Sometimes your outdoor itinerary is unpredictable, or it might call for a little bit of everything.  If you’re packing light, that means picking one single durable, versatile shell – and for these kinds of outings, Patagonia’s Guide jacket justifies its space in your gear bag.

Patagonia Guide Jacket Features:

  • Main panels: 70-denier wind-resistant polyester with 4-way stretch fabric
  • Deluge DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Brushed fleece interior
  • Microfleece-lined collar, chin guard and wind flap
  • Two zippered handwarmer pockets
  • Vertical chest pocket
  • Articulated sleeves
  • Drawcord hem
  • Weight: 524 g (18.5 oz)
  • 6 color options
  • MSRP $149

Patagonia Guide Jacket Review

Of course, if you’re only packing one jacket for all your activities, it better have a good collection of features.  Patagonia’s Guide is a midweight soft shell that covers all the basics, with a clean, straightforward design that’s equally suitable for athletics or casual use.

The strongest feature of this jacket is its wind resistance and insulation.  Panel construction consists of 100% wind-resistant polyester, and the DWR coating provides adequate water resistance to make it back to the tent or the car.  Like most Patagonia garments, the Guide earns green points for using recycled polyester (think soda bottles and secondhand fabrics) in the main panels.

Stretch polyester exterior panels; large mesh handwarmer pocket

Insulation for the Guide is fairly impressive for its weight; when lounging around camp, it’s good into the mid-40s, but with aerobic activity the jacket will keep you warm into the 30s with a short-sleeve base layer.  The sleeves aren’t bulky, but are roomy enough to layer a long-sleeved shirt underneath.  The soft shell material is breatheable for moisture transfer during exercise, but the jacket tends to run on the warm/wet side compared to similar-weight jackets I’ve tested.  One other downside I found during aerobic activity is that the polyester exterior can feel somewhat rough when wiping sweat off your skin – but that’s what gloves are for, I guess.

The interior of the Guide is super comfortable, with a soft brushed lining on the main panels, and mesh microfleece around the collar and chin.  Fit of the jacket is slim through the trunk, which prevents the exterior from getting snagged during activity such as climbing or navigating off trail, but the 4-way stretch properties of the polyester allow full range of motion in all directions.  Coverage in the back is adequate for most “upright” activity but will feel short when used for MTB riding.

Cozy interior fleece lining

Minor accents on the Guide include an elastic drawcord hem, zipper garages, articulated sleeves, and low-profile cuffs.  Its handwarmer pockets are enormous, extending above the zipper area up to the chest, allowing you to stash gloves, a hat, or similarly sized soft gear as necessary.  One accent that’s lacking is a media cord pass-through on the vertical chest pocket.

Good Guide

  • Very comfortable interior
  • Great wind resistance
  • Good warmth for weight
  • Clean styling for casual or active use

Bad Guide

  • Sluggish moisture transfer
  • Coarse outer surface

Bottom Line: Patagonia Guide Jacket

The Guide jacket is one of Patagonia’s best sellers, and it’s easy to see why.  It offers a great combination of protection and performance for a full day of activity, and is comfortable enough to wear for the rest of the evening afterward.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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