Patagonia Galvanized Jacket
Weight: 15.5 oz. (women’s medium)
Waterproofing: H2No Performance
What we like: Stretchy and comfortable—not praise we usually give to hardshells.
What we don’t: Fairly heavy for an alpine-focused piece and a step down from Gore-Tex in truly inclement weather.
See the Women's Patagonia Galvanized Jacket See the Men's Patagonia Galvanized Jacket
Alpine pursuits demand a balance of weather protection, breathability, and mobility that few jackets are able to achieve. Enter the Patagonia Galvanized. Combining the waterproofing of a hardshell with the stretch and comfort of a softshell, the Galvanized joins a growing group of hybrid-like jackets that work well for high-output activities in inclement weather. After a winter of ice climbing and ski touring in the women's version, I can confidently say I will only revert to a standard hardshell in the wettest, most extreme conditions. To see how the Patagonia Galvanized stacks up to the competition, see our articles on the best softshell jackets and best hardshell jackets.
Table of Contents
- Weather Protection
- Mobility and Comfort
- Weight and Packability
- Build Quality and Durability
- Fit and Sizing
- What We Like/What We Don't
- Comparison Table
- The Competition
Featuring the tough, 3-layer construction you expect from a hardshell but with a stretchy face fabric, the Patagonia Galvanized Jacket provides complete protection from the elements without restricting movement. The jacket is built around Patagonia’s top-end H2No Performance Standard membrane and a durable water repellant (DWR) finish. This proprietary fabric is similar to Gore-Tex Active, prioritizing breathability without making a major sacrifice in water- and windproofing. Taped seams, watertight zippers, a helmet-compatible hood with subtle brim, and very functional cuffs round out the design, resulting in a shell that truly keeps the elements at bay.
I tested the Galvanized Jacket while ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies and skiing in central Oregon. Up north, I faced wind chills dropping below zero degrees Fahrenheit, while in the Cascades my winter was rife with heavy—and often wet—snowfall. For the whole gamut, the Galvanized was an extremely effective layer between me and Mother Nature. The high collar and soft chin guard allowed me to tuck my face inside during strong gusts of wind, and the hood offered an ideal amount of coverage with easy-to-use adjustments that gave great security and visibility. In most cases, water quickly beaded on the face fabric and rolled off, although during one particularly wet day of skiing at Mt. Bachelor, moisture soaked past the DWR finish. That said, this external coating is just the jacket’s first line of defense, and the internal waterproof membrane kept any moisture from penetrating through to my midlayer.
As mentioned above, the Galvanized's solid weatherproofing doesn't come at the cost of mobility thanks to the addition of 12-percent spandex into the design. Held up against popular hardshell jackets like the Arc’teryx Beta AR and Patagonia’s own Pluma—both of which are 100-percent nylon—the difference is tangible. During testing, the increased mobility of the Galvanized allowed me to swing ice tools above my head with no restriction while the jacket stayed securely put under my harness. And as an added bonus, the Galvanized is also quiet and supple, without the noise or feel of stiff hardshell fabric.
Patagonia’s H2No performs similarly to Gore-Tex Active, the most breathable fabric in the Gore lineup that’s featured in jackets like the Black Diamond Helio Active and REI Co-op's Drypoint GTX (although both are currently only sold in men's versions). They also included a jersey-knit backer to wick moisture, and the lining proved far softer and suppler even when wearing a T-shirt than the sticky, crinkly interior typical of a hardshell (designs with Gore's C-Knit backer are an exception). Two-way pit zips, which are new to the latest version of the Galvanized, provide additional ventilation while hiking or on the skin track, although I found them quite hard to close without the help of a friend. That said, I build heat quickly during aerobic activity and often sweat out of hardshell jackets, but I’ve been able to wear the Galvanized throughout many strenuous uphill climbs without overheating—an impressive feat both for myself and the jacket.
