Patagonia Leashless Jacket ReviewMarch 1, 2014
- Attractive cut
- Articulated design never exposed flesh
- Hood fits over helmet and adjusts easily so it doesn't block visibility
- Near top of the category breathability and waterproofing
- Excellence costs mucho money
With everything we want in a hard shell—dependable protection, great breathability, just the right amount of pockets, and a cut that fits a variety of body shapes—this could be your everyday, year round jacket.
We never expect a Gore jacket to be cheap, but $400 is on the upper end of the spectrum. Still, from a company like Patagonia with their no questions guarantee and all the features and performance we found during testing, we think this is a fair price.
In a word: bomber. We wore this jacket on a winter alpine climb. Standing at the wind-exposed belay, we hunkered down in the jacket with the hood cinched over our helmet. It didn’t flap and we didn’t feel the cold pushing through. In the pouring rain it beaded for hours, just as we’d expect from Gore. Waterproofed zips kept essentials dry too.
Most Gore Active jackets forgo pit zips. The membrane does breath really well, but in humid environments it’s not enough. So we were happy to see two large pit zips on the Leashless Jacket, perfect for cooling us off when it was drizzling on the approach to a summit.
Designed for alpine climbers, the Leashless was built to stay put when reaching overhead. It does a great job of it. On a two pitch ice climb we didn’t notice an inch of creep or constriction in the sleeves or body. Three exterior pockets—two hand, one chest—kept essentials handy, stayed out of way of pack straps and were there when we wanted to warm our paws. As mentioned before, multiple adjustment points on the hood help snug it down over a helmet or bare head without compromising too much peripheral vision.
We punctured a sleeve when we didn’t take care packing our crampons and jacket in the same area. Whether this is a fault of the lightweight Gore Active shell or an inevitability when packing sharp objects, it’s hard to say. Other than that, we haven’t noticed any wear issues after a few months of testing.
Weighing 13 ounces, it’s not the lightest hard shell, nor the lightest Gore active shell, but considering all the conveniences listed above, notably three pockets and two pit zips, it’s pretty impressive. It packs down fairly small, about the size of a melon.