Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Super light weight, windproof, water resistant
Cons: Very delicate, shell rips easily
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Micro Puff sets a new standard in the game of warmth-to-weight ratios. At 8.15 ounces, this jacket is lighter than any other lightweight option we have tested, by quite a lot, while still retaining a ton of warmth. 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.
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 Patagonia cousins. 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. Consider us impressed.
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 8.15 ounces, making it the lightest jacket in the review, almost 4 ounces lighter than the next closest competitor. Regarding compressibility, this model stuffs into its right handwarmer pocket and features a clip-in loop, just like one would expect for such a thin jacket. It packs down small, but also tight, and can be a real challenge to pack away. The challenge of getting it fully stuffed meant that our testers found less value in this feature than we would hope for.
Patagonia's DWR treatment continues to impress our testers. The same treatment that keeps us dry when used on other jackets 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.
Our testers were quick to take this jacket off as soon as 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 one of the large selection of active, stretchy mid-layers designed specifically to emphasize their breathability.
Currently available in black, Forge Grey, Paintbrush Red, and Viking blue, the Micro Puff looks like a shiny, colorful trash bag. Flashy, with a 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.
The Micro Puff ranks up there as one of the most expensive insulated jackets you can buy, and since you are most certainly getting less material, does not present the best insulation to dollar value. In fact, we think that the other Patagonia insulated jackets, which are also fairly pricey, tend to deliver a bit more, especially when it comes to durability. Unless you want the absolute lightest insulated layer, we would probably look elsewhere.
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 super well 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.
— Andy Wellman & Matt Bento