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Published on February 13th, 2012 | by David

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Patagonia Updraft: An Excellent Ultralight Jacket

Patag­o­nia is best known for their tech­ni­cal out­er­wear- the com­pa­ny’s fleece and down jack­ets, wa­ter­proof shells, and Capi­lene base lay­ers have been sta­ples of the out­doors com­mu­ni­ty for decades. How­ev­er, the com­pa­ny has re­cent­ly be­gun to ex­pand in­to more ur­ban prod­ucts, de­signed to of­fer high per­for­mance in a stylish, city-friend­ly aes­thet­ic. I re­cent­ly got a chance to try one of these prod­ucts: the new-for-2012 Up­draft jack­et.

The Up­draft is made out of Gore-Tex’s newest Pa­clite ma­te­ri­al, a thin 2.5 lay­er tex­tile that us­es an oleo­pho­bic car­bon lay­er (rather than raised dots or a hang­ing lin­er) to pro­tect the del­i­cate wa­ter­poof/breath­able mem­brane. The re­sult is a very light, pack­able gar­ment that’s easy to stuff in­to any bag you hap­pen to be car­ry­ing.

Ev­ery de­tail of the Up­draft shows off its ur­ban de­meanor. From the mut­ed col­ors to the sim­ple sil­hou­ette to the stow­away hood, its plain ap­pear­ance hides its tech­ni­cal DNA well. I could have done with a slight­ly more tex­tured, fab­ric-like hand to the gore-tex (the green col­or­way looks flim­sy in the wrong light), but that prob­a­bly would have added weight to this ul­tra­light jack­et. The pock­ets warm hands well with wa­ter­proof zip­pers and wind flaps, and the hor­i­zon­tal chest pock­et hides a head­phone passthrough for a phone or mu­sic play­er.

It’s re­fresh­ing to go out in a jack­et this light. It re­al­ly feels more like a wind­break­er than a rain jack­et, but I wore it through a few tor­rents, and can at­test to the Pa­clite’s com­plete im­mu­ni­ty to wind and wa­ter. Gore-tex breatha­bil­i­ty will nev­er match a true soft­shell, but Pa­clite seems like their best at­tempt yet- I have yet to feel clam­my even dur­ing mod­er­ate ex­er­tion on a bike. The thin­ner-than-usu­al fab­ric does in­su­late less than typ­i­cal 2- or 3-lay­er lam­i­nates, but al­lows more flex­i­bil­i­ty to lay­er. I usu­al­ly wear it with a sweater around town, but worn over an R3 Hi-Loft fleece jack­et, it han­dled a be­low-ze­ro New Mex­i­co wind chill just fine.

The Up­draft does come with com­pro­mis­es, though- in an ef­fort to dif­fer­en­ti­ate their ur­ban and tech­ni­cal lines, Patag­o­nia seems to have skimped on some of their usu­al fea­tures. Want pit zips, a hel­met-com­pat­i­ble hood, or gus­set­ed arms for easy move­ment? Go with the Su­per Cell in­stead- made of the same ma­te­ri­al and a few bucks cheap­er, it of­fers a trim­mer sil­hou­ette, and all the tech­ni­cal fea­tures you would ex­pect from a $250-plus jack­et. Ei­ther way, it’s hard to go wrong- you get a weath­er­proof, lightweight jack­et backed by Patag­o­nia’s ridicu­lous life­time guar­an­tee.

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About the Author

David has been writing professionally since 2008, as a translator and product editor for Japan Trend Shop. Along the way he has worked in IT for Six Apart (and its reincarnation as SAY Media), Naked Communications, and Tokyo 2.0, as well as volunteering his nerdiness for dance events and organizations such as the Fusion Exchange and the Portland Swing and Jazz Dance society. After graduating Lewis & Clark College in 2010, David entered the Teach for America program, and taught Algebra and Geometry at Aptos Middle School in San Francisco. When he's not educating young minds or buried in a computer screen, he spends his time dancing, and frequently teaches dance with fellow TrulyNet author Ruth Hoffman.



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