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Patagonia Reconnaissance Jacket : Super Smart Skiwear for Women and Men

There's a lot of ski jackets out there these days, but to me, they all fall in one of two categories: They either have a great collar, or they don't. When the wind is clawing my face as I sit on the lift or roll along a high traverse, no other feature seems more important. I can tell you, after testing Patagonia's Reconnaissance Jacket, that is collar takes First Prize.

First off, it's tall enough to cover the nip of my nose when I burrow down for shelter. And--even better--the inside is lined with a fuzzy microfiber that doesn't scratch my numb nose, but instead feels soft and warm. That's smart.

The list of smart features goes on and on. The hood is sized to fit over a helmet, which I appreciate. During those wind-raked moments, a good hood is another thing that keeps me warm by adding another layer of protection over my ears. I like that it's removable (via a hidden zipper) so on sunny days I can leave it behind. The powder skirt zips off too, so on most days I leave it behind for less bulk around my waist and hips. However, on pow days, that elasticized skirt does a great job of blocking snow from blowing up under the jacket and soaking my core.

I also love the pit zips, since they help me adjust to the day's big temperature swings (closed on the summit to trap warmth; open when I work up a sweat hiking the side country or pounding the bumps).

Of course, the Reconnaissance also offers terrific weather protection. There's a light layer of insulation in there (100-g PrimaLoft® Eco), which I greatly appreciated during December's icy days. The lining is super-slick and silky (and made from 100% recycled material) so the jacket slides easily over my fleece or wool layers. The exterior fabric (a soft shell made from 45% recycled polyester) totally blocks wind and snow, and keeps me dry inside even during puking storms.

Plus, I confess, I love how I look in it. The Reconnaissance has a curvy cut, so it looks trim and non-bulky, despite its built-in insulation. And let's face it: along with a smart collar, a great ski jacket needs good looks, too. (I'm sure men will appreciate the men's fit, too)

Women's jacket available in sizes XS-L and in three colors (red/white, green/white, black); men's jacket available in S-XL and in two colors (titanium and black.)

Bottom LIne: Everything I've ever wished for in a ski jacket, plus some nice eco creds.--K.B. (Jan. 10)

Price: $375 free shipping at , free shipping at moosejaw

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.



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