Patagonia Dual Aspect Women’s Jacket and Bib: Stay dry on the mountain without sacrificing comfort or functionality

MSRP: $449 (jacket), $399 (bibs)

There are many choices on the market when it comes to cold weather gear. And for discerning buyers looking for something that not only keeps you dry, but also keeps up with you while you sweat, peel or climb mountain goals in the winter, it’s important to find the best. There are a few key features to look for when considering your options, from true water resistance to equally important breathability, fit, comfort, handling and weight.

Time and time again I ditched jacket after jacket at the local hardware consignment store because there just wasn’t anything good enough about it. Sometimes the fit is great for skiing but not versatile for climbing, and you end up with a jacket that constantly pulls on your harness every time you climb high. With other jackets you might be carving up a steep trail on a dawn patrol, feeling sweat and heat build up under your jacket which does a great job of keeping moisture out. exterior, but a terrible job of letting the heat escape. The Goldilocks jacket can be hard to find.

Enter the Dual Aspect jacket and bib shorts from Patagonia, which have all the hallmarks of a high quality alpine kit.

The tester prepares to go winter climbing in the Eastern Sierra (traditional lands of the Paiute, Mono and other indigenous groups) to test the movement and breathability of the Patagonia Dual Aspect kit. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collectionThe tester prepares to go winter climbing in the Eastern Sierra (traditional lands of the Paiute, Mono and other indigenous groups) to test the movement and breathability of the Patagonia Dual Aspect kit. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

The first thing I liked about the jacket was its straight cut. Not too tight and not too fitted, its shape is more boxy than anything else, allowing plenty of cold weather layers underneath. For reference, I’m 5’8″ and a size small gives me plenty of room for layering underneath, which makes me feel like this jacket is a little big. It is, however, long enough to fit comfortably under a climbing harness. With two large zippers, it is easy to open and close the jacket with thick gloves. The hood is roomy and helmet compatible with a stiff, reinforced brim, and the neck is high with ample coverage. Underarm gussets help you reach high when swinging your ice axes without pulling your jacket up and over your harness, and underarm zippers help you ventilate when things get too wet.

The Dual Aspect Jacket is long enough to fit perfectly under a harness, eliminating any major bunching when climbing.The Dual Aspect Jacket is long enough to fit perfectly under a harness, eliminating any major bunching when climbing. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

This jacket is also helmet compatible, with a hard peaked hood and generous neck coverage.This jacket is also helmet compatible, with a hard peaked hood and generous neck coverage. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

Specifically designed for alpine climbing, the Dual Aspect bib shorts take mountain comfort and movement to the next level. They passed the hose test, providing adequate waterproof protection. I’ve also taken them on steep hikes in the mountains and were as comfortable as you can sweat in hard shell pants. The design shines with its clever four-way stretch straps, which are made of a lightweight stretch mesh, and combined with the high step gusset of the bibs, allow for unrestricted climbing movement. The cinched waistband is comfortable and (get ready ladies) bathroom compatible – just pull the back part of the waistband down and feel free to go anywhere, even with a harness on – this completely changes the game, thank you Patagonia!

Together, the Dual Aspect jacket and suspenders form a powerful kit. And high-performance, high-quality construction, of course, comes at a price. The biggest downside to these items is their price, which makes for a compelling purchase, especially when combined. For this reason, I would recommend this kit to the serious mountaineer who sees themselves spending a lot of time climbing or skiing in mountain environments where water resistance and the maneuverability of a hard shell are paramount.

Made with Patagonia's exclusive waterproof H2No, the Dual Aspect Jacket and Bibs use no perfluorinated chemicals in their garments and stand up to the harshest elements.Made with Patagonia’s exclusive waterproof H2No, the Dual Aspect Jacket and Bibs use no perfluorinated chemicals in their garments and stand up to the harshest elements. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

A high gusset and four-way stretch straps make the Patagonia Dual-Aspect Suspenders exceptionally capable for rock and ice climbing moves.A high gusset and four-way stretch straps make the Patagonia Dual-Aspect Suspenders exceptionally capable for rock and ice climbing moves. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

Some other things to consider are that this jacket is constructed from Patagonia’s proprietary performance standard for waterproofing, H2No. The three-layer H2No performance standard features a 100% recycled nylon ripstop face with a smooth jersey backing, a waterproof/breathable barrier and a PFC-free DWR finish (durable water repellent coating that does not contain perfluorinated chemicals) . If you’re looking for the most durable and waterproof kits on the market, you might want to look elsewhere. But the three-layer H2No isn’t just cheaper than Gore-Tex, it’s tough enough and waterproof enough for most, and is made from recycled materials to boot. It is also worth mentioning that this kit is the first from Patagonia that does not contain any perfluorinated chemicals in its waterproof finish.

At 9.4 ounces for the bibs and 14.6 ounces for the jacket, this kit is also lightweight, allowing you to move quickly and freely on the mountain. They aren’t too bulky either. If you want to strip for the climb, packing them in a bag is a viable option. If you’re a serious climber looking for your next kit, you might feel good pulling the trigger on Patagonia’s Dual Aspect.

Miya is a former rock guide and now a full-time photographer. She has freelanced for Bishop Area Climbers Coalition, ClimbOn Skincare, Drink Zaddy’s, Gear Junkie, Hoka, Moja Gear, Novus Select, Outdoor Gear Lab and Patagonia in addition Mountaineer. She resides in the Eastern Sierra or on the road for photos and rock climbing in her trusty Honda Odyssey. You can see more of his work at MiyaTsudome.com.

These lightweight yet durable layers work great with some breathable base layers for backcountry ski days.  The jacket is slightly wide, which leaves room for layering.[Photo] Miya Tsudome collectionThese lightweight yet durable layers work great with some breathable base layers for backcountry ski days. The jacket is slightly wide, which leaves room for layering. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

Advantages
The jacket has a regular fit that allows for layering.
The gussets on the jacket and the bibs allow ultimate maneuverability when climbing.
Bibs have stretch straps for freedom of movement.
The mudflaps also have a cinched waistband that can be lowered in the back for pit stops.
Waterproof and breathable
Lightweight
Made from recycled materials and chemical free

The inconvenients
Dear
Not as sturdy or waterproof as Gore-Tex
Size large

[This review has been updated to correct that H2No is not itself a fabric but a “proprietary performance standard for waterproofing.”—Ed.]

Evaluation:

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