The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody is to insulated jackets what The North Face Denali is to fleece: mega-classic, durable, and stylish. It's been around forever and basically started the lightweight synthetic jacket category. It is simple, layers well, and packs into its own pocket; however, many of its newer competitors are a bit lighter and warmer. Whereas other jackets focus on either weather resistance or breathability for high energy use, this piece is more of a general workhorse. That said, the Nano Puff has been around for a long time and continues to be a favorite for many, especially for multi-pitch rock climbing. Since it's so small when stuffed into its pocket, it's perfect for carrying on multi-pitch climbs while clipped to your harness. Throw it on at belays or when the route passes into the shade. The slippery fabrics inside and out also make it a good cold-weather layering piece for backpacking, hiking, and skiing.
Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Slick fabrics layer well, stuffs into pocket with clip loop
Cons: Expensive, heavier than similar lightweights, lots of stiching to abrade
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody received middle of the road scores in all performance rating metrics. Patagonia has stuck with their classic, generalist design for this model while introducing other models for when breathability is key. The Nano Puff compresses very small into its chest pocket and remains an excellent and classic choice for clipping to your harness or carrying while backpacking and hiking, and will save you a bit of cash when compared to other Patagonia synthetic options.
The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket has no hood and is a little lighter and less expensive. Without the hood, it's easier to layer under other hooded jackets. For example, it much easier to wear under a ski jacket. It also just looks better around town. Both models are classics, although the hoodless version is probably the best selling insulated jacket of all time.
This insulated jacket uses 60 g/m2 Primaloft Gold insulation Eco held in place with quilted squares. All the stitching in these squares lets some air pass through, which is nice if you're looking for some breathability, but not great when the winds start howling. This insulation compresses better than Coreloft and Polartec Alpha and will maintain its warmth when damp. An elastic cinch at the hem lets you seal in warmth, but the loose wrist cuffs let heat escape. We found this model a bit warmer than the majority of the active insulated layers that now dominate the market.
Weight & Compressibility
This is one of the heavier of the lightly insulated pieces we tested. At 12.7 oz for a size small, it's a bit heavier than other smalls we tested. What the Nano Puff Hoody does offer, however, is excellent compressibility. It stuffs tightly into its chest pocket, creating one of the smaller stuffed packages we tested. This makes it very popular for multi-pitch climbing. Having a jacket with a low stuffed profile is great for squirming through chimneys in Yosemite and Zion, but keep in mind that the smaller the stuffed size of a jacket, the longer it takes to pack away. Stuffing this thing into its pocket certainly takes a hot minute.
This insulated jacket's minimalist features make it a lightweight and functional piece, but it earned a relatively low comfort score overall. Slippery fabrics allow it to layer well under a shell, but those same fabrics feel sticky if you start to sweat. Though designed with climbing in mind, the short hem length tends to ride up when raising your arms. Patagonia uses a snug-fitting, non-adjustable hood design that fits well under a climbing helmet.
We appreciated the comfortable microfleece patches that form a "zipper garage" when the jacket is fully zipped up against the face. Two deep, zippered hand pockets lined with slippery nylon and an internal zippered pocket on the left chest provide ample storage. The jacket stuffs into this chest pocket, while the main zipper and the hand pockets have easy-to-grab zipper pulls. The wrist cuffs are simple and straightforward, but not as snug as we would like. The hem cinch has one cord lock located on the right side.
This is one of the light models we would call fairly weather resistant. While the outer shell is sewn-through, the interior nylon liner serves to block wind that penetrates the seams. While the DWR on the Puff's outer fabric beads water well, there is tons of stitching sewn through it. You definitely want to have a light shell layer handy if you're heading out in threatening weather. We have found that models with nearly continuous outer fabric perform much better when the rain and wind rolls in, and yet the Nano Puff's liner fabric resists the wind once it comes through the exterior.
This is not one of the more breathable models we tested. Both the outer shell fabric and interior liner contribute to blocking airflow. Many other jackets use advanced insulation and stretchy permeable fabrics that create excellent breathability for high energy use and are thus better choices if breathability is one of your top concerns. The Nano Puff functions best as a lightweight belay jacket.
The quilted square pattern featured on the Nano Puff has been popular for years. We think it looks nice, and this year it is available in five colors. Our black test model has been dragged through the dirt, camped in, and slept in. Like the other high-quality jackets in this review, a quick spin through the wash will leave the Nano Puff looking good as new, and also help revitalize the DWR treatment.
While not the most expensive Patagonia insulated jacket you can buy, there are much better values to be had. Still, we think it's cool that the Nano Puff is constructed from so much recycled material, and it is backed by Patagonia's excellent warranty. If you love the Nano Puff design, but want to save some money, check out the non-hooded and pullover versions.
The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody is a classic generalist jacket. It stuffs really small and is great for clipping to your harness or toting in your backpacking kit. That said, lightly insulated jackets are quickly becoming more specialized. We prefer more breathable options for high energy use and more wind and water-resistant options for multi-pitch climbing.
— Andy Wellman & Matt Bento