An excellent belay jacket that weighs about the equivalent of a sandwich, and is made with exceptional attention to detail and high ethical standards, but which comes with a steep price tag.
DWR keeps light showers off
Fair Trade Certified sewn
Difficult to stuff back into its own pocket
Not very roomy
Not helmet compatible
• Zip can feel be a bit fiddly
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Patagonia Women’s DAS Light Hoody: first impressions
Don’t let the words “light hoody” throw you – the Patagonia Women’s DAS Light Hoody is a high-performing, synthetic jacket that imitates down and is designed to keep you warm during inclement weather.
Incredibly lightweight and packable, the DAS is more versatile than Patagonia’s Micro Puff Hoody, yet less of a mid layer than the Nano-Air Hoody. It’s difficult to pinpoint where it would come on a scale of the best women’s down jackets and puffers because it owns its own niche: it’s a belay jacket that can cope with the changeable wet conditions of the UK (and elsewhere) simply because it’ll insulate and perform better than down. Plus it’s vegan friendly – bonus!
With high-tech features including Pertex Quantum Pro and a durable water repellent coating, it’ll be a jacket you can rely on when you’re glad you’ve packed a spare layer for when the weather starts to turn. Plus, Patagonia’s excellent eco credentials ought to get a nod or two (read more about the best eco-friendly outdoor brands).
• RRP: $329 (US) / £320 (UK) / €350 (EU)
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL
• Weight (small): 270g / 9.5oz
• Fill: 65-g PlumaFill 100% recycled polyester
• Colors: Stellar Blue / Smoulder Blue / Classic Navy / Purple / Paintbrush Red
Patagonia Women’s DAS Light Hoody: on the hills and crags
The Patagonia Women’s DAS (Dead Air Space) Light Hoody is an ultralight hooded jacket for keeping warm when you’re playing in the mountains in spring, summer and fall alpine conditions, whether you’re moving fast up a slope or hanging at the bottom of the crag belaying a buddy.
The Pertex Quantum material provides a decent level of abrasion resistance when worn as an outer later, alongside windproof nylon. It’s a versatile jacket that can also stretch to use on milder winter days when worn as a mid layer, as its construction mimics that of down (although the fill is recycled synthetic fibers).
However, the DAS really comes into its own as a great, light, super-packable jacket for cold draughty belays, where pack size and weight are major concerns. Being a Patagonia product, the green and ethical credentials are particularly transparent and high end, with the brand using Fair Trade Certified materials in factories that pay a fair wage.
The DAS Hoody features Pertex Quantum Pro 100% nylon ripstop material with a PU dry coating and a Fluorinated DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish to keep the worst of the rain and wind off. Using a premium Pertex fabric means the material performs well in retaining heat by mimicking down – it traps air in the “PlumaFill synthetic material”, meaning there aren’t any heavy layers of bulky insulation, nor are there cold spots.
Patagonia have used recycled polyester, sourced from old plastic bottles, which helps reduce emissions in the manufacturing process compared to “virgin” polyester production. The jacket also features nylon fiber, which is extra strong but is less green as it’s derived from petroleum. These are important considerations for consumers to take into account when deliberating about whether it’s worth spending the extra money with a brand such as Patagonia, who try to minimize the number of synthetic plastics used in the manufacturing process.
It’s also reassuring as an end user to know that the material isn’t “crisp”, allowing it to be stuffed easily back into its own zipped pocket. So, as a belay jacket, it can be compressed into a small shape that’s no bigger than two large potatoes and clipped onto a harness loop.
Size and fit
The DAS Hoody is a regular fit, so it hangs off the shoulders well and should allow enough room to wear a fleece and a lightweight softshell jacket underneath. However, it’s worth noting that I wanted a larger size than normal, and a slightly wider hemline, in order for it to comfortably fit over my other layers and keep my hips warm without worrying about the jacket riding up. Also, the jacket isn’t helmet compatible, so it was annoying that if I wanted my head to be warm, I’d have to think about where the jacket was and whether my outer jacket could keep my head dry.
The DAS Hoodie has a two-way YKK zip. It’s a right-sided zip, something I’m not used to. Made from recycled plastics, the zip also felt much lighter than I expected and users should be careful not to force it, as it feels like an area of weakness. The material seemed resistant to wear when worn out climbing and even stowed next to metalwork it seemed resistant to tears and visible signs of abrasion. While it’s important to be aware of the zip’s fragility, Patagonia have a good warranty and repair policy in place.
If you’re looking for a water-repellent, breathable, high-performing, mega-compact belay jacket – and your budget stretches this far – the Patagonia Women’s DAS Light Hoody is certainly a strong contender to keep you comfortable on your next mountain adventure. It’s got the Patagonia eco-credentials and feels true to size but those who want a slightly roomier jacket should opt to size up.
A former brand ambassador for Merrell and current Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, Jessie Leong’s lifelong outdoor odyssey began with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award walks in the Peak District. This segued into long hill hikes in the Yorkshire Dales, multi-day treks in the Lake District, scrambles in North Wales and adventures scaling alpine pinnacles. When not walking, she can be found rock climbing, wild swimming, cycling, photographing, filmmaking, writing and modelling. Jessie’s most recent claim to fame is playing a Miss World contestant in the 2020 feature film Misbehaviour.