Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Review

Price:  $299 List | $299.00 at REI
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Super light weight, windproof, water resistant
Cons:  Very delicate, shell rips easily
Bottom line:  A great midlayer for the weight conscious hiker or climber.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Weight (size small):  8.15 oz
Insulation:  65 g PlumaFill (100% polyester)
Outer Fabric:  Nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum GL
Manufacturer:   Patagonia

Our Verdict

The newest offering from Patagonia is a featherweight contender even lighter and more compressible than the classic Patagonia Nano Puff. The Micro Puff uses an ultralight Pertex Quantum GL shell and a new synthetic insulator called PlumaFill to jack up the warmth-to-weight ratio, keeping our testers warmer on cool fall days and less weight in their packs. This jacket performs best as a mid layer for weight conscious climbers and hikers. Worn as an outer layer, we found that ultralight shell is easily shredded by bushes and rough rock. For all-around performance, the Rab Xenon X Remains king of the insulated jackets. Warmer, more weather resistant, less expensive, and far more durable than the Micro Puff, the Xenon X runs away with our Editors' Choice award for yet another season.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Matt Bento

Last Updated:
Wednesday
October 25, 2017

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The Patagonia Micro Puff sets a new standard in the game of warmth-to-weight ratios. At 8.15 oz, this jacket is lighter than the super thin Arcteryx Atom SL, while being much warmer. Weight matters, whether you're pushing it hard in the mountains, or just trying to squeeze more stuff into your carry-on, and the Micro Puff shows us the way to a lighter, warmer, more civilized future.

Performance Comparison


Keeping you warm without weighing you down  a size small fits a lanky 5' 10" dude perfectly.
Keeping you warm without weighing you down, a size small fits a lanky 5' 10" dude perfectly.

Warmth


Despite being so light that it blew away during a gentle breeze, the Micro Puff still packs plenty of heat, more so than its heavier cousin, the Patagonia Nano Puff. Patagonia bravely compares its new PlumaFill insulation to goose down, and while not quite as lofty as nature's top insulator, the PlumaFill gets pretty close while still retaining the warm-when-wet features of synthetic insulation. If warmth is your primary concern, check out the warmest (and heaviest) jacket in this season's review, The Hyper Puff.

Weight and Compressibility


Weight is the Micro Puff's strong suit. The PlumaFill insulation is arranged in long strands that shift around less than synthetic insulators, requiring less stitching and materials to hold it in place, and preventing cold spots. Our men's small test piece weighs in at 8.15oz, making it the lightest jacket in the review, almost 4oz lighter than the Nano Puff, but only an ounce lighter than the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket. Regarding compressibility, this model stuffs into its right hand warmer pocket and features a clip in loop, just like the classic Micro Puff. It packs down small, but also tight, and is more difficult to pack away than the Rab Xenon X. The Xenon X may not pack down as little, but it's easy to stow away in its pocket, making our testers way more likely to use this feature.

The Micro Puff packs away neatly into its left hand warmer pocket. At 8.15oz  our tester hardly noticed it clipped to his harness.
The Micro Puff packs away neatly into its left hand warmer pocket. At 8.15oz, our tester hardly noticed it clipped to his harness.

Weather Resistance


Patagonia's DWR treatment continues to impress our testers. The same treatment that keeps us dry in the Nano-Air and the Nano Puff works just as well on the Micro. When the treatment is fresh, and the jacket is clean and free of oils, water runs right off the Micro Puff. Getting the insulation wet enough to investigate the lofty-when-wet claims involved holding the poor jacket underwater in the sink and squeezing. The thin Pertex shell offers great protection against the wind, especially when the hood is up and zipped tight.

While savage winds threatened to blow our tester off the boulder  the Micro Puff still managed to keep him warm.
While savage winds threatened to blow our tester off the boulder, the Micro Puff still managed to keep him warm.

Breathability


Our testers were quick to take this jacket off as soon it was time for heavy breathing. The water-resistant, windproof Pertex shell doesn't let much air in, or out, and we felt like we were in a sauna during steep approaches and on difficult pitches. For a more breathable option, check out our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia Nano-Air, or the Outdoor Research Uberlayer.

This jacket has an athletic cut that doesn't restrict mobility.
This jacket has an athletic cut that doesn't restrict mobility.

Style


Currently available in black, Forge Grey, Paintbrush Red, and Viking blue, the Micro Puff looks like a shiny, colorful trash bag. Flashier than the Nano-Puff and with a similar quilted pattern, this contender is at home in the backcountry, but we wouldn't be surprised to see one of these things over a nice flannel to complete the dirtbag-chic look out at the bar.

Minimalist zipper pulls  no hood or hem cinch  and no chest pocket help to make this jacket lighter.
Minimalist zipper pulls, no hood or hem cinch, and no chest pocket help to make this jacket lighter.

Best Applications


We'd recommend this competitor as a mid-layer. It is lighter and warmer than the Patagonia Nano Puff, but nowhere near as durable. Without a more durable shell layer on top, our testers ripped several holes through the thin Pertex in five pitches of moderate rock climbing. Additionally disappointing is that once the insulation starts to come through the tears in the shell, it catches on sticks and brush, and since it's arranged in long strands, even more insulation pulls out.

Our testers found this jacket to be extremely delicate. It easily rips against rocks and branches.
Our testers found this jacket to be extremely delicate. It easily rips against rocks and branches.

Value


Fans of the brand will need to shell out $299 to get their hands on a brand new Micro Puff; this is not exactly a steal compared to the $174 Nano Puff, or the lightweight and wallet-friendly Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket, which once again takes home our Best Buy Award. If you've got to have Patagonia, and you're not concerned about weight, do yourself a favor and pick a Patagonia Nano Puff. It's available in more colors, is much more durable, and has a similar look to the Micro Puff.

Conclusion


While not quite as lofty as down, the Micro Puff is a big step forward in synthetic insulation. Feather-light and warmer than its predecessors, this a good choice for weight conscious hikers and backpackers who are out in cold, wet conditions found in the spring and fall. Climbers and hikers beware; this model will not hold up as well as the classic Nano Puff or the Rab Xenon X while you're jamming and shimmying your way up granite cracks and chimneys. We're psyched to see what Patagonia does next with PlumaFill insulation, hopefully, a lighter jacket that is also more durable.

Matt Bento

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Most recent review: October 25, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
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3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
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