Sustainable production process
Strong warranty policy
Light on pockets
Odd hood fit over helmet
Patagonia is a self-described “activist” outerwear company, and its outdoor gear has become the symbol of sustainability in the industry. The company’s website declares, “The protection and preservation of the environment isn’t what we do after hours. It’s the reason we’re in business and every day’s work.” Patagonia also has a reputation for performance, durability, and customer service to match. To see if this lofty reputation holds up, we tested the Patagonia Men’s 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket in a Rocky Mountain winter. We assessed its performance over several weeks, evaluating factors such as warmth, breathability, style, wind resistance, and versatility.
Design: Meant for ski but stylish enough for street
The jacket is stylish enough to wear on and off the slopes. It comes in several color choices: solid black, solid navy, blue/orange, a bright green/navy, gold/grey, and red/dark red.
The cut of this jacket is distinctly ski-focused, with a longer length hanging well below the waist and sleeves running a bit longer to allow a wider range of motion for your arms than you’d demand from an around-town jacket.
The jacket isn’t fitted around your midsection, which is nice for layering and movement, but not necessarily flattering compared to more fitted jackets. Again, the coat is ski-first so these trade-offs aren’t surprising. That said, the jacket is softer and more flexible than many higher-end ski jackets, which makes it comfortable enough to wear apres ski.
You get a jacket that truly can be worn through at least three seasons, hence the popularity of the 3-in-1.
Despite some customer reviews online complaining that Patagonia’s sizing had inched larger, I found the Large a perfect fit on my 6-foot, 190-pound frame, which is consistent with other Patagonia coats I’ve worn in the past. Again, the cut is generous because it’s a ski jacket, but I didn’t find any part too large or too long.
One awkward cut was the hood, which fit great over a winter hat but seemed to come up a bit short over a helmet. Since the helmet has its own brim, it wasn’t a big deal, but the hood seemed to need another inch of fabric in the brim area to give you some material to work with when cinching it down.
The jacket does feature clip-in integration with compatible Patagonia pants.
Warmth: Modular to adjust to the conditions
The Snowshot is a 3-in-1-style jacket, which just means it’s a waterproof/windproof shell with an integrated-but-removable insulating layer—in this case, a reversible light, quilted synthetic down jacket that can be worn on its own. The concept is that you can have your cake and eat it, too: Use both layers on cold days, but if things heat up, you can wear the shell only or even the down inner jacket alone (quilted or smooth side), giving you three configurations, hence “3-in-1.”
The jacket is warm enough with both layers, but the inner jacket is very light and only has 60g of Patagonia’s Thermogreen (seemingly every component of the brand’s stuff has a trademarked name) synthetic insulation. So don’t confuse this with a heavy-duty parka. It’s meant to be worn skiing and is built to manage your body heat and sweat under exertion on the slopes.
The coldest days I tested it on were in the 20s, and I was never too cold with just a long-sleeve Smartwool base layer underneath. That said, if things got much colder, I could see needing another substantial layer, and this is where things could get messy. The jacket is roomy enough but the arms are fairly snug, so wearing another down layer would be a bit tight.
Given its strong waterproofing, the Snowshot offers solid breathability, especially when the shell is worn alone.
Adding layers also adds to the odd feel of the layered jackets. Unlike a ski jacket with built-in, non-removable insulation, you can really feel the inner and outer jackets rubbing, even though they zip and snap together at several points. This doesn’t affect performance and wasn’t a dealbreaker for me, but it’s definitely noticeable when compared with an integrated insulated ski jacket.
For warmer, sunny days in the 30s, I found I had to lose the inner jacket to avoid overheating. The Snowshot’s outer shell is breathable and has armpit zippered vents for when you really need to shed heat, but the inner jacket doesn’t, somewhat defeating the purpose of the vents when both jackets are worn. The shell on its own isn’t at all insulated but features a mesh layer to keep the shell material off your skin and wick moisture away when needed. This layer used alone makes the jacket useable for at least three seasons.
The Snowshot features Patagonia’s trademarked (of course) proprietary GORE-TEX alternative, H2No. A 70 percent recycled polyester twill is given a durable water repellent coating (DWR) that rejects water but remains breathable. Patagonia touts its in-house testing that simulates years of washing and abuse and claims that the coating retains 50 percent effectiveness afterward.
The H2No shell is rated at 20,000mm out of the box, which is an excellent waterproof rating, so even after years of use, the jacket should retain waterproofing on par with cheaper ski jackets. Note that Patagonia does recommend refreshing the DWR annually using one of several affordable DIY products available. H2No isn’t quite on the level of most GORE-TEX finishes, for which you’d pay an even higher premium, but it’s still up to Patagonia’s standards and will hold up in tough conditions.
As should be expected from a higher-end ski coat, all seams are tape-sealed to keep out water incursions along the pockets and stitching.
Windproofing: Keeps drafts out
The Snowshot’s shell is relatively soft compared to some stiffer ski jackets on the market but still remains fully windproof. In my testing, I didn’t notice any drafts, even when wearing the shell alone. Because the fabric has some give, the highest winds above treeline could push the jacket against your body, unlike some really stiff jackets that truly embody the word “shell.”
