Patagonia Refugitive Jacket
Size Tested: Large
Blister’s Measured Weight (size L): ~446 grams
Fit: Regular Fit
- Membrane – Gore-Tex (3-layer)
- Body – 30D nylon ripstop
- Lower arms / upper back – 40D nylon
- Lining – Gore C-Knit
- Fully sealed seams
- Helmet compatible hood
- Underarm zips
- Pockets: 2 zippered handwarmer, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered internal chest, 1 drop-in internal pocket.
Reviewer: 6’, 190 lbs
Days Tested: 14
Patagonia released a new series of outerwear this year designed specifically for ski touring and ski mountaineering. Among the more unique pieces is the new Refugitive jacket, which is one of the few ski jackets currently on the market that uses the new Gore-Tex C-knit as the backer in its laminate.
Patagonia describes the jacket as: “Made for the high-country escape artist, our new Refugitive Jacket combines fully waterproof/breathable protection with stretch and light weight for steep climbs and serious descents. The hybrid 3-layer GORE-TEX® construction has enhanced breathability throughout, but uses a slightly more robust, stretchy fabric along the upper back, shoulders and the backsides of the arms for unimpaired mobility.”
I used the Refugitive as my everyday jacket for everything from 6-7 run ski touring days, to storm skiing while riding lifts and rope tows. Having reviewed many different shell jackets over the years, I’ve become particular about what I like in a jacket. In addition, I spend a lot of time on extended ski tours but also love mechanized skiing.
The Refugitive is among the best overall ski jackets I’ve used, and it’s perfectly suited for my uses.
This is what Gore has to say about its new C-knit fabric: “For its new 3-layer GORE-TEX® products, Gore has combined tried and tested formulas with radically new technologies. The aim was to develop a long-lasting, robust yet softer laminate that could be used for multiple activities by outdoor enthusiasts who rate comfort up there with functionality and yet still expect the products to take a lot of wear and last a long time. Gore achieved this by combining the smooth texture of robust nylon outer fabrics with the reliable, proven, and highly stable GORE-TEX® membrane made of PU-coated ePTFE and the new, patent pending Gore® C-KNIT™ Technology. This combination of materials makes the new 3-layer fabrics lighter, softer and even more breathable while being as robust than comparable previous generation laminates. Extensive laboratory, washing and abrasion testing during the lengthy development phase guarantees that for their entire lifetime the new products are what they promise to be: durably waterproof, windproof and breathable.”
The idea of a softer, lighter, and more breathable ski jacket appealed to me, and I’ve been looking forward to spending time in a C-knit jacket.
I wear a Large in almost all ski outerwear, including the Refugitive. Compared to the Patagonia PowSlayer in which I spent a lot of my ski days last year, the Refugitive is a little slimmer but still felt plenty roomy while wearing both a Patagonia Nano Air and a Nano Air Vest over my light wool baselayer.
Most importantly to me, the Refugitive has slightly longer sleeves than my 14/15 PowSlayer which sometimes left my wrists exposed while wearing short gauntlet gloves.
The hem on the Refugitive also feels perfect to me. It never rode up while wearing a pack, and provided adequate coverage when bending over to work on skins or bindings in the midst of high winds. I also had no issues with it riding up while climbing or doing overhead tasks.
Among the jackets I’ve used recently, the Refugitive is probably closest in fit to the Arcteryx Rush which I praised as the best fitting shell I had used at the time. The Refugitive is very similar, but feels looser and lighter due to the softer, less stiff fabric.
One of the reported attributes of C-knit is that it has a quieter, softer feel to the hand than other materials in the Gore lineup. While it doesn’t feel substantially different from the Gore Active jackets I’ve used (Mountain Equipment Firefox and the Norrona Lofoten Active Shell Jacket), it does have a little softer, quieter feel. It also has a much softer hand to it than any of the Gore-Tex “Pro” shell jackets I’ve used.
Of note, the Refugitive is the first Gore-Tex jacket I can remember using that has some stretch to the fabric. It’s subtle, but I think it contributes to the overall soft, loose feel of the jacket.
NEXT: Pockets / Vents, Hood, Etc.