All Fall 2012 including reviewed pieces on sale now (up to 60% off) at Patagonia.com
Blaze orange and loving it. While this jacket is specifically made for ice climbers, I have found it to be a fantastic jacket to layer underneath as needed for dropping temperatures and at the same time a great shell in virtually every season.
What I love about this piece:
The hybrid soft shell material and Patagonia H2No® Performance 3-layer nylon ripstop fabric with a waterproof, breathable barrier, bright color, lightweight, and range of use and range of temperatures. The soft-shell areas are made of highly breathable, wind resistant Polartec® Power Shield® keeping you cool at all times.
The hood itself is large enough to slide over a ski helmet as needed and the draw cords are well done. the best thing about the hood is your vision is not impacted in the slightest. It moves with your moves…a rare but stellar attribute in a hood. A great pick up for year round utility.
What to wear under this shell? Fear not Patagonia has an impressive lineup of Merino Wool to keep you regulated no matter your activity.
Here is my go to baselayer on a cold day: Patagonia Merino 3 Midweight Zip-Neck Shirt – Wool…great for any multi sport activity of just under a sweater at the office.
Patagonia Merino 2 Lightweight Crew Shirt – Wool…another excellent base layer that is great to wear alone next to your skin. Patagonia Merino 1 SW Crew – Long-Sleeve – a wonderful lightweight merino shirt that welcomes any training session.
While Patagonia has become a leading outdoor brand they have also become a leader in world wide conservation efforts. The companies commitment to sustainability is not only window dressing but common practice for employees and devout followers of the brand. This is demonstrated by the Uncommon Threads Initiative partnership with eBay to make buying their brand more sustainable. Have you taken the pledge yet?
Guest editor, Leigh Curtis, providing her insight of the Merrell Avalon jacket:
This is an impressive jacket. I would qualify it as a cold weather winter coat vs. a piece one might choose for a somewhat crisp fall day. I tested this out during a recent autumn Nor’ Easter that brought driving rain, wind and very chilly temperatures. It performed extremely well during this 2 day weather event, and kept me cozy when I braved the outside nastiness while walking the dog. While my legs were wet and cold, my upper body was undeterred by the storm raging around me.
What I especially like is the detachable hood- so easy to zip on or off, depending on the day. Today, for example, is sunny and cold, so I removed it and wore it as a parka. However, in rain or snow or very cold temps, the hood is much appreciated to keep your head (and neck!) warm and dry.
Other features include zip up pockets – nice for people like me who tend to ‘drop’ (i.e. lose) keys, etc., as well as pit zips, for when you feel the need to cool down/air out a little. The arm cuffs also cinch down with adjustable velcro, and there is a snowskirt giving this coat a ski jacket feel.
Finally, for it’s outward appearance. I am a huge fan of the 4 feminine snap closures over the zipper, as this feature makes this piece really stand out among other standard cold weather parkas. That, combined with the very subtle herringbone pattern, elevate this jacket to pretty. And that’s not an easy feat because – make no mistake – this is a performer. It’s warm and waterproof meant for serious weather, almost ‘burly’. But those feminine features soften it and make me feel as though I can wear it on an icky winter day with jeans and boots or to a dressy holiday party with heels.
Well done, Merrell.
I have spent the last few months wearing some remarkable merino wool items by Icebreaker. I have been hooked the last few summers on wearing merino wool throughout the dog days of summer and Icebreaker has impressed. I was provided a Tech T Lite, Tech Polo, and Distance Short.
The Tech T Lite feels super lightweight and super soft. The merino wool pulls any sign of moisture right off the skin and transfers away. The breath ability and quick dry natural fiber is amazing in this tee as well as all the Icebreaker items. After many washes the shirt remains form fitting. Range of use is ridiculous from any highly active workout to lounging in a soft, comfortable t-shirt.
As far as versatility the shirt has been an ace in the hole all summer. The feel of the Tech Polo is that of a lightweight tee shirt with a collar which makes for the best golf shirt I have probably ever worn. This is a casual shirt that can be worn at the golf course, BBQ, the office and on the trail.
The only thing about this Ultralite 150 and it’s SuperFine weight is it’s durability. I have found this not only with Icebreaker but with other wool clothing companies that make a more lightweight blend of merino. Little holes began to appear near the bottom of the shirt about after three-four months of (a lot of) wear and wash (all items laid flat to dry). Any issues are quick to be resolved at any company providing top quality merino products which provides confidence in the product and future purchases. This is a great shirt for weekend travel in the summer as it can be worn multiple times without the stink and wear of cotton.
Of all the merino wool product I have worn or reviewed I have never tried out shorts. The Distant Short is made for primarily for running, but I found them great for a routine at the gym or time on the mat at the yoga studio. They came with a liner but I still felt the need to where a my underwear. Anyway, they performed just as any merino tops and exceeded expectation as who would think wool shorts become the go to for an any highly active pursuit.
With all the synthetic alternatives out there they still can’t beat nature’s gift of merino wool.
This ultralight, waterproof jacket is just another reason Outdoor Research has become a favorite of mine. Weighing just over 6 ounces, it packs away into a pouch to go anywhere. OR ultilizes a lightweight Pertex weatherproof shield to keep your torso dry at all times.
The Helium II trims the fat of a full featured rain shell- offering one chest pocket and no pit zips. The jacket breathes notably better than the first version of the jacket… but will get clammy when doing higher endurance activities. I originally thought of it as an ‘in case of emergency’ jacket but it quickly has become my go-to heading into the Summer months. It’s more of a windbreaker that happens to be a fully taped seam waterproof shell to boot! The hood has a great cinch cord on the back although a little hard to manage with one hand on the fly.
I can’t get over how lightweight it feels when wearing and it’s never is left out of the bike pannier, backpack, golf bag or any other weekend bag.
This jacket is the perfect solution to prepare for the unexpected weather in your travels around town or into the hills.
- Ultralight waterproof/breathable
- Fully seam taped
- Adjustable hood
- Water resistant zippers
- 7.5″/19cm internal storm flap
- Zippered chest pocket
- Stuff pocket with carabiner loop
- Elastic cuffs
- Drawcord hem
Polarmax products are all 100% made in the USA and utilize superior green initiatives with packaging. I had the opportunity over the last month to put multiple Polarmax products through their paces. Being a strong proponent of all things merino wool this was a true test as I didn’t use any of the Polarmax merino base layers straying from my comfort zone.
Guest Editor- Matt LeDoux
Helly Hansen is thought to be one of the best brands for outdoor gear. This jacket had a lot to live up to with such a heritage.
A little background: my first ski jacket was a Helly Hansen. My dad bought my brother and I matching ones for Christmas long ago. It was a shell, a new concept back in the 80’s. It was fluorescent colored, water resistant and did it’s job well. I skied many years with it, from powder days in Austria to icy, finger numbing days in the northeast. Another reason I was eager to see how this jacket would stack up.
The Zeta 2L HT CIS (Component Insulation System) has many pros and a few cons.
-Welcoming pockets. The Pockets are lined with a soft felt-like material, it’s a little detail but it’s nice when you need a quick hand warm up.
-the hood doesn’t detach. I don’t always want the hood, it’d be nice to have the option.
-missing an inside pocket. Lots of outside pocket options, but no inside pockets. I like putting my wallet, iphone or camera there when skiing.
I am thankful to Outdoor Research for providing me with their touchscreen Sensor gloves. Much of my Winter commute is time spent on the platform waiting for the T. I was having a hard time using my smartphone without freezing my fingers.