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Patagonia Dragonfly Pullover REVIEW (Spring 2004 Style)

A three ounce wind shirt with an important distinguishing feature: durability.

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by the Product Review Staff | 2003-11-25 03:00:00-07


Herein we review Patagonia’s newest wind shirt, to be released in Spring 2004, the 3 oz, hoodless, Dragonfly Pullover. Patagonia will also manufacture a 4 oz, hooded, Dragonfly Full Zip Jacket.

Many feel that a wind shirt is the most versatile piece of clothing you can carry in your pack. Worn over a base layer, a wind shirt provides protection from wind chill and light precipitation, and serves to retain body heat lost through evaporative cooling in colder conditions. On its own (depending on the next-to-skin comfort of the fabric), it can serve as comfortable warm-weather insect and sun protection.

A classic wind shirt is a single-layer woven (nylon or polyester) cut to the pattern of a shirt, pullover, or jacket. The key characteristics of a wind shirt are extremely light weight, high breathability, and water resistance (usually provided by a durable water repellent finish, or DWR). Pertex Microlight, Pertex Quantum, and other 15-30 denier uncoated nylons are examples of the types of fabrics that provide these characteristics.


Patagonia calls the Dragonfly “The absolute lightest shell we've ever made for high-intensity minimalist adventures.” The new Dragonfly offers a new balance point between light weight and durability. Patagonia’s 1.1 oz triple ripstop fabric has a substantial feel and a relaxing, but not clingy, drape. This fabric is softer, more breathable, and less transparent than the Dragonfly fabrics used on 2003 and earlier models.

Some manufacturers have switched to 0.9 oz fabrics to reduce the weight of their wind shirts. Patagonia has taken a slightly different approach. They retained a tougher 1.1 oz shell fabric and compromised weight in other areas. Although the new Dragonfly offers a deep chest zipper, it uses a very light and thin elastic draw cord and miniature one-handed cord lock at the hem.


  • Garment Style – Hoodless wind shirt
  • Fabric Description – 1.1-oz. 15 x 20 denier triple ripstop nylon; Deluge DWR treated.
  • Weight – BPL measured 3.2 oz men’s medium (manufacturer claim is 3.0 oz) Note: this is a pre-production sample.
  • MSRP – Men's Dragonfly Pullover: $115.00, Version with full zip and hood: $135.00
  • Manufacturer Contact Information

    8550 White Fir St.
    P.O. Box 32050
    Reno, NV 89523-2050
    PH: 1.800.638.6464
  • Usability

    The Dragonfly Pullover has a half-length (14 in), fully backed #3 chest zipper for good ventilation and temperature regulation. A 3 in high collar provides neck protection. Cuff closures are simple sewn-in elastic, and were neither too light nor too loose for anyone on our testing crew. The pullover has a single handwarmer/storage pocket on the lower right side seam (zippered closure). As mentioned earlier, the Pullover’s hem has an exceptionally light drawcord and miniature cord lock that can be operated with a single hand.


    The Dragonfly Pullover in a Size Men’s Medium had a trim-to-slightly-loose fit on one of our testers (an average build 5’8” 150 lb male). The Pullover fits appropriately over a baselayer and 200 weight fleece garment. The mid-length hem comes down to crotch level providing some butt but not much thigh coverage. The collar easily fits over a 200 wt fleece balaclava on a 16 in neck.


    We had no problems with the Dragonfly Pullover restricting any of our movements. Raising our arms did not raise the hem of the pullover and there was no binding in the shoulders when wrapping our arms around our chest (although some restriction might occur in shoulders when layering the garment over some bulkier insulating shirts/jackets). There was enough length in the sleeves that we could withdraw our hands while hanging them down at our sides.

    Wind and Precipitation Resistance

    In the field the pullover was able to shed light precipitation (both rain and snow) when used over a wool baselayer and a mid-weight synthetic fleece vest in temperatures between 25 and 40 degrees. The pullover wetted out over time but did a credible job of keeping seepage to reasonable levels. The Dragonfly/baselayer combo makes a surprisingly effective (and very light) soft shell arrangement.


    The 2004 Dragonfly fabric is more breathable and is an improvement over 2003 and preceding models. Still, the deep chest zipper is a welcome feature for ventilation moisture during periods of high exertion, and lack of a deep zipper on other ultralight wind shirts remains our number one complaint with manufacturers. With the garment zippered up, however, it was apparent from our field tests that the 1.1 oz triple ripstop nylon is still not quite as breathable as some of the newer 0.9 oz fabrics used in other manufacturer’s windshirts (e.g., compared to the Marmot Chinook, Montane Aero, and Rab Quantum Wind Top).

