A warm, lightweight parka designed for winter belays and bivies, although it’s also great for cold summer nights. Weighing in at 522 grams, the jacket features a helmet-compatible hood, a two-way zipper, and an eco-friendly synthetic fill. The elasticized cuffs help keep warmth in, while the exterior nylon fabric protects against rain.
Very light and incredibly warm. // Soft fabric with weather-resistant exterior. // Features helmet-compatible hood. // Its long hem and two-way zipper make it ideal for belaying.
Pricey. // The exterior fabric can be a bit loud.
The jacket is warm, lightweight, and soft. It might be the nicest belay jacket this tester has ever owned, in terms of practicality and comfort. Ideal for everything from frigid belays to summer evenings by the campfire.
522 g (18.4 oz)
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Let me preface my review with the following two facts:
- I am always wearing a jacket. Yes—even in the summer. It’s mostly a comfort thing—I like the feel of something around me—but I would also say I tend to run cold.
- Prior to taking this job as a digital editor several years ago, I didn’t actually own anything that was super warm. All my old winter jackets were too small (or not very good), so I opportunistically borrowed jackets from other climbers—primarily my boyfriend.
So I knew this jacket from Patagonia was a good one when my boyfriend started asking to borrow it, even in early summer. His jacket—the one I’d long coveted—weighed four times as much and still wasn’t as warm.
Although he wouldn’t admit it, I’m sure he was strategically ditching his jacket at home, due to its bulk and weight. I suppose that’s called karma.
Patagonia’s DAS Parka was clearly designed with climbers in mind. It has a two-way zipper, which allows you to easily access your harness and belay device. Weirdly, I’d say the zipper is one of my favorite features. Even after months of testing it has yet to become clogged or less… zippy. It runs smoothly every time.
Being a parka, it’s long, which means it’ll cover your butt even with a bulky harness on. I’ve found that to make all the difference in cold winter months or alpine conditions. It also has a roomy hood—you can easily wear it with a helmet on or cinch it down when going without.
The pockets are massive. There are three on the outside, counting a Napoleon, and two large elasticized pockets on the inside. The jacket comes with a stuff sack, making it easy to pack and haul.
Perfect For All Belay Conditions
I’ve primarily used this jacket for sport climbing and camping. It’s designed for “bone-chilling days and unplanned bivies,” and I’d say that’s accurate. It’s kept me dry in sudden rain, and with a fleece layer underneath, plenty warm in humid, 30-degree weather. While it performs in the extremes, I’d add that it’s equally excellent for mild summer nights next to the campfire.
The Das Parka gets its fill from eco-friendly synthetic insulation—133 grams throughout and 40 additional grams where warmth is most needed. The exterior DWR-treated ripstop fabric is what makes it water-resistant. Even if it were to get wet, the synthetic fill means no clumping.
Next to your skin, the interior feels soft and silky. That said, if I had to name a con, it’s that the jacket can be somewhat loud. Think the classic and somewhat annoying “swish” sounds, which aren’t a real con unless you’re into hunting (I’m not).
I’m typically a small, but I sized up to a medium, which fits well over my other layers and gives me plenty of room to articulate my shoulders. Although I haven’t climbed in it, I’d be tempted to if it were to get cold enough.
At $449, let’s call this jacket an investment. It’s not cheap, but neither is gas or shoes or most things that will enhance your climbing experience, and after years of strategic jacket borrowing, I’d say it’s well worth the money.