Designed by Patagonia's team of athletes, the Knifeblade softshell jacket is built for climbing hard. Durable, highly water resistant yet extremely breathable, the minimalist Knifeblade has become an outerwear favorite for active alpine pursuits.
The Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket is made from Polartec Power Shield Pro. This softshell fabric offers impressive water resistance while retaining superior breathability, keeping you dry from both the inside and out.
The smooth, tightly woven face fabric of the softshell jacket is abrasion resistant (imperative for alpine climbing) and blocks 99% of the wind. The remaining 1% circulates within the fabric to enhance moisture vapor transmission, keeping you dry on the inside and therefore warm.
On my ice climbing trip to Canada, I wore the Patagonia Kinfeblade softshell jacket over my Sherpa Mantra Jacket mid-layer and a thin merino wool baselayer. For the 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour hikes in and out of the climbs, I was able to keep my softshell jacket on without overheating. We had one day of cold, howling winds and blowing snow at Lake Louise where the Knifeblade jacket kept me dry and warm, even while standing still at each belay station.
The Patagonia Knifeblade features two chest pockets, thankfully even for the women's version as some brands tends to shy away from chest pockets for women. The pockets are big enough to store your camera and a few snacks for the climb and with the high placement, won't get in the way of your harness.
The softshell jacket is a half-zip pullover with a very streamlined fit, removing any extra bulk. The back hangs a bit lower to help keep snow or wind drafts off your back. The high neck zips up to protect your face from the elements and is fleece lined for some added warmth.
The large hood flips up over your helmet and stays put with the help of adjustable pull tabs on the back of the hood and collar. Small velcro tabs on each wrist come in handy for keeping snow, water or wind off of your arms as you climb.
Super bright colors may not be your thing but I personally love the almost neon pink color of the women's Knifeblade. I received many comments on the jacket from fellow climbers.
Bottom Line: The Patagonia Knifeblade is the perfect lightweight softshell jacket for all types of alpine climbing. The Polartec Power Shield Pro fabric will ensure you stay dry and warm through all weather conditions. The fit is true to size- once again a Medium was perfect for me.
The men's and women's Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket will retail for $349 and start shipping Fall 2011.
Below is a video to give you a better indication of the type of weather the Patagonia Knifeblade stood up against.