The new Descensionist Jacket from Patagonia is designed to cross bridges… Not literally, though there is nothing stopping you. Hardshell and Softshell merged into one, a sleek, easy wearing outerlayer. Tough enough to weather storms but also breathable and stretchy to make that long uptrack comfortable and cool. Bristling with features to make your life easy and very well fitted—long story short we love the Descensionist.
We've reviewed a whack of other Patagonia stuff on the site over the years. Take a look at a couple examples if you're curious: Patagonia Refugitive Jacket, Patagonia Men’s Super Alpine Jacket, Patagonia Women’s Super Cell Jacket, or, if it’s luggage you’d like to learn about, click one more time for the Patagonia Black Hole Snow Roller.
But let's dive in the Descensionist. Click the little arrow at right within the orange bar below.
Hardshell has been the classic tried and tested weatherproof design for outerwear for many years. Tough, waterproof, windproof and durable are its key features. There are many schools of thought though and some people (myself included) have often found that such products are often overkill for certain endeavours, backcountry skiing often being one of these.
Softshell is light, it’s stretchy and form-fitting and, probably most important, breathable. There is no doubt that what you gain in breathability, you lose in warmth and when conditions are really bad and its puking wet ‘n’ heavy snow on you, your softshell is eventually going to soak through leaving you damp and cold.
So Patagonia is trying something new; they’re blending the two. On the outside of the Descensionist you’ll find a 50 denier 86% Nylon/14% Polyester plain weave finished with a DWR (durable water repellent finish). This face fabric is designed to deal with moisture and keep it at bay.
I love this jacket. Hardshell/Softshell hybrids are relatively new but there are a few other options out there. I recently purchased one of these that errs more on the softshell side of things for summer hiking. Its comfy to wear and extremely stretchy but there is no doubt it is not heavily weather resistant where the Descensionist is. I’d feel happy wearing the Descensionist all winter long and it could be worn year round in cooler conditions. If you’re spinning laps at your local hill on an epic pow day with the snow blowing 90 degrees sideways you are certainly going to want to layer up underneath, but that isn’t really what its main design goal was. This jacket is made for the backcountry, it is the first jacket that I’ve happily worn on the up-track for more than the first 5 minutes out of the parking lot.
So congrats to Patagonia, you’ve done it, a jacket that looks good and legitimately feels great with smart features and no gimmicks. I’d wear this thing downtown on a winter's day just as happily as I’d wear it deep in the woods with snow up to my armpits and a grin on my face ear-to-ear. Note that, for fit purposes, I’m 6’ 1” 165 lbs and am wearing a men's medium.
Price: $529 CAN
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Colors: Paintbrush Red (featured), Viking Blue, Fluid Green
Weight: 627 g (22.1 oz)
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