Review: Patagonia DAS Parker and Micro Puff Jacket

A cold summit in the Yukon with my Micro Puff JacketSo I own both these jackets. The DAS I mainly use for belaying while ice climbing as it’s really too bulky and heavy for all but the coldest alpine trips. The Puff Jacket is usually what I usually take on alpine climbs. I’m talking about them both here as I really think of Puff as the DAS’ little lightweight brother.

They both use synthetic (Polarguard) insulation and share many of the same great features; an oversized hood that will fit over a helmet – critical for a belay jacket – and a mesh inner pocket for stashing gloves. These two set them apart from several other jackets I looked at. They also have all the things you’d expect from any half decent jacket; a water shedding outer, big hand warming pockets, a drawcord hem and a napoleon pocket for stashing small items.

The DAS also comes with a sweet waterproof stuff sack with a loop on the base so you can hang it from the back of your harness while climbing and obviously has more insulation than the Puff. I’ve found it ideal for belaying even on cold days in the Adirondacks and very snug in the typically warmer weather found ice climbing in SW British Columbia. I’ve used the DAS for several seasons now and really not found anything I don’t like about it.

I same could also be said of the Micro Puff. The only downside to the Puff is its lack of durability. The lining fabric is super light weight and doesn’t like any form of abrasion – even rubbing against velcro hooks. On some versions of the jacket the outer shell is made from the same material. This pretty much means that if you show it a piece of granite, let alone rub up against some, the fabric will start serious falling apart. This is exactly what happened to the first jacket I had (pictured above) and I’ve seen other people do the same to theirs.

I returned it to Patagonia who stood by their returns policy and replaced it. Interestingly the store had two versions of the Puff in stock, one with a significantly tougher shell. I’ve had this for the past year and while it hasn’t seen a huge amount of use is showing a lot less wear than the original – which looked pretty trashed after two big alpine climbs. I’m not sure which one got adopted as the standard but I’d definitely recommend the slightly heavier outer fabric. I’d be slightly wary of the lighter version though.