Well, for starters, theyre slightly little different things. The Patagonia DAS Parka ($259) is a pretty traditional synthetic-fill insulated parka. As you note, it does use Polarguard 3D as insulation, and its nylon shell is treated with a water-repellent coating. The Wild Things Belay Jacket ($295; wildthingsgear.com) also is insulated in this case with Primaloft. But it adds a nearly waterproof shell made with Nextec EPIC fabric, a material made from fibers individually coated in silicon.
Wild Things Belay Jacket
Weight is about the same 28 ounces for the Patagonia jacket, 29 for the Wild Things so I would imagine warmth to be about the same. But the Wild Things piece is going to be a little more weatherproof in those cases where its snowing, raining, or otherwise dripping wet. True, synthetics are renowned for retaining warmth when wet, but Id still rather be in a dry jacket.
As for loftiness over time its hard to say. Polarguard 3D has proven to be very durable stuff over the years, while Primaloft has occasionally struggled with a reputation for not being quite so tough. The other side of the coin is that Primaloft is softer and more comfortable to wear as a jacket, and in fact very much resembles down in that regard. It also packs down a bit better. So Id be willing to give up a year of durability out of say, 10, in favor of the Wild Things piece.
That is, unless youre size XL. Because in that case Patagonia is getting rid of its 2007-2008 inventory of DAS Parkas for $99. Only one size left
The 2008 Winter Outside Buyers Guide is now online. From snow sports to trail-running to camping, get reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves.