The Patagonia Descensionist Jacket is designed for anyone that spends more time going uphill than down. Perfect for splitboarding and ski touring. This jacket is a slimmed down version of some of Patagonia’s more popular winter shells.
Patagonia Descensionist Jacket Review
Let’s start with what sets the Patagonia Descensionist Jacket apart from most other shells on the market, the use of Nylon. In fact, the Descensionist Jacket runs 3-layer construction featuring 86% nylon polyester plain weave. This may sound technical, simply because it is. What this tech gives you is a shell that moves and contours with your body in any direction you can bend. Once you put the jacket on the added stretch is noticeable in the back-pannel and along the arms specifically, the areas that move the most while touring in the mountains.
Patagonia uses DWR, a durable water repellent applied to the fabric’s outer surface that allows water to literally bead down and off the jacket. This tech still allows for plenty of breathability which well get to next.
For some reason, this jacket does not come with pit zips, well sort of. Patagonia announced the Descensionist was their
most breathable waterproof shell.
On the front of the Patagonia Descensionist Jacket are 2 large pockets for holding your climbing skins. I would not, however, recommend putting anything else in these pockets. The design will just dump the contents out in the snow. According to Patagonia, these pockets can also double as vents.
For the most part, this jacket is extremely breathable and I never did find myself using the skin pockets as vents? That being said there was a time when I felt the need, perhaps subconsciously to open up traditional pit zips which this jacket does not offer. It may be a tough sell for Patagonia to say this jacket can be used for going uphill without true venting, or perhaps that’s the actual story the brand is wanting to tell.
Having hiked, toured and ridden in a variety of conditions in this jacket I never felt under or over prepared for the changing weather conditions in the Tetons. Heck, I even wore the Descensionist Jacket to the resort on a day with single-digit temperatures, added a puffy underneath and it was a rad fast-moving piece of gear for zipping around the resort. But that’s not really what this jacket was designed for.
The coolest Powder Skirt on the market comes to us from Patagonia. I love Powder Skirts, there I said it. And truly feel naked without one. Patagonia stepped up the game with there Powder Skirts for 2018 and beyond. The Descensionist Powder Skirt has the ability to be cinched independently from the main part of the jacket. So you essentially now have 2 ways to cinch your jacket and powder skirt into place. Win-Win for Patagonia in this tech.
Think of it this way, you now have the option to tighten your powder skirt, keeping snow out. While at the same time you can leave a little room in the upper part of the jacket for comfort, flexibility or heck just for style points. This tech will most likely be rolled out into all winter sports jackets in the future.
What can be changed?
Pockets, pockets and more pockets. I love this jacket, it feels amazing, wears great and does what is needed, the only thing missing is pockets. On the inside, there’s a sleeve that can hold your goggles along with a small pocket for a cell phone. And that’s about it. Well, there’s also a pass holder pocket on the sleeve but most likely this will be your new favorite touring piece. But the buck stops there. Patagonia, what happened? Where am I supposed to put my car keys? If you’re looking for those 2 traditional pockets down low, they ain’t there.
Being a BC specific piece I would like to see a pocket or two on the chest that I can put my avalanche notebook in or other small items we need quick access to like a compass or slope readers. When wearing this jacket you may need to get creative on where to store your small go-to items.
The Patagonia Men’s Descensionist Jacket is a great addition to the Patagonia line. Over the past decade or so the brand has really stepped up their game in making progressive shells and jackets for splitboarding and ski touring. With a great DWR finish, tons of breathability and Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, the Descensionist Jacket would be a great but for anyone that likes to move light and fast in the backcountry. Think soft shell meets hardshell in the Patagonia Descensionist Jacket ($449)