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Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket - Women's Review

Great protection from the elements in a simple yet well-constructed design
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Price:  $400 List | $299.25 at Backcountry
Pros:  Solid construction, highly functional, ski specific, breathes well
Cons:  On the heavy side, not remarkably flattering
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Betsy Welch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 13, 2019
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#4 of 12
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 9
  • Warmth - 20% 4
  • Ventilation - 20% 8
  • Style - 10% 8
  • Features - 10% 9

Our Verdict

We've come to expect the best from Patagonia, and the Powder Bowl Jacket doesn't disappoint. It's a basic-appearing, but highly functional hardshell that kept us totally dry and protected from the elements. As one of the longest-running designs in Patagonia's ski shell quiver, 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.

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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.

Performance Comparison

We loved skiing in all conditions in the Powder Bowl!
We loved skiing in all conditions in the Powder Bowl!

Weather Resistance

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 of conditions. The exposed zippers are watertight and don't allow air to bite through. We didn't feel a single bit of moisture come 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 further protect you from the elements.

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 also beaded right off the outside of the jacket, a silly but important visual we love to note.

The Powder Bowl keeps out wind  water  and any other weather Mother Nature throws at it.
The Powder Bowl keeps out wind, water, and any other weather Mother Nature throws at it.

Comfort and Fit

The Powder Bowl isn't trying to be something it's not; therefore, 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 were able to zip the jacket up over our chins with the hood up. Surprisingly, the non-removable powder skirt doesn't add any extra bulk around the hips.

We didn't mind the Powder Bowl's non-removable skirt.
We loved layering up under the Patagonia Powder Bowl


The Powder Bowl certainly wasn't the most style-y 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 still 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.

The Powder Bowl's style is basic but not boring.
The Powder Bowl's style is basic but not boring.


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 hard shells 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 really 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 did get slightly overheated while hiking, but again, the pit zips saved the day. This jacket wouldn't shine in a pure backcountry setting, but it breathes more than well enough for the resort and the sidecountry.

Patagonia knows how to make a long pit zip!
Patagonia knows how to make a long pit zip!


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. There are two pockets inside, one for googles and another zippered, mesh-lined pocket.

We love big hoods and big cuffs!
We love big hoods and big cuffs!

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 turned quickly, we never had to spend time tugging on cords and cables.

The Powder Bowl's hood is adjustable and has a surprisingly useful visor in the front.
The Powder Bowl's hood is adjustable and has a surprisingly useful visor in the front.


The Powder Bowl isn't cheap for a hardshell, but we felt that it was worth the cost. Its bomber construction and impressive protection from the elements can't be beat. We really appreciated how protected it kept us from the sideways gusts at Eldora in Colorado's windy Front Range. We felt like this was the kind of jacket we might have forever. 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 an invaluable perk.


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. With the right number of layers, we were perfectly warm, 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 slow all day and never gets their body temperature up, but for those who want protection from any type of weather and a jacket that can keep up all day, we think the Powder Bowl is an awesome jacket.

The Powder Bowl was a worthy companion on every ski outing we took it on.
The Powder Bowl was a worthy companion on every ski outing we took it on.

Betsy Welch