Patagonia is a company you can feel good buying products from. They are known for making quality outdoor gear that has stood up to real world tests by some of the most hard-core outdoor adventurers on the planet. And they donate 1% of their sales to environmental groups, so they give back to the organizations that help keep this planet habitable and fun to traverse.

I had been looking for a winter jacket to replace mine for a few years when I stumbled into a local outdoors store. During our first big snow this year I had put my winter boots on and the shoelace broke. I ended up at this outdoor shop to get new laces for my boots, and decided to try on some coats while I was there.

They had a reasonable variety of coats, ranging from super thick, deep of the Antarctic type coats, to light rain jackets. What I needed was a a winter coat that wasn’t too thick, looked stylish and was within my budget.

My wife pointed out that there were coats on the sales rack that I should check out. And that’s where I found the Isthmus Parka.

Features of the Patagonia Isthmus Parka

What attracted me to the Isthmus Parka was that it actually had EVERY single feature I was looking for.

  1. Style – the coat looks very stylish (in my opinion). I love the fit, it fits snug while still allowing room to move. The length is perfect, it comes a little below the waist and the sleeve length is perfect as well. I’m 6’ 1”, 195lbs, with long arms and often have trouble finding clothes that fit my height and weight and still being long enough in the arms. I was able to wear a large in this size, but with other brands of coats I’ve had to move up to an extra large just for the sleeve length, which means that the coats are always baggy. But with the Isthmus I was able to fit into a size large, have the the appropriate sleeve length, and have it look like a trim fit because the sizing is correct. (As an aside, why can’t we have industry standards for clothing sizes??)
  2. Warmth – I like to layer up when dressing for cold weather, and this jacket allows me to do that. It’s actually very warm on its own. It’s a casual coat, so you probably couldn’t wear it on snowy trekking adventures into the frozen tundra, but that’s not what I bought it for. I’m mostly a city guy, and I needed something that would keep me warm in the climate I’m in, while also keeping me warm for when I do go hiking. With this coat it’s warm enough to wear on it’s own, I can layer it with hoodies, and it’s cool enough that it doesn’t have to be sub-zero temperatures to make sense to wear.
  3. Water resistance – This coat isn’t officially “water-proof”, it’s “water-resistance”, but it’s water-resistant enough for my casual use. I won’t be hiking hours in the rain in this thing, but when walking around town through the rain and snow it has kept me perfectly dry.
  4. Two-Way Front Zipper – The two way zipper makes it easy and comfortable to pull the zipper up a bit to accommodate sitting down without having to totally undo your zipper. And their is a buttoned lip over the zipper, for extra protection to keep you dry.
  5. Detachable hood – This is great when layering up. I layer up often by wearing a hoodie under my coat. In those instances it’s good to be able to remove the hood so I don’t sport that “double hood” look.
  6. Pockets – This coat comes equipped with plenty of pockets, including an internal zippered pocket (which is an awesome feature). If I had one gripe about this jacket, it would be with the external handwarmer pockets. This is the most minor of complaints, but I think they could have slanted the pocket opening to make it easier and more comfortable to slide your hands in and out of.

Overall this is a great coat. I have needed a replacement for my old coat for a few years, the zipper had broken and it was just looking worn out. I really like the look of the Patagonia Isthmus Parka, it keeps me warm and dry, it’s good on the trails for light hiking and looks stylish enough to hit the town in the city. For me it’s the perfect winter coat.