by patagonia. also known to some as patagucci.

they make some of the best outdoor clothing out there. others can resist or try to deny it.  but i have yet to see down jackets roll into an inner pocket that can be stuffed into a stuff sack the size of a shoe than the patagonia down sweater.  in fact that is what this entire post is about.  gear varies per person and situation and must always be altered for both.  i love my non-patagonia gear (trust me, i have a lot) and thrive to share about their fabulous and nifty features. but that will have to be saved for another post. today it’s about the down sweater collection.

it started off with a christmas present i got kyle 4 years ago.  it was a pro-deal while working for an outdoor company. i thought he needed a new jacket and one that wasn’t brown, black or gray. i bought it in  lime green.  what can i say? i love color. the moment he opened it and rolled it into a ball, i was hooked. i admired the fact that he could fit the entire sweater into it’s own inner pocket- which was great for backpacking and outdoor adventures.   obviously, i hadn’t done my homework and didn’t event know about this cool little feature of the down sweater. now i wanted one.

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a year later and many color choices snatched before my eyes (patagonia customers are like lululemon customers. they buy and they buy quick. you snooze. you loose.) i found my down sweater. now i too could use it as a pillow, be warm on hikes and backpacking trips all without the added weight and space limitations.  i was in love.   mind you, they didn’t have the hoodies back then (that i am aware of).

next came the down sweater vests. we were in one of our favorite local outdoor shops, second acscent in ballard and kyle stumbled upon their vests.  he ended up getting it. apparently guys get hotter and sweatier than we do. so the vest made a good argument.  like the first purchase, i too followed suite and now own one. like it’s original, it rolls into the little inner pouch for travels and backpacking. i love it! it’s great for those really odd PNW days where it’s psuedo cold but not really enough to warrant the thick coat. this is perfect go-between for those spring and fall camping/backpacking trips.

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this past xmas i bought kyle the hoodie version.  it probably was the fact that i was freezing on the side of mount tahoma on our recent backpacking adventure without a hooded coat and really wishing i had a coat like kyle’s.  he was not only bundled up in one of the lightest and warmest coats but it had a hood! that was it. we got back down the mountain went to rei and i fell in love with a color that was only in the down sweater. i called the patagonia store in seattle and they too didn’t have it in stock. i was getting nervous. but my trusty little smart phone pulled through.  another life-saving moment by the droid x. i just got my hoody a few short days later. and just in time for the snow. btw,  the hood fits perfectly over the climbing and bike helmets.

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side note.  i do not endorse frivolous purchases.  especially really expensive gear purchases. know what you need it for, that you can’t borrow it, and that you can’t make do with some other gear stuff. granted, it’s always easier said than done and i too end up buying stuff i sometimes can live without but, it’s definitely not without the internal turmoil.

also, to help out your community and the environment, head to stores like second ascent and feathered friends (in seattle) who sell new AND used gear. and try to buy stuff from companies like patagonia who reuse old clothing and gear to put back into their new stuff. now that is worth something, even to the patagucci haters.