Patagonia Women’s SnowDrifter Jacket and Bibs 2019/20 | Review

Holly headed out to the Western & Eastern Alps to put Patagonia’s SnowDrifter outerwear through its paces on a human powered splitboard trip

Words by: Holly Burns // @holzburz

Backcountry gear rarely gets reviewed by fellow female shredders; it can be hard to find online reviews of this kit and when I do, it’ll often be written by a man. In 9 years of splitboarding I have found finding women’s gear fit for purpose in the backcountry a constant battle. I’ve struggled to find a good and affordable three-layer outerwear for women that’s not cut to make us look bad rather than rad – cue Joy and Stella getting in touch to review the SnowDrifter jacket / pant combo from Patagonia.

PC: Jordan Tiernan

I don’t think I need to give you much of a run down of Patagonia – arguably the golden boy of the snowsports industry clothing scene right now. The U.S. brand has gone and bucked their already solid sustainability message with this jacket and pant combination that comes in at an impressive weight of just 510 grams for the jacket and 516 grams for the pants – all whilst being made from 70% recycled fabrics.

“It comes in at an impressive weight of just 510 grams for the jacket and 516 grams for the pants”

The SnowDrifter jacket and pants are both made from Patagonia’s H2No stretchy fabric, which boasts some impressive breathability ratings with a nice bit of stretch built in. This is all whist dampening the sound of rustling on every stride on the way up the skin track, you can wave goodbye to the days of the bin bag outerwear hussle!

As for features on the jacket; there are two hip pockets and a chest pocket that you fit a compact SLR in, although this can give the look of a third boob! You’ve also got yourself a combination of a helmet compatible hood and high collar – great when you want to shut up shop and keep the elements out. If you’re more into riding resort-accessible off-piste terrain, then you’ll be glad to know that there’s an inbuilt Recco reflector (although it goes without saying that this’ll never replace a transceiver, shovel and probe in avalanche prone terrain). 

PC: Jordan Tiernan

There’s another solid selection of pockets to be found in these pants; you’ve got two large thigh high pockets perfect for bottomless pits like me who’s always after a snack or two (ok maybe three). It’s also the perfect pocket if you want to keep your phone to hand, but far away from your transceiver to not interfere with its signal strength. Scuff guards around the bottom of the pants are a nice addition especially when walking and booting up couloirs with crampons on. 

“You’ve also got yourself a combination of a helmet compatible hood and high collar”

In terms of fit for both the jacket and pants, I loved the extra length of the SnowDrifter jacket, as most traditional splitboarding jackets I’ve owned have been cut like a crop top. Snowboarding bibs can also be a hard fit to get right; I’m a UK 10 and had the bibs in a small and they were perfect, with enough bagginess all-round, but not so much that you’ve borrowed your brother’s old jeans.

PC: Jordan Tiernan

So about that claimed breathability of H2No… I really enjoyed how comfortable the outerwear was to skin and hike in – I didn’t find it to be too restrictive due to the nice level of stretch built into the fabric. This comfort was most noticeable when performing kick turns, where you could really see the pants had a great range of movement. Simple tasks like bending down to raise your heel risers or do your bindings up have previously proven uncomfortable in bulky insulated or 2-layer fabrics.

“I really enjoyed how comfortable the outerwear was to skin and hike in”

I tend to find it particularly difficult to regulate my temperature when skinning and hiking. However, I found the H2No fabric to be way more breathable and comfortable allowing me to skin with my jacket on. Comparing this to previously skinning in my old Gore-tex two-layer which was bulkier to pack away and made me sweat on the way up. I particularly liked the pit zips on the snowdrifter jacket and pants, most other snowboarding outerwear that I’ve ridden in has pit zips with another layer of fabric that doesn’t quickly release heat.

PC: Jordan Tiernan

The H2No fabric does offer some drawbacks in that the waterproofness is not of the same standard as GORE-TEX. However, if you are using this fabric in the Alps in the high alpine where with any luck it won’t rain on you then this fabric is more than sufficient in terms of water resistance. Overall I’m stoked with what Patagonia has done in creating this outerwear combo; comfortable and nonrestrictive on the up as well as the down, all in a package that makes that bit less of a dent on my environmental conscience.


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