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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, April 19, 2013

Patagonia Micro D 1/4 Zip Synchilla

11K on Denali

When I get really confused as to what is available on the market for clothing today I generally think back to a specific piece of gear I want to duplicate with what is available now.  If nothing else I am a creature of habit.  Earlier this year went looking for a upper layering shirt/sweater weight upper that I had owned twice in the past.  It was a really simple mid weight pile jacket that wasn't very durable but it was very warm and breathed exceptionally well.  That one I have yet to replace but I might be close.  Likely one or the other is a modern, Patagonia Men's R2® Jacket or the Better Sweater?  But I am open to suggestions.

The usual suspects in the same sweater/jacket

But this blog isn't about that sweater.  The sweater and how much I liked and used it got me thinking about what was under that sweater I used and liked so much.  That was an expedition weight 1/4 zip T-neck.  That one I also liked a lot and didn't have in my closet any longer.  Thankfully because iirc it got pretty rank in the end.

This is actually the first in a series on current Patagonia Alpine clothing.  In the last few decades I have not been a big fan of Patagonia.  But as you can see I have been in the distant past.   I don't generally write about gear I don't use and like.  A series on Patagonia surprises me....but my experience this winter showed me it was well deserved.

When I finally started counting, Patagonia clothing made up a shockingly large percentage of the clothing I used in the alpine.  Even more so this winter.

So to the topic at hand?  That 1/4 zip expedition weight fleece?  More than one Patagonia advocate tried to convince me the Capilene 3 and 4 were a good choice.  I have several R1 hoodies and pullovers.  I didn't want the typical grid patterns in any form.  But I wasn't quite sure why.  I guess it was because I didn't really like it as insulation or wind protection.  R1 and the Caps are good at keeping you dry but not really what I as looking for.  I guess what I really wanted was something more old school.  Better wind resistance, more creature comfort if you weren't working hard (read soft next to the skin) and more warmth from the garment.

I have to admit...none of this would have ever happened if the Cap 4 didn't retail for $99.   The Micro D 1/4 zip retails for $59.00

Patagonia sez:

A lightweight, warm, and fast-drying u-zip microfleece that works as either insulation or an outer layer. 

Key Features of the Patagonia Micro D 1/4 Zip Fleece:
  • Ultrasoft, quick-dry, microdenier fleece
  • Zip-through stand-up collar; u-front zip
  • Clean-finished hem and cuffs
  • Hip length
  • Regular fit
  • (8.4 oz) 238 g
  • Fabric: 4.7-oz 100% microdenier polyester (85% recycled) fleece

What I say?

I don't own another piece of clothing that is as warm for the weight or as comfortable next to the skin as the Micro D.  I generally wear a thin base layer under it for skiing.  But nothing warmer in that application that I own.  Too warm for back country skiing I think and it doesn't breath well or get rid of the moisture as fast as I would like.  No question it is not an R1 layer.  But then it is more wind proof and warmer I think as well.  It has limitations if you want to  move quickly and know you will be sweating.  I haven't bothered yet to see how it does next to the skin.  Although I did use something similar in the distant past as a base layer.  I might try that again knowing full well the limitations of this pile fabric.  Knowing that it dry fast is a big help.  The more I think of it the more places I think about using the Micro D in the mountains.

Some times it is just figuring out how to use a fabric to best effect.  This is a pile that I really like but it took me most of the winter to find a place in my own "clothing system" for it to be the most effective.  Now I have a hard time going skiing, on lift or side country when I don't take the Micro D.  I bought the first one on a lark....choking on the Cap 4 price.  I figured what the heck. "Patagonia has a stellar return policy..I can't loose here".

The other day all my ski clothes badly needed cleaning.  But it was cold in the house and I was tired but needed to be working.  I wanted something warm and soft to wear around the office.  Jeans, flips and a Micro D made my day!  Just as the Mirco D did in the last big storm cycle on the mountain.  At that point I knew I'd better buy another.  And at $59. it was an easy decision.
    My vote is for the brighter colors!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This looks like that sweater/jacket...