The wind had picked up considerably over the course of the day, turning what we thought was going to be a scorcher into a fairly chilly afternoon. I had glanced at my new Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody in my pack at the base, but figured a lightweight windshirt would be all I’d need on our chosen objective, which clocked in around two thousand feet of climbing. Now that I was starting to shiver a bit, I was thinking that it might be the last time I ever get caught without what has become my favorite go anywhere, do anything cragging jacket.
I know it’s part of the name, but the first time you put the jacket on, you really do notice just how light it is. Coming in at a mere 9.3 ounces, there’s never a reason to not have it in your pack, especially considering the warmth you get in return from the 800-fill-power goose down. And if you’re tight on space in your bag, or want to hang it off your harness, it packs easily into its own chest pocket stuff sack.
The hood fits well over a helmet, though when wearing it like this I can’t quite zip it up all the way. The main thing I really like about this jacket is how versatile it is. It’s a great choice on longer climbs, but it works equally well to stay warm in between pitches at a place like Rifle, where it’s often a little bit chilly hanging out in the shade, but you don’t need a full on puffy.
Durability is certainly a concern whenever you are talking about products that use super lightweight materials, and with the somewhat lofty price tag of $299, you’ll want to know it’s going to give you years on end of happiness in the mountains. So far it has held up well over the course of several months, and given that it’s Patagonia we’re talking about, should it start to fall apart they are usually pretty good about fixing stuff up. That is, of course, assuming it was general wear and tear that caused the problem, and not you putting a crampon through it.
For true cold weather activities where you might be standing around for extended periods of time, you’ll likely want something more burly, but for general cragging or anytime you want something to take the edge off, the Ultralight Down Hoody is the ticket. Combine it with a wind breaker and beanie, however, and you might just have all the warmth you’ll ever need.
Retail is $299. Full info is available on Patagonia’s website.
Disclaimer: Wait! Do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, this product was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!