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Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt Review on 09/13/2011 13:35:41 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt Review

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 09/13/2011 14:56:02 MDT Print View

"Although the Patagonia Down Shirt is a very useful garment, it comes up short on its specifications, is overpriced compared to the competition, and the poor performance of its Deluge DWR treatment is a surprise."

Well put. Thanks for the solid review.

Patagonia's gold plated pricing often reflects topnotch design, materials, and performance. I'm amazed that they dropped the ball so badly on this garment. Apparently it was not put through its paces by some famous alpinist in North Iciclestan. Then again, maybe it was, and the famous alpinst's fee had to be covered somehow.

Edited by El_Canyon on 09/13/2011 14:57:02 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt Review on 09/13/2011 17:31:39 MDT Print View

Interestingly, I came to a similar decision last winter when I decided to get the Montbell Ex-Light jacket based on your SOTM review of down jackets. I couldn't find anything in the specs for the Patagonia down shirt that could possibly justify the extra price. After reading this article, I'm really glad I made that decision! I'm very happy with the Montbell jacket!

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
x2 on 09/13/2011 21:45:38 MDT Print View

Mary, much the same feelings here. The EXL is a pretty exceptional jacket and I've been plenty happy with mine. Great ON when I need warmth and wind blocking capability and especially great OFF because it is so light when carried for situations I might need protection in.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
What use are these? on 09/13/2011 21:58:30 MDT Print View

In general what do you use these for?

As Will mentions, it was to thin to be a good insulating layer for sedentary activities in cold weather, like sitting around eating breakfast on belaying a climber.

At the same time, for active pursuits, wouldn't you rather choose a garment that manages moisture better like a fleece or synthetic hi-loft insulated garment?
I thought whole idea of modern apparel was to limit moisture build-up in the clothing system, to prevent even colder chilling when you stop moving.

Also at these super thin weights, does down realy provide such a benefit? If for example, synthetic insulation weighs 50% more for the same R value, then in a sleeping bag with 16oz of down, you save 8 oz, plus you don't sweat as much at night as when climbing up a mountain. In this jacket however, you only save 1 oz, and have to deal with the slow drying and poor moisture transfer of down.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: What use are these? on 09/13/2011 23:32:33 MDT Print View

My Montbell ExLight is for keeping me warm around camp and during rest stops in cold weather. It also supplements the sleeping bag when nighttime temps get below the bag's rating, and I wear it over my vapor barrier to keep it dry. Unlike Will's experience of the Patagucci down sweater, I find the Montbell jacket plenty warm (when combined with my other clothing) down into the mid teens F in those conditions. On a recent trip, it was too warm while I was sitting around camp on a breezy 40*F morning.

For me, while I'm actively hiking in cold weather, a wind shirt (or rain jacket if it's precipitating) and base layer, plus headband and gloves, are sufficient to keep me warm but not actively sweating down to about 25*F. If it gets colder than that I add either a second base layer top or a very lightweight fleece vest, and a full hat instead of the headband. When I stop, the Montbell down jacket goes over what I'm already wearing (but under the rain jacket when it's precipitating).

No, I don't want to use down when actively moving, either! Sweat and down don't mix very well!

Edited by hikinggranny on 09/13/2011 23:38:25 MDT.

Stephan Doyle
Re: What use are these? on 09/14/2011 08:09:49 MDT Print View

Their use is for sedentary activities in warmer weather.

I have paired my Down Shirt with my 30º quilt to great success over the last four months. Used from everywhere from the California Coast to 14ers in the Sierra to Yellowstone. If I can take a 30º quilt, then my Down Shirt is enough.

It may also end up as an extra safety layer in the winter. Its lack of loft and close fit makes it easy to layer other down garments over the top.

terrance guidetti
(Baloo) - F

Locale: calif
feathered friends daybreak jacket on 09/14/2011 10:05:48 MDT Print View

Full zip, hand pockets, 3.1 oz. 850 down, 7.5 oz. total wt., $226. looks lofty.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: feathered friends daybreak jacket on 09/14/2011 10:44:56 MDT Print View

That Daybreak jacket uses a heavier fabric and more down than the Montbell UL Inner, but is claimed to weigh slightly less. I suspect one of them is exaggerating their specs.


Lawrence Cooper
(LawrenceCooper) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
You forgot the LL Bean Down Sweater on 09/14/2011 11:42:04 MDT Print View

I've been using the LL Bean Down Sweater for a couple of years now (most recently at Philmont above 9,500ft) and I think it beats all the ones in this article. That's on performance and price.

