Legendary Threads takes a look at iconic mountain wear. These are the game changers.
No.1 – The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody.
Take a walk down the main street of any mountain town, look around at your local crag, check out what your fellow ski mountaineers are throwing on at rest stops; chances are you’ll see a Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody or one of its descendents somewhere in the mix.
The ‘skinny baffle’ concept has really taken off. Down jackets used to look big and puffy, now many look sleek and slim. Patagonia cannot claim to have the history in making down garments that some of their peers can; British brand Mountain Equipment were making down garments in the 60’s, for example. Patagonia can, however, rightfully claim to have started the move toward making down garments lighter and more versatile with the Down Sweater Hoody.
Versatility is the key to the Down Sweater Hoody’s success. It works as an outer layer or as a mid layer. In the depths of the coldest winter all the way through to summer backpacking. It’s very warm for its weight, packs down small and breathes well. It also dries very fast if it gets wet.
The Down Sweater Hoody hasn’t changed too much over the years. Two hand pockets, a big zipped internal pocket, elasticated cuffs, adjustable hem and big helmet compatible insulated hood is about all you should need in a lightweight down jacket. It packs into its own internal pocket for efficient storage in a pack and fits well over or under layers. I love how Patagonia still use traditional non-reversed YKK zips. They run smooth, don’t snag and don’t blindly adhere to modern trends.
I’ve used mine many times and it still looks good. I take it on every winter resort or backcountry trip. I love it as a mid layer on cold days; It’s incredibly warm if you throw a shell over it. It’s also great to wear around camp when backpacking and camping, plus it looks good enough to wear everyday through winter, simply to keep warm.
The Down Sweater Hoody is a good example of what Patagonia do best; that is to produce timeless, lightweight garments that somehow just have that extra special something about them.
Studio photography Dave MacFarlane Digital Media.