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Hands-on Gear Review
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - Women's Review
Cons: Expensive, boxy cut, low quality stitching
Introducing a long-time favorite among rock climbers, alpinists, and hikers, the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket is a classic go-to lightweight layer for protection against the elements. This minimalist jacket is ideal for clipping to a harness or tossing into a backpack - it compresses down to the size of a big deli sandwich, while still providing a great warmth-to-weight ratio. Although it doesn't have some of the cozy features that other jackets offer, it is an incredible workhorse piece that you can quickly toss on during a big adventure.
This non-bulky jacket layers perfectly under a shell, but also provides enough warmth to stand alone in not-so-cold conditions. We don't love the its styling or its cheap stitching, but if you're looking for a solely technical piece that compresses super small while keeping your fairly warm, then the Nano Puff can't be beat.
For a warmer, more attractive technical jacket with more cozy features, check out the The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's or the Editors' Choice winner, the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's. Alternatively, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's offers sleek styling and high technical performance, but doesn't stuff into its own pocket.
RELATED: Our complete review of insulated jackets - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
A few years ago, we tested the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover, but last year, we upgraded to the full-zip jacket version. The two have a lot of similarities in terms of their performance, but the major difference is that the jacket is not as compressible or light as the pullover. Aside from that, the Nano Puff Jacket is an awesomely warm and lightweight layer that is perfect for anything from long multi-pitch climbs, to going on a fall morning hike, to layering under a shell.
The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket relies on 60 g/m2 of PrimaLoft Gold insulation, which offers some of the best compressibility of any jacket in this review. As with all the jackets we reviewed, the Nano Puff's insulation is hydrophobic, so it will still keep you warm if it gets wet. The full-zip jacket and hoody have hand pockets and a pull cord at the hemline to seal in warmth, but the pullover version of this product skimps on both these features and instead serves as a much more minimalistic piece.
Surprisingly, this jacket was almost as warm as some of the slightly more bulky pieces like the Rab Xenon X, and significantly warmer than both the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's and Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket - Women's. On the other hand, The North Face ThermoBall was a touch warmer, offering a little more loft on those cold days.
Compressibility & Weight
The second lightest jacket that we reviewed, next to the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket, the Nano Puff was one of the most compact when compressed. It packs down into its chest pocket to about the size of a big pastrami sandwich on rye. Our testers agreed that this was the jacket's single greatest attribute. It also comes equipped with a sturdy gear loop to clip it to a harness or backpack. Interestingly, other jackets like the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic and the North Face ThermoBall will stuff into the Nano Puff's pocket, meaning that they are just as compressible, but because their manufacturers made their stuff pockets a little extra roomy, they don't pack down into as compact a package.
We weren't overly impressed with this jacket's water resistance, but found it to be better than the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic. Water beaded up on this jacket for a moment, but it soon soaked in, especially on the quilted stitches. We did notice that it did not absorb a whole lot of water through our shower test and was still quick to dry out.
During our wind resistance tests, this piece performed similarly to the ThermoBall and Thermostatic quilted jackets. Although it offers some wind resistance, eventually we were left with the shivers. Continuous shell pieces like the Rab Xenon X and Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's do a much better job at cutting the cold simply because those jackets don't have as many seams and stitches as these quilted jackets.
Comfort & Coziness
As a minimalist jacket, this product just isn't that comfy or cozy. Although it has a few features, like a garaged zipper (all versions) and a pull cord at the hemline (full-zip jacket and hooded models), it lacks comforts like fleece-lined hand pockets and fleece-lined chin guards (we love those, especially on the Editors' Choice winning Rab Xenon X). Additionally, its fabric doesn't have any stretch, which makes the jacket pull up when you put your arms over your head. Finally, it has a bit of a boxy cut, making it less fitted, and - in our testers' opinions - less comfy. For a jacket that is more fitted and offers some of those fleecy comforts, try the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic or the Outdoor Research Uberlayer - Women's
Similar to most of the quilted jackets tested, the Nano Puff also demonstrated decent breathability while outside playing. This is one of the reasons it's a go-to piece for many climbers and hikers alike. If you want a jacket geared towards highly aerobic winter activity, check out our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's.
Style & Fit
Patagonia advertises this piece as having a "Regular Fit." Most of our testers for this review have an athletic build and found this jacket to be very boxy. While the sleeves are long enough for fairly long arms, the cut is a little shorter and rides up easier than other jackets in the review. This year, the jacket has rectangular baffles with a whole new variety of colors. Overall this jacket has a techy look with a little less style.
Without hesitation, we would say that the best application for the Patagonia Nano Puff is multi-pitch rock climbing. In this scenario, the jacket clips easily to your harness and serves as the perfect extra lightweight layer that you can throw on if the wind kicks up or the sun disappears behind the clouds. It also works well as a lightweight non-bulky mid layer that fits perfectly under a shell or other jacket during cold winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, or ice climbing. However, it's important to note here that this model isn't breathable like the Rab Strata Hoody - Women's or the new Outdoor Research Uberlayer.
The full-zip jacket has a price tag of $200, which is the going rate for the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic jacket, Outdoor Research Cathode (Best Buy winner) and the North Face Thermoball Jacket.The Nano Puff is a great technical piece, but we wished that the stitching held up longer, especially for this price tag. One thing to consider is that one of the biggest complaints with this product is its lack of durability through its stitching and zippers. The zipper used has small teeth, and more likely to fail then the burly zippers of all other jackets tested. Needless to say, Patagonia will replace any manufacturer defect including a busted zipper, or undone stitching for the lifetime of the garment.
The Nano Puff Jacket is a great go-to piece when you are looking for an awesome mid layer on colder days or a lightweight belay jacket for long multi-pitch climbs.
Nano Puff Jacket
Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody and Nano Puff Hoody - Women's
— Amber King and Amanda Fenn
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 11, 2014
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