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August 2023 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Insulated jackets

Patagonia Down Sweater



Our Rating:

Best for daily use and hut-to-hut trips

Plusses: 800-fill power down, unbeatable warmth- to-weight, comfort 
Minuses: Hem drawcord location, non-hydrophobic down, no hood

369g (m), 292g (w)

Features: The shell and lining of this jacket are ripstop nylon fabric made from discarded fishing nets, and it uses 800FP responsible down standard insulation. There’s a storm flap behind the front zipper, zippered handwarmer pockets and two massive ‘drop-in’ interior pockets – both big enough to hold a litre bottle. There’s a drawcord hem to seal in warmth. 

Fit: I wore a size medium and found it true to size. It fitted me perfectly across the shoulders and provided room to wear a fleece and base-layer in 3° temperatures. 

Comfort: It lofts beautifully, making it look bulky but also providing luxurious and near-instant warmth. Previous versions of this jacket have the hem drawcord accessible from the handwarmer pockets, but it’s now on the hem on the right-hand side, which means the hem has to be turned over or lifted and both hands are needed to tighten it. Not ideal when you’re trying to keep your extremities warm. 

In use: I was concerned about getting the down wet as there’s no hydrophobic treatment. But the jacket handled several rainy walks with ease thanks to its DWR coating (PFC-free) that kept light rain from soaking through. But it did make me think more carefully about when and how to use the jacket.

I used the jacket in the Queenstown lakes region in temperatures that maxed out at 5° during the day, and appreciated the difference in performance between my usual 700FP jacket and this 800FP jacket. The extra loft and associated warmth is noticeable. I did miss not having a hood, which I consider a necessity for backcountry use.

I used the massive internal pockets to stow my drink bottle and gloves. It meant I didn’t risk losing gloves when taking my hands in and out of the hand warmer pockets. 

Value: An 800FP jacket will always be pricey, especially one that uses fabric made from old fishing nets, but it’s worth it for the reduced environmental impact, weight savings and better cold-weather performance. 

Verdict: This jacket is a delight – premium 800FP insulation just feels better than lower FP jackets. Its lack of hood makes the jacket more suitable for daily winter use or hut-to-hut trips.