Product Review: Patagonia Down Sweater

Big Metolius Bull Trout

I recently bought myself a Patagonia Down Sweater. I remember when these first came out, they looked like trash bags filled with feathers. I am not what you would call style conscious or well dressed, but I definitely didn’t like how they looked; and since I had a big bad ass puffy jacket I really couldn’t see the need for a light highly compressible down jacket.

That was years ago – now you see the Down Sweater everywhere. It still has a bit of that slick plastic look, but the jacket has been refined so that it no longer looks quite as much like a trash bag. But I am really putting too much emphasis on looks. Because it terms of function the down sweater is incredible.

Metolius River Rainbow

I actually bought the down sweater for backcountry skiing. I normally carry a down vest and was looking to upgrade to something just as packable but with better fit and more uniform warmth. The vest always did pretty well for me, but there are those times when you are at the top of some peak with the wind howling, your hands are freezing from taking off the skins and getting ready to descend and the vest just didn’t get it done. With the down sweater I didn’t pick up any extra weight, just extra warmth. The jacket is super light and super packable.

An up close look at a beautiful rainbow trout

So, yeah, I bought the Down Sweater for skiing and then promptly broke a bone in my foot. Well, we all know what that means – no more skiing. As a result I have been using the Down Sweater almost exclusively for fishing, and it has been fantastic. With skiing out of the picture all of the sudden I was fishing every weekend in January and February, and although it isn’t below zero or anything, the damp coldness of Oregon in the winter chills you to the bone. So I figured, why not right?

An Early Morning Steelhead

The jacket is perfect for the freezing cold fishing environment. It is light. It is very slim fitting so you can layer under it and still fit your fishing jacket over it. It is warm. Like all down coats it regulates your temperature very well. I have only overheated in it once and that was during a sun break in the middle of a mile long hike. Overall the jacket has been just what I needed.

Close up of a big bull trout

To be perfectly honest I was a bit hesitant about using the Down Sweater to fish. We all know that wet down is not good. It doesn’t insulate you a bit once it gets wet. Luckily my shell, like many fishing jackets these days has super nice neoprene cuffs, and with these cinched firmly in place my Down Sweater stayed nice and dry and I stayed nice and warm.

If you are looking for a great layering piece for your winter exploits, both on and off the river check out the Patagonia Down Sweater. I give it two thumbs up!


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