Over the years, I’ve had the chance to wear a number of jackets from Patagonia and the latest flavor of the Untracked Jacket is certainly one of the finest examples of how to make a jacket that’s functional, stylish and comfortable.
Patagonia Untracked Jacket Features:
- 100% nylon shell with 3-layer GORE-TEX
- Brushed Tricot liner for extra warmth and improved breathability
- Helmet-compatible hood
- Watertight zippers
- Large pit zips
- Stretch woven low-profile powder skirt
- Embedded RECCO device
- Price: $599
Untracked Jacket is Impressive
Let me just start by setting the table here. Patagonia’s latest Untracked Jacket comes to the party as decked out as any jacket could possibly be. I mean, the list of features with this jacket is staggering. It all starts out with a burly nylon shell utilizing 3-layer GORE-TEX membrane for the ultimate in waterproof performance and finishes up with a RECCO device — you know everything else is going to be top-notch.
At 5′ 11″ and 170 lbs, I most often wear a size medium in Patagonia. Sure enough, the Untracked fits me like it was custom-made in a medium. The Untracked is marketed a bit to the snowboarding crowd — perhaps because it is cut a bit oversized — but I’m rocking it on two planks at the local resort and I’m feeling just fine. Regardless of how you choose to slide on snow, the Untracked Jacket is fantastic.
No detail was left to chance and I’d expect nothing less from Patagonia (particularly at this premium price point). This jacket is available in a selection of subdued colors that will be just as in style 10 years from now as they are today, which is a good thing since this jacket should last a LONG time.
In the past, old versions of GORE-TEX were unlined and didn’t breathe as well. While there are other fabrics that honestly breathe better than 3-layer GORE-TEX, adding a brushed Tricot lining goes a long way. Not only does it add an extra dose of warmth, but it disperses moisture for enhanced breathability. And, if you do outsweat the jacket, it has large pit zips to dump heat and aid in getting your internal ecosystem under control.
A Bevy of Well-executed Features
Let’s dive into a couple of features that I particularly like. For starters, I’m not usually a fan of powder skirts. They are bulky and weigh a ton. Patagonia chose to build a stretchy, low-profile powder skirt on this jacket and it is flat-out awesome. It comes complete with silicone grippy material to keep it in place. Another great feature is the semi-detached hood. Instead of being a standard collar or a hood, it’s as if this jacket was built with an extra-tall collar, then a helmet-compatible hood was added. The look and execution is fantastic since I only used the hood under extreme conditions, but most of the time I let it hang — all while I enjoyed the feeling of a full collar.
The durability of this jacket should almost be without question. The materials and construction really does put this jacket into an exclusive class in the market. Again, it is not an inexpensive jacket, but you will truly appreciate every detail. I’ll mention one more while on the subject. Typically, the drawstring toggles are just dangling around the hem and hood. Patagonia went a different route with embedded toggles featuring rubberized touch points. They are easily-operated with gloves on and never get in the way — nice touch.
Typically, I’ve been wearing the Untracked with the following layers:
- Sit Basis Stretch Merino Crew Baselayer
- Patagonia R1 Jacket or Sierra Designs Gnar Jacket
- Rab Microlight Vest (when needed)
It’s nice having a variety of base/mid layers to choose from, but my go-to kit has been the R1 combo so I don’t overheat when pushing hard. However, on a couple of howlingly-cold days, I was glad for extra layers. Luckily, the Untracked fits well enough for any combination of the above layers without inhibiting my range of motion or comfort.
While the watertight zippers are an awesome way to cap things off, they can sometimes be difficult to operate. A concerted effort is needed to zip up this jacket, but that’s about all I can find to complain about. It’s really no big deal, but I’d love for YKK to figure out how to make waterproof zippers that zip easier.
- Nice cut and length — Goldilocks perfect
- Unique snowskirt with grippy silicone is awesome
- Hidden toggles with easy-to-use rubber patches are pure genius
- Lightly-backed Gore-Tex breathes better than it used to
- Tall collar provides needed coverage
- Wraparound collar provides structure and coverage
- Integration with Patagonia pants is a nice option
- Sleeve pass pocket is awesome
- Waterproof front zipper requires extra effort to zip
The Bottom Line: Patagonia Untracked Jacket
If you’re eyeing the top-end jackets on the market, the Patagonia Untracked Jacket should be on the short list. No question, this jacket has every feature you could ever want and it will last forever. Every detail is indicative of the care that Patagonia’s designers have put into this piece.
Buy Now: Available at Backcountry.com