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Rock Climbing Clothing

Patagonia Switchback Sports Bra and Wild Trails Sports Bra

Two sports bras: one spare and simple, the other heavier duty and providing more coverage at neck and sides.

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MSRP: Switchback – $49; Wild Trails – $65

Soft. And stiff?

Well, kind of, yes. The Switchback Sports Bra, made from recycled polyester, is soft and cush, with a mesh interior. It has a nice shape, with criss-cross straps and a sweetheart neckline, and it is quite supportive—for many.

Switchback, $49.

This is why reviews will always be individual. We’ll start with the cut. Depending on your build, the low neck either provides a nice cooling effect, especially at this time of year—or is too low, if you find yourself gaining a little more exposure than you had in mind. The Wild Trail Sports Bra has higher coverage if you prefer, which I do.

The Switchback is given as high-impact for sizes A and B, mid for B and C, and low-impact for C/D and larger. Up to a B-slash-C, it provides excellent support, serving as a major all-arounder that you could use for trail running as well as cragging. A large-breasted woman might only use it for climbing and maybe yoga, though. As a medium-build person, I call it solid for climbing and hiking but not every sport.

Wild Trails, $65.

The Wild Trails is also a super-soft fabric, but high-impact and do-anything, a favorite with busty women. It is a compression fit, so it feels like it, but does not chafe.

Similarly, or actually the concept is being dissimilar, for some women the side coverage on the Switchback is fine, while I apparently have a barrel ribcage, and for me the front runs too narrow. Nobody wants side spillage. A different tester, a climber who is smaller-boned (she tested a small, while I wore my usual large) said hers fit perfectly. For me the Switchback overall ran small, with the back straps feeling tight, so I would advise sizing up, and I think the fit and coverage generally suit a smaller frame.

Patagonia Wild Trails sports bra
Wild Trails.

The Wild Trails ameliorated both those issues for me. It was plenty wide enough, actually to a fault, such that I could feel it come up toward my underarm, and it just fit better and more evenly all over.

One of the best aspects of both items is not even the front but in the circumference—a tall quick-dry stretch band, an inch and a half (I measured) wide, which keeps it from digging in.

Patagonia Switchback sports bra.

The Switchback has no clasps, is no fuss, needs no Houdini struggles to get in and out, while the Wild Trails has clasps, fiddly but providing adjustability. The fabric on both bras is dreamy. The Switchback was narrow on this tester, so I’d say size big, while the Wild Trails was snug. I’d go true to size or err on sizing up.

Patagonia Switchback Sports Bra

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Patagonia Wild Trails Sports Bra

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Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.