The fastening wrist cuffs are meant to be worn either over or under gloves, and while I found they sealed nicely, they were a tad fitted and I had to work them side to side to get them over my gloves, an annoyance when working with gloved hands in the cold.
The high collar does a great job of keeping your neck and chin protected and the chin area is padded with a tight-weave fleece to prevent abrasions. The collar is separate from the hood so you don’t need to put the hood up to get the benefits of the collar, even though I can’t imagine ever really needing to remove the hood.
The waist-high, snap-on snow skirt adds an additional seal at the bottom of the jacket when needed. Since I wear bib-style ski pants I rarely employ the snow skirt, so I appreciated the ability to snap the snow skirt to the inside of the jacket when not in use to keep it from flapping around as it normally would.
Breathability: The shell vents well
Given its strong waterproofing, the Snowshot offers solid breathability, especially when the shell is worn alone. As mentioned above, the construction of the inner insulating layer hampers venting when worn under the shell, but the shell worn alone vented and breathed well in my testing.
Patagonia doesn’t publish rating numbers for breathability on either layer, but it’s safe to assume the H2No shell likely offers at least a 10,000mm breathability rating commensurate with its place in the hierarchy of waterproof coatings. Again, it’s not quite on the level of GORE-TEX, but much better than discount ski jackets.
Ski-Specific Features: Low on pockets
The Snowshot doesn’t offer any groundbreaking features for the skier or snowboarder, but there are some notable inclusions and omissions.
The good? There are the expected mesh stow pockets, zippered external chest pocket, Recco locator system built-in (so search and rescue can find you more easily in an emergency), and the aforementioned snow skirt.
It’s worth noting Patagonia’s well-known push for more sustainability and environmental responsibility.
The bad? There are essentially no pockets when the inner jacket is worn, no dedicated ski pass pocket, and no media pocket or passthrough.
The biggest sin here is the relative dearth of pockets, especially when the liner is worn. I especially missed the glove/goggle mesh stash pocket (accessible when liner isn’t worn) when I was on the chairlift and looking for a temporary holding spot for my gloves when using my phone or just adjusting things.
Sustainability and Quality: The industry standard
It’s worth noting Patagonia’s well-known push for more sustainability and environmental responsibility in its material-sourcing and production as well as efforts at improving factory labor conditions. Beyond touting internal standards, Patagonia also uses third-party certifiers such as bluesign and Fair Trade Certified to stamp these efforts. It would take up too much real estate to try and enumerate it all here, but you can learn more on the website.
Price: Cheaper options, but you’re paying for quality
Patagonia isn’t known for affordability and for one of its mid-tier offerings, the around $400 price tag isn’t exactly a steal when compared with budget offerings from The North Face and Columbia that offer similar, if not equal, jackets for less than $200.
What you’re paying for when you fork that kind of cash over is the name, performance, and the quality backing it up. Few will be willing to cough up $700 or more for the higher-end jackets from Patagonia and others, and this jacket serves as a worthy compromise.
Patagonia also has a multi-decade reputation for quality and durability that’s backed by its Ironclad Guarantee allowing you to bring or send in a product for repair or replacement. Patagonia generally covers the costs outside of shipping. It might be overstating things to think you can buy a Patagonia jacket and be covered for life, but you can rest assured that if something fails before its time, Patagonia will make it right.
Patagonia Men’s 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket vs. Patagonia Men’s SnowDrifter Jacket
Some love the flexibility of the 3-in-1 jacket concept and the idea that you basically get two jackets for the price of one. You get a jacket that truly can be worn through at least three seasons, hence the popularity of the 3-in-1.
However, if the drawbacks highlighted throughout this review give you pause and you’re more in the market for a dedicated ski jacket and still appreciate Patagonia, take a look at the SnowDrifter. This three-layer jacket lacks any serious insulation, so you’ll need to choose your own layers underneath as needed, but it’s an integrated ski shell that sheds some of the oddities you get with the 3-in-1 system and features most of the same performance standards as the Snowshot at the exact same price tag.
Interested in checking out more options? Take a peek at our roundup of the best men’s ski jackets.
If you’re looking at Patagonia, you’re probably already aware you’ll pay a small premium for the name plus the quality and corporate responsibility that comes with it, but if budget isn’t your top concern, the Patagonia Men’s 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket is worth the investment. You can expect a base level of performance from even Patagonia’s mid-tier options such as this one.
- Product Name Men’s 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket
- Product Brand Patagonia
- MPN 31660
- Price $399.00
- Weight 2.93 lbs.
- Color Big Sur Blue, Black, Classic Navy, Classic Navy/Balkan Blue, Hammonds Gold, Oxide Red, Peppergrass Green
- Insulation 60-g Thermogreen® 100% polyester (90% recycled)
- Shell 2-layer, 100% polyester (70% recycled) micro-twill with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Lining 100% polyester tricot mesh; (hood, lower body, and powder skirt) 100% polyester plain weave
- Zip-Out Jacket 100% polyester plain weave