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Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody

Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody, Blister Gear ReviewPatagonia Ultralight Down Hoody

Weight: 263 g / 9.3 oz

Reviewer Info: 5’10,” 185 lbs.

Size: Large

Color: Bandana Blue

Fit: Slim Silhouette

Features:

  • Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • 800-fill-power premium European goose down for low-bulk warmth
  • Variegated channel construction stabilizes insulation and also allows the use of less down, creating an elegant, low-profile garment
  • Low-profile, adjustable hood seals out wind
  • Zippered pockets: two handwarmers, one chest
  • Drawcord hem seals out cold and spindrift
  • Self-fabric stuffsack
  • Shell and lining: 0.8 oz 10-denier 100% nylon ripstop with a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 800-fill-power premium European goose down

Test locations: Las Leñas, Argentina; Taos Ski Valley; Alta Ski Area; Stowe, Vermont; all over New England last December and all over the Mountain West before and after that.

Activities: Skiing, hiking, biking, and every other thing a person does while wearing clothes

Days Skied: ~30

Days Worn: ~120

MSRP: $329

I have been using the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody for a year now, and it is one of my all-time favorite pieces of gear. It’s not cheap, but there’s nothing chintzy about this jacket. And it might not be perfect (see fit section), but it is very, very good.

Usually for me, a piece of clothing takes awhile to work its way into my regular rotation. And occasionally, a piece just becomes a fixture, and I basically live in it. That’s the case with the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody. I went from wearing it on occasion to wearing it pretty much every day ever since we went down to Las Leñas, Argentina, last August.

Here’s Patagonia’s own description of the jacket:

“Early starts and late days, mountain summits and shaded belays – all reasons to maximize the spring season and throw in compressible high-loft insulation. Our Ultralight Down Hoody uses top-notch 800-fill-power premium European goose down that traps your heat, and an updated, ultralight yet super tough shell fabric blocks wind and sheds snow with its Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish. The sewn-through construction, tight channel pattern and just the right amount of down increases its versatility for use in more moderate temperatures and diverse activities. The slim silhouette (and low-profile, single-pull adjustable hood) maximizes thermal efficiency and suits its ideal uses: belay parka over light layers at shady springtime crags, minimalist summer alpine bivies and unmatched warmth layered under a shell. Pockets include: two zippered handwarmers and one zippered chest. A drawcord hem helps keep in the heat. Stuffsack included.”

This description is largely spot on, except for one important thing:

Fit

If the Ultralight Down Hoody has a “slim silhouette,” then “slim” now means “not slim,” and all of those stories in the newspapers about our expanding waistlines are clearly true.

I measure 42″ through the chest, and the size Large Ultralight Down Hoody fits quite well—it’s neither baggy nor restrictive. I’d call it an “athletic” fit.

Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody.

I have a 31″ or 32″ waist, however, and I have a lot of extra hoody around my torso. It’s never presented an issue, it just isn’t a “slim” cut.

I’ve said before that I don’t envy ski boot manufacturers, and I don’t envy clothes manufacturers, either. I’d personally like to see Patagonia take in the torso a bit, but there may be a whole bunch of people out there who hope they don’t. I presume Patagonia knows their market, and it seems obvious that it’s better to err on the side of going too big than too small. But I think they ought to at least change the description of the jacket if they don’t intend to make this a true, slim fit.

The torso length of my size Large is 26.5in / 66.7cm, what I would call standard.

The sleeve length, however, is just long enough for me, but will likely run short for someone with long arms. (Reviewer Jason Hutchins is 6’0″, 160 lbs., and has far too much room through the torso, and not enough length through the sleeves—he could use an additional 4-5 centimeters.) I’d see little downside to adding an extra centimeter or two to the sleeve length.

And clearly, this is all good news, bad news, or mixed news—depending on the amount of space you happen to occupy in the universe.

Fit Comparisons

I have a Patagonia Nano Puff pullover (size medium) and a Patagonia Down Sweater (size medium) each from a few seasons ago, and while the size large Ultralight Down Hoody is obviously slightly larger overall, the most pronounced difference between those two jackets and my Ultralight is the amount of extra material around the waist.

Everything Else:

And with fit issues out of the way, everything else I’m about to say amounts to, “This jacket is fantastic”…

 

9 Comments

  1. Marcel March 1, 2013 Reply

    Great review! Exactly what I was looking for in terms of comparison since the Down sweater is largely and easily found locally but not so much the ultralight. Your comment about it being almost as warm as the down sweater but clearly less bulky doesn’t leave any question regarding which one to get for a mid layer. Jonathan would you say the durability is on par with the down sweater when used as an outer layer around town?

  2. Daniel M. June 3, 2013 Reply

    I’m curious as to what size you would recommend- I have the down sweater in Medium and I like the way it fits. Not too tight, but I can wear a shirt and or a long sleeve underneath fine, not too much pouchy-ness in the stomach area when I sit down. In comparison when it comes to a “slim fit” shirt or regular cut shirt I prefer the slim both cuts I wear a large. I’m 5’7″, 180ish Athletic build. I’m sure I could drop 15lbs if I ran more and said No to ” one last beer” ; ). Would you keep the large you reviewed or size down? Thanks!

    • Author

      Hey, Daniel – I personally wouldn’t drop down to a medium in the Ultralight – I wouldn’t want to go smaller through the chest and shoulders, and I wouldn’t want to give up any sleeve length.

      As for you, however, if you like the Down Sweater in a medium and you aren’t planning to layer heavily under the Ultralight, then seems like you could go with a medium. And if not … then yeah, time to run more! Let me know if you’ve got any other questions.

  3. Kay November 8, 2013 Reply

    Hello Jonathan,
    the color on your picture looks pretty nice and deep blue than the other internet pics. Could this be the Channel Blue or the Deep Space and not the Bandana Blue?

  4. DT TD November 28, 2013 Reply

    To save everyone the grief I went through. The color is definetly Deep Space Blue and not Bandana Blue. I’ve gone through great lengths in search for this darker Deep Space Blue (navy blue color) you’re wearing, as pictured above. The Bandana blue is much lighter (like baby blue) and the Channel blue is a bit more vibrant due to the material, same with this years Viking Blue. This Deep Space blue is IMO really cool as it’s not as shiny.

  5. Amanda December 1, 2013 Reply

    Hi there – This is a terrific review – thank you very much! I was wondering how you think the ultralight compares to the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, if you’ve had any experience with it. Also, that color looks an awful lot like this year’s tidal teal, which they only do in the men’s version, not the women’s…

  6. Alden April 30, 2016 Reply

    This is the review I’ve been looking for. You performed a true public service!

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