Spring/Summer Gear Guide: Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket

The flexibility of the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket make it the yoga pants of shell jackets. PHOTO: Kade Krichko
The flexibility of the Patagonia Dirt Craft Jacket make it the yoga pants of shell jackets. Photo: Kade Krichko

When it comes to shells and light jackets, there’s always the lingering thought that they might not be up to the durability standards of your typical outdoor dirt bag. Sure, that shell does just fine on the trail, but what about chopping wood for the campfire that night? Or what about the smell of that shell after a few days on said trail?

Light jackets are a dime-a-dozen (while costing quite a few more dimes than a dozen), so choosing the right jacket is no easy business.

I took a look at Patagonia’s new shell piece, the Dirt Craft Jacket ($129), to see if it made the cut for this season’s favorite jackets. Here’s the low-down.

The five percent of spandex rip stop material integrated into the Dirt Craft’s shell is incredibly stretchy, helping reduce the risk of blowout or snag with any sort of exerted motion. This is huge in my book, as there are few worse things than being held a torsional prisoner by your own outerwear.

A single pull hem along the waist helps lock things down when conditions get a little chilly and the jacket’s DWR finish makes sure any inclement weather stays put.

The only thing I’d change are the cuffs. It’s a small feature, but it comes with big consequences. The cuffs on the Dirt Craft are very tight, making pulling the jacket on and off a real pain in the britches. Add to that the Velcro strap on each cuff, and the entire thing seems a bit redundant — an unfortunate flaw for an otherwise seamless jacket option.

This thing is a biking and hiking machine, built to stretch and perform. It will work under lesser stress as well, but this piece thrives when in motion.

The bottom line is this: Are you looking to get out and after it this summer? The Dirt Craft is for the go-getters in your group that need a shell to work with them rather than against them. It’s not the lightest shell but durability more than makes up for any extra weight gain.

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