Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody Review

Top Pick Award
Price:  $299 List | $208.73 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very breathable, super comfortable
Cons:  Offers little wind resistance
Bottom line:  The most breathable and insulated jacket in the line up.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
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  • 4
  • 5
Weight (size small):  12.3 oz
Insulation:  60 g FullRange
Outer Fabric:  20D stretch nylon ripstop
Manufacturer:   Patagonia

Our Verdict

After two years on the market, the Nano-Air continues to be one of our favorite jackets for alpine climbing, cold weather running, and ski touring. No other jacket feels as soft and comfortable against our skin or offers as much stretch and mobility. We wore it around the house on chilly mornings, and even to sleep. Our Top Pick for Breathability, the Nano-Air is lighter and breathes better than its closest competitor, the Outdoor Research Uberlayer, though it's less burly and has less features. It has two super convenient chest pockets, two hand pockets, and a hood that fits well, even without a cinch cord. While most of the synthetic jackets in our review are alternatives to down jackets, the Nano-Air offers a warmer, weather resistant alternative to a fleece.

Product Updates
The Nano-Air has been tweaked just a touch since we tested it. See the latest version pictured above and check out the scoop on what's different below!


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets For Men


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Matt Bento

Last Updated:
Wednesday
April 25, 2018

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The 2018 Nano-Air vs the Version We Reviewed


The much loved and highly praised Nano-Air Hoody has had a few updates since we first tested it, mainly in the form of a fabric change, seam lines, and cuff updates. The newest version is pictured in the first photo below, followed by the one we reviewed on the right.

Patagonia Nano-Air Hood
  • Refined Paneling — The stitching and seams have been tweaked a bit in the hopes of improving the shape and fit of the jacket.
  • Material Updates — The new jacket uses 1.5 oz 30 denier fabric, instead of the 1.3 oz 20 denier which was used on the old version. Patagonia intended this fabric to be more durable, however, we have read several troubling reviews on their website which states the new fabric is prone to pilling.
  • Now Stuffs Into Pocket — This was one thing we wished for on the old Nano-Air, and Patagonia delivered — the entire jacket now stuffs into its left handwarmer pocket.
  • Cuff Modifications — The stretch binding cuffs on the previous jacket have been replaced by snag-resistant stretch knit cuffs.

Since our experts haven't tried on this latest version just yet, the following review refers to the older version of the Nano-Air.

Hands-On Review of the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody


The Patagonia Nano-Air earns top marks in the comfort and breathability metrics thanks to soft and stretchy fabrics and its unique FullRange insulation. Additionally, two hand warmer pockets, two chest pockets, and a snug hood made our testers eager to leave the jacket on whether they were on the move or at rest. While breathability compromises wind resistance, the DWR treatment makes this piece surprisingly water resistant, buying you some precious time to run for cover or dawn a waterproof layer in a sudden downpour.

Warmth


The Nano-Air sports 60g/m2 of Full range stretchy breathable insulation. Developed jointly by Japan's Toray Mills and Patagonia, we found it to be very warm for its weight and exceptionally lofty. When the wind blows, it cuts right through this jacket, but that's not the point. The Nano-Air is incredibly breathable and keeps you warm by keeping you dry during aerobic activity. Billed as the layer you can put on and leave on all day, we found this to be fairly accurate for summertime alpine climbing. If your idea of fun involves running fast and sweating loads, check out the even more breathable version, the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody.


We sweat it out during a lot of approaches, but dried quickly, and left it on for the entirety of the climbing. Supplemented with super light wind layer, the Nano-Air feels as warm as the Rab Xenon X, our Editors' Choice winner, and warmer than the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody. The Outdoor Research Uberlayer uses a heavier Polartech insulation that blocks the wind better, but is less breathable. The Arc'teryx Atom SL offers similar breathability but has less insulation and therefore less warmth.

If you're constantly on the move  this jacket will keep you warm without soaking you in sweat.
If you're constantly on the move, this jacket will keep you warm without soaking you in sweat.

Weight and Compressability


At 12.3 oz, the Nano-Air falls in the middle of the lightly insulated jackets, but it is 5 oz lighter and more compressible than its main contender for breathability, the Outdoor Research Uberlayer. It lacks a stowaway pocket but compresses small into the bottom of a pack, and we found the Uberlayer almost impossible to stuff into its stowaway pocket anyway. The Nano-Air does not pack as small as the Rab Xenon X or the Patagonia Nano Puff.


