Review: Patagonia Women’s NetPlus Down Sweater

A low-impact, high-quality jacket with unbeatable ethical credentials

Feature type Review

Read time 8 mins

Published Jan 19, 2023

Hannah Mitchell BASE Digital Writer Hannah is a Lake District-based journalist and all-round outdoor lass with a particular fondness for rock faces.

Our Verdict

The NetPlus Down Sweater is a high quality, lightweight, windproof wardrobe staple for ethical consumers, with the newest incarnation of the design being made using recycled fishing nets.

RRP £250
Features 100% post-consumer recycled fabric, 800-fill-power certified responsible down, elastic cuffs and drawcord hem, inbuilt stuff sack, internal storm flap

Pros

  • Unbeatable ethical credentials
  • Super lightweight and stuffable
  • Windproof

Cons

  • Cut a little large across the chest for me

What I’m Looking For

Part of my attempts to avoid over-consumption when it comes to outdoor kit means that I am often either shivering or sweating when out and about. For a while now I’ve been making do with my one and only heavyweight down jacket and ill-fitting, borrowed items from my other half’s significantly more extensive wardrobe. Much to his relief, the NetPlus Down Sweater looks to be the lightweight layer of warmth that I’ve been needing; something a bit less bulky for when I’m on the move.

First Impressions

There aren’t many brands to trump Patagonia’s ethical credentials and activist approach

There aren’t many brands to trump Patagonia’s ethical credentials and activist approach to working standards, materials, animal welfare and the environment. The brand has graced news pages pretty regularly over the years, not least back in 2022, when it was announced that founder Yvon Chouinard would transfer ownership of the $3 billion company to Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective, in an effort to preserve the business’s purpose and combat climate change.

Patagonia started turning fishing nets into fabrics back in 2014, when they first partnered with Bureo to collect used nets from local fishers in South America. The range now boasts over 100 items, including this down sweater. If like me, you like to do a bit of digging when it comes to substantial sustainability claims, you can gen up on Bureo, its fully traceable supply chain, communities they support and other brands they work with on their website. There’s even a contact form for enquiries about end-of-life solutions.

Back to the unboxing. Firstly, the fabric feels softer than any shell I’ve ever felt before, it’s silky and light – worryingly so. I wonder how long it’ll be before I snag this beautiful bit of kit on a fence or tree branch? Oh, and it is beautiful. Aesthetically, this really ticks the box for me in colour, although the cut feels a little loose across the chest (I’m trying out a size medium). Every element feels well-made and designed for comfort, from the elasticated cuffs and roomy pockets to the drawcord waist.

It scrunches and stuffs into its own inner pocket and bounces right back with a quick, vigorous shake. The included repair patch is a welcome wee addition too, particularly as I have my concerns over the silkiness of the shell!

The Test

I’ve been sporting the NetPlus Down Sweater since late October last year, in that time it’s been my belay buddy in the baltic climate of the climbing wall, has come along on numerous walks around the Lake District (most recently a bitterly windy amble up Carrock Fell whilst waiting for the boulders to dry) and helped me portray a vague façade of style whilst hobnobbing at the outdoor event of the year – Kendal Mountain Festival.

The jacket has been stuffed and stashed in my pack, layered up and down, experienced drizzle, high winds, the first flurries of Lakeland snow and even had a brush with a Hawthorn tree which, I can confirm, it survived unscathed.

Who is this jacket for?

The versatility of this jacket means it’s a pretty good bet for hiking, climbing and scrambling, as well as urban adventures too. It can certainly be layered up to suit colder weather activities, is low-profile enough to put a waterproof over, and I imagine would stand up to the chill pretty nicely in alpine environments and maybe even on the ski slope.

There’s no denying that Patagonia is en vogue right now, and the Down Sweater has a cool, casual, timeless look to it that makes it a staple for stylish outdoor folk. Of course, the sustainability of the sweater’s composition and Patagonia’s ethical values will be a bigger draw for people who are striving to make more environmentally and socially conscious choices when it comes to their outdoor gear. Those that are seeking quality and therefore longevity in their clothing will appreciate the craftsmanship of the Down Sweater, because despite my initial reservations about the fabric’s robustness, it proved itself to be pretty hardy in the ‘collided with a tree’ test.

What stands out?

Soft but strong

With its 100% recycled composition in mind, the silky feel of the fabric does make you question whether it’s likely to be as tough as other non-recycled options, yet I have so far found NetPlus to be just as robust as my other down jacket.

Warm and windproof

The lightweight feel of the Down Sweater belies its warmth and ability to keep the wind out. Even the most biting wind on the fells was kept at bay without excessive layering underneath.

Packs down and bounces back

The Down Sweater fits conveniently and very neatly into its own inner stuff-pocket, and returns to its former puffiness with just a quick shake.

Aesthetics

Alright, I’m not especially cool, but I really felt like I gained a few points when I put this jacket on. Style-wise it’s definitely got a look that’ll carry you from the fells to the pub, however…

Cut

…whilst I love the colour, style and quality of the Down Sweater, I found the cut to be a little loose across my chest. This is going to be totally subjective to the wearer’s body shape, and whilst it doesn’t detract a great deal for me overall, I’d definitely suggest trying a couple of sizes for the perfect fit!

Value for money

All of these things combine of course, to warrant a relatively hefty price tag of £250. However, Patagonia’s repair services, tutorials on DIY fixes and the option of trading in old gear and buying secondhand through their Worn Wear initiative reflects their model for the production, consumption, and ownership of apparel.

Pricey, maybe. But this jacket is in it for the long-haul if you want it to be.

BASE Bottom Line

It’s an imperfect art, being a mindful consumer. Being comfortable in the outdoors requires a certain amount of investment, but a key part of keeping our impact low lies in not buying things at all. Patagonia know that, and as a brand really do endeavour to maintain a for-profit business model that demonstrates that capitalism can, in some ways, work in the earth’s favour. In their own words:

‘One of the best things we can do for the planet is keep stuff in use longer and reduce our overall consumption’.

Personal moral dilemmas aside, the NetPlus Down Sweater is a versatile, super-lightweight and conveniently packable jacket. Its 100% post-consumer recycled fabric composition is silky-soft but with a surprising durability. It looks good, feels good, layers up to suit the conditions and keeps you warm with decent wind-resistance for a jacket of its kind. It’s low-impact, high-quality kit that’ll last.

Like the look of NetPlus? Check out outdoor photographer Francesco Guerra‘s review of the men’s Down Sweater here.

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