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Top 5 Patagonia jackets

A giant in the outdoor world, Patagonia has a bevy of iconic products. Here we take a look at our top 5 Patagonia jackets.

Patagonia Better Sweater, $139

Pro: Great looks mean this can be worn on its own or as a midlayer

Con: Doesn’t protect from the wind

Versatility is the name of the game with the Patagonia Better Sweater. It looks good enough to wear on its own, plus it makes for a superb midlayer. Put this under your uninsulated shell and you can weather some low temperatures.

By itself, it provides solid warmth. You’ll like it on mildly chilly spring or fall days. But make sure to note this fleece is not designed for harsh weather since it provides no wind resistance and will only keep the rain out for a short bit. As great as it is, it’s still a midweight fleece and has the limitations of being a midweight fleece. These limitations, combined with the 1 lb, 6 oz weight, mean the Better Sweater is best for more casual pursuits.

The jacket will pill after consistent use because of the 100 percent polyester knitted fleece, but this is an issue with all jackets of this material and can be maintained with a sweater stone.

The Patagonia Better Sweater has a standard three-pocket design (two hand, one chest). All of the pockets zip and have a soft lining.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket, $149

Pro: It’s an excellent value at $149 and very weatherproof

Con: It’s a little stiff

At $149, the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket is an amazing value. It’s breathable and (after a 2020 upgrade from 2.5 layers of water protection to 3) very weatherproof. And like most Patagonia apparel, it looks good.

Beyond the excellent waterproof material, the jacket has a number of features designed to help keep you dry. The hood has a brim and adjusts two ways (a feature we love). The zippers have flaps and the hem is adjustable. All of this makes it fairly windproof as well as rainproof.

The jacket’s biggest downfall is comfort. For a lightweight shell, it’s a little stiff and heavy-feeling. But even that is more nitpicking than real issue, especially at this price. This is a natural cost of the excellent weatherproof qualities.

One very cool feature is that the entire jacket folds up and fits inside the left pocket. At 13.9 oz, this makes it a great jacket for packing.

Patagonia Cloud Ridge, $249

Pro: The hood is outstanding and it’s very weatherproof

Con: It might be overkill for most

The Patagonia Cloud Ridge Jacket is for those who are getting out and experiencing some inclement weather. It’s thoroughly stormproof and perhaps a little heavy as a result.

Aside from being outstanding in the rain and wind, the most noteworthy part of the jacket is the hood. It’s large enough to fit over helmets. It adjusts in two ways, around the back of your head and around your face. This, plus the laminated visor, allows you to get just the right fit. If you’re wearing a headlamp, the hood can turn with your head. Peripheral vision is excellent.

Despite no ventilation, the jacket breathes well enough to keep you from getting overheated.

Edit: Patagonia has discontinued the Cloud Ridge jacket.

Patagonia Nano Puff, $199

Pro: It’s warm, light, and compresses well

Con: The fabric can get clammy when you’re sweating

Designed to be a durable all-around jacket, the Patagonia Nano Puff is fantastic. It features synthetic insulation that is superior to down because you can compress it or get it wet and it still maintains its insulating properties.

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Because it’s lightweight and stuffs into a very small pocket, this is a perfect jacket for those who need to keep their gear minimal. The material is very slippery, which helps it be a strong option for layering, but can also get sticky or clammy if you get sweaty.

It’s not designed for shedding a ton of water, so it’s best to avoid heavy rain if possible.

Patagonia Down Sweater, $229

Pro: A versatile classic

Con: Not the best pick for heavy rain

The Patagonia Down Sweater is a classic, and for good reason. It’s very versatile, being both warm enough for winter activities and compressible enough to take along in late spring and early fall.

Keep in mind that this jacket does not use hydrophobic down and counts on the water-repellant nylon outer material to keep moisture out. You’ll probably want to add an outer layer if you’ll be in heavy rain so the down doesn’t get soggy.

If there’s one knock, it’s that the Patagonia Down Sweater is heavy, making it a poor pick for backcountry activities.

Looking for even more info on these Patagonia jackets? Check out our video below:


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