This is one of two synthetic insulated parkas in our women's winter jacket review, the other being the Columbia Mighty Lite and it is most comparable to other technical parkas such as the Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket - Women's. If you are strictly in the market for a synthetic insulated jacket, refer to The Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review, which details many other options, though none of them are as warm or as long as the ultra-thick DAS parka.
Patagonia DAS Parka - Women's Review
Cons: doesn't compress as well as a down jacket of the same warmth, interior pockets too small for gloves
Our Analysis and Test Results
A synthetic insulated technical winter jacket, the DAS Parka is the ultimate belay jacket for ice climbing or a warm layer for overnight ski tours.
The DAS parka is filled with high-loft 120-g Primaloft Silver and has an additional layer of high quality 60-g Primaloft Gold in the key core areas: the chest, abdomen, and back. These two types of insulation together make for a lofty, puffy synthetic jacket that is quite warm. This technical parka is warmer than any of the jackets included in our insulated jacket review. Our favorite extra feature that we feel adds to the warmth of the jacket is the insulating neck baffle, which seals in body heat and prevents it from leaking out behind the head.
The low-absorbency Polyurethane coated nylon that makes up this jacket is windproof and water resistant, protecting the wearer from snow, ice, and light precipitation. It is also treated with a DWR to further protect it from wet weather. Additionally, the fact that this jacket is insulated with synthetic material gives it an extra boost in terms of water resistance because the insulation itself holds up better against wetness than down. Where down loses its loft when damp, synthetic insulation retains its loft and therefore retains some insulating properties.
The DAS is slightly tailored to fit a woman, but overall has a very boxy fit. However, this works well for a technical belay parka meant to be worn over many other layers. We particularly appreciate the articulated elbows allowing for easy motion of the arms and the longer cut which provides more warmth, protection, and coverage. It comes in fun, bright colors, but doesn't look like an around-town jacket.
This technical parka aims to be functional in harsh mountain environments and skimps on the creature comforts of casual parkas such as the Canada Goose Kensington Parka, which comes with knit cuffs and a fleece-lined hood and pockets. There is no soft fleece anywhere on this jacket.
Since this jacket is intended for belaying, it has a helmet compatible hood with a brim. This allows for added warmth and protection even with a climbing helmet on. It has 2 interior mesh pockets that Patagonia claims are perfect for stashing and drying gloves, but we beg to differ. They are far too small for anything other than the thinnest gloves. Otherwise, the 2 hand pockets and the chest pocket are easy to access and functional. It does have a two-way zipper to allow for access to a belay device and belay loop when worn with a harness. This keeps the jacket from bunching around the harness and allows the full length of the jacket to do its job and insulate well.
The nylon ripstop material that comprises the exterior of the DAS is PU coated for extra abrasion resistance, which gives this jacket extra life, especially since it will likely be jammed in a pack along with crampons, and rubbed against rock and ropes. And if this jacket does earn a snag, never fear, because synthetic insulation won't leak out of a small hole like down will. However, over time synthetic insulation will lose its loft and warmth sooner than a down jacket, which will last twice as long if kept in good condition.
Weight & Compressibility
Synthetic insulation weighs more than down in a jacket of the same warmth. So we were quite surprised to note that the DAS parka, the only technical synthetic jacket in this particular review, is also one of the lightest, weighing 1.21 pounds for a size small. This is mainly due to a thoughtful stream-lining of features to keep the weight down, and the use of a lightweight shell material. This jacket has no bits of heavy fleece added anywhere, the sleeves forgo adjustable velcro tabs, and the hood only has one drawcord. This all adds up to an incredibly warm yet lightweight jacket, perfect for bringing along on mountain missions. For technical applications, we love this. It also comes with its own stuff sack for easy packing.
This jacket is well suited to cold and damp belays or extended expeditions in notoriously wet climates like Patagonia where the long-term ability of a jacket to resist water is paramount to safety. We like it for ice climbing, chilly rock climbing belays, overnight ski tours, and winter camping. It can be worn around town, but it does look more technical than casual.
Compared to other synthetic insulated jackets, the DAS is expensive, but in the context of this winter jacket review, it is on the inexpensive side of things. A really burly, warm winter jacket for under $300? Yes please! By comparison, the other belay parka in this review, the Rab Neutrino Endurance, is $360 and the far less warm and less protective Patagonia Fiona is the exact same price. This jacket offers much more warmth per dollar.
For a wetness fighting, super-warm, lightweight masterpiece, you have come to the right product. This jacket will keep you vary warm in cold, wet conditions. Best for technical applications in the mountains.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 20, 2014
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