Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket Review

The Powder Bowl from Patagonia is a tough, if somewhat boxy, jacket that utilizes a strong construction and a wide range of features to provide you with some of the best weather protection on the market.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, REI, Patagonia
  • Best for: Resort skiers who want a tough model they can bring with them all over the mountain.Great in both light and rough environments.
  • Pros: Tough construction. It also offers solid ventilation and can be used in many different conditions. There’s a lot of versatility. As it’s so strong, it gives you good value and is reliable long-term investment.
  • Cons: Expensive, especially considering the simple design. The shapeless fit isn’t ideal, and the mesh lining could be more comfortable.
  • Alternatives: Mammut Stoney Jacket, Flylow Quantum Pro, Outdoor Research Furio

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching this jacket by analyzing its traits and testing its characteristics in different conditions.

Detailed Review

The Powder Bowl is an expensive all-mountain jacket that gives you plenty of traits and high-end performance in an attractive package. While the price and shapeless fit might put some people off, the garment is well-made and has the durability needed to last on the slopes. It also gets excellent marks for ventilation and protection. Overall, that makes it a strong investment, even if it is a bit on the pricey side.

Tough, All-Around Protection

Patagonia is known for solid construction, and the Powder Bowl lives up to that reputation. The jacket is extremely high quality. It not only comes with a 2-layer Gore-Tex construction, but you also get thick face fabric and a DWR coating. Everything sheds off of the outer material, making it a great option for both light and tumultuous conditions. It also has what it takes to block both rough snow and biting wind, which gives you extra versatility.

However, the jacket doesn’t stop there. Every piece of the design works to block out moisture and keep you dry. Even with a 2-layer construction (as opposed to 3), it effectively battles the elements through the adjustable hood cinch and tall collar. The adjustable hem, powder skirt, and Velcro wrist cinches all work with the water-resistant zippers to give you a tight, well-rounded item.

Comfort and Breathability

If there’s a small drawback to the Powder Bowl it’s comfort. Though the jacket won’t cause you any discomfort and still has plenty of plushness to it, the mesh lining used in the construction is nowhere near as soft or flexible as similar models. I personally would have liked a better range of movement than what’s offered here. It won’t restrict you, but it doesn’t freely move with your body either.

That being said, the jacket’s breathability is wonderful. Though it’s never going to give you the airflow of a true hardshell jacket, the Powder Bowl provides excellent ventilation for a resort garment. The included pit zips offer plenty of breathability for just about any activity. That includes cruising in-bounds, as well as trekking uphill or moving through the backcountry. Strong temperature regulation overall.

Fit and Construction

The Powder Bowl, as touched on above, is a well-made clothing item. The main reason is the incredibly robust 150-denier shell that can easily stand up to anything mother nature throws your way when backed by a Gore-Tex membrane. Nothing here is going to rip or tear, even with heavy use during a particularly rough reason. It’s made to last, and will hit that mark time and time again.

However, I found the fit and general design not quite up to that same standard. The zipper pulls are quite small, which makes it tricky to operate the pockets and ventilation when you have gloves on. You’re also never going to be able to use them while wearing mittens. Beyond that, the fit is a bit boxy and doesn’t quite have the slick feel of similar models. If there’s one bonus, it’s that the jacket is pretty light (around 2 pounds) and is easy to wear on all mountains.

Additional Features

Another one of the selling points of the Powder Bowl is its features. As mentioned, it has a cinchable hood that uses a single drawcord to adjust. Though it doesn’t quite give you full coverage, it’s roomy, sturdy, and incredibly secure. On top of that, it’s also removable. I’m a big fan of that versatility, especially when paired with the equally adjustable powder skirt.

There are plenty of pockets too. The dual hand pockets are extremely toasty, as are the forearm ski pass pocket and zippered chest pocket. Everyone is secure and will let you stash keys or a phone without any issues. There’s even a small zippered space inside the chest pocket for smaller items like headphones.

Price and Value

Overall, I think the Powder Bowl gives you a solid value. It’s a bit on the pricey side, especially when considering other more budget-friendly jackets, but the expert construction more than compensates that. The jacket will last you many seasons, which is my main concern when breaking down or analyzing any skiing item. It’s a solid investment that will stand up for a long, long time.

What I Like

For me, the Powder Bowl’s standout feature is the protection. The Gore-Tex does its job extremely well, and the outer materials keep all elements at bay. The 2-layer design is also great, and there are many accessories that help keep everything tight. That includes the DWR coating, thick face fabric, and powder skirt. The hood cinches well, the collar is tall, and the wrists lock up tight.

The ventilation is also exceptional. Even if it can’t quite stand up to some other high-end jackets, the Powder Bowl is never going to overheat. The pit zips are both easy to operate and quite effective at promoting airflow. Not only that, but the material itself lets warm air out without letting cold seep in.

I also want to give a special mention to the fact that Patagonia goes out of their way to use 100-percent recycled polyester in the Gore-Tex fabric. The jacket is Fair Trade Certified sewn as well. That doesn’t necessarily affect performance, but I always like wearing something that’s better for the environment.

What I Dislike

I don’t have many issues with the Powder Bowl, but one aspect I wasn’t a huge fan of was the feel of the mesh lining. While it does its job from a protection and ventilation standpoint, it simply wasn’t as comfortable or as flexible as I would like. I like jackets that simply disappear when you put them on. That wasn’t the case with this one.

The jacket could also have been a bit warmer. It’s not the coldest item in the world, but it definitely doesn’t give you the insulation you might expect for the price tag. The two-layer design, while sturdy, isn’t known for its warmth.

The Alternatives

The Powder Bowl is a jacket that will give many people what they’re looking for, but some skiers may want to branch out to another item. These will all provide you with excellent results:

Mammut Stoney Jacket – The Stoney is an incredibly well-made jacket with top tier construction and a sturdy, clean appearance. It has solid weather and water protection on top of a removable, helmet-compatible hood. It’s easy to operate, has plenty of storage, and serves as a sturdy hardshell for all environments.

Flylow Quantum Pro – The Quantum Pro from Flylow is another dependable garment that gives you a lot of versatility. It can handle just about any type of weather and is incredibly stretchy in a way that allows you to move during any outdoor pursuit. There are eight different pockets and a wide range of color options.

Outdoor Research Furio – Those searching for something a bit more budget-friendly will greatly appreciate the Furio. Outdoor Research is a trusted brand, and this striking jacket gives you plenty of features. It has an adjustable hood, ventilation zippers, and solid pockets. It’s not the most durable option, but still offers excellent comfort and protection.

FAQs

How much does this jacket weigh?

The Powder Bowl comes in at around 2 pounds, 10 ounces.

Is this jacket waterproof?

Yes. The Powder Bowl utilizes a two-layer Gore-Tex design alongside DWR coating and an airtight design to keep moisture away from your body.

How many pockets does the Powder Bowl have?

There are six pockets in total, giving you plenty of room to store small items.

Final Verdict

The Powder Bowl is a reliable jacket for skiers who don’t mind raising their budget for a quality item. It looks great and gives you ample amounts of protection and breathability. It’s extremely tough, which makes it good for all skiers in all conditions. It’s not the most comfortable or flexible jacket on the market, but the design makes it a solid investment for skiers who want something they can wear for a long time.

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