Arc'teryx Patera Parka
Fill: 750-fill down with Coreloft
Weight: 1 lb. 15.9 oz.
What we like: Top-notch waterproofing and build quality.
What we don't: Expensive and not as warm as pure-down jackets.
See the Arc'teryx Patera Parka
For technical outerwear, we’ve come to rely on Arc’teryx for the utmost in protection in harsh mountain environments. So it's no surprise that when it comes to their casual jackets—such as the city-focused Patera Parka here—Arc’teryx incorporates more performance-oriented details than most. Although this waterproof, breathable, insulated jacket might be overkill for those that don't spend extended stretches outside, the Patera is ideal for damp, cold environments like the Pacific Northwest. To see how it stacks up, see our articles on the best winter jackets and the best women's winter jackets.
Editor’s note: The Arc’teryx Patera Parka has been updated for 2020-2021 with minor changes to the design and materials. The Patera now features a straighter and more relaxed fit, a new two-way WaterTight zipper, and synthetic insulation in the hood and neck. The updated Patera is slightly lighter at 1 pound 15.9 ounces and retails for the same price of $649.
Table of Contents
- Water and Wind Protection
- Construction and Durability
- Weight and Packability
- Fit and Sizing
- What We Like/What We Don't
- Comparison Table
- The Competition
Packing a smart mix of down and synthetic insulation inside a waterproof shell, the Arc’teryx Patera Parka is built to handle the moderately cold, wet winters that are common in the Pacific Northwest. To be clear, this is an urban-focused design that is not intended to keep you warm in a full-on arctic blast with sub-zero temperatures—look to a longer-cut and more insulated option like the Patagonia Down With It Parka for that use—but the Patera truly excels in climates like Arc’teryx’s hometown of Vancouver, BC. In terms of insulation, the parka’s core and outside of the arms have 5 ounces of premium 750-fill down, and Arc’teryx boosts the wet-weather protection by inserting a thin layer of synthetic fill over top (and underneath the waterproof shell). Finally, moisture-prone areas like the hood, hem, collar, and underarms exclusively use synthetic fill (60- and 100-g), which unlike down continues to insulate even when wet. It all adds up to parka that nicely toes the line between a rain jacket and winter coat.
A few other notable features help the Patera seal in heat on cold days. For one, an internal, fleece-lined draft collar extends around the neck to provide additional coziness. At the wrists, internal gaskets keep warm air in and cold air out. And as we’ll touch on more below, the hood is deep and tall, offering full coverage whether you’re wearing a large beanie, high ponytail, or bike helmet. We don’t see helmet-compatible hoods on many casual winter jackets, making the Patera a noteworthy choice for bike commuters who like to keep it classy in town.
All that said, the Patera is certainly not the warmest jacket we’ve tested—in below-freezing temperatures, the light synthetic insulation on the arms and upper legs was not enough to keep us warm. For low-output activities in truly cold conditions, we’d readily sacrifice the waterproof shell for more down fill (the puffy Patagonia Down With It Parka comes to mind). Furthermore, the design of the Patera’s front zip leaves the jacket open from the top of the legs down. It’s true that a snap about six inches from the hem can be secured to close this gap, but the Patera’s leg coverage pales in comparison to longer, full-zip jackets like The North Face’s Metropolis. For a bump up in warmth within Arc’teryx’s own lineup, check out the longer, more insulated Centrale. Despite these downfalls, it’s important to keep in mind the conditions the Patera was designed for: rain and the accompanying above-freezing temperatures. In this weather, the Patera will stay dry, lofty, and warm, while a warmer (but not waterproof) jacket would quickly lose its insulating properties.
Water and Wind Protection
As we mentioned above, the Patera is effectively an insulated jacket on the inside and a rain jacket on the outside. This makes it a best-of-both-worlds combination for wet and cold conditions such as winter in Portland or shoulder seasons in the Northeast or Midwest. The shell combines a durable 75-denier nylon with a waterproof, windproof, and breathable Gore-Tex membrane. Additionally, you get taped seams along the interior, Arc’teryx’s WaterTight zippers, and a storm flap over the front zip for added assurance. Taken together, the Patera would give any rain jacket a run for its money, including the Arc’teryx Solano or the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1's outer jacket. In terms of direct competition, The North Face’s Arctic Parka is similarly insulated and waterproof, but without synthetic insulation in moisture-prone locations, it offers far less assurance in heavy rain.
The Patera Parka has a number of additional features that set it apart as an ultra-weather-protective jacket. For one, the waterproof hood offers full coverage—it’s noticeably larger than hoods of comparable jackets—and adjusts both at the sides and the rear for security in gusty conditions. Further, the drop back hem gives extra coverage when bending over or sitting down, and a wind flap snaps closed over the front zipper for a boost in wind and water protection. And while we were initially dubious about the design of the front zipper—which stops about nine inches from the base of our size small—we found that it actually allows the jacket to maintain more coverage on the front of the thighs during activity. Biking around town, the Patera moved with our body and stayed on top of our legs rather than riding up like other parkas. All in all, for the combination of city style and all-out weather protection and warmth, Arc’teryx yet again leads the charge with the Patera.
