Coming from Upstate, New York, I learned to love all kinds of weather — because we have them all. The joke where I come from is that if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. No matter what kind of weather you like, it's important to find the right gear to handle it. For some outdoor conditions, the Patagonia Down Sweater might be that gear.
Patagonia is the clothing brand for people that live life out loud, and more importantly, live life outside. While some may be more comfortable in the urban landscape, they specifically design this brand for people who would rather take a weekend trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula than sightseeing around Chicago, and the Patagonia Down Sweater proves it.
They boast an extensive collection of outdoor clothing and gear for anything from climbing to surfing, skiing to snowboarding, and fly fishing to trail running. And Patagonia angles to be the brand that provides the most for your experience in the great outdoors.
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You may have even seen Patagonia in the news. It's a company that prides itself on being champions of the conservation of wildlife, protection of endangered species, and responsible interaction with the environment. Sometimes, they get pretty political.
Following an executive order by President Trump to reduce the size of protected lands in Utah, the company changed their homepage to a simple message. In giant white letters on a black background, they wrote: "The President Stole Your Land." The statement underneath the title read:
In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.
According to National Geographic, the motive for the move was unclear, but opens the land up to claims under the General Mining Law of 1872. This means an increased risk of industrialization of land that includes protected wildlife and even sacred Native American lands.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was reduced to a little over half of its original size. Bears Ears was reduced to just sixteen percent of its original size. In total, the order removed from federal protection nearly two million acres of land combined. Patagonia visually illustrated this on their website.
Consumers nowadays (and particularly younger ones) are actively looking for companies with ethical stances and consumption practices. So, corporations are starting to respond to that change. If you're searching for a company that loves the great outdoors, creates quality products, and cares about being socially conscious while they do it, Patagonia might be right for you.
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From top to bottom, these sweaters are created for combat with the elements. A quick breakdown of its qualities include:
100 percent recycled polyester durable shell fabric (it even comes with a durable water repellent finish)
An ethical supply chain to ensure that the geese they use for the jackets are not live-plucked or force-fed
Two handwarmer pockets, and internal zip chest pocket
Center-front Vislon® zipper has wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at chin for next-to-skin comfort
Elastic cuffs to seal in warmth
What this means for the customer is that they have a product that is environmentally friendly, ethically sourced, built for warmth and functionality, water-resistant, and that represents an investment. Patagonia doesn't want to create disposable products. Instead, they actively try to make higher quality ones that their customers use over and over.
Furthermore, the Patagonia Down sweater is also windproof and lightweight, meaning that they don't want to sacrifice comfort for functionality. This sweater can keep you warm while not weighing you down. If you're on a camping trip, you want something that can keep up with you in multiple environments, and this sweater can provide that.
Patagonia is very proud of their sourcing. On their website, they state their dedication to "fair labor practices, safe working conditions and environmental responsibility throughout the Patagonia supply chain." From the parent farm to the clothing rack, it's very important to them that their customers be able to see and monitor the process for themselves.
For instance, below the sweaters, they list their suppliers and their information for customers, except where such information (specific names and addresses) would encroach on privacy (some of their farms are small, owner-operated and occupied.)
Other Patagonia Products
On their website, you can find many varieties of the Patagonia Down sweater, including classic, vests, and variations of down sweaters for babies and kids, meaning that the customer can make camping a family event. Making their line family-friendly also means that adults don't have to give up their potentially active lifestyles for children, instead involving them in activities while keeping them warm and dry.
The prices on the kids' clothing can be a little steep, but is typically far less than the adult clothing. This is a plus, considering that kids can outgrow clothes quickly. The widest color palette available is for the classic adult down sweaters. However, there are six options for color, even with the Infant Hi-Loft Down Sweater Bunting. This suit in particular can be great for activities in the snow with an infant because it provides a full suit, not just a jacket.
Unfortunately, if you're looking for a jacket with a hood to keep you warm or protect you from the rain, it's going to cost you.
This is the part where we break down the pros and cons of the products. It's impossible to tell what you're buying without giving a little listen to actual customers. This will help you make a better, more informed decision.
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The reports about the down shirt are mostly good. It's light and warm. While it may not be your go-to for more extreme weather, it's perfect for a cool summer night or a fall trip to Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. A light-weight garment, it's not going to slow you down if you're going for a hike. As long as you wear a good warm sweater underneath, it will be more than what you need to stay stylish and functional simultaneously.
One common thread among reviewers on this one is that the size might not be quite what you expect. If you size down (that is, just buy a jacket that's one size smaller than you'd usually get) you'll probably get a good fit. And of course, if you prefer to do it in person, you'll be able to find Patagonia products at Bass Pro Shops, Dick's, Field and Stream, or any other sporting goods outlet near you.
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Reviews on this one go back and forth a bit. Some say it's not equipped to handle the super cold and others say that it's super warm. So before you buy, make sure you take into account your usual body temperature, where you live in the country, and what you'll most likely be using the jacket for.
However, one humorous review refers to it as "Luke Skywalker warm," a reference to the Star Wars protagonist, stuck on a planet made of ice. Another claims they were comfortable using it to snowshoe in below zero weather. For a majority of users, high praise follows this one.
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If you're looking for the ultimate standard of warmth, the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie is the way to go. The best feature is that it comes with all of the previously mentioned benefits, plus a hoodie. This product is perfect for someone looking for maximum comfort while they explore the great outdoors. One user even claimed that he used the jacket for winter surf sessions:
I just spent a couple days surfing on the Oregon coast in typical November weather: air temp: 42 degrees. Water temp: 52 degrees, rain and wind. As soon as I get out of the water and back to the car, I pull my wetsuit down to my waist, dive into my down sweater hoodie and then my Torrentshell jacket. In a few minutes, I'm toasty and my fingers are warm enough to do battle with the lower half of my suit and my booties. These two jackets are must haves for winter surf sessions.
For functionality, comfort, warmth, and style, Patagonia remains a leader in outdoor gear for a reason.
Patagonia Down Sweater Prices
The one drawback of the Patagonia brand can be the prices. Depending on what you're purchasing, the quality, ethical sourcing, and dependability aren't going to come cheap. The retail prices for the items mentioned here are:
You can minimize your costs by checking Amazon for licensed vendors of Patagonia products. You might be able to find a used product in great condition for a fraction of the price.
However, some reviewers have reported a difference in quality when purchasing from a vendor. It's up to the customer to check them out first. And as always, if you don't feel comfortable with that, you can go to a brick-and-mortar store. Usually, even if they don't have these products available, they have access to the online catalog of Patagonia. They can order them for you, and you can pick them up at the store. Often, they can even send it to your home.
The bottom line is that if you can buy a Patagonia Down Sweater, you should probably do so. In general, customers agree that the price is worth the product, meaning that you're unlikely to regret it. As long as you remember to vet vendors, size down, and manage your expectations, you'll be able to make a fitting addition to your toolkit for discovering the great outdoors.