The Das Parka from Patagonia has been around for a long time, at least as measured by outdoor equipment industry standards, but it has recently gotten a remodel.
I don’t mind telling you that I cringe when I hear that a solid, longtime successful product is getting a tune up. Based on a long distinguished list of past examples that usually means changes that I am not happy about. However, I am very pleased to tell you that is not the case with the Patagonia Das Parka. Not only did the Das Parka remain an outstanding full thickness synthetic bivvy or belay jacket, it is now better than it was.
One of the things that really worried me about the new version of this old standby is that they used the word sculpted when describing the new cut. I am not fat but I ain’t skinny either so sculpted is not usually a word that is used in conjunction with my wardrobe. What I found interesting when I received the new Das Parka is that sculpted is a perfect word to use especially when compared to my previous model.
In fact, the old one looks a little sloppy and inefficient compared to the new one. It is similar to the difference between an off the rack suit and one that is well tailored or made for you. It is roomy in the chest and shoulders with plenty of length in the sleeves but close through the torso. that is the way it should be and guess what size I wear in both the old and new versions, an XL which is what I should be. A corollary benefit to this effort is that the Das Parka redux fits a little better under less than generous shells.
Now, if you are sporting a big old blow and haven’t seen your belt buckle for a while, you won’t like this but if you range from an athletic fit to the stocky draft horse there is just a little more to love build like me then you are going to be very pleased. And warm.
You might think that with a leaner cut you would have to give up valuable Primaloft insulation but au contraire mon frere. The new DP actually has more insulation than its predecessor, it is better insulation, it is better distributed and, drum roll please, the overall weight has been cut down by 2 ounces (my size XL weighs 26 ounces in the included stuff sack). That is just damn good design and sourcing work but then again we are talking about Patagonia so what do you expect. They use 120 grams of Primaloft Synergy insulation then an addition 60 grams of Primaloft One spread out across the chest, abs, and back. That is 180 grams of synthetic feathers versus 170 grams of Primaloft One in the old version.
If you are a detail wonk you can read them all here but suffice it to say that the best synthetic belay jacket just got better and I am very happy to recommend it to you. If you are going to be in very cold wet conditions where the use of goose down insulation is ill advised, this is your insulation layer piece. You are welcome.
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