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
MB EX L on 09/14/2011 12:20:21 MDT Print View

I'd been thinking of getting the MB EX L jacket for a while and this article and a visit to the Pata outlet store on Monday including trying on the Down Shirt($170 at the outlet store) pushed me to hit the Buy button for the MB EX L on sale at Campsaver for $131 with free shipping.

My primary use will be to supplement my Feathered Friends Hyperion down sweater/jacket. I love my Hyperion but it and all the other down sweaters are not warm enough for sub-zero winter weather. Last winter I used the Hyperion with a great light down vest, the Rab Microlight, but I found that my arms and particularly my elbows were cold when the temp dropped. I plan to use the MB as a layer under my Hyperion. This combo is still 8 or 10 ounces lighter than my old TNF Nuptse and allows much more versatility. I also plan to use the MB EX L as a warm layer on its own or under a shell when the temps are 20-40F.

Jon Hamilton
Not impressed on 09/14/2011 15:21:17 MDT Print View

I'm not impressed with anything Patagonia has been doing. Their prices are going up and up but the quality is just not there. I've had two different down jackets this past year bust seams after minimal use.

Oliver Nissen
(olivernissen) - MLife

Locale: Yorkshire Dales
Re: What use are these? on 09/14/2011 17:26:12 MDT Print View

Hi Tjaard,
I have to give a defence for down here and clear up a bit of a misconception. Yep, the weight advantage of down over synthetic fill is less pronounced in garments than sleeping bags, however it's wrong to assume that synthetic insulation 'manages moisture' better than down. Down is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the atmosphere) which allows the moisture to be transported through a mass of down relatively unimpeded. On the other hand the synthetic fibres that make up Primaloft fill are hydrophobic and as they don't wick they're not managing/transferring moisture at all. Fleeces are better as they can wick moisture but if you were to sandwich them between two wind proof layers (of Nylon taffeta) would they 'manage moisture' any better than a down garment? Probably not.

Jonathan Pratt
Synthetic jacket review on 09/14/2011 18:32:59 MDT Print View

Any plans for a synthetic jacket shootout? I've just bought the Montane Prism 2.0 jacket and would love to see an updated review on BPL - along with other recommendations.

The Prism works well in active situations and with a base layer carries moisture away nicely - assuming you're in winter or cool spring/autumn. It doesn't hit the UL weights for these down shirts, but it does have other advantages.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Not impressed with the entire category on 09/14/2011 18:41:18 MDT Print View

Tried the Montbell UL down liner many moons ago but sold it - though light there's just not enough down, especially if a shell jacket is pressing on the down. Not about to give the category another go at these prices unless the garment shells get more windproof and streamlined as a whole.

Edited by hknewman on 09/14/2011 18:46:29 MDT.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Ex Light fit vs. Patagonia Down Shirt on 09/14/2011 18:45:52 MDT Print View

For what its worth to others out there, I compared the Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt and the Montbell Ex Light and I like the Patagonia way more because of the fit. I felt like the only way the Ex Light could fit me was if I had a big old beer belly (no offense anyone). If I wore the Ex Light in any remotely cold weather I would have drafts coming up from the bottom and I would be frigid in no time. Even though the Patagonia Down Shirt doesn't have a drawcord hem either, it is much slimmer fitting and hugged my body just below the hips. I know people like to rave about the specs and price of the Ex Light, but there are lots of other factors to making a nice jacket.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
EXL loose fit? on 09/14/2011 20:27:36 MDT Print View

Gabe, I've always heard most comment that Montbell runs atheletic to small. My medium is snug fitting and I'm 5'9" and 150 lb. I feel it fits great and keeps the heat in. Weird you had such a different experience.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
I'm with warren on this one on 09/14/2011 21:49:44 MDT Print View


I have similar specs to Warren: 5'10", +/- 150lbs. Medium EXL fits me great. Hands down to the EXL imo. Love you Pgucc, but the MB piece wins here.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt Review" on 09/14/2011 22:22:29 MDT Print View

Average rating, well above average price, less than average versatility.... seems like a no brainer to me.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
MB Ex Light For Larger Guys on 09/15/2011 06:27:44 MDT Print View

Oh to be able to wear a medium again (or, quite honestly, just a large or XL)...

I'm a big guy - 6' and 260 pounds. I have the Montbell Ex Light in XXL and it fits me well. I wear it around camp and have slept in it. The XXL weighs 7.8 ounces and is half the weight of any of my XXL fleeces and much warmer.

I've switched over to hammocks and have found that the Ex Light jacket, unzipped and opened, makes a great second quilt for over me at night. I'm much more comfortable draping it over me and tucking the arms under me than I am sleeping in it. It also makes it quite convenient to grab it and put it on in the morning.