by Chuck Millsaps

While I was packing for a west bound adventure there was another traveler with the same destination. A winter storm that would drop 3 feet of fresh powder in the Tahoe Basin and cap the temperature in the teens. With another trifecta of storms in line to drop an additional 4 to 5 feet my gear selection was of utmost importance. Insulation was at the top of the list. Well, actually tire chains were #1 but the Patagonia Down Sweater took a close 2nd.

I selected the Down Sweater because of it’s superior high-loft warmth. I have yet to see a more highly compressible jacket that is so light weight and takes up so little room in the pack. And it didn’t stay there long. I had it out first thing as we began our adventures at Donner Pass. With the wind picking up and the temperature at 10 degrees I was completely comfortable.

The Down Sweater is also equally adaptive indoors. Hoping to acclimatize quickly we found a local gym in Truckee that afforded us the use of a treadmill. After the 4 mile run indoors I put the Down Sweater back on to head back outside. I was impressed with the way it handled my core temperature with sweat-soaked baselayers amidst a wind that was relentless. While certainly no weather for a picnic Patagonia’s Down Sweater is the best choice for any winter outdoor adventure. And certainly would have improved dinner options for the Donner Party.


W’s Down Sweater $200 – also in Real Red


W’s Down Vest $150


M’s Down Sweater $200 – also in Black

M’s Down Vest $150 – Black, Continental Blue & Olivine

Here’s a overview video from the product designer: