Lately, I've been wearing the Patagonia Adze jacket everywhere I go, and I won't lie: I've enjoyed the many compliments. It's tailored and stylish enough to look great with jeans, and yet warm enough to be my go-to spring ski jacket. It's performed well during a weekend at Tahoe, an overnight snowshoe trek in Oregon's Mt. Hood Wilderness, and every day in-between, on the commute to and from work.
For those of you (like me) who are suckers for all things shiny and pretty, the Adze comes in six great colors; the mango is bright and cheery, and more importantly, doesn't show dirt (not even the usual smudges my downhill skis tend to leave on my jackets' shoulders after carting them to and from the car).
The shell is made of Polartec Windbloc stretch polyester (with some spandex tossed in) and lined with color-coordinating fleece at the neck and wind flap. Two outer pockets plus one internal provide enough room to store ski or outdoor essentials such as keys, Chapstick, sunscreen, and some cash, and the cuffs are tailored at the wrists so the sleeves don't get in your way. (I also like that they're adjustable with velcro, to better fit the cuffs of ski gloves underneath.)
The Adze blocks out the wind very well, and the DWR coating does a decent job keeping you dry even in heavy snow. (Note: it's water resistant, not waterproof.) The lining is made of something called microgrid fleece, which is very soft without adding bulk. There's a drawcord at the hem if you want it (I haven't needed to use it). The wind flap at the neck doesn't give full face coverage, but provides all you need in fair to moderate weather. The only time I don't reach for the Adze is when I'll need a hood.
For travelers, this jacket would work well for non-summer travel in varying conditions. With windblocking technology and enough water resistance to get you through drizzly, misty days, it can take you from Seattle to the Azores to Ireland.
My only complaint is that the Adze isn't as fitted as most women's jackets on the market today. (It's a bit boxy.) At 5'4", the sleeves of an Adze medium fall a bit long on me, so if you want a more tailored fit, size down. If I weren't wearing this over several layers of ski clothes, I'd have opted for a small.
The Adze retails for $139, making it reasonably priced in the realm of performance jackets. Find it at Amazon, REI, MooseJaw, and other outdoor retailers. And yes guys, there's also a men's version. See more details on it at the Patagonia.com site.
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