Saturday, February 2, 2008

THE Soft Shell Jacket: the Patagonia Dimension Jacket

(Above, my trusty Patagonia Dimension soft shell jacket)

Hey folks, thanks for your patience with the Patagonia Community blog. Life has kept me busy the past several months, but I hope to post at least a little more regularly here. After all, it's winter and there's some great gear out there to discuss. Today, the soft shell.

The evolution of the soft shell has been one of the great breakthroughs for outdoor activity. Once upon a time, people engaging in outdoor pursuits in foul weather had to endure sauna-like conditions inside their waterproof jackets. What evolved as a result is the soft-shell jacket. There are probably many who lay claim to the invention of that piece of outerwear history (among them Cloudveil, as described here) but what we do know for sure is that the soft-shell is here to stay. A jacket that resists water, is windproof, and fully breathable--the world is not just going to throw that back in the closet of mis-inventions. The "Gear Guy" from Outside magazine describes the soft-shell as "a lightly insulating, windproof, and highly water-resistant shell that will keep you warmer and drier across a wider range of temperature and rainfall conditions than any fleece or waterproof-breathable jacket, or combination of the two."

The one I have from Patagonia is the Dimension Jacket. Patagonia doesn't currently produce this jacket as part of it's winter line, but it was apparently a classic when they did. For the record, they also re-sell well on eBay. This is the second one that I purchased. The first one was half off at Sport Chalet and when it was time to re-sell it a couple of YEARS later, it fetched MORE than what I had originally spent on it. That is a true investment folks.

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