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Patagonia Adze Hoody - Women's Review

Best Buy Award
Price:   $199 List | $199.00 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Windproof, fairly water resistant, adjustable Velcro cuffs, inexpensive
Cons:  Stiff, not as breathable as others
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Patagonia

Our Verdict

The Adze Hoody is similar to your favorite trusty snow boots, in that it is extremely effective against the elements but is also bulky and not as agile as we sometimes wish. This hoody's toughest competitor is The North Face's Apex Bionic Hoodie, which tied for the heaviest contender in the review. It is one of the only truly windproof shells we tested, which makes it unique, but the extra protection it offers cuts down on key factors like flexibility and breathability. That being said, the weather protection that the Adze offers is remarkable for the price point. If you are looking for a protective, versatile jacket for cool weather, the Adze is our favorite windproof softshell, which earns it our Best Buy award.

Updated version
There's a new version of the Adze Hoody on the shelves. This softshell has undergone a couple rounds of changes since our initial review, morphing into the Adze Hoody and now back to its original moniker, boasting some new updates. The latest iteration is pictured above, and all of our price check links point toward this latest version. Check out our side-by-side comparison below to see what's changed.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Softshell Jacket for Women Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
McKenzie Long

Last Updated:
Monday
December 4, 2017

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The New Adze Hoody vs. the Original Adze Hoody


For the new Adze Hoody, Patagonia has dropped the Polartec Windbloc fabric in favor of their own breathable polyester stretch material. The jacket is now truly helmet compatible and also features gusseted underarm panels for increased mobility. Compare the two jackets below, with the newest Adze Hoody pictured on the left and the original hoody on the right.
Patagonia Adze Hoody - Women's
 

Here's what's changed from the original version:
  • Material Update — The new version is no longer made with the Polartec Windbloc material and is now composed of a more breathable stretch polyester.
  • Helmet Compatible — The new version is designed to be helmet compatible, a welcome addition since the hood on the version we tested barely had room for a helmet.
  • Gusseted Underarm Panels — These new underarm panels are designed to prevent the jacket from raising up and exposing your waist when you lift your arms above your head.
  • Storm Flaps on Hand Pockets — The hand pockets on the latest Adze Hoody feature storm flaps covering the zippers.
  • Price Increase — The Adze Hoody now retails for $199, $10 more than the original version

The analysis below continues to reflect the original version of this softshell.

Hands-On Review of the Adze Hoody


An inexpensive windproof softshell, the Adze offers exceptional weather protection at a reasonable price. Additional features like adjustable cuffs make it conducive to just about any winter sport.

Our three contenders for the women's softshell Best Buy award out for some comparison testing at Lake Tahoe. The Columbia Kruser Ridge (left) and Patagonia Adze (center) ultimately won out over The North Face Apex Bionic (right) for being more flexible and comfortable. Both the Adze and Apex Bionic are windproof  while the Kruser Ridge is not  however the Columbia model is by far the least expensive.
Our three contenders for the women's softshell Best Buy award out for some comparison testing at Lake Tahoe. The Columbia Kruser Ridge (left) and Patagonia Adze (center) ultimately won out over The North Face Apex Bionic (right) for being more flexible and comfortable. Both the Adze and Apex Bionic are windproof, while the Kruser Ridge is not, however the Columbia model is by far the least expensive.

Breathability


In our experience, the Adze excels at weather protection, but as a trade-off, it is slightly less breathable. The interior of the jacket is lined with microgrid fleece that lightly insulates and assists in moving moisture away from your skin, but the hard-faced exterior coupled with a polyurethane barrier membrane does not allow as much heat to escape as more breathable, non-windproof models like the Editors' Choice winning Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's.

The not-particularly-breathable quality of the fabric itself can be offset somewhat with ventilation through the hand pockets, which are lined with mesh that has large holes leading to the inside of the jacket. If these pockets are left open, some of your hot air can escape out the jacket.

A close-up of the waffle pattern of the Polartec® Windbloc® fabric that makes up the Patagonia Adze  as well as a view of the interior chest pocket and the large-holed mesh that lines the hand pockets.
A close-up of the waffle pattern of the Polartec® Windbloc® fabric that makes up the Patagonia Adze, as well as a view of the interior chest pocket and the large-holed mesh that lines the hand pockets.

Weather Protection


The Adze is constructed from Polartec Windbloc softshell, which has a membrane construction that is windproof. When a storm blows in, this wind protection keeps the wearer much warmer than non-windproof softshells such as our other Best Buy winner, the Columbia Kruser Ridge - Women's. The hard-faced exterior of the shell is treated with a DWR finish and repels water very well. It takes a long time for water to soak through this softshell. This beefy weather protection is a step up from the weather resistance found on the Kruser Ridge and is similar to the defense against wind, rain, and snow provided by the also windproof The North Face Apex Bionic. The hood on the Adze is adjustable so it can be tightened around the face in windy weather. The hood can stretch to fit over a helmet… but just barely. We don't believe it was designed to do this.

