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Patagonia Winter Sun Hoody Jacket

Thanks to the combined forces of Gore WINDSTOPPER® shell fabric and PrimaLoft® Eco
synthetic insulation in Patagonia’s Winter Sun Hoody, winter’s not a problem for me anymore.

The first time I wore this lightweight jacket, I ended up standing out in the cold for an hour, looking at all the Christmas lights on the boats at the marina. The temperature was just about freezing, and I was toasty warm despite only having a thin long-sleeve cotton t-shirt on underneath.  I was impressed; I love being warm enough with only a jacket, no middle layer!

My respect for Patagonia’s Winter Sun Hoody grew exponentially the next evening when I went to the cliffs above the marina for a second look. There was a strong wind, and as it blew across the bay, it picked up the water’s icy chill. But I felt NOTHING.  My friend was hunching into his jacket, as people do when they’re wearing the wrong gear, and I just stood there as casual as could be, completely warm. If I hadn’t been able to feel the wind on my face, I wouldn’t have known it was there.  Sweet!

Because I’m allergic to down, I prefer Primaloft insulation. It’s incredibly lightweight and thin, so I get an effective insulating layer without the bulk. I love that. It’s so nice to have a winter jacket that I can throw on, stuff into a duffle for travel, and wear in a variety of conditions. Also, Primaloft stays warm even when wet, making in ideal insulator for snowy activities.

Patagonia’s Winter Sun Hoody was designed with climbers and skiers in mind, and I think it’s ideal for cold (and cold, windy) weather activities. It also has a boxy, athletic fit, so there's plenty of room for layers.

The hood will accommodate a helmet and has an easy cinching system with pull cords on each side of the hood, as well as another pull cord on the back of the hood. The release toggles are embedded in the material on each side of the hood, so it’s easy to release the pull cord even with gloves on. I like the brim on the hood; it’s stiff enough and wide enough to provide protection, but it's not rigid. The jacket has a small zippered inner pocket that’s just right for a lip balm and a nutrition bar and two generous zippered hand pockets on the outside.  The pockets are placed to accommodate a harness.

I’ve been wearing the Winter Sun Hoody jacket for a few weeks now, and it’s been my first choice for daily wear in freezing temps and drizzly, windy days, as well as for outdoor activities where I’m not working hard enough to generate heat. I’ve tried wearing the jacket for power walks and active hikes in 30-40 degree temps, but found it too warm, which isn’t surpising since it’s not desgined for aerobic activity.  (I should mention here that the Primaloft used in the Winter Sun Hoody is made from 50% recycled material.)

Patagonia’s Winter Sun Hoody  is available for men and women in a variety of sizes and colors: (men: XS-XXL in Channel Blue, Peat Brown, Mango, Black; women: sizes XS-XL in Deep Plum, Black, Fennel). I tested a women’s size L, and found a true-to-size fit.  I’m almost 6’ tall and was surprised that that jacket and the sleeves are long enough for me.

Bottom Line: An all-around high-performance jacket for cold, windy weather.-- E.D.(Dec. 2011)

BUY ONLINE: $299, on sale for $229 at Moosejaw . On sale for less at RockCreek.

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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.