Patagonia Untracked Jacket and Pants

 patagoniaPatagonia Untracked JacketPatagonia Untracked Pants

The Patagonia Untracked Jacket and Pants are a dedicated full weather protection combo aimed at skiers (and snowboarders) heading into the backcountry/offpiste terrain where freedom of movement and protection from the elements are paramount.

This is an out and out ski wear review and whilst these items are designed for the full rigours of offpiste and ski mountaineering they are not going to be the best for those who are looking for a set up that they can do all of their climbing in as well. But hey, you can’t have it all and they do there job as ski pieces brilliantly.

I’ll go through the Jacket and Pants separately and discuss the features as I do.

Check out this video from Patagonia about their Untracked Jacket and Pants.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket

Patagonia Untracked Jacket

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Patagonia say: “With a highly articulated fit, the Untracked Jacket is a warm low-bulk freeride jacket for hiking or powdery descent. Built with 3-layer GORE-TEX® fabric for durably waterproof/ breathable and windproof protection and a soft brushed tricot backer for extra warmth.”

Patagonia Untracked Jacket and Pants - short bootlick after an early season descent of the Glacier De La Giros, La Grave.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket and Pants – short bootpack after an early season descent of the Glacier De La Girose, La Grave.

 

I’ve skied a lot in the Untracked Jacket (and Pants) this winter, both on piste, off piste in places like La Grave and also on some day tours. It’s a great combo, which is well featured with everything the dedicated backcountry/offpiste skier could want.

It is designed with a roomy, relaxed cut for freedom of movement (and looking “rad”!). The 3-layer 100% nylon GORE-TEX® fabric with DWR finish is waterproof, windproof and breathable. It stops you getting wet from snow and rain, as well as stopping you getting chilled by the wind. When you’re skinning or bootpacking uphill however, the fabric breathes well and if you need extra venting there are pit zips and a main front zipper too. All external zippers are watertight. The cuffs are close by simple velcro clinchers and these fasten over the top of, or sit neatly underneath your chosen glove system.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket (left) - brilliant collar and superb hood! On the  La Grave lift.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket (left) – brilliant collar and superb hood! Dave Sharpe and I looking cheery on the La Grave lift 😉

 

In really bad weather the Untracked Jacket benefits from a high collar and awesome hood that fits brilliantly over a skiing or a climbing helmet and is very easy to adjust even with gloves on. The Untracked Jacket features an integrated powder skirt to stop the jacket filling up with snow on those deep days and this attaches to the Untracked Pants providing a secure, integrated system to seal out the snow.

The Untracked Jacket provides a number of storage options in the form of inner and outer pockets, a lift pass pocket on the left cuff holds your magnetic lift pass securely and means you can pass through the lift barriers without having to worry about where your pass is and ferret around in your other pockets for it. Just put it in there and leave it there. There are two zippered hand warmer pockets and one zippered chest pocket which has a nice touch of secure internal phone or iPod pocket with internal cable routing and the hand warmer pockets have a nice brushed lining. The only minor gripe is that the hand warmer pockets do interfere with a climbing harness a bit and access is restricted if you are wearing one.

Inside the Untracked Jacket you get two pockets for storing goggles, gloves etc. The inner fabric is a brushed tricot backer which does add a little extra warmth and is nice to wear, but I don’t think the jacket can be described as insulated as such. But this gives the flexibility for you to layer as is necessary and dictated by the weather and conditions.

Going back to the fit and cut of the the Untracked Jacket. It is relaxed without being too baggy and able to accommodate enough layers to stay warm on some bitter days like those we found skiing in La Grave over the New Year period. It is not a cut you’d want for technical climbing but as I said, it is an out and out ski jacket, albeit with all the attention to detail you’d expect from a company like Patagonia.

All in all the Untracked Jacket from Patagonia is a brilliant ski jacket, perfect for those heading into the backcountry and requiring the highest levels of weather protection and functionality. It is perhaps a bit heavy (for my liking) for multi day hut to hut tours and better suited to day tours and hits off things like the La Grave lift or Aiguille Du Midi, than taking on the Haute Route, where I’d probably opt for a lighter soft-shell system.

Although certainly not cheap, I’d recommend this jacket to anybody who skis on piste or regularly heads into off piste terrain. It is high quality, fully featured, bombproof and well cut for skiing. Not the best if you are wearing a climbing harness e.g, when skiing steep couloirs or on glaciated terrain but does work fine. The hood is particularly good, fitting over a big ski helmet without restrictions.

Patagonia Untracked Pants

Patagonia Untracked Pants

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Patagonia say:With a highly articulated fit and a soft brushed tricot backer, the Untracked Pants offer freedom of movement and low-bulk warmth while freeriding or hiking. Built with 3-layer GORE-TEX® fabric for durably waterproof/breathable and windproof protection.

The Patagonia Untracked Pants in action

The Untracked Pants compliment the Untracked Jacket perfectly, they are designed to be worn as a system and under most circumstances I’ve worn them together. However there have been some days when I’ve been ski touring in warmer weather and opted for a soft-shell jacket instead.

Patagonia Untracked Pants - good knee articulation and a great cut all round.

Patagonia Untracked Pants – good knee articulation and a great cut all round. Note the large thigh cargo pockets.

 

In terms of fabric and lining, the Untracked Pants use the same 3 layer Gore-Tex fabric with brushed tricot backer that is used on the jacket. I love the fit of these trousers. The cut is once again relaxed and feels perfect for skiing. The legs are articulated with a flexed pattern at the knees giving great freedom of movement whether skiing aggressively downhill or skinning/booting up. The cuffs are wide and sit easily over the cuffs of your ski boots. The internal snow gaiters are elasticated and provide a secure seal over the top of your ski or snowboard boots although this would be too loose to work over a mountaineering boot I think. That said, they are ski trousers.

The lower legs have huge burly scuff guards to help protect them from getting sliced by ski edges and crampon points and this has done a brilliant job of protecting them so far.

The waist belt adjusts with an in internal tab system which is simple and effective but you need to set it up when you put them on as it is a bit harder to adjust once you are on the hill. That said, there are also standard belt loops should you wish to add a belt yourself.

The Untracked Pants have lots of pocket options (5 in total) meaning you can keep things like snacks, map, compass etc close to hand. They all close securely with zippers so things don’t disappear mysteriously!

Patagonia Untracked Pants - zippered vents for those uphill efforts.

Patagonia Untracked Pants – zippered vents for those uphill efforts.

 

I really liked the Untracked Pants for touring in and skinning up hill. The zippered vents meant I never got too warm and on warmer days I could wear them without long johns underneath as the brushed liner made them comfortable next to the skin. As the vents are meshed I never got too much snow in there even if they were open.

Like the Jacket, the Untracked Pants are highly fit for purpose! I love the fit and cut, the venting and the pocket options as well as the superb weather protection. Not a pant to be technical climbing in but definitely can handle the up as well as the down.

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