The Patagonia Primo Down jacket is an excellent all-around option that keeps you warm and comfortable while you ski. It has an effective synthetic down layer of quilted insulation that will stay warm even when wet, and is completely waterproof thanks to GORE-TEX construction. If you want warmth and durability backed by a trusted brand name, this is a solid pick.
- Where to buy: EVO, REI, Patagonia
- Best for: Skiers who want a high-end jacket that will give you premium warmth and cold-weather protection.
- Pros: The Primo features excellent design and solid construction backed by an extremely trusted brand. A top-shelf jacket that will keep you warm and dry no matter what conditions you find yourself in.
- Cons: Expensive. This jacket will cost a pretty penny, as do most offerings from Patagonia.
- Alternatives: Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket, Helly Hansen Alphelia LIfaloft Jacket, Flylow Quantum Pro Jacket
Why Trust Me
I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I spent a lot of time researching this jacket and learning about its performance traits alongside its various attributes. Below is my detailed review.
The Patagonia Primo jacket is a solid contender for one of the best performing ski jackets on the market. It will give you everything you’d expect in terms of warmth and cold-weather protection while also providing a sleek style that will blend into any skiing outfit. It’s expensive, which will keep some skiers away, but for its lasting protection and long-term durability, this jacket is at the top of the field.
Warmth and Weather
Any ski jacket worth its weight needs to protect you from the elements in a way that will keep you well insulated and dry at all times. The Primo does all of that and more. It has some of the best warmth and weather protection money can buy. That’s made possible by a focus on serious cold-weather performance from a reliable brand.
That being said, this jacket can easily be too warm for skiers who run hot or ski in more mild climates. When combined with the proper layers, this jacket will keep you more than insulated. Just make sure you wear moisture-wicking base layers to help keep away any inevitable sweat build up when you’re skiing hard. It’s far better to be too hot than too cold while you’re skiing, but know what you’re getting into.
The GORE-TEX outer layer instills serious protection against snow and moisture as well. When you have the Primo fully zippered up and cinched down, you’ll be able to hand the worst of any blizzard without much worry. That outer layer, combined with the ample insulation, always goes a long way in keeping out biting winds. When you put all of that together you get a jacket that can withstand nearly anything.
Comfort and Fit
I’m always fond of the products that Patagonia puts out when it comes to both comfort and fit. The Primo jacket is no exception. It will provide you with plenty of room to maneuver and roam when you’re out on the slopes. It’s a heavy-duty jacket that doesn’t feel stiff or rigid, which is nice. Instead, the puffy insulation is free-flowing and moves with you no matter how aggressive you tend to be.
The fit is pretty standard. It’s not too tight and not too loose. I have a wide set of shoulders and often have to get a size up to accommodate for this. The primo doesn’t quite require that, which I appreciate. It sits in the sweet spot for a regular fit jacket, meaning it should work for most skiers. It’s not going to be a baggy freestyle masterpiece, but it will sit as intended for everyone else.
Even though it has a regular fit, the Primo is a little wide around the midsection. That’s a positive for anybody working through a bit of holiday weight, but others might find the lack of form-fitting somewhat of an issue.
Construction and Style
The Primo jacket utilizes excellent construction materials alongside its amazing performance attributes. The face fabric is made of a heavy 75-denier polyester that’s also treated with a DWR coating to give you extra protection against the elements. This polyester is 100% recycled as well, which is a nice touch from a brand well known for its attention to eco and sustainability practices.
The two-layer GORE-TEX membrane makes up the bulk of the jacket and provides all of the water-resistant properties and wind resistance you could ever want. In addition to those properties, the GORE-TEX build also makes the jacket highly breathable so you never have to worry about moisture build up.
Speaking of sweat, the insulation built into the jacket is top-notch as well. It comes with 135 grams of PlumaFill synthetic down in the main torso area and 90 grams of the stuff in the sleeves. This down is effective when wet and it gives you plenty of warmth at all times. Overall, this jacket has an excellent construction of some of the best cold-weather materials out there.
There are also some additional features built into the Primo jacket worth mentioning. The hood is helmet-compatible and large enough to work with just about any sort of head protection. It also has a visor affixed to it to keep blowing snow away from your line of sight.