Author McKenzie Long reaching the ridge of North Peak in the Patagonia Adze. While this shell is not the most flexible or breathable  it is windproof and provides decent water resistance.
Author McKenzie Long reaching the ridge of North Peak in the Patagonia Adze. While this shell is not the most flexible or breathable, it is windproof and provides decent water resistance.

Mobility


Unfortunately, the windproof polyurethane barrier incorporated in this jacket makes it feel stiff and less flexible than the soft and supple soft shells that are our favorites. The membrane still allows the wearer to swing ice tools or push with poles comfortably, but it doesn't melt onto the body like the Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody. Overall this jacket is still stretchy and has a soft hand, but we notice that it is slightly more restrictive than some of the others. For a windproof option that feels light and flexible, try the Mammut Ultimate Hoody - Women's, which is made from Gore Windstopper, weights 0.4 pounds less than the Adze, and manages to be protective and flexible.

Weight


At 1.36 pounds, the Adze Hoody weighs the exact same as the similarly designed Apex Bionic Hoodie. This is the heaviest weight in our women's softshell review. Keep in mind that these are also two of the most affordable shells that we tested. A tiny bit of extra weight seems like a small price to pay for complete windproof protection in an affordable jacket.

Features


The Adze keeps things simple and functional: it has a drawcord hem, two mesh-lined hand pockets that double as vents, an adjustable hood, an interior chest pocket, and adjustable Velcro sleeve cuffs. These are just the right features for everyday use as well as time spent hiking or climbing in the backcountry. The main drawback is that the hood doesn't really fit over a helmet, which limits this jacket's use for climbing. It can be stretched to fit, but then it is almost impossible to turn your head. The hood provides protection from wind and weather, but it is not the most helpful for wearing while climbing.

The features of the Adze are basic: 1 interior chest pocket  2 mesh-lined hand pockets  an adjustable hem  and adjustable Velcro sleeve cuffs.
The features of the Adze are basic: 1 interior chest pocket, 2 mesh-lined hand pockets, an adjustable hem, and adjustable Velcro sleeve cuffs.

We also love that the Adze features a durable plastic zipper that is easy to zip. Additionally, the fabric near the face is a soft fleece, adding comfort for when the hood is pulled up or the zipper is zipped all the way closed.

The chin flap on the Adze is lined with soft fleece to prevent chafing on the face.
The chin flap on the Adze is lined with soft fleece to prevent chafing on the face.

Style


The Adze has a technical yet fairly classic look that is available in appealing colors. It can move seamlessly from the hiking trail to the grocery store. If you prefer a more casual look, we recommend the Kruser Ridge which is probably the most casual of all the pieces we reviewed. The fit on the Adze is standard but flattering, and it accommodates layers in the sleeves better than both the Kruser Ridge and the Apex Bionic, which has particularly tight sleeve cuffs.

Best Application


Since the Adze's most unique quality is that it is windproof, it obviously excels in windy conditions, be it on a rock wall or trail. The wind resistance allows it to function well for skiing, either cross-country or downhill. It is not the best choice for high-exertion aerobic activities where breathability is the most important feature; the Marmot ROM - Women's would best serve in those applications. We think this piece is best used hiking, alpine and ice climbing, shoveling snow and splitting wood, camping, and snowshoeing.

Cross-country skiing in the Patagonia Adze (left) and The North Face Apex Bionic (right). Both are reasonably priced windproof softshells. We ultimately gave the Best Buy award to the Adze because it is more comfortable and flexible  and slightly more functional with a 2-way adjustable hood and adjustable sleeve cuffs.
Cross-country skiing in the Patagonia Adze (left) and The North Face Apex Bionic (right). Both are reasonably priced windproof softshells. We ultimately gave the Best Buy award to the Adze because it is more comfortable and flexible, and slightly more functional with a 2-way adjustable hood and adjustable sleeve cuffs.

Value


$199 for a windproof shell is an excellent deal, especially considering that it could potentially take the place of a wind jacket in your quiver. Slightly more expensive than the windproof Apex Bionic, it fits better and is more comfortable. When compared to other non-windproof softshells that push the $400 range, such as the Arc'teryx Gamma MX and the Adze seems to offer quite a bit of weather protection and comfort for its low price, which is why we chose to award it our Best Buy. This jacket is durable and we believe it will last for a while. The face material does not pill or tear, adding to the value and longevity of this shell. We think this is an awesome choice for someone interested in purchasing her first softshell and who would like to try out this non-essential comfort layer without shelling out too much money.

Conclusion


For a windproof softshell, the Adze is our favorite option. Only three shells we tested were windproof: the Adze, the Apex Bionic, the Mammut Ultimate Hoody and we would rather be wearing the Adze while out in the mountains in most situations. This tough defense against weather coupled with a completely reasonable price earns this piece our Best Buy Award. The Adze is more techy looking and less comfortable than our other Best Buy winner, the Columbia Kruser Ridge, which is a better everyday layer, but the Adze provides more shelter from weather for the money.
McKenzie Long

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Most recent review: December 4, 2017
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