Gear guy

What do you think of the Patagonia Hibernation Parka? - Philip Moyer, Mill Valley, Calif.

I like it: I think the Hibernation Parka is just fine. How’s that? It’s a thigh-length, down-insulated, highly water-resistant jacket that is at it’s best as sort of a city-style commuter jacket for nasty winters. But availability is rather limited, as Patagonia isn’t making it any more.

City style: What Patagonia does offer now is the Shotover Down Jacket ($375). It’s clearly a jacket for enduring a winter in Chicago, not an alpine adventure on Mount Whitney. It’s cut long, and sandwiches 600-fill down between a tough polyester shell and a smooth polyester lining. Weighs a ton, metaphorically – 4 pounds.

A notch above: Marmot’s Yukon ($360) is very similar – a little better down fill (650) and covered with Marmot’s proprietary MemBrain fabric, a waterproof-breathable material with pores that open when you’re warm for better breathability, then close up when you cool down. I think it’s a little nicer-looking than the Patagonia piece, to be honest – and I assume fashion is a bit of a factor here.

Substance over style: If function is the target, just get the Feathered Friends’ Helios Jacket ($240). Super-light (weighs a pound), really well insulated (800-fill down), covered in Epic fabric for good breathability and water resistance. Very nice.

To ask a question of the Gear Guy, you can find Douglas Gantenbein at www.outsidemag.com.