Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia Downtown Loft Jacket- Women's Review

Patagonia Downtown Loft Parka
By: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2014
Price:  $279 List  |  $194.73 at REI - 30% Off
Pros:  Stylish and dressy, warm, just the right length for comfortable zipping, convertible hood, traceable down, more versatile than longer parkas
Cons:  Zippers on hand pockets are small and snag easily, on the heavy side
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 30% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7
  • Style - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 15% 9
  • Features - 5% 8
  • Durability - 5% 8
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Our Verdict

A dressy, stylish coat of medium length, the Patagonia Downtown Loft Jacket is the perfect all-around winter coat. It also comes in a longer length in the Downtown Loft Parka. It will keep you warm during an evening camping, but the hood that stows in a high shawl collar and the shiny satin polyester material gives it a fancy look for wearing to a semi-formal event. We awarded our Best Buy selection to the Downtown Loft for being more affordable than both the longer, stylish parkas and the thick, technical parkas while also being more versatile than both of those categories. Since it is hip-length, it is warmer than a short, lightweight down jacket, but easier to zip, more mobile, and can be worn in more situations than a knee-length parka. It is thicker and warmer than both the Patagonia Fiona Parka - Women's and the Arcteryx Nuri and more tailored than The North Face Metropolis Parka - Women's and the Mountain Hardwear Downtown Coat - Women's. This flattering jacket gives you the most wear options for your money.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Downtown comes in a Jacket and Parka style. While we only tested the Jacket for this review, the Downtown Loft Parka shares all the same features but is just longer. We recommend the Parka for more urban setting where warmth is the highest priority and the Jacket if mobility is more important. Both jackets come with the same three color options. below you can see the difference between the two.

Patagonia Downtown Loft Parka
The Loft Parka is the longer version of the Downtown Loft Jacket.

A versatile and stylish winter coat, the Downtown Loft Jacket is an excellent deal for a jacket that allows for more mobility than a longer parka and will keep you just as cozy camping or heading to an upscale performance of the Nutcracker.

Performance Comparison


The Downtown Loft with the hood stored in the collar. We love the look of this high collar  which also increases warmth.
The Downtown Loft with the hood stored in the collar. We love the look of this high collar, which also increases warmth.

Warmth


The current version of this jacket is filled with 600 fill traceable down. It is third party verified, comes from geese that were not live plucked, and not force-fed. This is a reduction in down quality from the 800 fill of previous versions, but an increase in the ethics behind the production. What this really means is that it is slightly less compressible and weighs a but more than previous versions. It is still packed with a lot of down making it one of the warmest casual parkas we evaluated. It does lose some warmth points because it does not provide the extra coverage of a knee-length parka like our Editors' Choice winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka.

Weather Resistance


While the face material of this jacket is not wind-proof, the wind flap on the inside of the zipper helps to prevent wind from leaking in through the front. The hood does not cinch down around the face, so only protects in relatively light wind, however the high collar of the hood keeps a lot of warmth inside. A DWR coating on the exterior helps to repel water during a light misting.

Style


Using sewn-through, quilted construction, the Downtown Loft has an attractive baffling pattern. It is hip-length, has a shiny, satiny finish to the material, and a hood that stows stealthily and attractively into the collar when not being worn. We love the look of this clever hood both when it is stowed and when it is around the head. It gives this jacket a classier look than your standard down jacket and allows it to be dressed up if the occasion demands it. If you prefer longer parkas, this jacket also comes in a calf-length version, though we feel that the shorter version is more versatile. Among the women we polled, this was one of the favorites in terms of style and looks.

Veronica Palmer wearing the Downtown Loft Jacket as she takes a chilly walk to Lake Tahoe. We think this is the ideal all-around winter jacket and is the most versatile model we tested.
Veronica Palmer wearing the Downtown Loft Jacket as she takes a chilly walk to Lake Tahoe. We think this is the ideal all-around winter jacket and is the most versatile model we tested.