In comparison to other leading models, the breathability of the Galvanized is excellent. We've found it surpasses Gore-Tex Pro designs like the Arc’teryx Beta AR jacket, and it even beat out the Gore-Tex Active construction of our since-discontinued Outdoor Research Optimizer (which lacked pit zips). In the end, the balance that Patagonia hit here is impressive: the Galvanized is a great breather but does not compromise much on toughness or weather protection.
The weight of the Patagonia Galvanized reflects its hybrid build. Clocking in at 15.5 ounces for a women’s medium, it is certainly on the heavy end of the spectrum for hardshell jackets. In comparison, Black Diamond’s similarly stretchy (but minimalist) Highline Stretch tips the scales at a feathery 10.7 ounces, while the uber-popular Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket weighs in at 14.5 ounces for the women’s model. Among softshell options, the Galvanized is a little lighter than the Arc'teryx Gamma LT and MX (both 1 lb.), which offer similar levels of stretch and breathability but are lacking in weather protection. As far as packability goes, the Galvanized does not stuff into its pocket or accompanying stuff sack like some of the competition (you can roll and cinch it into its own hood). However, with its high levels of breathability and mobility, you’re certainly more likely to keep it on throughout the day than most hardshells.
In our opinion, the Galvanized is a perfect example of Patagonia’s painstaking attention to detail and quality. The Galvanized is seam-less across the shoulders and back, meaning that there are no pressure points under a backpack, no vulnerable connection points where precipitation hits hardest, and—equally importantly—maximum stretch where it matters most. Furthermore, all the jacket’s features are nicely engineered for durability, ease of use, and a streamlined appearance, including the adjustment points at the cuffs, hem, and hood, and the pocket placement and zippers. Finally, the Galvanized is made with a tough 50-denier face fabric, making it more robust than the majority of popular hardshells.
A fully featured jacket, the Patagonia Galvanized shines in terms of adjustment, storage, and overall ease of use. The hood and hem are modifiable with a streamlined cord-lock system that tucks out of view yet still allows for simple, one-handed tightening and loosening (these do take some time to get used to, but after some practice, they’re quite easy). The cuffs were one of my favorite features, with nicely designed Velcro closures and a polyurethane underside that holds tightly to gloves. When I was swinging tools above my head, my sleeves felt noticeably secure, and I loved the ease of adjustment when swapping out gloves. Additionally, the pockets are well-placed and easy to open and close. Sometimes I find that “harness-compatible pockets” are still difficult to access with a harness or backpack on, but I have no complaints with the Galvanized. All that said, the only feature I found myself wanting was an internal dump pocket, which can be great for warming large items like skins or gloves close to the body.
I routinely wear a size small in all things Patagonia, and the Galvanized is no exception. Its trim fit provides enough room for me to wear a baselayer and Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody underneath, while still allowing ample freedom of movement. If needed, I could even add another jacket or vest without compromising comfort or mobility. The long hem of the Galvanized (plus the stretch) offers full coverage and means that it sits well below my harness and backpack waist belt without threatening to rise up. For those used to Patagonia fit and sizing, it should be noted that the Galvanized is not an ultralight shell, and thus is not as streamlined as the also “slim fit” Houdini Air, for example.
True to form, the Galvanized incorporates sustainability measures that Patagonia has become known for in recent years. First, the jacket uses an 88-percent-recycled polyester face fabric. Additionally, the Galvanized is Fair Trade Certified sewn, meaning Patagonia put extra money into production to ensure workers are compensated fairly and have access to critical resources like healthcare. There are certainly areas for improvement—the Galvanized still uses a fluorinated DWR coating, and the materials aren’t bluesign-approved—but we nevertheless appreciate the steps that Patagonia took here.
For this review, we tested the women's Galvanized Jacket. Patagonia also makes the shell in a men's version, which sports the same features and H2No construction but comes in slightly heavier at 1 pound 2.6 ounces and is available in different color options. We haven't had a chance to put the men's Galvanized through its paces, but given the similarities between the two, we expect that it performs just as well as the women's model for active uses like ice climbing and backcountry skiing.
