REVIEW: Patagonia Quandary Jacket
We were given the opportunity to check out a shell from Patagonia’s new line of awesome, environmentally-conscious jackets: the Quandary Jacket. These Responsible Shells are made intentionally with recycled materials and sewn in Fair Trade certified factories. If the mission and intention behind the production of these jackets aren’t enough to get you interested, let’s take a look at the actual jacket.
Design/Aesthetics (4) ★★★★
The Quandary jacket is definitely sleek—something we’ve come to love and expect from Patagonia. It has a smooth, waterproof exterior, and a lined interior. Water just builds up and falls off the smooth 100% polyester tricot mesh lining, proving Patagonia’s 2-Layer H2NO Performance Standard is still doing its job well. The two-way-adjustable, fixed hood is awesome, covering your head while out in the rain and still provides a great field of vision. The pockets do their job, holding your stuff nicely. But the best part about it is the zippers: all of the zippers are waterproof, coated in polyurethane to make sure no water gets in. The zippers are a little tough to open with one hand, but I imagine that slight drawback is dwarfed by the fact that while it’s closed, no water’s getting in these pockets.
Overall, it’s not a fancy jacket, but rather just a solid jacket you look at and say, “Nice jacket.”
Durability (5) ★★★★★
Taken right from Patagonia’s site: The Quandary’s stretchy H2No® Performance Standard 2-layer shell is made with a strong yet lightweight and quick-drying fabric blend of 95% nylon (65% recycled) and 5% spandex with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish for increased weather resistance and durability. This sums up the solid build of the jacket. It’s sturdy, the shell repels anything I’ve thrown at it, and the zippers are incredibly durable. I haven’t been able to wear it often, due to the incompatibility of Ozark non-winter weather, clothing, and myself, but the couple times it was nice enough outside to wear this jacket, it performed amazingly. (See the next section for an expansion on the last thought.)
Functionality (4) ★★★★
The Quandary Jacket is more of an all-around rain shell than a technical product, perfect for commuters and folks trying to get from point A to point B without getting soaked. It’s easy to get on and off. The zippers are stiff, but that might go away with use—and it not, it’s a valid price to pay for them being waterproof. There are plenty of straps and drawcords to tighten things when you want to keep the weather out.
While this jacket isn’t very heavy (Patagonia claims it to be “light”), it is definitely a cold-weather jacket. I’m a man comfortable walking out in the snow with jeans and a flannel and summers kill me, so wearing this jacket in anything other than winter weather is a no-go for me. It keeps your body heat trapped in nicely, which is great for me when it’s below 50 degrees outside—but when it’s in the 70s and higher like it has been for the last several months, I can’t wear it without soaking the inside with sweat (it’s the exterior that’s waterproof). So while the Quandary Jacket does a great job at keeping water off of you, it also has a tendency to retain heat—which is great if you live where you have seasons other than variations of summer. In the Ozarks during any month other than January is not where this jacket will thrive—I’ll need to get much further north to wear this thing daily.
This Quandary Jacket doesn’t have any venting pit zips, which might explain its superior ability to retain heat.
Value (4) ★★★★
At $199, it walks the high end of the line for non-technical jackets, but you definitely get the quality you’re paying for. I don’t know how much I’d trust this jacket walking through brambles and brush, so it is more of an urban jacket—so you’re paying for quality and versatility with this jacket. A comparable Patagonia product is the Stretch Rainshadow; the Rainshadow is half the weight, has pit zips, and is packable. If you want something that can just knock off rain and that’s it, we’d suggest the Stretch Rainshadow. If you want something that’s a little beefier and offers some cold-weather protection for the same price, the Quandary is your best bet.
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