Jacket Fetish

, Sunday, January 6, 2008

If I tallied up all of my jackets and Margaret tallied up all of her clocks I'm not sure who would have the bigger count, but the numbers would be big. Still she sometimes comes home with a new clock, and I sometimes come home with a new jacket.

My latest jacket obsession is a thin softshell for spring/summer/fall. Breathability is paramount, and it has to dry quickly; I don't want to overheat the way I did hiking in to do the North Ridge of Mt. Baker in a constant light rain last August. I was wearing my eVent hardshell jacket that day, and my glasses steamed up so badly that I wanted to stomp them with my crampons. I suppose that wasn't so bad, really, because it got me thinking about the gear in my pack and I realized I hadn't grabbed my glacier glasses. That gave me a chance to drop my pack and run back down the trail to grab them. But by the time I caught back up with Pablo, I was extra steamy.

The combined effect of getting so hot, along with the constant smell of garlic that had leaked out of its container in the food bag, and then falling into one of the swollen rivers on the way to camp made me feel sick and grumpy by the time I got to Hogsback.

So I've picked out the Patagoinia Ready Mix jacket as the perfect all-purpose "action jacket" partly on a recommendation published by American Alpine Institute. But I couldn't find a size medium, because the jacket is no longer part of the Patagonia line-up. Another good choice is the Cold Play Shock from Beyond; a nice-looking (as long as you like black or hunter green) custom-made Schoeller 3xdry jacket for the same price.

I wrote to Patagonia to ask if they have anything in their current catalog similar to the Ready Mix, and got this very nice reply (on a Sunday, no less):

Hi Tom,

Nothing we have is similar to the Ready Mix, but it will be available again in the Spring. You can backorder the jacket now by calling customer service at 800-638-6464, be sure to speak with a Patagonia representative, and our website will be updated at the end of this month, and the jacket should also be available at that time. Let us know if you have further questions.

Have a good day!

Patagonia Customer Service

Sweet! It looks like the Ready Mix will be available afterall; probably in more appealing colors than the Beyond offering.


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