Patagonia Super Free Alpine Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Patagonia Super Free Alpine Jacket | Review

A lightweight but durable jacket that’s carefully designed to cater for the demands of alpine climbing

The Patagonia Super Alpine Jacket goes way back over a decade. Now we have the Super Free Alpine. This carries on the core essence of that original jacket while also bringing a very modern new fabric to the table, one that you could go as far as calling a game changer.


This is one of the first ever products to feature a brand new waterproof membrane from Gore-tex which is highly likely to replace the standard Gore-tex membrane that just about every outdoor enthusiast (and beyond) will have used at some point in their lives. It’s called ePE and the crux of it is that, unlike standard Gore-tex, it’s totally free from ePTFEs and PFCs, These are chemicals that have been deemed to be persistent and, in many cases, damaging to the environment. 

Pros: Sustainable fabrics, excellent cut, climber-friendly details
Cons: Expensive, cuffs prevent airflow

According to Gore-tex, this new waterproof fabric, which is also 100% recycled, is just as waterproof and just as breathable as its standard membrane, but it’s also lighter and lower in volume. That means that technically it’s less resource intensive. 

OM editor Will wearing a size M, his usual size. He’s 5 foot 10. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

It feels somewhat different to normal Gore-tex. It’s softer to the touch and is thinner and less crinkly. From what we’ve seen from the ePE products that we’ve tested so far, there doesn’t seem to be a tangible difference in performance. That said, with the absence of the ecosystem-polluting chemicals that once featured in durable water repellent treatments right throughout the industry, it’s now a good idea to regularly maintain PFC-free jackets such as this one with home-treatment solutions from the likes of Nikwax and so on. 

We think it’s worth highlighting the fact that Gore-tex’s hand has been somewhat forced here because environmental legislation is coming into place and consumer preferences are changing and this has meant that the use of ePTFEs, whether they’re of environmental concern or not, is going to soon become a thing of the past. Still, it’s a positive move by Gore-tex.


The Patagonia Super Free Alpine is a jacket that Patagonia market as being specifically designed for ‘hard alpine style climbs’. It has a built-in RECCO reflector and large hand pockets that are easily big enough to swallow an OS map and that are placed so that you can access them when you’re wearing a harness. There’s also an internal zipped pocket (the right size for a phone) and mesh dump pockets for drying out gloves and there are large two-way pit zips that can be opened and closed with one hand.

“It’s good to see Patagonia getting on-board with this new eco-friendlier waterproof membrane.”

Interestingly, the hood features an elasticated gasket within it that’s filled with a synthetic insulation. The thinking here is that it will serve as an extra line of defence from moisture and wind. We’ve never seen this before and we kind of like it as it does provide a nice bit of warmth and cosiness when you’ve got the hood up. Fortunately, the hood gets the basics right too. It’s has a large moldable peak that gives good face coverage and it can accommodate a helmet underneath it. There are three adjustment toggles so you can refine the fit precisely. These are plastic and spring operated and, while this makes them really smooth and easy to operate, we can see them breaking quite easily if the jacket is stepped on by accident. If this happened, they’d be hard to fix as they’re embedded within the fabric. There are four throughout the jacket altogether: three in the hood and one at the hem.

The cuffs also have gaskets within them too. These ones aren’t insulated but they still help to trap a bit of warmth into the jacket, working alongside your more standard Velcro tabs.


I’m 5 foot 10 and have an average build and I tried this in a medium which is my usual size. I really liked the fit. It accommodates a bulky layer of insulation underneath just fine but also doesn’t look baggy and flappy with just a baselayer underneath.

Patagonia have clearly put some effort into making sure that the jacket won’t get in the way when you’re climbing. Take the arms for instance. They’re quite long and are articulated so that the hem won’t lift up when you’re reaching up for a hold. Then there are the little cuts in the hem at each hip which help to reduce the amount that the jacket lifts up when you’re pulling off any wide leg stances.

For me the gaskets at the cuffs are overkill. Surely the Velcro tabs are enough to trap in heat and to block out moisture, spindrift and wind? Also, I often like to open up my cuffs nice and wide to create airflow when I need it, but the gaskets impede that. As already pointed out, I’m a little concerned about the durability and longevity of the adjustment toggles too.

Still, this is an impressive waterproof jacket and it’s good to see Patagonia getting on-board with this new eco-friendlier waterproof membrane from Gore-tex.

Price: £540
Weight: 420g

Available from:


Selected for the Outdoor 100 Winter 23/24
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