We had the pleasure of testing out Patagonia’s recently released Women’s Thermal Airshed Jacket. In this review, we will discuss our experience with the jacket when using it for both hiking and trail running.
Patagonia is a highly revered outdoor brand known primarily for its high-quality outdoor apparel and gear. However, what is less known about the brand is its highly sustainable practices, lobbying for environmental justice and conservation, and education of injustices across the globe. To date, they have donated over $89 million to grassroots environmental groups both internationally and domestically. Read more about Patagonia’s various activism ventures here.
Patagonia offers returns, exchanges, and repairs for consumers at a low cost or for free. With their Ironclad Guarantee, they provide free repairs (in most cases) and return shipping, though you have to pay for shipping to the repair team.
Where to Buy Your Thermal Airshed Jacket
Our Testing Scenarios
As always on Hiking and Fishing, we do the testing so you don’t have to! We take the gear we review on mountainous adventures all over the United States to truly figure out where some outdoor apparel fails, and where other apparel rises to the top.
Crater and Mirror Lake – We began this adventure at approximately 10 pm, where we hiked 8 miles and 2,322 ft of elevation gain through the night to camp out and enjoy the sunrise at the lakes. We experienced temperatures dipping into 20 degrees F and moderate winds (30 mph).
Trail Running Across New Hampshire and Colorado – With gyms closed or operating at limited occupancies, we have been running exclusively outside on the trails throughout 2020. This jacket has been with us for all trail runs where temperatures dropped into around 45 degrees F and below.
Casual Wear – While this isn’t exactly hiking-related, we believe that to reduce consumption, your apparel should be multipurpose. What keeps you warm through a 14,000 footer one day should be fashionable enough to keep you warm walking through town the next. Fortunately, brands like Patagonia don’t sacrifice attractive and flattering designs to provide you with maximal quality and effectiveness with their gear.
More – We have taken this jacket as a wonderful mid-layer on countless hikes across Colorado and New Hampshire.
About The Jacket
With both insulated and non-insulated panels, the jacket is designed to do what it claims: help you maintain heat in places where it is necessary (front torso and arms), but allow for excess heat to be released in areas where one often builds up heat and sweat (i.e., armpits and back). Frankly, the features of this jacket just make a ton of sense and leave me wondering how this was the first jacket I’ve ever seen designed this way. It is clear that this jacket was designed by individuals who have spent quite some time on the trails. The jacket is easily packable and designed in a way to be warm both in dry and wet conditions.
The Thermal Airshed Jacket features two internal pockets: one zippered that can be used as a stuffsack for the jacket and one drop-in pocket made for a map or any accessories you want on hand. For stretch and additional warmth, the jacket features Warp-Knit fabric on the back hem and cuffs.
One criticism that we have for this jacket is that it is missing external pockets. Since it is often used as a mid-layer, that may not be a problem, but if you end up using it frequently as an outer layer, you may notice the lack of external pockets.
For warmth, the jacket is filled with Patagonia’s signature 100% recycled polyester PlumaFill insulation in the front and arms. This material has similar properties to down, where it provides extreme warmth and packability, but with an added benefit of remaining warm when wet. The jacket is made of highly flexible polyester (87% recycled and with a PFC-free durable water-repellent finish!) to avoid restricting your range of motion.
Fit: This jacket is created to be a slim fit mid-layer, which also functions as an outer layer in warmer conditions. It is typically recommended that you order your usual size (assuming the jacket fits to size) so that you can layer your baselayers below, but be able to put an outer layer comfortably ontop as needed without it being too baggy, either.
So, you may be wondering how the jacket performed with our testing situations. Below, we will dive into the most important features when considering a mid-layer.
I cannot emphasize how effective this jacket is at maintaining heat while still preventing overheating. If you typically run hot during your outdoor adventures like myself, you may notice you are often removing and reapplying layers, or you keep layers off and remain uncomfortably hot throughout your hikes. This jacket solves the issue of never staying at a comfortable temperature.
On my hikes and trail runs, I often select a vigorous pace that leads me to produce a large amount of heat. With this, I need gear that helps me maintain some of this heat for times where I may need to slow down, such as during rock scrambles, or when I reach my destination. With this, it is critical to have gear that prevents you from sweating excessively during the points of maximal effort to prevent extra unnecessary chill. I am still in awe at how effective this jacket is at maintaining thermoregulation across a wide range of temperatures (I have used it from 20 to 50 degrees F).
Feel & Comfort
Additionally, this polyester is a very soft material, so you don’t have to worry about it being irritating to the skin if you layer it only on top of a t-shirt or tank top (trust me from experience, you never want to be a quarter of the way into a hike and realize your jacket is irritating your skin). In addition to being soft and flexible, Patagonia utilizes recycled polyester as opposed to utilizing additional petroleum resources, which reduces the company’s seasonal carbon emissions by over 5,600 metric tons of CO2e.
The Fit & Look
For me, it was quite true to size (ordered a Medium per usual). By ordering my typical size, I am able to comfortably wear my base layer(s), without also experiencing that excessively baggy feeling/look. Also, due to the stretchiness of the fabric, I never found that my usual size the jacket limited my range of motion in any way. This is great for me, personally, because I prefer a more fitted look, which this jacket provides. However, if you prefer a more baggy feel, you can always size up accordingly.
In regards to the look of the jacket, the Thermal Airshed is flattering on me for both my adventures and day-to-day activities. For your reference, I have a relatively semi-wide frame with curvy features.
Overall Thoughts and Rating: 5/5 Stars
As you can probably tell from my review, I have no choice but to give this jacket 5 out of 5 stars. While it is a pricer jacket, given Patagonia’s amazing customer service and quality, it is bound to last you for many years to come. After using it, I truly can’t imagine hiking in the fall, spring, or winter without it. This jacket was designed to maximize warmth while remaining breathable and allowing for heat dumping during more vigorous activity for temperature regulation. Additionally, I personally love the brand because when shopping from Patagonia, you can feel at ease knowing you are supporting a brand that is constantly evolving and changing manufacturing practices to be the most sustainable and environmentally conscious as possible.
Victoria Bandera has a Master’s degree in Health and Exercise Science from Colorado State University and is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist. Currently, Vicky is at the University of Utah working on her PhD in Population Health Sciences and working in the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is passionate about the use of physical activity and nutrition as a source of longevity and overall health. Find her on some adventures with small health-related posts at @viqeeinthewoods on Instagram!