You also get a well designed powder skirt. It’s fully removable if you don’t need or want it, but it works well to keep any deep snow from entering your pants when you find yourself waist-deep in powder. The jacket is also compatible with Patagonia ski pants and you can loop the two together for yet another layer of cold-weather protection.
A RECCO avalanche reflector and some burly, watertight zippers round out that impressive list of additional features.
Price and Value
The Patagonia Primo Down jacket is extremely expensive. Though that may be justified in terms of the traits, it keeps me from giving it an excellent value rating. I’ll instead give it a very good rating due to its high sticker price. If you have the money to spend, this jacket will last you for years and years of constant use and abuse.
However, if you don’t want to spend the money and would rather use your cash on a new set of skis, that’s completely understandable.
What I Like
This jacket’s serious performance tops the list of things I like. You will rarely get cold with this on your body, and it will keep all sorts of different types of skiers, who all ski in different situations, more than satisfied. It’s built with some of the best materials you can find and more than lives up to the hype. From warmth to weather-resistance to the excellent features, this jacket has it all.
I also like the Primo’s durable and dependable design. The jacket is built to last. If you only ski a handful of times a season, this jacket could easily last you a lifetime. Even if you ski aggressively and put it to the test, I wouldn’t be surprised to watch the Primo last for a decade of constant use.
Even if you did happen to tear or rip the jacket at some point while you’re traveling or in the trees, Patagonia has one of the best repair and return policies around to help you get everything patched up and back in order. The brand also boasts excellent customer service that I verify with my own first-hand experience. If you ever need a fix or replacement, they will work with you to get the issue quickly resolved.
What I Don’t Like
The biggest aspect I dislike about the Primo jacket is its high price. It literally costs as much as a new set of skis, and that’s something that will be hard to justify for the average skier. While you can make an argument that the jacket is easily worth what it costs, it’s not an approachable entry-level option that will work for most skiers. However, if you ever find it on sale somewhere, definitely make the purchase.
Some skiers also don’t like the boxy look. While this isn’t much of an issue for me because I’m more of a function over fashion type of skier, it’s easily noticeable. It doesn’t have a baggy or extremely boxy look, but it does appear far from form-fitting for the averaged bodied skier.
While this may sound like a strange dislike, the jacket could also be too warm for some skiers. You’re not going to want to wear it in milder conditions because it will easily be overkill. It’s a warm, effective option that’s fully designed for inclement weather. This means you can easily overheat, which could lead to excess sweat and dehydration, it milder skiing situations.
If you want a great ski jacket that offers something a little bit different than the Patagonia Primo Down, take a look at these recommended alternatives.
- Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket – This is a more affordable option from Patagonia that still offers plenty of warmth and cold-weather protection without as high of a price tag. It’s comfortable, reliable, and durable. That combination makes it a trusted companion in a wide range of skiing situations or other cold-weather activities. I actually like this one a little better because it’s not quite as warm.
- Helly Hansen Alphelia LIfaloft Jacket – This is an alternative option from one of the most respected brands in the cold-weather garment game. It will give you excellent water repellent and wind resistant properties without being too bulky. That makes it a good option for traveling or for ski trips when you need the precise layers to get the job done.
- Flylow Quantum Pro Jacket – This option is another personal favorite of mine that comes from another recommended and respected ski brand. The Quantum Pro will give you lasting durability and serious protection from the elements without impeding your movement or style in the slightest. I like the way this jacket looks, and it’s one of my go-to options year in and year out.
How does Patagonia’s return and repair policy work?
Basically, if there’s a manufacturer’s defect in your jacket, the brand will replace it for free. If you happen to tear or rip the garment, they will patch up the item or work with you on other repairs without charge, or at a cheap price.
Does the Primo Down jacket come in sizes for both men and women?
Yes, it does. This jacket has a range of sizes available in both women’s and men’s versions.
The Patagonia Primo Down jacket is a serious contender for one of the best skiing jackets out there in terms of warmth, cold-weather protection, durability, and quality.
However, all of that comes at a high cost that will keep some skiers from ever being able to afford it. If you don’t mind the price, it’s a recommended option that will provide you with a jacket you can use for many seasons of steady skiing.