Unlike most winter jackets, the Patera shows its true colors as a rain jacket, designed with a waterproof shell, synthetic insulation, and non-removable hood featuring a wide, functional brim. We have to admit: when we first donned the hood, we thought Arc’teryx had definitely missed the mark in terms of fit and style. Extra-large and airy on the sides, it felt very conspicuous on the city streets. However, sleek side adjustments and a rear drawcord helped to bring it down to size, and we grew to appreciate the versatility that such a large hood brings. Notably distinct from the hoods of other parkas, it is capable of accommodating a large beanie, a ponytail, and—most notably—a bike helmet.
On the outside, the Patera features sleek, tapered arms with waterproof fabric and insulation extending to the hands. And on the inside, soft and stretchy gaskets surround the wrists. We especially like gasket cuffs for their heat-trapping abilities and coverage in snow and rain. Compared to jackets with similar cuffs—the Marmot Montreal and TNF Arctic, to name a couple—the Patera’s have a super-high-quality feel and the fit is more snug, but still stretchy enough to accommodate layers underneath. That said, if you want to wear the Patera with long gloves, you’ll likely need to do a bit of adjustment to secure them under the gaskets (or put the gloves on before you don the jacket).
Most winter parkas feature two handwarmer pockets and one internal chest pocket. The Patera is no exception here, although we’re not overly impressed with the sizes of the pockets. The handwarmer pockets are barely large enough for an ungloved hand, while the chest pocket is narrow and shallow, likely too small for many of today’s larger smartphones. Furthermore, the hand pockets are not as warm as we would hope—the back of the hand is uninsulated and the fleece lining is only located on the palm side. We much prefer pockets with insulation on the knuckle side—such as the Marmot Montreal—but again, it’s good to remember that the Patera is largely designed for use in above-freezing temperatures. Style-wise, we do like the way the handwarmer pockets align sleekly with the jacket’s princess seams, and the generous, glove-friendly pull tabs tuck away nicely for an inconspicuous look.
The Arc’teryx Patera falls just a few inches above the knee, with a 36.75-inch (37-in. in the newest version) center-back measurement that places it about middle of the pack among the parkas that we tested. With jackets this long, you can often expect a bit of compromised movement in the upper legs, but not with the unique open-flap design of the Patera. Rather than running the length of the jacket, the front zip begins at the top of the legs (on our women’s small, this is nine inches above the hem), allowing you to move freely while still providing coverage over the thighs. This agility and protection was especially notable when biking around town—in comparison, the Patagonia Down With it and Marmot Montreal bunched up around our hips while pedaling. Additionally, a small snap about six inches from the base of the jacket allows you to secure the two flaps together when walking or standing. All in all, we liked the freedom offered by the Patera's unique front-zip design, but for truly cold weather, we’d prefer a longer, full-zip jacket like the Patagonia mentioned above.
Construction and Durability
The Patera deftly combines a casual, city-ready style with the technical savvy and attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Arc’teryx’s high-performance jackets. On paper—with durable, 75-denier 2-layer Gore-Tex, strategic placement of down and synthetic insulation, taped seams and WaterTight zippers, and a sleek, adjustable hood—you might even confuse it for an expedition-ready jacket. Further, the Patera is designed with an eye toward minimizing bulk while maximizing warmth and protection, employing technology such as a micro-seam allowance and protecting the down underneath a layer of synthetic fill (a design feature Arc’teryx calls Down Contour Construction). Finally, no thread or feather is out of place and the zippers, snaps, and hood adjustment all operate easily and smoothly. We tested the Patera beside a number of other high-quality jackets, including Patagonia’s Down With It and The North Face’s Arctic, and the difference was tangible—the Arc’teryx is a true Cadillac.
We’d be avoiding the elephant in the room if we didn’t address the Patera’s price tag. At $649, this jacket will cost you over twice as much as many other winter parkas we’ve reviewed. It’s $50 more even than Patagonia’s Tres 3-in-1, which offers similar warmth and wet-weather protection but with the versatility of three jackets in one. But you likely won’t be disappointed: the Patera is quite simply more jacket than much of the competition, earning its price tag with full weather protection, insulated warmth, high-quality materials, and a fit and finish that is close to perfect. We have small nitpicks with the size of the pockets, the unruly hood, and the lack of warmth in the arms, but all in all, if you want quality and are willing to pay for it, it doesn’t get much better than Arc’teryx.
Weight and Packability
Weight and packability don’t initially seem like major concerns for in-town use, but it can’t hurt to have a jacket that can travel well with you, whether it’s for a weekend trip to the mountains or stuffed into your bike commuting pack when the sun comes out. Arc’teryx’s mitigation of materials with their Down Contour Construction (described above) and use of micro-seams subtracts bulk from the design, making it noticeably easier to pack away than the also waterproof, insulated TNF Arctic. And at 2 pounds 2.7 ounces (the newest version clocks in at 1 lb. 15.9 oz.), the Patera wears its weight well and feels particularly light and flowy—in comparison, we felt noticeably encumbered while wearing the almost-3-pound TNF Arctic Parka.
