Centrale and Patera are Arc'teryx's first and second warmest parkas. They're both designed for walking around town when it's freezing out (line 24). They're NOT for high output activities.
Before even we get to their comparison in terms of technical performances, probably the most important thing you should know is that the Patera comes with a chronic zipper issue.
The problem is that it doesn't slide as smooth as you'd like. It gets stuck half way down, and honestly becomes really annoying after a certain point.
Arc'teryx DID address to this matter with a revision - although they seemingly failed. Some users continue complaining about it.
This might not be a deal-breaker for some of you but it certainly is something to consider. Worst case scenario you return the unused parka (don't forget to double check the return policy of the seller though).
Both the Centrale and Patera are equipped with 750 fill power European goose down. This is top-notch quality - meaning that it offers very high warmth to weight ratio and will last decades without losing its insulating power.
The amount as to how much both parkas are equipped with this down, on the other hand, differs (which is an equally important factor that determines the ultimate warmth achieved in practice):
- Patera (2019-2020 model) only has 59 grams of down.
- Centrale (2019-2020 model), on the other hand, comes with a whooping 157 GRAMS OF DOWN - and hence is substantially warmer than the Patera.
Here's the source:
In addition to down, they're also equipped with synthetic insulation in strategic locations (NOT throughout the entire jacket) in order to compensate the downsides of down insulation (poor wet weather performance & relatively fragile face fabric - read more about it here in this post of mine).
As a result...
I'd say, generally speaking, when it's dry out, with only a long sleeved shirt under and without a shell on top, with a mild wind and a very low to no activity level...
The approximate lowest temperatures an average person can wear these jackets without feeling cold can be listed as:
5 deg F (-15 deg C) for Patera and -5 deg F (-20 deg C) for Centrale.
If you think you run warmer or colder than the average person, mentally shift these temperatures accordingly.
In other words, Patera would just be enough for Boston winters. Anything colder than that and I'd recommend the Centrale.
Other than warmth, Centrale is also superior to Patera in the durability department since it's equipped with a higher amount of down and hence lasts for decades.
In terms of weather resistance they perform the same. They're water resistant (DWR coated), although not waterproof.
DWR is a coating. It's basically sprayed on to the surface of these jackets as a finish. It stands for Durable Water Repellent - which means that water will be repelled under wet conditions instead of soaking into the fabric. DWR also decreases dry time.
It's a good thing these jackets are coated in DWR, but pay attention to the fact that DWR is a coating - meaning that it will wear off over time.
Which is why you might want to invest in a DWR spray such as this one for after treatment.
Cut and Fit
Centrale is puffier outwards and also offers a baggier cut than the Patera.
Check out Arc'teryx's sizing chart for women here.