Patagonia Better Sweater
When you see a sweater jacket that is dubbed the “Better Sweater,” it is understandable to have some high expectations. While manufacturers have been known to exaggerate the quality of their products from time to time, rarely are they so blunt like this. Whether or not Patagonia believes their sweater is better is past the point as today you are going to find out if it is worth your time.
First and foremost, this is as comfortable a sweater as you will ever wear, and you can count on that. The Patagonia Better Sweater is crafted to enhance overall comfort in nearly every way possible. This includes its fleece core and lining and also its flat-seam construction. If you are interested to check which models made it on our list of top 10 wool sweaters make sure you read the guide.
Due to the fleece, it is also going to keep you warm when the temperature drops. Also, you can check the guide on the best hand warmers. For such an expensive garment, many of you will believe that there are too many flaws present to justify such a price. Do not worry; we’ll elaborate in this review. So, with that said, let’s get this bad boy on the road.
Works well on slightly chilly days
It is able to accommodate other layers
Designed with two zippered hand warmers
Feels like wearing a fleece blanket
The color selection is quite good
Made of blue-sign approved fleece
You will need more layers in really cold weather
The zipper gets caught easily
Some users have complained about the fit
It can have pilling issues
It is quite heavy
On its own (or when paired with base layering), it will probably keep you warm right around the point where water freezes (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Anything below that and you will be pushing your luck with this sweater (unless you add other layers).
What is rather lovely about it, though, is it will not be unbearably hot during warmer days. Even in 45 to 50-degree heat, this is not going to retain heat as severely as other fleece sweaters out there. As for its style, it will work excellent as an everyday garment (if that is what you want from it).
Some additional features play a role in superb comfort. First off, this garment is equipped with Raglan sleeves. While you do not need to know the origin of this type of sleeve, you do need to know that it enhances your overall mobility. This ensures that your arms will not be restricted for any physical activities you wish to partake in with this on.
What also helps is the fact that Patagonia engineered this with a flat-seam construction. In addition to reducing the overall bulk of the sweater, this construction also eliminates chafing as a whole. Let’s say that from top to bottom, this bad boy is just flat-out comfortable.
Arguably, outside of comfort, this would be the best aspect of this sweater. These hand warmers actually serve a few purposes. Firstly, and this is obvious due to their name; they provide a convenient and secure location for your hands when they get a little chilly. Secondly, due to the zippers, they can effectively hold some of your smaller items (or even loose change).
There is also another pocket, and it is located at the chest. While this is also zippered, it is not quite as practical. For anything sizeable, it is going to come off as bulky and somewhat distracting. Oh, and one more thing, the zipper also tends to catch onto the fabric a little too quickly (watch out for that).
Most users agree that the fit is not snug enough to be uncomfortable. The issue comes when you look at the design of the sleeves. Without question, this has been the largest complaint in regard to this garment. They are simply too long and you may find yourself constantly pushing them back up.
It is also not as if you can just order smaller sleeves. In order to do that, you would need to order a smaller size altogether. This would probably end up providing a snugger fit than you would prefer. So, in short, if you find long sleeves a nuisance, you may want to pass on this one.
The ultimate question then becomes; how does this hold up during such conditions? Let’s be frank here; this is not a windbreaker, and it was not designed to be. Without an outer shell, your body is going to feel the wind when it begins to howl. During moderate winds, though, you should be just fine.
However, this is not exactly bad news. Remember, this is suitable for layering. Just slap on a windbreaker jacket over this sweater and you will be ready to rock when the wind wants to come out to play.
Hypothetically, if you wore this in the summer and your body was drenched in sweat, you would probably be dying in this sucker. On the flip side, during hikes and walks on moderately cold and warm days, you should still feel comfortable in this, without the need for a winter hiking jacket. There is also something else that hinders the breathability a tad bit.
As will be further documented, this is not exactly light. It weighs well over a pound, and this extra weight has been noticed by several users who have worn it.
Now, it is also worth mentioning that you may or may not care too much about the extra bulk and weight of this jacket. Being designed for colder weather, it is not as if you need it to be as light as possible. Truthfully, it just comes down to your tolerance level with this sort of thing.
If you want to find out if this will be too heavy, weigh the sweaters and jackets you currently have. If they are around the same weight or even heavier and you find them comfortable, then you should be good to go.
Now, as for physical durability, there is good news and bad news here. Starting with the good news, the bottom hems and jersey trim at the cuffs add enhanced abrasion resistance. They will hold up quite well to multiple washes and daily usage. However, the same can’t be said about the fabric itself.
Several buyers have had issues with pilling. Some of these same buyers have gotten replacements, but the fact remains that it is an issue. That is not too much of a surprise when you look at the history of fleece. At the same time, it is something that you need to take note of.
You can tell that Patagonia emphasized these types of settings as they offer this in several standard colors such as gray, black, khaki, and walnut. Most men are going to agree that it is tough to go wrong with a color selection like that. Plus, you can count on this sweater matching virtually anything else you put on for the day.
Looking at the glass half empty, there is a lack of vibrant colors available. For men, this is not sold in blue, red, orange, yellow, green, etc. Whether or not this is a concern comes down to your personal preferences.
It’s also going to be quite practical for many different situations too. Due to the well-designed pockets, warm fleece interior, semi-decent breathable core, and its ability to account for more layers, you can wear this in quite a few different climates. But there are also problems.
The sleeves tend to be too long, the fabric has been known to pill, it is quite heavy, and the zipper also gets stuck too quickly. For a sweater jacket that is going to cost you an arm and a leg, these are problems that some of you will not want to deal with.
That is really what this all comes down to; is this worth the price of admission? While you will ultimately have to answer that on your own, there have been several users who have had excellent experiences with the Better Sweater. Just keep that in mind.