Over the last few seasons Patagonia’s outwear seems to be improving by night and day. The brand for years, made some of the best gear for the outdoors so when they jumped into the snow sports world everyone took note. It took a few seasons to wrinkle out the kinks and now Patagonia Outerwear is some of if not the best technical pieces of gear on the market.
I had the chance to test the updated Patagonia Gore-Tex PowSlayer Jacket here in the Tetons in a variety of temperatures and snow conditions from heavy wet mush to cold choker snow. In all of the conditions tested, this jacket exceeded my expectations.
Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket Review
Starting with the front of the jacket Patagonia offers 2 large deep chest pockets that work perfect for storing an avalanche notebook, snacks, compass and more. I would avoid using the front pocket for your cell phone as the frequency has a potential to disrupt your avalanche beacons signal.
As we go farther down the coat there are 2 traditional lower pockets, along with a pass holder on the sleeve and 1 internal mesh pocket for when you need to warm things up against your body like extra gloves or a GoPro.
Patagonia is using the new Gore-Tex Pro 3-Layer membrane on the PowSlayer Jacket. Gore-Tex Pro 3-Layer offers a lighter weight feel, a ton of waterproofness 28,000 (mm/24 hours) and lots breathability 25,000 (g/m2/24h).
What makes the 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell membrane unique is it’ actually bonded to both the outer fabric and the inner lining of the jacket. Most likely this particular Gore-Tex membrane will be seen more frequently in the snow sports world in years to come. This was Patagonia’s first go around with this technology and they nailed it.
One thing to keep in mind is Gore-Tex and Gore-Tex Pro especially are a little bit crinkly out of the box. And not so much in terms of wrinkles but more so the sound the material makes when first worn. Crinkly is the best word that comes to mind. You wouldn’t want to go hunting in this material as it can sound loud. After a few tours the jacket starts to get less and less noisy.
The PowSlayer Jacket has 2 zippers that run full length under the arms. The only hiccup with this system is if the zippers are too far toward the bottom or the top, the mechanics are tough to reach around and unzip the zippers. I found that keeping the zipper tabs in the middle of the arms (near your armpits) offered the easiest access when wearing a backpack. Even with the zipper in the middle it can still be sort of a pain to get too.
Hands down my favorite parts of this jacket is the Powder Skirt. Patagonia took things up a notch by adding separate sync that allow the powder skirt and jacket to be tightened individually. As someone that is constantly fussing with my powder skirt / jacket to keep snow out. This invention was music to my ears.
With the Powder Skirt synced down tightly you now have the ability to adjust the jacket to fit against your body with a separate sync. You may find the ability to loosen the top up a bit once the powder skirt is synced down. It’s amazing it took this long for this technology; thankfully it’s here to stay.
Everything about this jacket works from the collar to the hood, the fit, powder skirt, just about everything. It will be hard to find another jacket that is this well thought out for backcountry specific activities like AT skiing and splitboarding. If you spend more time on chairlifts than in the backcountry I would recommend pairing this jacket with a down layer or perhaps look for a shell with added insulation.
Kudos to Patagonia for once again making my favorite piece of outerwear we tested this season. The Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket ($699) is a worthy investment for those focused on slaying powder.
To be completely honest it makes reviewing all the other brands that much tougher as Patagonia is nailing it as of late. (5 stars)
2016 Review Below (3.5 stars)
Patagonia’s perfectly named PowerSlayer Jacket is back again. This is one of the better jackets on the market for someone that tends to spend the majority of their time ski touring or splitboarding. I have been using the Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket for the past couple months here in the Tetons and wanted to share my thoughts below.
Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket Review
What makes this piece of material stand out, aside from being Gore-Tex is it’s absolutely bomb proof on the outside. The odds of ripping or tearing this jacket from snagging a tree are likely impossible. That being said Patagonia does have an Ironclad Guarantee on their good which I ended up actually having to use for this jacket. Be sure to keep reading to find out why.
Pockets, pockets and lots of pockets. The PowSlayer was designed with backcountry users in mind. The front of the jacket features 2 chest pockets that work great for storing small items. However these could be improved a little bit to make the pockets deeper so that they would be able to hold larger items too.
Along with the chest pockets the PowSlayer has 2 standard pockets located at the bottom of the coat on the right and left side. I tend to always put my keys in these pockets and with Patagonia’s construction and tough zippers I know they will always be there after a long day in the mountains.
The only hiccups I found with this jacket were as follows:
The main issue I had with the 2016 PowSlayer jacket actually ended up being on the inside of the coast, and this may or may not apply to your needs. That being said I did end up ripping the inner mesh climbing skin pocket while trying to stuff a pair of skins into my jacket on a stormy morning. It may have been user error, however with the rest of the jacket being so durable I was really surprised to see this happen on the inside. However it didn’t effect my day at all, I simply tossed the skins in my backpack and carried on.
I also noticed the powder skirt on this jacket is a one size fits all, I’m skinny and was never really able to fully get a nice tight closure on the bottom of the jacket. Even though the rest of the fit was great.
One of the best things about this jacket and all Patagonia gear for that matter is the fit. This years Mens PowSlayer jacket comes in a relaxed fit. I wear a medium 90% of the time and this jacket was perfectly sized for my needs. There was a bit of extra material in the chin cuff that I noticed was rubbing from time to time, so Patagonia if your reading this (hopefully you are) maybe consider shaving some of that material down.
However this was really only noticeable when touring with the jacket fully zipped up.
Overall I think this is a solid jacket from Patagonia that has a couple things that can be tweaked. My advise would be to go to a Patagonia store and try one on, or a local ski or snowboard shop. Odds are with the relaxed fit, DWR finish, fleixble Gore-Tex you will be sold on the Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket ($699)
Some clips of me riding and touring in the PowSlayer jacket.
My last tip would be this : if your wanting to shoot photos or video while using this jacket maybe go for the Green or Blue color way as the Grey tends to blends into the background if the suns out. With that statement in mind, the Patagonia PowSlayer jacket may be just the perfect jacket to pick off those Hollywood lines at Mt. Baker….
Another great piece that’s more designed for the uphill is the Patagonia Reconnaissance. Learn how the jackets compare in our Patagonia Reconnaissance Jacket Review.