- For active pursuits like ice climbing and ski touring, the Galvanized provides a great combination of mobility, breathability, comfort, and weather protection.
- The shell is fully featured and all components are impeccably designed for simple adjustment and ease of use.
- 50-denier fabric means the Galvanized is more durable than the majority of hardshell jackets.
What We Don’t
- At 15.5 ounces for a women’s medium, the Galvanized is heavy for an alpine-focused hardshell.
- Pit zips and hood/hem adjustments take some time to master.
- Could use an internal dump pocket for warming items like gloves or skins close to the body.
- If you’re looking for ultimate weatherproofing in truly extreme conditions, a hardshell made with Gore-Tex Pro will offer slightly more protection.
|Patagonia Galvanized Jacket
|3L H2No Performance
|1 lb. 1.2 oz.
|3L Gore-Tex Pro
|Black Diamond Highline Stretch
|Arc'teryx Beta AR
|3L Gore-Tex Pro
|40D & 80D
|Arc'teryx Gamma MX
Patagonia is no stranger to the hardshell market, and their Triolet Jacket is an interesting alternative to the Galvanized tested here. This $399 shell costs $50 more than the Galvanized but includes a burly 3-layer Gore-Tex construction and 75-denier face fabric for a step up in all-around weather protection. Further, the Triolet comes with extras like an internal mesh pocket and a button system that allows you to connect the jacket with a Patagonia snow pant. But the Galvanized is the clear leader in stretchiness and breathability, and it weighs more than an ounce less (15.5 oz. vs. 17.2 oz.). If you prioritize waterproofing for skiing or for spending extended amounts of time in heavy rainfall, the Triolet has its merits, but the Galvanized gets the overall nod from us.
Another Gore-Tex option within Patagonia’s collection is their alpine-focused Pluma. With the Pluma, you get a top-end, 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro construction for sealing out the elements, a cozy microgrid backer for added comfort, helpful features like pit zips and a helmet-compatible hood, and an all-in weight of 12.9 ounces (2.6 oz. less than the Galvanized). That said, the Pluma is slightly less robust than the Galvanized with a 40-denier face fabric, and it’s a major step up in price at $549. For those exploring deep in the mountains, it’s hard to beat the Pluma’s bombproof weather protection. But for more casual pursuits and moderate conditions, the Galvanized will save you a good chunk of change.
The Galvanized offers the unique addition of stretch to the standard hardshell construction, which is a claim that few other jackets can make. Black Diamond’s Highline Stretch is one of these, made with BD’s proprietary BD.dry 3-layer fabric. At 10.7 ounces, the Highline is much more of an ultralight piece than the Galvanized, although the lighter weight does come with compromises in weather protection. You do get technical features like a climbing helmet-compatible hood and pit zips, but for $50 more and a slight weight penalty, the Galvanized is the more protective option.
How does the Galvanized stack up with a premium hardshell like Arc'teryx's Beta AR? With 40-denier Gore-Tex Pro (and 80D covering wear-prone areas), watertight zippers, and a high-coverage hood, it’s close to bombproof when it comes to resisting precipitation and wind (and breathes pretty well, too). However, the Beta AR lacks the same level of stretch and comfort as the Galvanized. If unbeatable weather protection in a lightweight package is what you’re after, we’d recommend the Beta AR (or better yet, the Alpha SV Jacket), but for a savings of $250, the Galvanized handles most weather with ease and is a better performer for active pursuits.
Last but not least is another Arc’teryx alternative: the Gamma MX Hoody. Unlike all of the jackets above, the Gamma MX is a softshell by nature, so don’t expect bombproof weatherproofing (the build is only weather-resistant). Instead, you get an impressive amount of stretch and mobility for activities like climbing and ski touring, generous storage and a functional feature set, and a competitive weight of 1 pound for the women’s model. The Gamma MX also sports a liner for added warmth, making it a nice match for cold mountain environments and high-alpine pursuits (for more, see our in-depth Gamma MX review). If heavy rain or wind are in the forecast, however, the Galvanized is the much safer bet.
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