Cold Play

Slimmed down and styled up, expedition parkas are taking back the streets. Winter doesn't stand a chance.

Nov 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
Patagonia's Down Parka

Puff Daddy: Patagonia's Down Parka

SHIVERING CITY DWELLERS have long donned mountaineering mega-jackets as cold-weather commuting wear, giving the Michelin Man look a modicum of street cred. But until recently, fashion and technical innovation among the puffies advanced at, well, a glacial pace. Fortunately, companies like Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, and others are perfecting both function and form these days, producing a new fleet of streetwise, cold-cheating, fluff-filled wraps that will carry you from the Himalayas to Manhattan. Among the many noteworthy details: precipitation-proof fabric that shields goose down from the wet; welded insulation compartments; and some refreshingly hip-hop designs. At long last, breaking out the big coat won't land you in Style Court.

PATAGONIA packed its new DOWN PARKA with bales of 800-fill fluff, then coated the ultralight nylon shell with Deluge, its house-brand water-repellent finish. The result? A wearable sleeping bag that will keep you cozy in a howler above 14,000 feet. The lightweight construction means the jacket is highly compressible—so it won't bloat your style when the weather clears. Meanwhile, reinforced nylon patches on exposed shoulders and sleeves keep the down inside, where it belongs. $300; 800-638-6464,

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