    Recommendations for Improvement

    The best features of the Dragonfly are its overall fit and design, the deep chest zipper, and the durability (especially, abrasion resistance) of the triple ripstop fabric. However, the durability comes at a cost – hindered breathability. While pre-2003 Dragonfly garments offered a fabric has enough water resistance to fit the bill as a shower shell, and other fabrics (e.g., Pertex Quantum) offer exceptional levels of breathability, the 2004 Dragonfly fabric appears to fall in the middle. Some will think that this balance provides the best of both worlds. Others will say that it’s the worst of both worlds because it can perform neither function (breathe or resist showers) optimally. Although we recognize that such distinctions in breathability and water resistance may be akin to hair-splitting, we’d prefer that manufacturers bring two wind shirts into their product lines – one with exceptional breathability in a non-hooded, pullover style for use during high exertion activity, and one with exceptional water resistance in a hooded jacket style for use as a shower shell. This would give consumers a better selection to allow them to use the one they need for a particular situation. We’ve even included both types of wind shirts on many of our own trips, recognizing that six ounces is a small weight penalty for such versatility.

    In addition, the side seam pocket on the Dragonfly, while giving an impression of apparent simplicity, is awkward to use, too small, and obscured by a hip belt or climbing harness. A larger, zippered napoleon-style chest pocket would provide more utility and ease of use.

    In fairness to Patagonia, we could not help but recognize that the new Dragonfly offers excellent durability at this weight, so if your outdoor pursuits involve occasional bushwacking or rock scrambling, the Dragonfly might find a home on your gear list.

    And, if the 3.2 ounce weight bothers you because “there are wind shirts that weigh less than 3 ounces out there,” then get your scissors out and cut out the hem cord and cordlock. The result with be a true “shirt” that is easier to tuck in with its flat hem while still retaining good functionality!


    "Patagonia Dragonfly Pullover REVIEW (Spring 2004 Style)," by the Product Review Staff. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2003-11-25 03:00:00-07.


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    Wind Shirts
    A thread for discussing features, design, fabrics, applications, and analyzing current products in the apparel category loosely defined as "wind shirts". Articles relevant to this discussion include:

    In addition, forum participants may find useful background in the article M Soft Shells: The Real Story, and in the Wind Shirt Chapter of M Clothing and Sleep Systems for Mountain Hiking.
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    carlos fernandez rivas
    (pitagorin) - MLife

    Locale: Galicia -Spain
    marmot chinook vs golite helios on 05/24/2004 04:32:24 MDT Print View

    Someone has expecience with the marmot chinook jacket

    I´m looking for a hooded windshirt .... and the finalist are the golite helios and the marmot.........what has the most breathable fabric?
    (water resistance is not important for me )


    Michael Martin
    (MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

    Locale: North Idaho
    Re: marmot chinook vs golite helios on 05/25/2004 16:40:11 MDT Print View

    The Golite Helios uses an acrylic coating which renders it much less breathable (but more water resistant) than the Marmot Chinook.

    Bryan Redd
    (lucylab) - F
    Mystery EPIC shell from GoLite? on 06/14/2004 19:07:34 MDT Print View

    I was in a store yesterday that carries "closeout" GoLite products. They had some yellow shells with hoods built with a rip-stop nylon. One of them had a label in the collar area with the "EPIC" logo---and all of the shirts were identical but only one had this label.

    Did GoLite make a wind shell made of EPIC? If so, what was it called? What can you tell me about its performance? Or were these simply prototypes?

    Re: Mystery EPIC shell from GoLite? on 07/11/2004 06:18:30 MDT Print View

    There are two models in Hong Kong:

    The 2002 discontinued model "Flow" (with hood)($1200 HKD) - only a sample remains in the shop - the golite lable says the fabric is silicon encapsulated but there is no EPIC label. Based on the "feel", I am 80% sure that EPIC fabric is used.

    The current model without hood called Harmony ($920HKD) and come with a EPIC label. The fabric is much thinner and lighter than the Wild Thing Windshirt but I am not sure whether the water resistant and breathability performance are affected? Though the colours of the Wild Thing Windshirts are more exotic.

    Thomas Cole
    (tcole) - F
    Epic vs Quantum Pertex Winshirts on 09/02/2004 13:42:20 MDT Print View

    Ryan, Wildthings Epic vs Montane Aero/Quantum: For a windshirt I would choose breathability over water resistance. How do these two compare.

    Scot Bail
    (ocean) - F
    montbell U. L. wind jacket on 10/18/2004 23:47:20 MDT Print View

    Does anyone know anything about the Montbell u.l. wind jacket? How it compares to the montane aero or the dragonfly? I am looking for a 3 oz wind shirt with good breathability and some water resistance. The three mentioned are at the top of my list so far.

