Patagonia Leashless Jacket Review

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When participating in outdoor adventures where you want to protect yourself from the elements, having a high quality shell can sometimes mean the difference between a good day and a great day.  The big difference between good shells and great shells is that the great shell designers have thought about all the details while good shell designers have thought about most of the details.  Having tested Patagonia products for many years now, I am happy to report back that they are a brand that focuses on all the details and not just some.  This is not to say that this will never change, but for the sake of this review, I have found Patagonia to follow the course of thinking about all the details.  This is what helps set the Patagonia Leashless Jacket apart from many of its competitors.

Waterproofing with GORE-TEX Active Shell

 

GORE-TEX Active Shell is the most breathable waterproof fabric that GORE-TEX makes.  This means that the material used is more porous than other materials allowing for more moisture and air to move out of the fabric which keeps moisture from building up.  So when you’re hiking up a steep decent or climbing a steep pitch, the material will vent as your body heats up and starts to sweat.  If you have the question to whether this jacket is completely breathable, the answer is no.  While the people at GORE-TEX and Patagonia would love for me to say it is 100% breathable, I am hear to tell you that I have NEVER come across a shell that is 100% breathable.  The main reason for this is that there is no material to date that can keep up with the bodies heat and conform to the standards of being waterproof.  Softshells often do a really nice job of being water resistant and wind resistant, but if you are looking for a jacket to last through hour long rain showers, you will want a waterproof shell.

Aside from my rant, GORE-TEX Active Shell does do one of the better jobs at controlling moisture.

3 Layer Shells

I have gone into 3-layer shells in many of my reviews and when I have the choice, I almost always choose a 3-layer shell over a 2 layer shell.  Some of the main differences between a 2 and 3 layer shell is that a 3 layer shell has one more layer on the inside of the jacket that helps with added durability and keeps the jacket from sticking to your skin which gives you that clammy feeling.  And the answer to your question whether the Patagonia Leashless Jacket is a 2 or 3 layer, it is a a 3 layer jacket.

Patagonia Leashless Jacket in Action

 

I’ve had the opportunity to test the Patagonia Leashless Jacket in a number of different environments.  I’ve tested this jacket while running in pouring down rain storms, summiting 14’ers in Colorado, and one of the most extreme environments, trying to stay dry while looking cool out on the town.  In one of the truest test for this jacket, I went out for a moonlit hike up Mount Quandary which sits at 14,265 ft in elevation.  I started out below tree line where the temperature was 45F degrees.  While I was hiking up, my body temperate heated up and I started to get a little warm.  To counteract this, I opened up the pit zips and the heat in the jacket started to vent out.  Once I got above tree line, the wind started to kick up and the temperature started to drop.  There, I closed the pit zips a little to retain a some heat, but not too much.  30 minutes later, the sun came up and I started to heat up again.  Pit Zips Down.  45 minutes later, I made it to the summit where the winds were 30-40 mph and the temperature was about 30F degrees.  Pit Zips closed, hood on!  The whole hike and many others, the Patagonia Leashless Jacket was every answer that I was looking for.

While running in the Patagonia Leashless Jacket, I found the jacket to do a nice job of moving with my body’s motion, but my body heated up a little more than the jacket could take.  The temperatures during this testing trial ranged between 50-55F.

Jacket Fit

While a jacket can have every bell and whistle know to man and woman, if it doesn’t fit right the product typically does not perform well.  I tested out a size medium and I weigh 175lbs and am 6’0 tall.  On all parts of the jacket, it had a nice loose fit which I like in a shell.  This means that if it gets cold, I can add a layer without feeling like the Michelin Man.

Design

While performance is at the top of my list when checking out gear, style sits a close second.  I still like to look good while out conquering the world.  In my humble opinion, I found the Patagonia Leashless Jacket to have the simple yet pleasant to look at design that Patagonia is well known for.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I have been very happy with the performance of the Patagonia Leashless Jacket.  It has been everything I could ask for in all my activities and I feel that is an extremely versatile jacket that can meet a number of athletes needs.  For more information, please visit www.patagonia.com.

Kevin_Fonger:
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