Review: Patagonia DAS Parka
People who know me know that I wear the same thing every day. For a piece of apparel to make it into this lineup, it has to meet three criteria. It has to be made in an environmentally friendly way, it has to be top performance, and I have to be able to wear it for the rest of my life. Very few garments make it into my permanent collection but the Das Parka has because it excels at all three of these categories.
About five years ago, I decided that I would wear the same thing every single day for the rest of my life. I bought 20 performance grey t-shirts, 10 pairs of stretchy shorts, seven pairs of stretchy pants and five merino wool sweaters (as well as 20 pairs of the same socks and 20 pairs of the same underwear). Aside from the occasional wedding, ski trip, or fly fishing outing, I’ve worn the same outfit every day for the last five years. This lineup of clothing allows me to…
1.) Not change clothes during the day which cuts down on laundry. Every day I go straight from work to the trailhead without changing which cuts down on roughly four washloads a month, 48 washloads a year and 240 washloads over five years. This has saved 4800 gallons of water and 1440 ounces of laundry soap over five years.
2.) Invest in environmentally progressive clothing brands that make high tech apparel.
3.) Never have to buy clothes. The average American spends $161 a month on clothes (let’s call that 3 garments a month) so over five years, I have cut down on 88 garments (180 garments minus 98).
4.) Spend my precious morning energy on more important things than clothes.
This is why I was so excited to receive the Das Parka into my permanent collection; it meets all three of my criteria for the reasons below.
Criteria 1: It has to have Post-consumer recyclable material
The bulk of the jacket is made of two grades of Primaloft Gold Insulation. The Eco version which makes up about 75% of the jacket, and the Cross Core aerogel infused version which makes up about 25% of the jacket. The Eco insulation is about 75% post consumer recycled content while the Cross Core is 35% post consumer recycled.
While it’s unclear how much of the Pertex Quantum Pro shell is made of recycled materials, Pertex as a company has a public goal to produce 50/50 recycled/virgin material for 80% of their total production. It’s a lofty goal and gives me immense respect for the company and I can’t wait to see if they achieve this in two years.
Criteria 2: It has to be Absolutely Top performance
The Cross Core portion of the insulation integrates a technology called aerogel. Aerogel isn’t new, but it’s application to consumer apparel is. If you haven’t heard of aerogel, you need to Google it. The stuff is insane. Technically aerogel is a solid but it’s made of 95-98% air making it the lightest solid known to man. This is how insane this stuff is; you can put a flame on one side of a piece of aerogel and touch the other side and it will be completely cool to the touch.
Recently, Patagonia started replacing Primaloft Gold Insulation Eco instead of Primaloft Gold Insulation and I don’t know exactly where the Eco version sits vs the non Eco but I know that the Cross Core version is 52% warmer than the standard Gold. One source says that the standard Gold is as warm as 500-550 fill-power down (but since it’s synthetic, weighs less and is much more water resistant).
To illustrate the technology, last weekend I was fly fishing on the tailwaters at Beaver in Arkansas. A cold front had moved in and temps were in the low 40’s, water temps in the 40’s as well. The water was moving and while crossing, I fell and part of my arm got completely submerged. The jacket never got waterlogged and I was completely warm the entire outing. I was also the only angler on the water after about 6 PM because, well, it was pretty windy and humid, making for a miserable day except that I was completely warm, slaying big fish one after another.
Criteria 3: I Need to Be Able to Wear it for the rest of my life
When a piece of clothing enters my collection, it stays there forever. I’ve been wearing the same pair of shoes for 15 years (meaning that I rebuy the same shoe after it has worn out), my go-to midlayer is an R1 from the early 2000’s (which is completely riddled with patches and holes) and my shell is a decade old beat up puffy that I refuse to replace. I also eat the same thing every single day, try to sleep at the same time every day among other things but that’s a different story.
Perhaps my favorite part of the DAS Parka is that Patagonia will repair it for as long as I own it (which will be forever). I’ve used their repair program in the past and they’ve done a good job on a snowboarding bag and a pair of waders and I imagine I’ll never allow another parka into my wardrobe, but instead, keep repairing this piece for as long as I live.
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