I’m currently reading Let My People Go Surfing. Now let me clarify what “reading” means in this instance: I’ve been on and off digesting this book for the past 6 months, so hopefully you’re tracking with my pace. Anyway. I reached an interesting point in the last few days after getting my Patagonia Triolet GORE-TEX jacket in the mail and I felt like it was rather timely; what better way to start out with a jacket than by reading a book the company’s founder penned. Good design is as little design as possible. - Yvon Chouinard This is, by far, the nicest jacket I’ve ever owned. Previously, I was romping around the city, trails, and crags of Arizona in The North Face Dryzzle GORE-TEX jacket and it was perfect, but I was always wanting something a bit more on the heavy duty side. I did not, however, want to isolate this jacket to one purpose. I bike to work every day, rain or shine, but I’m also a rather active climber here, and wind gets a little bit funky on exposed, elevated rock faces. After only a few weeks with the jacket, I think I found exactly what I wanted — let me explain.
What You Get
One of the questions Patagonia’s design teams asks with every product is: “Is it as simple as possible?” Right out the bag, this jacket feels like it should be found on some mountaintop shrine. Like Excalibur waiting for a worthy adventurer to claim it as a prize...it’s almost too nice for me. But it also retains some very functional, practical features you’d find on any other jacket. There are two watertight zippers on the front of the jacket, great for things like a headlamp, phone, granola bar, rail ticket, and keys. On my daily two-wheel commute, it helps having so much space to store the junk I’d typically throw in my pockets. But wait! There’s more (pocket space)! I’m also a climber, so I wanted a jacket that’d work great while I’m out at the crag, and this jacket did not disappoint. My biggest gripe with previous shells was the fact that my harness was always blocking access to the handwarmer pockets, but they designed this jacket to keep that from happening. Color me impressed. I’ve got quite the collection of Patagonia gear already, including a pair of Patagonia Snowshot pants, making this jacket ideal right out the gate. But then I discovered a strap near the lower back and realized it’d connect perfectly with the pants. That means no riding up whenever I take it out on an impromptu Snowbowl trip.
If it Fits
I’ve always appreciated Patagonia’s intentional approach to functional design in everything they make. This jacket is no exception. I ordered a large and, while it’s got some room, I still think it fits quite well. Whenever it feels loose, I just pull the drawcord at the waist and it’s good to go. Also, different trips will call for more or less layering, but the baseline jacket does a great job of repelling rain and shielding me from the wind while still feeling pretty warm. Being a rather lanky guy, I actually appreciated how long the arms were (as that tends to be my biggest gripe with jackets of this nature). The hood is a bit roomy on its own, but I’m often sporting a bike or climbing helmet, so that’s the reason why I’m actually a fan of this feature.
The Field Test(s)
“How does it hold up?” That’s always the looming question with these write-ups. I’ve been able to ride my bike in 35º F and didn’t feel a thing, but I’ve also been scaling walls and haven’t found a single tear. Even out on the windy, stormy streets of Berlin, not once did I feel wind while sporting this jacket. Sidenote: This wasn’t a buying decision, but I still fit in with the trendy looks you’ll often see in a big city, even though this jacket’s more focused on functionality than fashion. So, here’s the comprehensive test list as a reminder. Rain Test: PASSED Wind Test: PASSED Durability Test: PASSED Storage Test: PASSED Fashion Test: PASSED Summary: I’m confident in the performance in this jacket as long as I follow the care guidelines.
Patagonia designs a product for a plethora of uses, and it truly shows in this jacket. Yes, it’s an alpine and climbing jacket at its core, but that’s just how they’ve designed it at the end of the day. You can get a ton of uses out of this jacket, so just vet the price point and features with the environment you intend to use it. Happy shopping!