Patagonia Alpine Guide Jacket Review
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For the outdoors person and skier that takes their gear to the extreme, picking the right gear can be extremely important. New this season, Patagonia has come out with the Alpine Guide Jacket that is a softshell jacket that can hold up to the toughest of outdoor and weather situations.
The Patagonia Alpine Guide Jacket uses Polartec Power Shield which often combines what is two or three separate layers into one layer that is both lightly insulated, highly water resistant, and abrasion resistant. This type of material lends itself best to those who are in constant motion in the jacket. It is not as stiff as a 3 layer hard shell, yet it provides a similar amount of protection with a small amount of fleece insulation. The amount of insulation provided on the inside of the Alpine Guide Jacket is on the low end of insulation so if you head out into frigid temperatures, it is best to wear both a base layer and mid layer with this jacket. If you find yourself in constant motion in activities such as backcountry skiing or nordic skiing, you can get away with a long sleeve tech top in temperatures above 25’ish on average. This can change greatly with each persons body temperatures, so it is always best to test out a product and see what is comfortable for you.
The zipper on the front of the Patagonia Alpine Guide Jacket has larger teeth which allows you to zip and unzip the jacket very quickly and easily. On the inside of the front zipper, there is a vertical piece of fabric that keeps the weather from getting into the jacket and cooling you down. There are two hip level pockets that are are plenty big, but are a little tough to put backcountry ski skins in. There is a piece of fabric that covers this zipper and provides a nice clean look. There is also a chest pocket that is big enough to store any size phone and smaller point and shoot camera’s.
What I feel sets this jacket apart from other softshells on the market is the fit of the Alpine Guide Jacket. While this jacket is somewhat simple on paper and in looks, the designers at Patagonia have nailed it. This jacket has a roomy fit to allow for additional layers for added warmth, yet if you are wearing a t-shirt under the jacket, it doesn’t look or feel too bulky. It’s a little contradictory, but it’s true. If you need to confirm this, I highly suggest heading to the store to try one on. To help get a good fit around the waist and to help keep wind and snow out, there is a cinch cord along the inside bottom of the jacket.
For regular inbounds alpine skiing, I like to use a jacket that sits a little lower on my hips and around my butt to help keep out the snow and keep me comfortable. While this won’t be my go-to inbounds ski jacket, I think this jacket does a great job in non ski activities such as snowshoeing, hiking, climbing, and as a general winter jacket as it has a nice clean and classic look. For more information on the Alpine Guide Jacket and other Patagonia products, visit www.patagonia.com.