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Review: Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody

A jacket not designed for cycling, but with some pretty awesome features for mountain bikers....Aoife tests the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody.

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The leaves are falling, the wind is wild and the temperature’s dropping, which means it’s time to break out the warm layers. The Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody is exceptionally lightweight and packable, so it’s perfect for long days out on mountainous trails where you need some more bespoke insulation than your average cycling jacket.

The jacket isn’t designed as a cycling jacket, but it does have a number of features that make it ideal for mountain bikers, particularly those who like to head out for hours into wild and natural terrain.

It’s packed with 800-fill-power European goose down that starts to feel warm as soon as you put the jacket on. The shell fabric does look extremely thin and flimsy, but was surprisingly robust, and didn’t suffer and nicks or tears despite some rough treatment.

This rip-stop shell material is also coated with a water-repellent DWR coating which means it will keep damp and light drizzle out but most certainly not a downpour, so this jacket should be paired up with a waterproof if you are using it wet weather. I also found that, warm though it was, it’s not windproof. Even if it’s dry, you might want to consider layering it up with a windproof garment for warmth. As it’s not very bulky, I found it fitted under my waterproof cycling jacket fine, but if you have a very close fitting jacket you might find it’s a bit of a squeeze.

The Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody has three pockets; one on each hip which are perfect for keeping your hands toasty, and one on the chest. As the jacket is lightweight, I avoided putting anything heavy in these so they aren’t really for carrying or stowing lots of kit. They do have zip closures though so they are spot on for change, keys, cards and so on.

I opted for a medium, and as a curvy size 12 it fitted well. It’s a snug but not tight fit, meaning there is room for a few light layers underneath but nothing too bulky. It was fairly close across my chest (I’m a 34D) but didn’t pull or squeeze – if you are a larger chest size I’d consider going up a size for the jacket. At 5’8 it came down nicely to just over my hips, so the length was good too.

Weight-wise it comes in at a miniscule 252g, and it barely feels like you are wearing or carrying anything. One feature in particular that makes me like this jacket is how packable it is. Squeezed into it’s own bag, it packs down to roughly the size of a large water bottle. I’ve even managed to pack it into one of it’s own pockets, so it’s a warm layer you can fit easily into a daypack for long rides out. It’s also lovely for popping on post-ride for that all-important tea and cake.

Patagonia are a brand that take their environmental and social responsibility seriously, and their products are made in a way that minimises the impact production has on the world, ensures fair wages for manufacturers and encourages recycling. In the case of the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody, it means that the jacket is ethically sourced and traceable.

Price: £280, available from Patagonia.

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