Weight: 552 g (19.5 oz)
Reviewer: 6’2″, 160 lbs.
Size Tested: XL
Color: Paintbrush Red
- 3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell
- Touch Point System
- Relaxed fit
Test Locations: Snowbird, Taos Ski Valley, Jackson Hole, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Keystone, Crested Butte
Days Worn: 40+
The entry of Patagonia and other more “traditional” outdoor brands into the snowboard market in recent years has been an interesting one. As big-mountain freeriding, backcountry snowboarding, and splitboarding have gained popularity, the demand for high-end, technical softgoods within the core snowboarder population has grown, too.
Patagonia has assembled a stellar team, including Forrest Shearer, Ryland Bell, and Alex Yoder—who at last year’s Snowbird North Face Masters stop was raving about his PowSlayer kit. While Alex is a Patagonia ambassador, his high praise for the jacket definitely piqued my interest.
When I saw the price, however, I was stunned—is any jacket worth almost $700? All the Gore-Tex outerwear I had worn previously (from Sessions and Burton) had retail prices under $300. I wanted to find out.
Right as I pulled the PowSlayer out of the plastic, it was clear that this was by far the lightest jacket I had ever owned. The PowSlayer is made with Gore-Tex Pro Shell, which commands a high price for a reason: it’s an incredibly thin, lightweight waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex laminate.
As I felt the paper-thin fabric, I felt the same fear that Jonathan Ellsworth had upon first inspecting his Gore-Tex Pro Shell Enzo Jacket: “I’m going to destroy this thing in one run.”
But after rereading Jonathan’s review (which includes a Pro Shell analysis by BLISTER outerwear expert Sam Shaheen), I felt a lot more confident. (And if you haven’t read Sam’s Outerwear 101 piece, you should. It’s my favorite BLISTER article.)
Fit / Sizing
Patagonia labels the PowSlayer with a “relaxed” fit—not surprising, given its team-driven design process, which includes a crowd where tight, athletic fits are largely unpopular. Generally speaking, the sizing and fit were very similar to jackets from brands like Sessions, Analog, and Burton.
I’m 6’2” and pretty lanky, and often have issues with the arm length of jackets. But not so with the PowSlayer, where an XL gave me a great fit. My only tiff would be that it’s a little wide in the waist, though that is easily fixed with a quick cinch of the adjustable Touch Point waist cord (more on that below).
The powderskirt, however, closes with only one button, and therefore has only one size, which is several inches too large for my 160-pound frame and 31-inch waist. Had I not been wearing bib pants with the PowSlayer jacket, I’m sure this lack of adjustability and extra space would have been an issue on pow days.
Patagonia says this single-button design was to reduce weight and bulking in the front, but I’ve never had an issue in the past with bulk in any adjustable powder skirts, and I don’t think adding one or two buttons would raise the weight exorbitantly. If anything, I think it would increase the functionality for a broader range of users.
The powderskirt is made of an extremely lightweight material and has a one-button loop interface on the back that is designed with Patagonia pants in mind; the interface was easy to use with my PowSlayer Bib Pants.
Powderskirt sizing aside, the relaxed fit and lightweight material of the PowSlayer allowed for a great deal of mobility. Basically, the PowSlayer jacket is the kind of jacket you practically forget that you’re wearing.