Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt
www.patagonia.com | $250 | 5 Stars
The new Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt is one of the most useful pieces of gear I’ve ever had. This sub-six-ounce miracle of warmth has a place in my climbing pack in every season. I wear it as a mid-layer in the winter, a belay jacket in the summer, and over a collared shirt when I’m carousing around town in the fall and spring. I even climb gymnastic sport routes in it.
I admit I was skeptical at first. There’s no shortage of great down jackets out there—and Patagonia itself makes a number of them with various ratings of warmth and loft. The Ultralight Down Shirt looked like just another down jacket … only there was way less down.
Its weight is also what makes this piece so special. The shirt is so light you don’t even notice it’s on you. Its trim cut fits close to your body, which is one reason why it’s so warm. It doesn’t fit under a harness, which is fine; I just wear it over the harness. The super-light nylon isn’t stretchy, so the piece doesn’t move as well as, say, a soft shell. But for climbing in cool temps, I prefer this piece to a sweatshirt or softshell, exactly because it’s so much lighter and unobtrusive.
The shirt comes with a stuff sack, and packs down to the size of a softball, which easily fits into the top of my pack. I’m even considering getting a second one: to keep one in my climbing pack at all times, and another to wear daily.