Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PAT COM REVIEW: the Patagonia Talus Jacket

Alright, let me just apologize right now for the horrid pictures.  I was trying to get this done quickly and didn't have the decent camera around, so let this be an indictment of the camera on the iPhone 3GS.

I've owned my Patagonia Talus Jacket for almost a year now.  I was on the look-out for a great softshell and had been using a decent one from the North Face called the Apex Magic Jacket and I got it for a great deal on backcountry.com.  Eventually though I returned it because I just found the fabric to be really rigid.

I then got a nice deal on the Patagonia Guide Jacket from 6pm.com.  They have some great deals on Patagonia from time to time, though their stock right now is pretty low.  I liked the Guide, but it didn't offer me enough insulation.  The wind flowed right through and while I don't live in the coldest of climates (nights might fall to high 20s in the coldest parts of winter), I did want something warmer.  So back it went.

I saw the Talus on the Patagonia site, but at $250, it was out of my league.  However, during one of Patagonia's sales I saw that it was discounted to a reasonable amount.  I saved my pennies and splurged.

I called directly to a few of their stores and found one in black, size small in the Pasadena, CA store.  They were really nice, shipped it quickly, and as far as I know, my credit card isn't being hit with fraudulent charges by the person who took my order (note to person who took my order:  THANKS!).
Anyway, this jacket has been a great piece for me.  One of the reviews on the Patagonia site said that this was a warm jacket, and the person is right.  It is not one of those breezy soft shells.  This thing keeps you nice and toasty inside.  The exterior is supple and quiet.  It definitely feels thicker than the Patagonia Guide Jacket and has a warm, brushed interior.  For athletic pursuits, the Guide is probably great, allowing the air to flow.  My acitivities, I'm sad to report, aren't quite as strenuous.  I just use it as a knock-around, walk-around, play-outside-with-the-kids kind of jacket.

The shape, as you can see above, is somewhat trim in the waist.  It narrows, somewhat like a women's jacket which is not really my preference.  However, it's not too severe, and I think the fact that it's black helps to make that less pronounced.
It has two hand-warmer pockets and two chest pockets.  The shell holds up nicely to rain, even strong rain.  However, I wouldn't personally go stand in a downpour in just the Talus.  This past March, I did take it with me on my trip to Europe (see my Twitter profile pic!) and for the unpredictable pre-spring weather of London, Paris, Florence, and Rome, the Talus was perfect--warm, flicked rain, and in black, low-key.  I did have to pull out my Mountain Hardwear Typhoon hard shell (got that one for less than $100 at REI!) a few times though.  I was walking down Savile Row in London (snooty, I know) and it started coming down cats and dogs.  I put the hard shell on over the Talus, b-lined for an awning and waited the downpour out with a young chap who also was heading my way, though the poor laddy didn't have a Talus and hard shell like yours truly.  Okay, no more British terms.
One thing I don't really love is the lighter grey trim around the neck and zipper.  The neck part is starting to show some light dirt (I shower everyday, I promise!) and I don't feel good about tossing it in the washing machine.  The cuffs are hook-and-loop and function nicely.  The zipper pulls are great though I noticed that the older Patagonia jackets had the same pulls with little nubs to give a little more grip and this jacket doesn't.  Another sign of the recession?
Overall, very happy with this purchase and plan to use it for a long time.  In fact, I broke it out this morning for the 40-degree temps and the light but steady rain.  I'd recommend the jacket to anyone looking for a warm, comfortable softshell that has a supple, quiet fabric.  Patagonia is also offering a hooded Talus this season for $30 more, so if you're going to pick one of those up, please don't get the Pasadena guy to charge my card.

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