Fit and Sizing
The Patera is a knee-length parka, classified by Arc’teryx as a “regular fit” garment—as opposed to their more technical trim fit—meaning it’s designed to wear comfortably with layers and allow freedom of movement. Our tester wore a size small—a very consistent size for her—and found the Patera to be somewhat restrictive in the upper body, even despite the sleek interior that gives the jacket a flowy feel. For those who wear bulky sweaters or want the freedom to layer underneath, we’d consider sizing up. And in terms of length, the Patera rested a few inches above the knee, and the unique zipper design allowed for freedom of motion, perfect for riding a bike or snowmobile.
What We Like
- Arc’teryx’s technical prowess and high-quality craftsmanship in a casual, city-ready parka.
- Synthetic insulation in moisture-prone areas and a 2-layer Gore-Tex shell mean that this jacket will keep you warm in the wettest of conditions.
- Bulk-mitigating features like micro-seams make the Patera sleek and streamlined without sacrificing warmth or weather protection.
- Incredibly sleek, clean, and well-made overall.
What We Don’t
- Synthetic insulation in the sleeves and a generally streamlined design means this jacket is not as warm as a dedicated down parka.
- Very pricey at $649.
- The hood is very large for a casual parka, and is not removable.
- Handwarmer and chest pockets are on the small side.
|Arc'teryx Patera Parka||$649||5 oz. of 750-fill & synthetic||37 in.||1 lb. 15.9 oz.||Yes|
|The North Face Arctic Parka||$299||550-fill & synthetic||35.75 in.||2 lbs. 13.5 oz.||Yes|
|Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Down Parka||$599||5.3 oz. of 700-fill down||34.25 in.||3 lbs. 3 oz.||Yes|
|Patagonia Down With It Parka||$299||8.3 oz. of 600-fill down||40 in.||2 lb. 5.8 oz.||No|
|Arc'teryx Andra Coat||$449||None||35.5 in.||12.5 oz.||Yes|
|Arc'teryx Centrale Parka||$799||6.2 oz. of 750-fill down||37.5 in.||2 lb.||Yes|
With a price tag of $649, the Arc’teryx Patera is a top-shelf winter parka. As we mentioned above, you certainly get what you pay for, but for a casual, in-town jacket that might be worn primarily for short, one-block commutes between the bus and the office, it’s overkill. On the other hand, The North Face’s Arctic Parka ($299) will cost you half as much and still provide the warmth and waterproofing that you need. There are certainly downsides to the Arctic—many users complain about the fit, the jacket doesn’t have the same kind of agility as the Patera, and we found the build to be noticeably heavy on the shoulders and arms. And while the Arctic features synthetic fill in moisture-prone areas, its non-Gore-Tex shell simply doesn’t provide the same level of assurance in wet weather. All in all, the Arc’teryx is certainly the better jacket, but in most situations, the TNF will be ample—and it comes with a more casual look, which many will love.
The Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka is another great option for wet winters, with waterproofing and warmth similar to the Patera. As a bonus, the Tres is designed as three jackets in one (a waterproof, windproof shell, a baffled-down jacket, and the ability to combine the two), and at $599, it’s still $50 less than the Patera. You don’t get quite the same level of wet-weather assurance—the Tres is stuffed exclusively with 100-percent recycled down, compared to the Arc’teryx’s synthetic insulation in moisture-prone areas. Furthermore, the Tres is a full pound heavier than the Patera, and 3 pounds 3 ounces can end up being a lot of weight resting on your shoulders. All told, the Tres is a more affordable choice for budget-conscious shoppers who still want a high-quality parka from a consistently dependable company (three jackets for the price of one!), but the Patera still stands out as the more sleek, protective, and well-designed jacket.
If you live somewhere cold and snowy—think New England or Chicago—you might not need the waterproofing of a jacket like the Patera. Instead, a down-insulated design with external baffles is our parka of choice for cold and dry conditions, and the Patagonia Down With It Parka is one of our favorites. Stuffed with more than 8 ounces of 600-fill recycled down and featuring a durable shell and DWR finish, the Down With It provides much more warmth than the Patera in below-freezing temperatures. Furthermore, it comes with a full-length zipper and storm flap for added protection against wind. And with a thinner shell fabric that moves and bends with you, we find the Down With It to be much cozier and free-flowing than the Patera. For wet conditions, we still recommend the Arc’teryx, but when the mercury drops, you’ll want to opt for a warmer, pure-down jacket like the Down With It.
Finally, there are a few other options from within Arc’teryx’s own lineup, including the non-insulated Andra Coat and the warmer Centrale Parka. At $449, the Andra offers waterproof and breathable protection with a 3-layer Gore-Tex shell, and is a more affordable alternative for those who want the premium quality and style of the Patera but don’t need the added warmth. The Centrale ($799), on the other hand, is touted as Arc’teryx warmest waterproof down parka, featuring 6.2 ounces of 750-fill down (compared to the Patera’s 5 oz.) and a more durable 90-denier shell. But for $150 more, we’re not sure the added warmth is worth it, and will stick with the sweet-spot Patera for most winter conditions.
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