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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Patagonia Womens Down Sweater Vest > Owner Review by Erin Foudy

Patagonia Women's Down Sweater Vest
Owner Review by Erin Foudy
November 17, 2011

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Tester Info:
Name:  Erin Foudy
Age:  31
Gender:  Female
Height:  5'11'' (1.8 m)
Weight:  150 lbs (68 kg)
Email address:  erinfoudyATyahooDOTcom
City, State, Country:  Tucson, Arizona, USA

Backpacking Background:
I started backpacking while working for the National Park service ten years ago.  I have been a backcountry ranger/law enforcement ranger and served on search and rescue crews.  I typically take two or more camping trips a month, year round.  I appreciate light weight, but am not obsessed by it.  I often carry a 30 lb (14 kg) pack and stay out from three to nine days at a time.  I also enjoy day trips with only water on my back.  I take trips to Colorado and Montana in the summertime and enjoy the outdoors there as well.

Info and specs:
Manufacturer:  Patagonia, Inc.
Year of Manufacture:  2010
Listed Weight:  235 g (8.3 oz)
Actual Weight:  244 g  (8.6 oz)
Size:  S
Available sizes:  XS - XL
Color:  Black
Available Colors (women's):  Bougainvillea, Black, Pearl, Sky, Watercress
Available Colors (men's):  Watercress, Forge Grey, Pomegranate, Black
MSRP:  $150.00

The Patagonia Women's Down Sweater Vest is lightweight, water - resistant, and windproof.  It has a quilted design stuffed with premium European goose down.  There are two pockets that my hands fit into nicely.  The pockets have zippers to keep my important items from being lost.  The lining and the shell are made from 100% polyester.  Patagonia says that they use recycled soda bottles, unusable second quality fabrics, and worn out garments to produce many of their clothes.  The fabric on the vest is finished with their water repellant Deluge DWR technology.  Patagonia does not make tall sizes, so the fit is a bit shorter than I would like.

In the Field:
I have worn this vest in many different conditions; I will describe three of these conditions here.  I wore this vest in Glacier National Park, Montana during two multiple-day backpacking trips last year.  Temperatures during these trips typically ranged from 20 F  (-7 C) to 55 F (13 C).  On one of these trips I set up a base camp, and hiked to a nearby fire lookout.  Elevation gained was from 3,000 ft (914 m) to 8436 ft (2571 m) at the Swiftcurrent lookout.   This vest did well at blocking the cool breeze once at the lookout.  It's surprising how well a vest alone can serve to keep my body warm.  The wind did not pass through the shell of the vest, and I was not ever very chilly.  I had to pull out my rain gear a few times to keep my arms dry, but that's it.   

I also wore this vest on a two-day trip in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming on my way back to Arizona.  It did a fairly good job protecting me from the rain, at least the areas of my body that a vest actually covers.  I did wish that I had a jacket on at the time of the storm, but looking back it wasn't all that bad.  My arms got soaked, but my torso was warm and dry.  I was comfortable enough that I didn't feel it necessary to stop and dig for my rain gear in my pack.  However, I did look pretty funny when I took off the vest at camp to show my dry torso and drenched arms.  The temperature ranged from 30 F ( -1 C) to 60 F (16 C) over the two-day trip.

I wear this vest often during the mild winters in Tucson.  I like that it warms my core enough that a coat is not necessary.  The winters here only get down to about 35 F (2 C), though rarely does the temperature drop this low.  Average highs are still in the 60's F (16 C).  I walk in the washes on a daily basis throughout the winter at around 2,000 ft (610 m), and I even allow myself to get dragged up to some of our highest peaks at around 9,000 ft (2700 m).  This vest was my everyday jacket last winter, and it's looking like it will be again this winter.

As far as vests go, I think this one is pretty good.  I have a full range of motion that I feel is sometimes stifled by a heavy coat.  The vest blocks the wind and rain in all the areas of my body that it covers.  It is a warm garment for moderately cold temperatures.  The shell has not torn which is great considering some of the rough terrain I have worn it in.  My biggest complaint is that this vest does not come in tall sizes.  Being 5'11 (1.8 m) I have a very long torso, and feel that if the vest were longer I would experience even better results.  I asked a Patagonia representative over an online chat discussion about this recently, and they said that they have been exploring the option of offering tall sizes, but that no decision had been made yet.     

I have worn Patagonia Down Vest for over a year now.  It has been with me on at least twelve overnight trips, and countless day trips.  I really like this vest.  It keeps me warm without being bulky like a coat.  It is much warmer than I had anticipated, and it is a great addition to my closet.  It was expensive, but I was fortunate enough to purchase it using a pro deal I had with Patagonia as a park ranger.  I have gotten a lot of use out of it and it's holding up great!  Now if Patagonia would just offer some tall sizes, it would be perfect.  They also sell a men's down sweater vest, and do not offer tall sizes for it.

Things I like:
1.  Warm
2.  Lightweight
3.  Windproof
4.  Full range of motion

Things I don't like:
1.  No tall sizes
2.  Seems expensive to me.
Read more gear reviews by Erin Foudy

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Patagonia Womens Down Sweater Vest > Owner Review by Erin Foudy

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