||70% nylon, 30% polyester||100% Nylon||100% Nylon||Legacy Dobby 72% Nylon/ 28% Polyester.|
|Insulation||None||Body: 60g PrimaLoft Sleeves: 40g PrimaLoft||None||100% Postconsumer recycled polyester||Thermarator|
|Waterproofing||Gore-Tex 2L||PFC free DWR||3-layer Pertex Shield||2-layer DryVent||Omni-Tech|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 arm, [internal] 1 zippered, 1 drop||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 2 internal drop-in||2 zippered chest, 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered arm, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 1 internal goggle Liner: 2 zippered hand||Shell: 5, Liner: 3|
|Weight||1.7 lbs||2.2 lbs||1.2 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.4 lbs|
|Cuff construction||Velcro||Velcro with wrist gaiters||Velcro||Velcro||Velcro|
|Powder skirt?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, behind insulating layer||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Powder Bowl packs everything you need for a long day in any kind of weather into one, high-performing package. We were impressed by its useful, ski-specific features, extreme durability, and relaxed comfort and fit.
The Powder Bowl is crafted from a tough, 2-layer 100% recycled polyester GORE-TEX fabric that makes it waterproof and windproof in the most adverse conditions. The exposed zippers are watertight and don't allow air to bite through. We didn't feel a single bit of moisture coming through the jacket, even under hammering, wet snow. The adjustable hood is more than adequate to fit over a helmet and has an adjustable visor to protect you from the elements further.
Although it's not insulated, the jacket has a mesh lining that helps wick moisture. When we got sweaty, the inside of the jacket didn't. Moisture beaded right off the outside of the jacket, a silly but important visual we love to note.
Comfort and Fit
The Powder Bowl isn't trying to be something it's not. It fits just like a ski jacket should — loose without feeling baggy, with plenty of space to move and layer underneath. Despite its outer GORE-TEX shell, it's soft and not a bit stiff and gets even more nimble with use.
The size small fits true to size; we liked the extra room it gave us to play with layers underneath. The adjustable wrist cuffs provide ample space to pull the jacket on over gloves and mittens. The hood is oversized, and we could zip the jacket up over our chins with the hood up. Surprisingly, the non-removable powder skirt doesn't add extra bulk around the hips.
The Powder Bowl certainly wasn't the most stylish jacket of the bunch this year. But it's like an elder statesman: refined and elegant. It doesn't have the fitted body of other jackets we tested, but it falls well below the waist, which we find essential for both good looks and function. It's flattering without being overly girly and comes in four basic colors that look good with solid or print ski pants.
Although this was the jacket's lowest ranking since it's not insulated, we still found that the Powder Bowl kept us warm when we were skiing hard. We like the versatility of hardshells as something we can layer up under or keep on the light side when it's warmer out. We did try this jacket on a few hikes within the resort and found that it struck a good balance of breathability and warmth.
We wouldn't wear this jacket on a frigid day without plenty of insulation underneath, but it's warmer than it looks. Our home hill in Colorado is notoriously windy, and the windproofing of this jacket helped us stay warm. Nevertheless, we recommend wearing a few thin to mid-sized baselayers underneath for most applications.
Patagonia may have the best pit zips out there; with dual zippers and a wide, gaping design, they're practical and easy to use. We often unzipped the pits on long, challenging runs and didn't have to rush to close them up on the chair ride back up. The shell itself is fairly breathable despite its bomber polyester GORE-TEX outer lining. We got slightly overheated while hiking, but the pit zips saved the day again. This jacket wouldn't shine in a pure backcountry setting, but it breathes more than well enough for the resort and the sidecountry.
Patagonia has been in the ski jacket game long enough to know what we need and what we don't. The pocket situation on this jacket is as close to perfect as we've seen. The hand pockets are ample and microfleece-lined. The chest pocket even has a smaller zipped pocket within it, so you never have to stress about accidentally pulling out your credit card and cash when you reach for your phone. Two pockets are inside, one for googles and another zippered, mesh-lined pocket. Other than the pockets, we love the oversized, adjustable hood, wide cuffs with velcro adjustment, and waist and hood cinching systems. Everything is well-actuated so that when the weather turns quickly, we never have to spend time tugging on cords and cables.
Should You Buy the Powder Bowl?
The Patagonia Powder Bowl is an understated, elegant hard shell. It was one of the most weatherproof jackets we tested, and we were impressed with how protective it is despite its lack of flair. The pockets are bomber and hold everything we need for a long day on the slopes. We were perfectly warm with the right number of layers, and we liked the relaxed fit that allowed us to move and dress for the weather. This isn't a jacket for someone who takes it slowly all day and never gets their body temperature up, but we think the Powder Bowl is for those who want protection from any type of weather and a jacket that can keep up all day. Furthermore, Patagonia is known for its iron-clad guarantee, and the company's commitment to sustainability means that they'll always repair your gear at little to no cost. We find this to be a valuable perk.
What Other Women's Ski Jackets Should You Consider?
The Patagonia Powder Bowl isn't cheap for a hardshell but is an excellent choice, particularly for its weather resistance and feature set. Savvy skiers and riders, particularly those focused on backcountry travel, should closely compare the value and performance of this jacket to the Outdoor Research Carbide. No shell jacket – even the most expensive models like the Arc'teryx Incendia – is going to offer warmth like an insulated jacket, like the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 or convertible The North Face Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate 3-in-1.
— Betsy Welch
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