The Patagonia ‘Mixed Guide Hoody’ Review – by Barry Blanchard
Our guides thrash the bejesus out of clothing. We’ve been doing that for a long time so it is very appropriate that Patagonia has brought back the old concept of a tough hybrid jacket. Here is our review of this field tested piece of clothing.
Mixed climbers and alpinists spend a lot of time rasping their forearms, elbows and shoulders over coarse cheese-grating rock. Back country skiers elbow pine bows out of the way, occasionally trying to take cedars to the boards…… and lose. Most of the water/wetness that falls on you hits you in the head and shoulders. In the middle part of the last century a number of jackets were designed with waterproof fabric on the head and shoulders and more breathable fabric on your trunk. Enter the Mixed Guide Hoody in the fall of 2012 combining a classic design concept with modern fabrics and finish. The hood, shoulders and underarms are Patagonia’s H2No -a 3 layer waterproof/breathable hardshell constructed on a ripstop nylon which makes it harder to abrade or tear, although not impossible as ice axes are sharpened metal and the only fabric that takes a direct hit well is chainmale. The lower trunk and back of the Mixed Guide Hoody are Polartec Power Shield soft shell, it breathes well and is cut to provide that breathability under the pack and pack straps, where you want it. Your climbing harness sits on the Polartec and the stretch of the fabric, and the gusseted panels, make it harder for the jacket to escape from under the harness when you’re reaching high to place ice tools. Softshells tend to stretch and roll off of sharp stuff –metal or mineral- hence they prove harder to cut and abraid.
Yamnuska’s guides were outfitted in the both the Women’s and Men’s Mixed Guide Hoody in the early winter of 2012. Thus far the feedback has been very good. Pat, one of our hard climbing Alpine Guides, sited a mixed chimney that he squirmed up just the other day, “The jacket is stout. It’s holding up well to some hard use. And the shoulders fit me. They’re big enough.” (Pat commonly guides 20 days out of the month). He appreciates that the hood has been designed to fit over a climbing helmet and loves the visibility he has. On the downside, he’s found that draw cords for the face portal loosen off with movement after he’s synched them down. Throwing hip belays, where the climbing rope rides behind the waist, sometimes subject to bodyweight, can melt through a thin hardshell, but the Mixed Guide Hoody has stood up, albeit with hard to wash away stripes of dark dirt and aluminum grime pin striped over our bright soda pop orange and paintbrush red colour blocking.
Dave, our operations director says, “I like the high vis colours, it makes us stand out as Yam guides.” The colours may not be for everyone, but we are popping out in pictures perfectly.
Tamara figures that the rubelite pink colouring of the Women’s Mixed Guide Hoody does not inspire leadership confidence, yet when she takes charge you know she is leading and could be doing so wearing a checkered flag.
Overall the Mixed Guide Hoody has been a big hit with us. A good blend of weather protection and breathability, built to last awhile under heavy and abrasive use, great fit for layering and a fine attention to detail with four pockets that you can get at with a harness on, a hood that fits over a helmet and waterproof zippers that work. And with the bright colors, you can find us at the head of the line in a whiteout, even if you can’t see the line.
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures was not compensated by Patagonia to do this review.