Field Tested: Agnes’ Top 10 Patagonia

Patagonia’s recent release of Worn Wear on Black Friday reminded me of several big adventures and the performance clothing that helped make them possible.  Now, I don’t have any stories that hold a candle to some of those in the film, but I do have a handful of decade-old pieces with a lot of miles. Once something has proven invaluable, I try to get a replacement before it becomes irreplaceable. Below are my top 10 Patagonia favs that have seen constant use over the years and still do today (in no particular order):


  • Grade VI Jacket – This was my first technical Patagonia shell and still serves a place in my lineup. It’s seen several seasons of ice climbing, alpine routes on the Mooses Tooth and been to the top of Denali.  Patagonia has a reputation for making gear for the harshest of conditions and being worth the money.  They did not disappoint with the Grade VI.


  • Houdini Jacket – The ultimate windbreaker. Or sometimes more.  I have a couple since my husband photographed the color off the first one.  The Houdini is such a staple that it’s half the pictures we make every year. My first one lives in our rock climbing pack, right next to a headlamp.  It’s awesome for cool days climbing and lightweight to carry on long multi-pitch routes when you require something for the descent after sunset.  The jacket also finds its way on a variety of backpacking trips since its the perfect windbreaker with a hood.


  • Rock Guide Pants – Fell in love with the first version they came out with and freaked out a little when they stopped making them for a could years. The Rock Guide Pants are perfect for hiking, cool weather climbing, and for traveling; super versatile.  Pack a pair every trip.


  • M.L.C. – If you know me, you know that I love bags. I love bags of all shapes and sizes. When I was a kid, I kept my toys in brown paper grocery bags giving me the nickname of ‘Baggie Aggie’.  The M.L.C. (Maximum Legal Carry-on) is the perfect travel bag for a two-week trip.  I love that it fits in the overhead compartment on most airline, its easy to pack, and can be carried through the airport backpack-style. Even though Patagonia markets it for five days’ worth of clothes my husband and I have each sustained a 2-month trip living out of an M.L.C.

Wrangell - St Elias National Park, Alaska August 2013.

  • Active Briefs – Oh the unmentionables!  When you are active the last thing you want to worry about is your underwear.  From running to climbing to skiing you don’t want to have a pair of underwear ride you the wrong way.  Anyways, you never know on a trip when you may have to strip down to your undies to cross a thigh-deep glacier river or take a midday swim break. Patagonia’s active briefs have been reliable since the beginning and still have some of the original pairs in circulation. I’m amazed at how well they hold up to constant wear.


  • Simple Guide Hoody – Absolutely love this jacket for ice climbing. Its the perfect thickness and you don’t loss mobility if you add a couple layers underneath. The soft-shell material sheds water to keeps you dry.  And the helmet-compatible hood is great to keep the spindrift from blowing down your neck.

Plaza de Mulas basecamp on Aconcagua

  • Biostretch 3 Crew & Pants – Unfortunately Patagonia only made this line for a season or so. The form fit made this the ultimate base layering piece and perfect for under more slim fit jackets. We’re each trying to prolong the life expectancy of the sets we have, but they take a beating out there.


  • Margot Dress – My ‘go-to’ sundress.  It’s perfect to slip on after a day at the beach or great for around town when we’re traveling.  The v-front elongates the neck and adds a little sexiness to a casual cotton dress.


  • Nine Trails Skirt – Definitely feel that Patagonia lead the way with the running skirt. I got my first Nine Trail Skirt a couple years ago and have taken it on every running assignment since. It’s definitely my preferred running bottom.


  • Black Hole Duffel – The ultimate gear schlepping bags. We often need to move a lot of gear across the planet and these duffels do the job right. Sturdy, waterproof fabric and water-resistant zippers means you don’t worry when your luggage ends up on top of the bus or the side of a yak. Stoked that they now come in a roller version.

Safe Travels!

Agnes Hage

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