Patagonia Triolet Jacket Review

2nd Jan 2018

Patagonia Triolet Hardshell Jacket

In my recent blog pieces about Patagonia I talked about my first dabbles into Patagonia clothing.  It was when, as a young student, I headed for a climbing trip to Colorado.  When I left England the Patagonia brand was just a mythical manufacturer that seemed well out of reach.  But America turned out to quite an amazing education for me in many ways, and one of those was how my respect for the Patagonia developed.  

I returned with a maxed out credit card and a bag full of Patagonia items.  The first I bought was a Synchilla pullover and this was followed, very soon after, by a full waterproof jacket and pants hardshell combo.  It lasted many years and we shared lots of adventures together.  I have used plenty of their clothing since, but not so many of those, I realised, were hardshell garments.  It was time to put that right with a test of their Triolet waterproof jacket…….

Features

Patagonia describe the Triolet as their ‘Jack of all things Alpine’.  It is designed as a versatile and durable multi-purpose hard shell ready to fight off wind, rain and snow in all conditions.  To ensure this durability, the jacket is constructed from 3 layer Goretex.  This is a sandwich of backing fabric, breathable membrane and hard wearing outer layer.  The outer layer is also coated in a DWR (durable water repellent) coating.

Beyond the fabric, the Triolet features a 2 way water resistant front zip, 2 zippered lower handwarmer pockets and 2 zipped chest pockets.  There is an additional stretch internal pocket.  Besides all that there are gusseted pit zips, a helmet compatible hood with 2 way volume adjustment, front hood drawcord and lower hem drawcord.  Finally, the hood has a laminated visor and Velcro closure wrists. Patagonia have also added an internal elasticated pant connector which is compatible with some of their snow and Alpine pants and helps prevent the jacket riding up.

In Use

The Triolet is the sort of jacket that makes an ideal choice as either a multi use option or for users who want one shell to do everything.  Jackets of this type will never be the lightest because of the 3 layer construction fabrics which have a weight penalty, but this jacket is the type that will keep you protected for any activity and in any conditions.  A true jack(et) of all trades!

The fit is great - a medium for my 5’8” height and 38” chest body is a perfect length and offers a roomy fit ideal for layering in winter.   It allows a full range of motion thanks to the gusseted arms and yet sits quite sleekly to allow good visibility all the way down to your feet because it doesn't bunch up at the chest.

The hood is cavernous.  You can easily pull it over a helmet and the simple volume adjusted tab works superbly even when wearing gloves.  When you fully zip up the front the chin area sits high to protect the neck and lower face.  The stiffened visor also helps with this by keeping the hood’s shape at the front and then, if you do tighten the front drawcord, it will pull snugly to offer fantastic protection from the front and side.  It is a great hood for days when the snow is falling thick and fast, the rain is lashing down or the wind is howling (or all three at once!).

The chest pockets are well positioned and will easily house a phone or compass but won't hold something as big as an OS map.  They seal with watertight zippers and zip garages.  The zipped  handwarmer pockets have a protective flap and are sat quite high to ensure a harness or rucksack waistbelt won't get in the way. The additional internal stretch mesh pocket is perfect for something like a mobile phone, snack bar, hat or gloves.  Everything works as it should. 

The final features to mention are the cuff closures and bottom hem drawcord.  Patagonia haven't tried to reinvent the wheel with these - cordgrip hem closures and Velcro wrist adjusters have always worked well and so these have been added here.  Simple and effective.  It is worth mentioning that the cuffs, before closure, are plenty wide enough to pull over a pair of winter gloves or ski gloves without issue.

I know some people swear by them, but I’m not personally a fan of pit zips.  In our damp and chilly British climate I never use them and don’t feel the need for them particularly if the breathable fabric vents moisture effectively and the front zips allow additional temperature regulation.  So, I have my personal views, but I also appreciate that a lot of people like them and, if you do, the Triolet pit zips work really well. They again feature water resistant zippers and are easy to operate and effective.

And so, all the features you need are there (and a couple I would leave out) and so the next consideration is down to the durability.  I said before that the Triolet is a bomb shelter - the sort of jacket you would want to pull on for the gnarliest conditions and for the most hard core objectives.  I can't imagine anything phasing this jacket.  

I have plenty of experience with 3 layer Goretex and fully rate it.  It breathes well and wears superbly.  This isn't a long term test but I am still confident to say that you will get, unless you are using it in incredibly high wear situations, a long and reliable life from the Triolet.  It is designed and built to last.  

Any Patagonia product also benefits from their drive to ensure their manufacturing chain is one offering workers good conditions and incorporating sound environmental practices. All of this information is available on their website. 

As a final point, I really like the look of this garment.  Patagonia generally get their styling bang on and this is a good example of that.  It isn't showy or garish - infact you could best call the styling subtle.  But it screams quality and it cries cool.  I know it shouldn't be the top priority when choosing a jacket, but in reality many potential purchasers will consider looks before anything else when selecting a new purchase.

Summary

This is another great Patagonia product.  The looks, design and performance are all top notch and this jacket will serve a lot of users in a lot of situations.  It is a modern classic.  There are a few tweaks I would love to see if I were the designer (I'd lose the pit zips, enlarge the chest pockets a little and leave out the handwarmer pockets), but I realise these are all personal preferences and I'm more than happy to live with them in place.  The Triolet isn't at the lighter end of the market but, given its durability, I still don't think 580 grams is bad.  The Triolet costs £300.

Posted by Paul

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