Comfort


A thick, puffy parka, the Downtown Loft is very comfortable and cozy. The hood is comfortable both when it is up or when it is stowed. The material is soft and satiny, pleasant to feel and touch. The hip-length cut keeps more of your body bundled in warmth than with shorter waist-length jackets. The sleeve cuffs are cut at an angle so that the backs of the hands stay covered, which keeps them warm while also looking sleek.

Unzipping the hood allows for extra warmth and protection from cold wind. The way that it stows into the collar is unique and looks good good both ways (no silly looking roll-tabs here!)
Unzipping the hood allows for extra warmth and protection from cold wind. The way that it stows into the collar is unique and looks good good both ways (no silly looking roll-tabs here!)


Features


The defining feature of this jacket is the hood, which has a very clever stow method. It transforms attractively into a warm high collar when it is not needed, and unzips into a flattering hood when the temperatures drop and the wind kicks up. This features adds warmth, style, and versatility in a way that is unobtrusive and easy to use.
Note the thin zippers on the hood where it expands from the shawl collar. The curvy lines the zippers make still look attractive when unzipped.
Note the thin zippers on the hood where it expands from the shawl collar. The curvy lines the zippers make still look attractive when unzipped.

Back view of the hood when it is stored into the collar. The zipper is barely noticeable.
Back view of the hood when it is stored into the collar. The zipper is barely noticeable.


In terms of other useful features, the Downtown Loft has two handwarmer pockets lined with a soft fleece on the front side, and an interior chest pocket for keeping important items. These are useful features for a jacket you plan to wear every day.

The hand pockets on the Downtown Loft use a small zipper  which can be hard to use sometimes. The inside is lined with the same soft polyester as the rest of the jacket  with fleece on the front side.
The hand pockets on the Downtown Loft use a small zipper, which can be hard to use sometimes. The inside is lined with the same soft polyester as the rest of the jacket, with fleece on the front side.


Weighing around 1.5 pounds, this jacket is rather heavy for a hip-length parka, which is primarily due to the heavy satin polyester shell material. However, for everyday use this is a non-issue.

Durability


The satin polyester material of this jacket is fairly abrasion resistant while at the same time possessing a soft, tactile feel and a shiny, attractive look. Designed more for around town use than for technical purposes, this jacket can hold up to average wear and conditions.

Unfortunately, the zippers on the hand pockets are small and thin, and snag the exterior fabric frequently. This becomes a noticeable hassle if you zip and un-zip the pockets often to access items such as a wallet or phone.

Best Application


The Downtown Loft Jacket is a perfect all-around winter coat. With a dressy look and hip-length cut, it could be used for many different applications, from heading to a holiday party, to shoveling out a snow-buried car, to an evening around a campfire.

Heading out for a day of climbing in Pine Creek  CA on a chilly fall morning  and wearing the Downtown Loft Jacket to keep warm. Though we think this jacket has a sophisticated  dressy look  the hip-length cut and warm down make it just as useful for more outdoorsy applications as it is for urban casual wear.
Heading out for a day of climbing in Pine Creek, CA on a chilly fall morning, and wearing the Downtown Loft Jacket to keep warm. Though we think this jacket has a sophisticated, dressy look, the hip-length cut and warm down make it just as useful for more outdoorsy applications as it is for urban casual wear.


Value


For under $300, the Downtown Loft Jacket is an excellent deal. Though the Columbia Mighty Lite is less expensive, we still think you get more for your money with this jacket. It is much thicker and warmer, has a far wider range of use, and is still less expensive than most of the other winter jackets in this review. For the money, you get a jacket that works equally well when dressing up as it does camping, so we think this could easily be a woman's single quiver winter jacket that she wears every time she heads out the door. This versatility coupled with a reasonable price earns the Downtown Loft our Best Buy award.

Conclusion


If you are on a budget but still in the market for a flattering winter coat, this is the one. More versatile than a long parka or a technical parka, this jacket sits right in the middle, and is wearable in just about any winter situation.

McKenzie Long

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