    Ryan Jordan
    (ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

    Locale: Greater Yellowstone
    Re: Epic vs Quantum Pertex Winshirts on 10/21/2004 23:19:00 MDT Print View

    Quantum is more breathable by a long shot.
    Epic is almost twice as heavy as Quantum, in its lightest flavor.

    Alan Dixon
    (alandixon) - MLife

    Locale: Mid-Atlantic
    The benifits of the Montane Litespeed on 10/26/2004 13:25:03 MDT Print View

    I’d just like to make a second pitch for the Montane Litespeed. This has been my primary windshirt for a year now. I would say that’s its additional warmth, durability and features more than make up for its weight in comparison to sub-one-ounce-per-yard fabric windshirts/jackets.

    The PEAQ sidepanels are breathable and the Microlite fabric makes it more durable than Quantum and sub 1 oz poly shells. This is especially appreciated in the sleeves. The double insulated hood is very warm and protective possibly giving one the option of skipping a balaclava or certainly taking a lighter one or small skull cap. With the new Shield DWR it makes a dandy softshell and works well in moderate precipitation.

    The trick here is to NOT pack the extra gear that the Litespeed’s warmth and features gain you. That way you might save more than the 2 ounces it weighs compared to super light windshirts.

    >From Mike
    >What I'd really like to see from Montane is a 4 oz Quantum full-zip windshell with a single-layer hood and the PEAQ sidepanels. Oh well, I need something on my gear wish list for next year!

    Yeah Mike that would be near ideal with Shield DWR. Although, Microlite in the sleeves would preserve most of its durability.


    Christian Schloegell
    (NoFear) - F
    Redundancy of windshirts? on 10/27/2004 01:59:31 MDT Print View

    Waterproof/breathable Event rainshells have become so light and braethable, when compared to what we used to have until a couple of years ago, that I wonder whether carrying a seperate light windshirt (in addition to a wp/b shell) may also be redundant. When the wind is blowing so hard that you would like wind protection, couldn't you just pt on the Event shell and basically have the same effect with little detriment?


    Alan Dixon
    (alandixon) - MLife

    Locale: Mid-Atlantic
    Redundancy of wind shells? on 10/28/2004 14:50:13 MDT Print View

    >Waterproof/breathable Event rainshells have become so light and braethable, when compared to what we used to have until a couple of years ago, that I wonder whether carrying a seperate light windshirt (in addition to a wp/b shell) may also be redundant.

    this is an excellent question. and with a bit of tweaking its close to being true. (read to the end :)

    First, it depends. For cooler, less humid, conditions when you aren't working in your aerobic range, you could probably get by with something like an eVENT jackt for a general purpose shell. I know people that use fabrics far less breathable than eVENT under these conditions.

    if you're cranking into your aerobic range you're going to sweat like a pig in even the most breathable of the wp/b shells. Even eVENT is going to sweat up good. Even in the winter.

    in warmer and/or more humid conditions with wind you might find yourself too warm and too clammy to use a very breathable wp/b shell but not warm enough without it. although a large front zip on the jacke may help with temperature regulation as long as it isn't raining hard.

    You'll likely need to do some personal testing to see what you can get away with.

    Finally, I am experimenting with the ID eVENT jackt and a 1.9 oz Quantum vest from Montane (available spring next year?). For 10.7 oz I get a very, very breathable windshell and a wp breathable jacket (yeah, i'm kindofnotcounting the vest because it's so light :). At the point that i need sleeves and a hood conditions are such that I won't mind wearing the eVENT jacket.


    Edited by alandixon on 10/28/2004 14:51:44 MDT.

    Jay Ham
    (jham) - F - M

    Locale: Southwest
    montbell U. L. wind jacket on 11/02/2004 07:54:18 MST Print View


    I own a Montbell U.L. wind jacket and like it very much. True to Montbell's claim, my size medium weighs 2.6 ounces. The Ballistic Airlight fabric is pretty tough for as light as it is. I can not compare it to either the Patagonia or Montane though as I have not owned either. The obvious difference is the Montbell is full-zip (I think it is a YKK #2.5 or #3 coil zipper). Hem and cuffs are non-adjustable lycra. there is a napolean pocket on the left breast with a hidden zipper (can't see the teeth). Build quality is superb, easily matching typical patagonia quality. Hope this helps.


    Edited by jham on 11/02/2004 08:05:10 MST.

    Bryce Nerland
    (brycenerland) - F
    quantum vs. microlight on 11/14/2004 17:51:55 MST Print View

    I have been looking at some of Montane's windshirts. How do Pertex Microlight and Pertex Quantum windshirts compare in terms of breathablity, water resistance, and durability?

    Edited by jham on 11/15/2004 14:30:56 MST.

