The Patagonia Primo Puff is an excellent ski parka that is among the best that we have tested. It ranks highly for warmth, weather resistance, ski features, and is styled in a way that will appeal to a majority of skiers. The price is high, but not unreasonable, given that it is designed to keep users warm in the coldest ski conditions. It is probably too warm for users in sunny and warm destinations, but if you're looking for a parka that will keep you warm when the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly, this jacket is a great option.
Patagonia Primo Puff Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Very warm, great weather resistance, high quality construction
Cons: Boxy fit, unremarkable style, expensive
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Patagonia Primo Puff
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|Pros||Very warm, great weather resistance, high quality construction||Excellent performance in every category, durable||Impeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protection||Completely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride style||Excellent weather resistance, lightweight, breathable|
|Cons||Boxy fit, unremarkable style, expensive||More snug fit than other options||Super expensive, too warm for some applications||Expensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry use||Lacks warmth, style could be better, light on features|
|Bottom Line||A warm and durable jacket with a high price tag.||We can't picture a better all-around jacket for skiing.||Arc'teryx pulls no punches and creates a spectacular jacket in the process.||With weather resistance, style, and ventilation, this is the total package for a ski shell.||Our Top Pick for backcountry skiing, this shell is light and weather resistant.|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Primo Puff||Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft||Arc'teryx Macai||Arc'teryx Sabre AR Jacket||Hemispheres Jacket|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort And Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Patagonia Primo Puff||Helly Hansen Alpha...||Arc'teryx Macai||Arc'teryx Sabre AR...||Hemispheres Jacket|
|Main Fabric||2-layer, 4-oz 75-denier 100% recycled polyester||2-layer stretch polyester||N40p-X GORE-TEX||N80p-X GORE-TEX||70D nylon|
|Insulation||PlumaFill synthetic||LifaLoft synthetic||Coreloft 100, Coreloft Compact, and 750 fill goose down||Light flannel backer||None|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 chest, 2 interior||2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 sleeve||2 handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 1 chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal chest||2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 internal chest, 2 Shove-It|
|Weight (pounds)||2.54 lbs||2.56 lbs||2.64 lbs||1.66 lbs||1.29 lbs|
|Waterproofing||Gore-Tex||Helly Tech Professional||3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex|
|Hood Option?||Adjustable||Adjustable and removable||Adjustabe and Removable||Adjustable||Adjustable|
|Cuff construction||Velcro||Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs||Velcro||Velcro||Velco|
|Ski Features||Pass pocket, powder skirt attaches to Patagonia pants||Powder skirt, fixed goggle wipe, high visibility brim, pass pocket||Removable powder skirt, attached/removable goggle wipe, pass pocket||Fixed powder skirt buttons to matching pants, pass pocket|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Primo Puff is the warmest jacket we tested that uses synthetic insulation. This, combined with a Gore-Tex shell, produces a jacket that will keep you warm and dry, period. Other jackets feature a more contoured fit and more sophisticated style, while the Primo Puff blends in with the crowd.
The Primo Puff packs the heat… with more synthetic insulation than most ski jackets on the market. As such, this jacket is warm, and is probably too warm for many fair-weather ski destinations like Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, or New Mexico. Of course, those places get cold too, but this jacket is most at home in the frigid, stormy ski seasons of the Northern Rockies or New England. An insulated hood, hem drawstring, and insulated neck rib all add to the warming capabilities of this jacket.
We noticed exceptional weather resistance in this jacket. Featuring a Gore-Tex membrane, fully taped seams, and waterproof zippers, the Primo Puff means business in stormy weather. Even in the shower test, we were unable to find a weak spot in this jacket. The hood has great coverage and cinches down tight around the face. The powder skirt works well and also integrates into Patagonia pants using a button loop system. Our only reason to complain was that a couple of testers felt like strong winds could penetrate the jacket, but only in extreme situations.
Comfort and Fit
The quilted insulation pattern and soft interior fabric make this jacket very comfortable to wear. While providing the jacket's warmth, the massive amount of synthetic insulation can make the Primo Puff seem bulky at times. The jacket also has a relatively "boxy" cut, which means it remains wide in the torso, which can be great for larger people, but generally feels untailored for slim users. This was the biggest complaint about this jacket from our testers. There is plenty of room to layer underneath, and if you are on the fence about which size to get, size down.
This jacket is relatively breathable, despite the heavy synthetic insulation and Gore-Tex membrane that will trap body heat. Two large pit vents without mesh liners allow airflow when you need to dump some heat. Because of the insulated neck rib, there is less air motion near your neck, where your body tries to get blood to the surface in order to cool down. This jacket is not made for warm weather or high exertion, but we appreciated the pit vents when we headed for long bump runs or a short bootpack for fresh turns.
The Primo Puff features an unremarkable style. Many jackets in the competition aim for a "core," dirtbag look; others aim for an alpine racing or "Euro" style. This jacket has a boxy hem cut and muted color options, so while this jacket might not win any awards for style, it won't offend anybody either. It is classy and fits in with the crowd. The classic Patagonia logo on the chest is the biggest fashion statement that this jacket makes.
The Primo Puff is a very well-featured and convenient ski jacket. It is loaded with pockets: two fleece-lined and spacious handwarmer pockets, two external chest pockets (one with a phone sleeve and headphone port), two internal stash pockets, including one with a zipper, and a lower sleeve ski pass pocket. The powder skirt functions very well, and when it's not snowing, the powder skirt is removable for added comfort. The features of this jacket show that the design team knew what skiers need.
The Primo Puff is expensive, and is priced similarly to the top offerings from high-end brands. As an investment, you get a jacket that is constructed to last, although synthetic insulation begins to lose its loft (and thus its insulating abilities) after a couple seasons. Patagonia has a great warranty program, and they stand behind their gear, which is well constructed anyways. However, we doubt that they would replace the jacket just because the synthetic insulation has ended its useful life.
Patagonia also has brand recognition, which commands a premium, and excels as a brand that supports environmental and social responsibility. Many customers are willing to support these efforts by paying a higher price. Those considerations aside, we think there are better values elsewhere in the ski jacket market.
The Patagonia Primo Puff is a well constructed, warm, and weatherproof parka for cold ski conditions. It will keep you warm on the coldest days, and is overkill for warmer ski destinations and sunny, spring weather. The boxy fit may deter some, but the unassuming and neutral style will lure other users. There are many ski jackets on the market, and the Primo Puff is one of the best.
— Jeff Dobronyi