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REPOST: OWNER REVIEW:Patagonia Women's El Cap Jacket

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  • Kathy
    Patagonia Women s El Cap Jacket Owner Review January 27, 2004 Product information  Manufacturer - Patagonia  Year of manufacture - 2003  URL -
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2004
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      Patagonia Women's El Cap Jacket

      Owner Review

      January 27, 2004

      Product information

       Manufacturer - Patagonia
       Year of manufacture - 2003
       URL - http://www.patagonia.com/
       Listed weight - 10 oz (283 g)
       Weight as delivered (size S) 7.5 oz (213 g)

      The trim fitting El Cap jacket is made of lightweight 6 oz (170 g) Capilene� double faced brushed polyester fleece which is quick-drying, stays warm when wet, and wicks moisture. It has on-seam handwarmer pockets, a dropped tail for warmth at the lower back and a full zip to seal in warmth.

      When researching my first technical mid-layer purchase, I spent many hours searching Internet sites; both vendor and outdoor enthusiasts� websites and took many trips to various sporting goods stores. My goal was clothing that would be multi-functional, lightweight and have superior wicking qualities (something that was very important to me). I settled on Capilene�s(r) 100% polyester products.

      I bought this jacket online from Patagonia while planning a September 2003 trip to Colorado. The ultimate goal of this trip was to climb Mt. Elbert, which is Colorado's highest 14'er at 14,443' (4402 m). Due to warmer than expected temperatures, I never used the jacket once on this trip. I did appreciate the lightweight, packable quality of the El Cap though. At 7.5 oz (213 g), it added very little weight, and took up little space in my backpack.

      While Patagonia markets the El Cap jacket as ideal for everything from "power lounging" to backpacking and rock climbing, I use it primarily for day hiking and snowshoeing in various state parks in south-east Michigan. The terrain varies all over the place from sandy flat lakeshores to wide-open wild meadows to hilly hardwood forests having grades up to 50%. Elevation ranges from 700 to 1000� (213 to 305 m). Lots of variety here!

      In the 5 months that I have had the El Cap jacket, I have worn it about 20 times in temperatures from 50 deg F (10 deg C) to �2 deg F (-19 deg C). I�ve worn it in sunshine, clouds, light snow and the dark of night.

      The jacket has been worn with just a midweight base layer in all but the coldest, windiest weather and I have been toasty warm. As a matter of fact, in all cases, by the time I�ve hiked a mile or so (1.6 km) at a 3 mph (4.8 km) pace, I�m unzipping the zipper halfway to vent. Recently, snowshoeing under a beautiful full moon at �2 deg F (-19 deg C), I wore the El Cap under a windshirt and still broke a sweat. The zipper has a handy fabric pull tab which makes it easy to unzip smoothly even when wearing gloves.

      While the fleece is not waterproof, it does resist moisture and I did not get wet in a freezing drizzle. The jacket wicks moisture nicely to keep me drier with no wet cold spots due to sweating.

      The El Cap is a good looking jacket with a slim fit for women and it does not bunch up when wearing a backpack. The onseam pockets are warm but do not add bulk to the front of the jacket. I particularly like the longer back tail, which looks neat and adds a bit of warmth.
      So far, there has not been any pilling of the fleece due to friction from my backpack or from washing, which was done in cold water and hung to dry.

      In summary, the Patagonia El Cap Capilene � jacket is a great cold weather mid or top layer for most activities. In warmer weather, anything more than "power lounging" would find this jacket firmly stuffed in the bottom of my backpack!

      Biographical Information

      Name: Kathleen Waters
      Age: 52
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5�4" (1.63 m)
      Weight: 128 lb (58 kg)
      Email address: kathy@...
      City, State, Country: White Lake, MI USA
      Date: 01/31/04

      Backpacking Background: My husband and I started hiking/backpacking about 5 years on a gorgeous fall day, starting with Mt. Hahn located just north of Steamboat Springs. Although we were breathless from the exertion upon summitting, we realized that we were hooked and there would be no more "lying-on-the-beach" vacations for us!
      Since then, we have returned to Colorado, mostly to the Vail Valley area twice a year, both summer/early fall and winter to play outdoors - we snowshoe in the winter.

      When we are home in southeast Michigan, we make it a point to hike 2 or 3 weekdays, usually 6 to 8 miles (9 to 12 km)and then one whole weekend day. Alternate days, we train on an indoor treadmill which is capable of up to 50% grades. Our weekday hikes generally take place in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, which is a decent mixture of moderately steep hills (highest elevation about 1000' (305 m) and flat terrain, heavily wooded. It is an interesting hike, spring, summer, fall and winter. Our weekend hikes can end up being anywhere!

      We are planning to start overnight backpacking this spring and have a trip planned to the Julian Alps in Slovenia in June 2004!

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