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Patagonia - Mixed Guide Hoody

posted Apr 19, 2013, 12:55 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Apr 29, 2013, 12:36 AM by Italo Balestra ]



Patagonia's Mixed Guide Hoody is a hybrid jacket that combines the enhanced breathability of a soft-shell with the weather protection of a hard-shell. The hard-shell covers only the most exposed areas to offer storm protection only where it's needed, while the soft-shell fabric guarantees a higher level of breathability on the rest of the body. 

It sounds like the perfect solution: no more saunas when hiking in the rain, soft and stretchable fabric on arms and back for more breathability, comfort, and freedom of movement. However, many people didn't really understand this new garment. Most didn't like the idea of having only a "half-rainproof" garment and complained because it didn't perform very well in wet conditions. 

At Go Out Project, we were instead really excited about this new hybrid jacket and we decided to test it ourselves on the field to verify its true performances.

CONSTRUCTION

Chest, shoulders, and hood of the Mixed Guide Hoody are made of Patagonia's own rainproof fabric: the 3-layer H2No® Performance Standard fabric

All the rest is made of Polartec® Power Shield stretch-woven fabric. The two different fabrics are easily recognizable: in the version we tested the H2No is red and the Power Shield orange.

The jacket has been designed primarily for climbers, therefore it has a short-cut body and a pair of pockets on the chest (in addition to the handwarmer pockets) to interfere less with the harness. Also the hood is large enough to be worn on top of a climbing helmet.
All the zippers are reverse coil.

ON THE FIELD

We tested the Mixed Guide Hoody for six months, using it for backcountry skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and mountain biking. 

The first impression we had was that of great protection. And this impression was confirmed during the rest of the test. Protection from rain, wind, and abrasion is very good. Both the H2No and the Power Shield are quite tough fabrics, potentially very durable. 
However, with more than 600g it's certainly not the lightest shell in existence. Also the packing capability is limited.

We had the chance to test the jacket under heavy rain for several hours and the result has been very convincing: always completely dry inside! The DWR coating helped a lot in letting the water droplets slide off the surface of the fabric. After six months of use the DWR treatment was still working pretty well and we didn't need to reactivate it. So to those who complained about waterproofness we suggest to try and reactivate the DWR.

The soft-shell fabric is placed where breathability is more needed, that is on the back. During more intense activities, such as climbing or hiking uphill during ski-touring or when riding a bike, breathability has been always sufficient to keep us dry
We also noticed that in many situations out there you'll be carrying a backpack. So in most cases it makes sense to have less rain/wind protection on the back, which is also the part of the body where you tend to sweat more and that you want to keep more ventilated. 

Being more breathable the Power Shield fabric is also less wind protective. Moderate wind is not a problem, but in case of strong wind you may feel some undesired extra chill on the back

The Power Shield is also stretchable and you will notice it especially when climbing. The stretch of the fabric, especially on the back and elbows, gives you much more freedom of movement.

If worn in combination with a base layer only, it can even be a good running jacket for those stormy days when you really don't want to stay at home.

Just a couple of complaints: 1) zippers are a bit hard to open and close; 2) the seams on the shoulders and arms are fully exposed and may suffer the wear, which makes the garment a bit weaker on those very critical spots.  

Finally, a nice little detail that adds extra comfort when at rest is the soft lining inside the handwarmer pockets. 

CONCLUSIONS

You wanna go out playing in the storm? Just grab your Mixed Guide Hoody and go!

As long as you combine it with the proper base- and insulation-layers, this garment is very protective and very versatile. The Mixed Guide Hoody is not only good
 for climbers, but also for backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and even moutain bikers or runners. 
It offers high breathability, important for all high-intensity outdoor activities, together with very good protection from the elements. 
The stretchable soft-shell fabric adds more freedom of movement and a lot more breathability compared to classical hard-shells. You don't sweat like a pig when hiking or riding in stormy weather and you feel much more comfortable in most situations.


POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES
  • Outdoor Research - Alibi Jacket

The Mixed Guide Hoody in Action

PROS
  • Weather-proof only where really needed
  • Stretchable and breathable where needed
  • Highly durable, good quality and toughness of materials 

CONS                                                   

  • Not very light, nor very packable 
  • Zippers do not operate smoothly
  • Exposed seams on shoulders and elbows

 Weight  7/10
 Versatility  8/10
 Packability  6/10
 Cut/Fit  8/10
 Freedom of Movement  8/10
 Breathability  8/10
 Water Resistance  8/10
 Wind Resistance  7/10
 Tear Resistance  9/10
 Durability  8/10
 Total Score  7.7/10

Patagonia Mixed Guide Hoody


Patagonia Mixed Guide Hoody


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