Simple in design, lightweight and built using Gore-Tex’s Paclite Plus technology, the Calcite is designed with two main attributes in mind: packability and durability. As a result, the jacket is perhaps best suited to climbers, hikers and skiers who like to move at speed through winter landscapes. When the weather is dry, its minimal pack-down size and weight (411g) means you hardly notice it in your rucksack, and when it’s wet you can rely on the jacket’s 2.5-layer Gore-Tex fabric to keep harsh winter rains at bay.
First and foremost, the jacket performs well in heavy rain, remaining dry on both the inside and outside – the DWR finish repels raindrops, which stops the material getting saturated and ensures it remains breathable. The watertight front zipper, which pulls all the way up to your nose, and a large, adjustable hood offer further protection. It’s quick-drying, too.
The two hand-warmer pockets are a good size (both can fit an OS map) but their positioning is a little awkward if you’re planning on wearing a rucksack with a hip-belt. There’s another outer pocket on the chest, which is handy for quick-access items, but no inner pockets.
What makes the Calcite different from most of the other jackets on review is its seasonal versatility. It’s a suitable option for British winters – the fit falls somewhere between athletic and standard, meaning you can wear a baselayer and thin fleece underneath, though you may need to go a size up if you’re planning on using more underlayers. But it can also be worn in the summer months – the inner, textured fabric feels soft and light against your skin and huge underarm vents offer excellent ventilation.
It’s worth noting, however, that the Gore-Tex laminate is not designed for use with heavy backpacks on long walks. This is a jacket better suited to day-long walks or climbs with small, light packs.
As always, Patagonia’s environmental and ethical credentials are impressive. The Calcite has a 100% recycled polyester face and is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn, meaning Patagonia pay a premium on the jacket – the extra money goes directly to the workers at the factory.
Calcite Jacket specifications
- Weight: 411g
- MaterialL: 2.5-layer, 100% recycled polyester plain-weave GORE-TEX Paclite® Plus shell.
- Maker’s waterproof rating: GORE-TEX Paclite® and DWR (durable water repellent) finish.
- Breathability/vents: System Dual Protection, very large underarm vents.
- Hood: Optimal Visibility Hood with laminated visor is helmet-compatible and two-way-adjustable to provide good visibility in poor conditions
- Pockets: Exterior left-chest pocket with coated, watertight zipper and welted handwarmer pockets feature DWR (durable water repellent)-treated zips
- Sustainability: 100% recycled polyester face. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. 68% of Patagonia’s fabrics this season are made with recycled materials. 83% of Patagonia’s line is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn – that’s more Fair Trade styles than any other apparel brand.
Available in a range of colours – including fire and oak grove green – for women and men. The women’s version of the Calcite Jacket varies in cut, colour and weight (371g, women’s medium). The rest of the jacket shares the same features as the men’s version.
Synthetic and merino wool both have their merits (synthetic is hard-wearing and can be stretchy; merino is less stinky) but a mix of the two can give you the best of both worlds. Ratios can vary, but this superlight (88g for the women’s) new design is a good balance, at 65 per cent Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified merino wool and 35 per cent Capilene, or recycled polyester. The sleeves are designed for better movement and fit and the back dips slightly on the women’s. It’s also Fair-Trade-certified sewn and one per cent of sales go to eco causes. This top would work well for layering throughout the year, too.