    Douglas Griffith
    (dagriff) - F
    closeout Chinook on 11/27/2004 21:42:56 MST Print View

    I'm shopping the closeout deals on Marmot Chinook (don't see it on Marmot site anymore). Did Marmot change the fabric on 04 as rumored in review, or keep P-120R? I'd really like a "breathable" jacket version versus "waterproof".

    later edit - OK accessed old marmot catalog web sites, (spring is "s", fall is "f") instead of Answer is "Specs unchanged". ( Spring 03 does show a P-110R, probably a typo.)

    Edited by dagriff on 11/28/2004 21:22:13 MST.

    peter smith
    (ps77) - F
    Re: Marmot Chinook breathability on 11/28/2004 16:51:56 MST Print View

    I bought a Marmot Chinook in August. The fabric label says "100% polyester", and the weight is around 3.7 oz for men's large.

    The Chinook performed well in the Colorado Rockies in August, with very little condensation even when
    climbing steep hills. The humidity was low and the temperatures were mild (high 40's and above).

    More recently I have used the Chinook to go jogging when conditions were around 30 degrees, with moderate humidity. To my displeasure, the inside of jacket was lined with water droplets
    at the end of the jog, especially the middle of the back. In comparison, my nike sweatpants, which are probably made of supplex nylon, were very slightly damp but had no condensation whatsoever.

    I was intrigued by the difference in performance between the Chinook at higher and lower temperatures, and by the difference between the Chinook and the nike sweatpants, so I ran a simple
    experiment. I placed a water droplet on the inside of the fabric, and measured the time it took to disperse. For the nike sweatpants, the drop rapidly dispersed and was no longer visible after a second or so. For the Chinook sweatshirt,
    the water droplet stayed put and did not disperse.

    To summarize, I think that the Chinook does a good
    job of transmitting water vapor but a poor job of
    dispersing liquid water. Hence it has good breathability at high temperatures but poor breathability around freezing. Overall, its breathability is inferior to a cheap nike jogging suit, though it may be slightly more windproof.
    If you wear this jacket around 30 degrees, there's a good chance that your base layer will be soaked by the water droplets accumulating on the inner fabric. Given that Marmot specifically advertise the Chinook as a highly breathable garment designed for aerobic activities, I think that they should be excoriated for the poor performance of their fabric.

    Does anyone know whether the DWR is applied to both sides of the material, or only to the outside? If it is applied to the inside then it would actually inhibit breathability at lower temperatures, because it would cause water droplets to bead up rather than disperse.

    John S.
    (jshann) - F
    Marmot '04 fabric on 12/01/2004 22:55:59 MST Print View

    Douglas, implies that the last fabric type used on the chinook was called NP-550.

    D G

    Locale: Pacific Northwet
    Montbell UL windjacket on 12/09/2004 15:00:36 MST Print View

    I'm considering buying this windshirt and am wondering if anybody knows approximately where this windshirt falls with regards to breathability and water resistance.

    I'm specifically looking for something highly breathable, with water resistance being secondary.
    Something in Pertex Quantum like the Montane Aero sounds ideal, but I'd have to order it and I'm not sure about sizing. I can buy the Montbell locally.

    Dan Goldenberg

    Colin Thomas
    (fullofadventure) - F
    Montane Aero on 12/11/2004 09:52:18 MST Print View

    If you go with the Aero I would size up. I did not listen to BPL and had to send mine back for the next size up. I hade got a M but it was a bit tight in the chest and the sleeves where too short. The large is perfect in the chest and the sleeves almost perfect, still a tad short.

    James Mills
    (jmillsjr) - MLife
    Didn't compare the standard ? Marmot? on 08/18/2005 09:01:29 MDT Print View

    How could you not compare the original Marmot Windshirt in the reviews? Just as a baseline if nothing else.

    John Davis
    (JNDavis) - F

    Locale: Isle of Man
    Re: Redundancy of wind shells? on 08/20/2005 14:09:31 MDT Print View

    Some good points here, Alan. I tried running in a Golite Wisp during light drizzle and was soaked.

    In humid climates a windproof should not be completely windproof! Breathability is more important. In a real blast, the waterproofs, which are very windproof, go over the virtual windproof. Equilibrium fabric is just the job for windproofs for the British summer, although I fully appreciate that Epic and an umbrella might be better for places like Zion.

    I look for comfortable closures at the waist, neck and cuffs from a windproof as waterproofs tend not to provide these. Then, cold air which gets through the waterproof's closures is stopped by the windproof.

    Alex Orgren
    (big_load) - F
    Re: Re: Redundancy of wind shells? on 08/21/2005 18:29:38 MDT Print View

    >I tried running in a Golite Wisp during light drizzle and was soaked.

    I had similar experience with the Golite Ether, only I was just walking. Based on my few trials, I wouldn't wear it during any level of exertion unless the temperature was down into the 40s (F). However, I haven't found any waterproof or windproof fabric that will stay dry while running at any temperature.