Patagonia’s Best Backcountry Ski Kit: Stormstride Jacket, Pants Review | GearJunkie
Patagonia touts its Stormstride Jacket and Pants as the ‘most focused backcountry kit’ it’s ever made. So we put the kit — and Patagonia’s big claims — to the test.
On my 30th lap in 3 days up the backside of Mt. Bachelor, I was exhausted, sweaty, and very happy. But even more notably, I was quite comfortable temperature-wise.
For my backyard backcountry pursuit, I had been wearing the Stormstride kit from Patagonia nonstop. In fact, I wore the brand’s latest ski shell and pants, launched this fall, for all my active outings for 2 weeks. Everything from splitboarding, to hauling my two small children out to a hut on cross-country skis, to a snowshoe hike to find our Christmas tree for the year — I worked hard to find the Stormstride Jacket and Pants‘ strengths and weaknesses.
In short: Many companies boast ultralight ski shells, but of all those I have tested, many don’t stand a chance in the snowy backcountry. To be a great outerwear kit for big ascents and descents, it has to be adaptable, easy to vent, easy to store, and easy to layer. Patagonia’s Stormstride kit does all of this and more, and it does so with 54% recycled materials.
Patagonia Stormstride Jacket & Pants Review
For Patagonia, the Stormstride kit marks the first of its kind. It’s made with one user in mind: the backcountry skier or snowboarder. For its weight (17.3 ounces for the jacket and 15.6 ounces for the pants), it performs like an indestructible big-mountain ski jacket and pant set that can weather the biggest storms, yet it remains pliable and adaptable enough to make active pursuits extremely comfortable.
Read on for my first impressions of this lightweight, waterproof, and highly breathable active shell.
Photo credit: Chelsey Magness
Patagonia Stormstride Jacket
When I first opened up the package, I was struck by the softness and sleek profile of the Stormstride Jacket. The material has a 54% recycled, three-layer stretch construction with Patagonia’s “H2NO” waterproof protection. As we see a lot in ski jackets these days, the suppleness of the stretch jackets increases range of motion and is just generally more user-friendly.
But there’s more to this jacket than the rest I’ve tested. Because it’s a more focused piece, Patagonia worked out every detail (and I tried them all). After my many active hours in the jacket, it was clear how much time Patagonia designers spent on it.
The pockets say it all. The internal left pocket was stretchy and big enough to hold my skins, while the smaller, internal right pocket held my phone/music player perfectly. On the outside of the jacket, the external pockets allowed easy access, fitting bars and even a small squeeze bottle.
After a few more uses, I began to understand and appreciate more of its subtle features. The pit zips are easy to pull down one-handed, the hood has an internal drawcord that I could easily cinch down with mittens on, and the laminated visor proved extremely useful for stormy days.
Plus, the minimal and stealthy powder skirt became my favorite accessory on the Stormstride Jacket. After many falls into powder, I noticed that I was still dry underneath thanks to this awesome skirt — which I didn’t even know was there!
Weight & Price
At 15.1 ounces, this is not the lightest shell on the market. But because it functions so well and offers bombproof protection for backcountry turns (and one that I would even wear lift skiing), it pulls its extra weight with well-thought-out features.
And for many, like myself, the Stormstride’s construction of more than half recycled materials and Fair Trade sewing makes the $499 price tag a little easier to swallow.
Patagonia Stormstride Pants
Naturally, Patagonia made pants to fit the jacket — both for sweaty ascents and powdery downhills. The Stormstride Pants have the same three-layer stretch nylon, finished with H2NO waterproof protection.
Trying the pants on for the first time, I was immediately impressed at how lightweight, roomy, and durable they felt. Usually, lightweight ski pants made for high output feel either like they’ll rip on the tiniest branch or more like tights than true ski pants.
Out on the testing grounds, I found the vents easy to zip and plenty big enough to do their job. As for the cuffs, I found absolutely no snow in my boots at the end of eight powder descents.
I appreciated the easy adjustability of the pants, thanks to the “OppoSet” adjustment feature on the waist belt. Two cargo-style zippered pockets are nicely placed so that you could (if need be) access them while wearing a harness. And they can fit a small squeeze bottle, phone, snacks, or a tool.
For skinning, I found the articulation in the knee and the amount of room I had to move balanced well with the more active fit. They’re the perfect hybrid; they’re not too bulky, nor too form-fitting like skimo pants.
Weight & Price
Much like the Stormstride Jacket, the Stormstride Pants are not the lightest-weight I have worn. But at a still-svelte 15.6 ounces, and with a price of $399, these pants still qualify as a good value in my opinion. I expect them to last and, as with the jacket, I appreciate Patagonia’s use of 54% recycled material!
Overall, I was extremely impressed. Patagonia has designed two amazing, durable, and relatively lightweight pieces that perform at a very high level.
However, this kit is not for everyone. Like Patagonia states in the Stormstride description, this kit is made for dedicated ski tourers. While I would wear this on mild winter days at my resort, it’s not meant to be worn solely for lift skiing.
For the price, $499 for the jacket and $399 for the pants, this is a deal for those who will seek turns in harder-to-reach locales and spend all day doing it. I expect this kit to last and perform for many adventurous years to come.