Comfort


This is the most comfortable jacket in our review, and the only one we awarded a perfect 10. The 50 denier plain weave nylon lining feels soft against the skin, like your favorite sweater, but way more expensive. It doesn't have the slippery feeling of the Nano Puff and Xenon X, and it doesn't feel sticky if you start to sweat.


The mobility is excellent on this jacket. It has enough stretch that we could wear it under a harness, reaching way above our heads all day, without it riding up. There is no hood cinch but the hood is stretchy enough to remain snug right on your head or stretched over a helmet. The two large chest pockets are another great feature for climbers, allowing easy access to goos, energy bars, or crumpled up topos while the jacket is tucked under a harness or backpack hip belt. The same chest pockets allow for easy access to a smartphone or other similar goodies.

Looking to ditch the hood?
This award-winning hoodie is also available as a jacket. The Nano Air Jacket has all the same features of the Nano-Air Hoody, minus the hood; it also saves you about $50. While having a hood adds warmth to this product, we also understand that hoods can add extra bulk when layering. Either version of this product is highly recommended.

We really wish this jacket stuffed into its own pocket. The waist hem cinches down with an elastic cord, and the cinches are located in the front of the jacket underneath the hand pockets. This feature addresses one of our common jacket complaints; accidentally clipping gear through the loops of slack in the waist cinches when they are located on the side of the jacket.

Soft stretchy fabrics offer excellent mobility. Zipper pulls tuck away for a clean look.
Soft stretchy fabrics offer excellent mobility. Zipper pulls tuck away for a clean look.

Weather Resistance


The price of excellent breathability is poor wind resistance, but the Nano-Air breathes so well that we're willing to pay the price and carry an extra wind jacket or a lightweight rain jacket. Alone, the Nano-Air can do little against the howling winds. What really blows us away in terms of weather resistance is the effectiveness of the DWR treatment. We thought that the soft, breathable shell fabric would soak up water like a sponge and leave us soaked. We were so wrong.


Water beads up and rolls off this thing like water off a duck's back. After five minutes under a heavy stream of water, the Nano-Air was still shedding water, and no moisture soaked through. It performed better than the heavier Arc'teryx Atom LT and much better than the Outdoor Research Uberlayer and the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket, neither of which features a DWR treatment.

Once our tester stopped moving for this photo  he started to get cold from the high winds.
Once our tester stopped moving for this photo, he started to get cold from the high winds.

Breathability


The Nano-Air gets an easy 10 in this metric and our Top Pick for Breathability, outperforming every other jacket by a long shot, with the exception of the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody According to their website, Toray Mills' Fullrange insulation consists of four types of coil-shaped spiraling yarns that allow for stretch and breathability. The thicker, hollow core yarns create a higher loft, which helps trap and retain heat.


Obviously we're not ripping jackets apart and looking at yarn types, but what is visibly apparent to us is the loft. The Nano-Air is puffier than the Outdoor Research Uberlayer and the Nano Puff.

We found the Fullrange insulation to be impressively lofty.
We found the Fullrange insulation to be impressively lofty.

Style


The people have spoken and have awarded the Nano-Air a high score in the style department. Check out the chart below to see where each jacket ranked in comparison with this one in the Style metric.


It's now available in ten different colors, often with the zipper colors matching the interior liner color, which we think looks cool. It features a quilted square pattern similar to the Patagonia Nano Puff, and has a slim, athletic fit.

The soft finish of the shell fabric offers a welcome change from the "techy shine" of many other insulated jackets.
The soft finish of the shell fabric offers a welcome change from the "techy shine" of many other insulated jackets.

Best Applications


Skinning up the hills on a cold morning, chilly winter snow jogging, and of course, alpine climbing are what the Nano-Air is best suited for. We also found it very useful for bouldering and sport climbing on cold days due to its excellent stretch and mobility.


Value


$300 dollars is expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for; a unique, useful, super-breathable jacket backed up by Patagonia's excellent warranty program. Judging by the popularity of this jacket, the price isn't keeping too many folks away.

Conclusion


Our Top Pick for Breathability, the Nano-Air has become a favorite piece in our alpine climbing kit. It scored higher metrics in comfort and weight than its closest competitor, the Outdoor Research Uberlayer. It performs exceptionally on its own or as part of a layering system and repels water way better than we ever imagined. We were skeptical about the need for another specialized model in our ever-growing quiver of jackets, but Nano-Air made us believers. It's worth the extra cash if you are playing hard in the cold.
Matt Bento

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Most recent review: April 25, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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