This Nano-Air Hybrid is the most breathable piece in this season's line-up. But all that moisture moving breathability comes at the cost of warmth and weather resistance. The original Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody is warmer, and the Arc'teryx Atom SL is lighter, but the Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody appeals to the runner in us, who wants to go fast, and doesn't want to stop change layers.
Our tester stayed comfortable during an evening run in March with the temps in the mid-forties. The hood kept his ears toasty and the breathable back panels ensured he never got too hot.
Warmth is not this jacket's strong suit. The super breathable waffle-knit back and sides offer little in the way of insulation and let the breeze pass right through, which is what its designed for. When our testers were working hard and moving fast, this jacket felt perfect in temperatures down to slightly below freezing. The moisture-wicking waffle knit drys extremely quickly, which our testers appreciated especially when carrying a pack. This allows you to throw on additional layers quickly without getting cold and soggy as soon as you're stationary, like when you're waiting for your friends to catch up to you on the skin track or hanging out at a belay.
Sleek, form-fitting, but not particularly warm, this jacket works well as a layering piece.
Weight and Compressibility
This layer is super light at scant 10.1 oz but isn't as warm as the 8.15 oz Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, which is much warmer. A better warmth-to-weight comparison would be the Patagonia R1 Hoody, a popular fleece pullover that weighs almost 3 oz more, feels nearly as warm as the Nano-Air Hybrid, and doesn't breathe as well. The Arc'teryx Atom SL weighs two oz less than the Nano-Air Hybrid, but also offers less warmth and doesn't breathe as well. This jacket packs down relatively small, but it doesn't stuff into its own pocket like the Patagonia Nano Puff or the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket.
This jacket is super stretchy, allowing for maximum range of motion and comfort. The stretch helps this form-fitting jacket not feel too tight.
The super breathable terrycloth-like back and sides of this jacket feel great against the skin, or on top of a lightweight base layer. The thumb loops sweet for sliding your arms under heavier layers and your gloves, and the hand warmer pockets are placed high enough to access while you've got a harness on. Regarding comfort, this jacket excels because of the stretch factor. Even with our thumbs through the loops, the hood on and the zipper pulled all the way up; we experienced zero restriction to our range of motion.
While water beads of the FullRange insulated parts of this jacket, the waffle-knit section soaks up water. We recommend bringing a waterproof layer if looks like rain.
The Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody is no match for even a light drizzle. The towel-soft back of this jacket soaks up water like…a towel. The Hybrid works best as a layering piece; you'll want to take a waterproof layer to complement this jacket when precip threatens.
The waffle-knit back and sides of this jacket are incredibly breathable and quick drying. This feature is most useful when wearing a pack, when sweat tends to soak through on your back.
This jacket completely removes the FullRange insulation from the back and sides, making the Hybrid significantly more breathable than its cousin, the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody. Patagonia's line of FullRange insulated garments are an alternative to the classic pile fleece materials the folks have used as breathable insulation for years. In our experience, the FullRange is loftier, more breathable, and lighter than fleece of a similar R-value, and the Nano-Air Hoody is one of our favorite jackets. This jacket is the Nano-Air Hoody with the heat turned down, making it great for warmer temps, but not as versatile.
The soft fabric of this jacket held up surprisingly well during an afternoon of offwidthing.
This piece is about as techy-looking as they come. Our testers wouldn't wear it out to the bar or a date (unless the date involves running fast), but in the mountains, it looks fine with all the rest of the quick-drying synthetic garments you'll be hiking, running, or climbing around in. The Hybrid Hoody is available in Fluid Green, Piton Purple, Viking Blue, and Black.
Climbing hard, running fast, or skinning up steep slopes in search of perfect powder is what this jacket was made to do. While not weather resistant enough as a stand-alone outer layer, this jacket layers as well or better than any fleece we've worn under a lightweight shell or a belay parka.
$249 gets you a very specialized jacket that doesn't work well as a standalone piece, but as part of a layering system. It has also become a favorite among a few of our testers. As with all Patagonia products, it's backed by an awesome warranty.
The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody doesn't score as well as the Editor's' Choice Award Winning Rab Xenon X, or its heavier weight brother, the Nano-Air Hoody. As an insulated jacket, it doesn't have the weather resistance or warmth our testers want in variable alpine conditions. As a layering piece, it's awesome, and our lead tester found himself leaving his trusty R1 Hoody in the closet and taking the Hybrid out on backcountry ski tours and long runs.