The hood is an important part of any ski jacket. Patagonia usually does a good job with their hoods, and the PowSlayer jacket is no exception. I’ve been able to comfortably wear it with and without my ski helmet, and spent full days in Japan with the hood up and had no issues with visibility, mobility or lack of coverage. Similarly, the jacket’s collar reaches a good height; it’s protective without being so high that it gets in the way.
The touchpoint cord locks to adjust the hood is a system that’s very easy to use with or without gloves; you pull the cord to tighten, and press the button to release.
The jacket’s pit zips are easy to use and ample in size. The thigh vents on the PowSlayer bibs are nicely located; they sit a little behind, similar to those on the Arc’teryx Stinger pants, which minimizes snow coming into the vents while skinning.
I liked the minimalist powder skirt on the previous PowSlayer jacket, and I like the new one even better. The combination of a long hem and the easy-to-use clips that attach the powder skirt to the bibs make it a pretty snow-tight system. I spent a lot of time in deep snow and high winds and never had an issue with snow reaching my base layers.
The gaiters on the PowSlayer bibs are simple and effective. They are tight enough to fit over buckled alpine boots, but can be stretched to fit over my Dynafit Vulcan or Dynafit TLT6 boots with the top buckle open. The small metal hook on the gaiters makes accessing boots a little more difficult, but the hook is necessary to keep the gaiters in place when plunging into deep snow.
Pockets are one place where the PowSlayer kit really shines. I rely on having good chest pockets for my smartphone/GPS, a small camera, radios, or other essentials for which quick access and a relatively safe location are important. I’m not sure why the jacket has one molded water-resistant zipper for one of the chest pockets and one coil zipper with a storm flap on the other, but it does look clean while still allowing for a lot of volume in both chest pockets. The left pocket (the one more easily accessed with the right hand) has a small zippered pocket inside that fits my tiny wallet perfectly.
The jacket’s hand pockets are large and have a storm flap that keeps out driving rain. I was happy to see that Patagonia included drop-in mesh skin/water bottle pockets on the jacket’s interior, and even made them large enough for 145mm skins to sit securely inside. The shoulder pocket is handy for other small items, or for my season pass while skiing at the resort.
The pocket configuration on the bibs is also very well thought out. Similar to those on the Arc’teryx Stinger pants (and in contrast to the previous PowSlayer Bibs), the current PowSlayer’s thigh pockets are well placed so that contents sit nicely on the thigh, but don’t bounce around against the knee while skiing. I also like the bibs’ small upper pockets, which are great for storing lip balm, a small camera, satellite phone batteries, or any other small items that need to be kept warm but handy.
While I already mentioned the durability of the fabric, I will discuss the kit’s overall durability. For me, the most common failure point on outerwear is usually the zippers, and I have collection of jackets at my house that need to visit the sewing shop for zipper repair. I appreciate the molded Vislon zippers on the jacket’s main center zipper, the right chest pocket, both thigh pockets, and the thigh vents on the bibs. I have not seen many pants or bibs that use these Vislon zippers, and while they add cost, in my experience they improve the piece’s overall durability.
The main durability issue I’ve had with the PowSlayer is the velcro on the cuffs on the jacket. By day ten, the velcro stopped working as well as it had been when new, and after twenty days, the stitching was coming loose around the velcro on both cuffs. While this is relatively easy to repair, I was really surprised given the overall high quality of the jacket. I have also had a small issue with one of the stretchy mesh interior pockets pulling away from the fabric.
On both legs of the PowSlayer bibs, the inner lining of the Gore Pro fabric that sits directly over my velcro powerstrap and the Dynafit Ultralock buckle has significantly deteriorated. I have experienced this issue with other pants too, and there doesn’t seem to be a difference between this Patagonia lining that is deteriorating and the lining from any other brands I’ve worn.
There is a lot of great outerwear available for skiing and riding, and it seems like companies’ offerings get incrementally better each season. The PowSlayer jacket stacks up favorably to other great jackets I’ve used, although the slightly slimmer fit and longer sleeves on the Arc’teryx Rush worked a little better for me, despite the Rush’s lack of chest pockets.
The PowSlayer bibs are the best I have used. I liked the fit and lighter weight fabric on the PowSlayer than the Arc’teryx Stinger pants or bibs.
Similarly, I prefer the bibs to the heavier fabric of the Norrona Lofoten gear that I’ve also worn. Compared to other lightweight bibs that are more mountaineering oriented, I like the looser fit and lower cut of the waist on the PowSlayer. And personally, I do not see the need for the additional bulk and failure points of full-length side zippers that are often found on other high bibs.
The 15/16 PowSlayer jacket and bibs are a great offering from Patagonia for resort and backcountry skiing. In particular, the bibs are the best I have ever used, and are currently my number one choice for any kind of mechanized or human powered touring where I might encounter wet conditions.
The PowSlayer jacket is also very solid and has been my daily jacket for lift-served skiing this season. I prefer wearing it in the resort rather than the backcountry given its extra weight, although it certainly provides great protection in any winter environment.
Overall, the updated PowSlayer kit is extremely well-designed outerwear that is made with some of the best materials and zippers currently available. If it fits you well and you’re looking for one set of outerwear to ski or ride in from those early fall to late spring missions, in any conditions, you will not be disappointed.