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Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody Review
Cons: Bulky and heavy
Bottom line: This heavy parka is a great alternative to down when you're faced with wet conditions.
Want the most bombproof jacket we reviewed? Check out the Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody. This is the closest jacket to Patagonia's discontinued DAS Parka (DAS stands for Dead Air Space). It easily won our Top Pick for Warmth. It's the best insulator for the nastiest conditions. When it's not quite snowing, not quite raining, and the wind is trying to knock you over, the Hyper Puff is your best option to throw on top of every layer and slog through the mess. Ice climbing and mountaineering in just-above-freezing, when a down coat could get soaked through, is the time for this specialized piece to shine. All this protection does come with a price though; the Hyper Puff Hoody packs down to the size of a small sleeping bag in its included stuff sack, and it is the heaviest jacket we reviewed.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets For Men
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
DAS Discontinued but Hyper Puff Even Better
The Hyper Puff is not a direct replacement for the discontinued DAS Parka. However, this is now the warmest synthetic jacket in the Patagonia lineup. So if you were a DAS fan, this is the next closest option. We like it better than the DAS. All the links to buy go to the Hyper Puff.
Key differences between the two. The Hyper Puff is:
The Hyper Puff is the heavy artillery of the insulated jackets, scoring high in the warmth and weather resistance metrics. The water-resistant PU coating and the high lofting PrimaLoft insulation kept our testers dry indefinitely in our water resistance tests. Consequently, this is also the heaviest jacket in the review and it doesn't breathe very well. Check out the Editors' Choice award-winning Rab Xenon X for a lighter option that is still highly weather resistant.
Our Top Pick for Warmth, this award winner feels warm like a down coat, only much heavier and less compressible. It features 100 g/m2 of Hyper DAS Insulation, beefed up with extra 60g/m2 Primaloft Gold in the torso, and you can see and feel the lofty barrier between you and the elements. It features a thick neck collar and an insulated hood that feels quite cozy when zipped up all the way. Let it be clear that no other jacket in this review comes close to matching the warmth of this contender.
Its niche is cold and damp conditions, when you'll face melting water or even rain; this is where it outshines down jackets. Though much lighter, a down jacket will turn into a wet rag when it's truly soaked, and then take forever to dry. This can be a deadly combination in the mountains. On its own, this contender is significantly warmer than Rab Xenon X, its closest competitor in this review, but it's over twice as heavy.
Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody underneath. The North Face ThermoBall Hoodie also features a tough DWR treated shell fabric, but its quilted construction design make it much less wind resistant. While it is only 3oz lighter than the Hyper Puff, it is nowhere near as warm.
Weight & Compressibility
No surprise, our top scoring jacket for warmth and weather resistance got the lowest scores in weight and compressibility. This storm fighting tank of a jacket weighs in at a heavy hitting 21.2 oz, which is 3 oz heavier than the ThermoBall Hoodie, and 12 oz heavier than the Arc'teryx Atom SL, the lightest model in our review. Comparing the Hyper Puff to these jackets is like comparing a Hummer to a Ferrari.
The Hyper Puff is designed as a synthetic alternative to a 700-800 fill down parka, not to compete with a fast and light piece like our Editors' Choice award-winning Rab Xenon X. The Hyper Puff is going to take a lot of room up in your pack, but using the included stuff sack will squeeze it down to around the size of a small sleeping bag. We experimented with the stuff sack clipped to our climbing harness, but quickly decided that it was too heavy and bulky to climb with. The Rab Xenon X and the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody both stuff into their own pockets and have a much lower profile when clipped on a climbing harness.
We gave the Hyper Puff a middle of the road score for comfort. To keep the weight down, it forgoes features like fleece-lined pockets and microfleece chin liners, and the lightweight Pertex shell has a slippery feel. All the warmth and loft comes with a boxy look and a bulky feel, but the underarm construction provides for a generous amount of mobility. The hood is large, roomy, and easily accommodates a helmet. Without a helmet, the hood cinch located on the rear of the hood does an excellent job of keeping the hood in place.
We liked the internal drop-in pocket for holding gloves or a water bottle. We also used them to warm up our climbing shoes. The hand warmer pockets are spacious and have insulation on both sides, and there is plenty of room for bars and goos in the easily accessible chest pocket. The elastic cuffs are snug but not uncomfortable, and when combined with the hem cinch located under the hand warmer pockets, you can hunker down and block out the wind and spindrift. Climbers especially will appreciate the beefy double zipper that opens from the bottom or the top.
The Hyper Puff easily received a 10 in the weather resistance metric, as the Rab Xenon X was the only jacket that came close to matching the wind and rain stopping prowess of the Hyper Puff. We found the Pertex polyurethane coated shell to be the toughest shell fabric of any jacket in the review. Combined with 100g/m2 HyperDAS, the wind cannot get through this jacket, including around the neck and hood. The insulation can handle getting wet, but with the DWR treatment and the PU coating, we're not sure if the insulation actually had the chance to soak up any water at all in our shower test. After five minutes under a heavy stream of running water, we shook all the water off the jacket, and it was completely dry and ready for action.
The Hyper Puff scored the lowest in breathability of any of the insulated jackets, but it is designed for bundling up in times when you are being relatively inactive, such as belaying or making camp. If you try and do any aerobic activity in such a heavily insulated jacket with such a thick, PU coated shell, you're going to sweat a lot. The exception is when conditions are truly extreme like when you are on a wind-blasted ridge, or skiing downhill on the coldest days. If you're on the hunt for a jacket that offers top-notch breathability, consider the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody.
Big, boxy, and shiny, the Hyper Puff isn't the most stylish jacket for wearing around town. The hem comes down low for coverage and warmth. While excellent for cold mountain bivys, the hood is huge, clunky, and overkill for casual wear. When sizing, keep in mind that this jacket is meant to fit over all your other layers. The jacket we tested is a nice blue color, and it is also available in black.
Just above freezing temperatures in the fall, spring, and winter when you might encounter running water are the prime environment for the Hyper Puff. This jacket was designed with the wet, snowy conditions of summertime climbing in Patagonia and Alaska in mind, when it could be too wet to rely on a down jacket to stay warm and dry.
Our Top Pick for Warmth is a specialist piece that we really only recommend for a relatively small percentage of consumers. It could be the right insulated jacket for you if:
At $300, this award winner is on the expensive side, but you get an effective, highly weather-resistant belay parka, backed up by Patagonia's excellent warranty. A down parka of similar warmth will likely cost at least another $100, but will retain its loft and compressibility longer.
Our Top Pick for Warmth, the Hyper Puff is the warmest, most weather resistant, and heaviest jacket in our review. These superlatives make it a specialized and formidable weapon against nasty alpine conditions and a burly, water resistant alternative to down. Pick one up if you are hanging out at wet and drippy belays.
— Matt Bento
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