I used to not understand why Patagonia had such a cult following. If I’m being honest, I always thought it was just an expensive outdoor gear company.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Florida where my “outdoor gear” included flip flops, bathing suits, bug spray, and loose T-shirts that kept me cool in the scorching heat. I never really had to consider the need for warm performance clothing, even when camping. All that mattered was keeping the mosquitoes and love bugs from flying into my mouth while I searched for sharks’ teeth in the creek.

Then I moved around the country a few times and started working at Business Insider. When my coworkers (all loyalists, or at least fans) found out that I literally didn’t own anything from the company, they were what the youth these days call “shook.” And so began my induction into the Cult of Patagonia.

I was given the chance to try out a few items both in an effort to bring me to the Dark Side and an opportunity to spread the good word of Patagonia to our readers. And I am now officially a convert.

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Foto: sourcePatagonia

The thing that really hooked me was this Organic Cotton Quilt Snap-T Pullover ($149). I’ve been familiar with Patagonia’s Synchilla Fleece sweaters for a while by virtue of their ubiquity at the Washington, DC university I went to, but this pullover felt new and fresh enough to differentiate itself.

At this point, and please forgive me for this cliche, I’m just wondering how I lived without it for so long.

The sweater is buttery soft and incredibly warm considering how very medium the thickness is, and the snaps on the neck allow me to bundle up or cool off as needed. Somehow the outer layer of material also manages to be slightly water-resistant despite feeling like the softest cotton you’ve ever touched. Plus, it doesn’t hurt knowing that the pullover is made from organic cotton, which means no harmful fertilizers or pesticides were used in the growing process.

I’m usually a medium, but I sized up on this sweater to a large to give myself a roomier fit – and I’m really glad I did. I think it would have been too tight around the hips if I’d gone with the medium. The arms are slightly long, which probably has something to do with the fact that I’m only five feet tall, but I don’t mind being able to pull them over my hands if I get cold while walking around.

Overall, this was the thing that brought me into the fan club. I suddenly “got” what everyone was so obsessed with. Yes, you’ll pay a high price for quality, but it’s exactly that quality that makes Patagonia so worthwhile. When you invest in something you know will work well, it feels better than buying two of the lesser versions. I think that’s the feeling people who love Patagonia are after. Well, that and the fact that you can feel good about supporting its mission to undo the damage we silly humans have done unto our planet. It’s a place for pragmatists and hopefuls to shop.


Foto: Women’s Raven Rocks Hoody in Moccasin Brown, $229sourcePatagonia

The other item I got to try out was this lightweight but powerful Raven Rocks Hoody jacket ($229), and I now understand why it’s a better idea to buy a performance jacket that’s actually meant to combat the cold rather than an expensive but maybe more fashion-forward alternative (however, I do think this brown color is awesome). It wasn’t Patagonia that taught me that lesson, but now I trust that this is the place to go when I need something to do its job.

You can bet I’ll be writing a review of the coat soon enough, but for now, suffice it to say that I’ve officially fallen in love with Patagonia. I have multiple items (including a Synchilla Fleece… so help me) on my wish list, and I’m looking forward to the camaraderie that is to follow once my coworkers find out that I’m now an official, card-carrying member of the cult.

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