Review: Patagonia DAS Light Hoody

Some pieces of outdoor apparel are a cut above the rest, and the Patagonia DAS Light Hoody is one of them. Its combination of fit, feel, and features (or lack thereof) make this jacket the obvious choice for a lightweight—yet remarkably warm—outer insulation layer.

The DAS Light Hoody, as its name suggests, is a lighter version of Patagonia’s legendary DAS Parka. The “Light” is made for use in cool-but-not-frigid environments, where its loftier predecessor would be overkill. The premise of the DAS is having a layer that can be thrown on top of all the other layers during lapses in activity, when you’re not generating as much body heat. Think belaying, rappelling, snack breaks, and camping. DAS stands for “Dead Air Space,” which is exactly what you want to be wrapped up in when trying to retain warmth.

What really stands to me about the DAS Light Hoody is its fit. To sum it up in one word: roomy. I’ve noticed that many insulated jackets on the market today are far too slim to fit atop other layers—at least with any retention of upper-body mobility. I’m always caught between sizing too tight vs. too long. But this is not the case with the DAS Light. In fact, if you try it on over just a t-shirt, it will probably feel exceptionally huge. That’s because it’s meant to be worn as an extra layer in the mountains: where you might have a baselayer, fleece, shell jacket, and even a helmet all piled on underneath. Yes, the hood fits comfortably over a helmet—even with the main zipper all the way up—sparing me from (verbally) tearing the jacket to pieces upon first inspection. There’s no compromise here on mobility; Patagonia nailed the fit.

The DAS Light’s insulation is synthetic. Compared with down, synthetic insulation is less expensive, has better weather resistance, and is easier to maintain; but its typically bulkier, heavier, and not quite as warm. That being said, the DAS Light has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any synthetic jacket I’ve used. This is partly due to its fit (as mentioned above), and its lack of extraneous features (discussed below), but mainly because of its extremely lightweight nylon exterior and interior fabric. This fabric is very supple—again enhancing mobility, while also allowing for incredible packability. The jacket easily stuffs into the void spaces of a climbing or ski pack, ready to deploy when the mercury drops.

Das Light Cooking

Cooking burritos in a chilly alpine camp with the DAS Light

Now, this lightweight outer fabric probably isn’t the most durable—I don’t have any holes in mine yet, but it won’t be long before I do. At which point I’ll slap on some repair tape, and call it good. No big deal. Not to mention, Patagonia’s warranty program is the gold standard for outdoor apparel. No matter how old, battered, or tattered your jacket is, you can send it in for repair. If it’s not repairable, you’ll get credit toward buying a new one.

The DAS Light's synthetic insulation also makes it easy to care for. When it gets dirty and smelly (like it’s supposed to), just throw it in the laundry for a normal wash-and-dry cycle. No special detergents or treatment required. Despite its minimal weight, the DAS Light is clearly designed as a workhorse jacket.

The DAS Light has an elastic drawstring on the hood (for when you’re not wearing a helmet), two zippered hip pockets, and one zippered chest pocket. The jacket can be stuffed inside one of the hip pockets and clipped to a harness. This pocket seems to have been updated on the 2023/24 version of the jacket, as reviews of the previous version claim that the pocket is too small to stuff the jacket inside.

That’s all. No extra frills. So there’s not much to talk about here, except that the lack of extra features keeps this jacket’s weight low, and helps it pack down very small.

Das Light

The DAS Light Hoody stuffed inside its hip pocket, with a lanyard for clipping onto a harness. Pint glass for scale.

To sum it up, the DAS Light Hoody is everything you need in a puffy—and nothing you don’t. It’s great for belaying on summer alpine climbs, or cool days at the crag in autumn, taking lunch on a ski tour, or cooking up dinner in camp after dark. This jacket is truly one of the most thoughtfully designed pieces of outdoor apparel I’ve ever owned—owing largely to the fact that it’s designed simply. It fits well, packs down small, and keeps me warm when the cold is biting. What more could you ask for?

Available at; $349.