Patagonia Primo Down Jacket
Size tested: XL
Reviewer: 6’2″, 160 lbs.
• Shell: 2-layer 2.71-oz 40-denier 100% polyester ripstop GORE-TEX®
• Powder skirt: 3.5-oz 91% eco polyester and 9% spandex.
• Insulation: 800-fill-power premium European goose down
• Helmet-compatible, 2-way-adjustable fixed hood with laminated visor and Touch Point System
• Goose down filled draft collar at back of neck for extra warmth
• Slim Zip installation with watertight, coated zippers on the handwarmer pockets, pit zips, and pass pocket
• Vislon zippers on the center-front and chest pockets
• Pit zips
• Removable powder skirt
• Zippered pockets: two chest, one includes secure media pocket with cable routing; two handwarmers; one pass pocket on left forearm; one internal drop-in for goggles and gloves; one internal stash
• RECCO® reflector
Weight: 970 g (34.2 oz) (XL)
Days Tested: ~30
Locations tested: Taos Ski Valley, Snowbird, Winter Park
The Patagonia Primo Down Jacket combines two outerwear staples: 2L Gore-tex fabric and 800-fill down insulation. While these two elements are some of the best in their respective fields (waterproofing and insulation), putting them together in one jacket raises the question, “Why not just buy both separately?” (Jonathan Ellsworth raised the same question in his review of the Patagonia Nano Storm Jacket.)
Patagonia’s 800-fill Down Sweater Hoody insulated jacket retails at $269, and the Patagonia 2L Gore-tex Powder Bowl Jacket shell for $399. So for about $670, one could have a similar setup in cold conditions, but be able to wear a shell by itself in warm conditions.
While these comparisons have their merits, I’ve had a hard time bashing the fixed combination offered by the Primo Down Jacket, because it’s the best cold-weather jacket I’ve ever worn.
Fit / Sizing
I ordered an XL (as I always do), and I didn’t find the fit to be abnormal in sleeve or torso length. A rough comparison of the outer shell to the Patagonia Powslayer jacket of the same size showed that the outer shells are essentially identical in dimensions. However, the down lining of the Primo obviously makes it less roomy inside, though if I wanted to add more layers under the jacket I definitely could.
The waist seems to be slightly slimmer than the Powslayer—it’s slightly more tapered than the Powslayer, and the one-snap powder skirt fits my waist much better than that of the Powslayer.
The neck is perfectly sized; I can tuck my chin behind it on windy days with the hood up or down. I wore the hood on several storm days, and was impressed by the mobility it granted given the down insulation and the size of my big head. It’s probably my favorite hood of any jacket I own.
Overall, I’m very happy with the fit.
Design / Features
The Primo Down is a well-designed jacket. It’s not completely minimalist, and the features it does have are very well thought out. The 2L Gore-Tex fabric is thin, and not as stiff as the 3L Pro Shell on the Powslayer.
The powderskirt is removable (though I personally would never remove it—it’s incredibly lightweight and isn’t bulky at all), and the quality of the silicon grip is noticeably better than that found on the Powslayer.
The Primo Down Jacket also features Patagonia’s Touch Point system, a fantastic feature that hides cord locks inside the jacket, making adjustment of the waist and hood easy while giving the gymnosperms (look it up) of Little Cottonwood Canyon less to grab when riding through tight trees. The cuff velcro is high-quality, and it could easily accommodate the gauntlet of my Black Diamond Guide Lobster Mitts.
The Primo Down Jacket also features two breast pockets (one of which has an inner zipper for electronics), two handwarmer waist pockets, and a forearm pocket. Inside the jacket are two stretchy pockets (made with the same 91% polyester, 9% spandex material of the powderskirt), one with a zipper and one without. I prefer the top-entry cargo pockets from the Powslayer, but with the added bulk of down insulation, I don’t blame Patagonia for omitting them.
The front and chest pocket zippers are Vislon, while the rest are standard laminated waterproof zippers. Vislon zippers are said to be burlier, less prone to decay like a waterproof laminate on standard zippers, and are thus placed in high-stress areas.
I had no issues with the front zipper catching, but the chest pockets were maddeningly catchy—I missed a phone call more than once just trying to get the chest pocket open in time. The large-toothed zipper often snags on the inside of the pocket and can be difficult to free, though I haven’t had any ripping of the fabric despite my frequent tugging. It is worth noting, however, that the Vislon zippers have broken in over time, and catch less now than my first day wearing the jacket. But it’s still an issue that Patagonia might address.
The down insulation really is just a Down Sweater stitched into a hardshell—the baffling is basically the same. One nice addition, though, is a down “draft collar” in the back of the neck that prevents snow and wind from blowing down into the jacket, which is a real asset on windy pow days.
The lining is silky smooth, and I haven’t had any issues with down bunching up and leaving cold spots.
The Primo Down Jacket also packs down to be a little smaller than a volleyball.