by Don Wilson | 2005-12-05 03:00:00-07
Patagonia's Down Sweater provides lightweight insulation in a tough package. With features aimed at durability and convenience while climbing, the Down Sweater sacrifices some performance in loft per unit weight compared with other lightweight down garments. It has a full-length zipper, a single vertical chest pocket, drawcord hem and elastic cuffs. A light stuff sack is also included.
The Down Sweater uses sewn through construction with down tubes about 1.5 inches wide. This keeps the down placed where Patagonia wants it, but the narrow tubes limit the total loft of the jacket. Our measurements placed the double layer loft of the Down Sweater at about 1.8 inches in the torso, slightly less in the sleeves. This is less than in most other down jackets of similar weight. The relatively low loft and the full zipper do have a benefit though. The Down Sweater can be used where other down garments would cause you to overheat, and the zipper allows good ventilation in front.
I used the down sweater on fall trips in the Arizona mountains. It is well constructed and the fit was just right for me. The sleeves are plenty long, and the torso is just long enough, even for my 6'4" frame (size L tested). It was useful in a bivy, but the relatively low loft made it less effective than most other down jackets we tested. The fabric on the Down Sweater is tough and can stand up to punishment that would result in clouds of goose feathers spilling from other jackets. I would feel very comfortable taking this jacket on climbs where I wouldn't dream of taking a jacket with an ultralight nylon shell fabric. The sweater stuffs nicely into the included stuff sack. At $165, the Patagonia Down Sweater is a reasonable value. It is lighter than an equivalent synthetic insulating jacket, and at a similar cost. But users should keep in mind that the Down Sweater is not designed for maximum loft/weight.
Upper Image: The Patagonia Down Sweater stuffs nicely into the included stuff sack. Lower Image: A roomy chest pocket provides storage for a few items including the stuff sack.
* Loft is a weighted average of maximum double layer loft in the torso and sleeves. Torso loft is double weighted.
"Patagonia Down Sweater SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Don Wilson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/patagonia_down_sweater_spotlite_review.html, 2005-12-05 03:00:00-07.