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Patagonia Primo Puff Review

High quality warmth and weather resistance, at a price.
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Price:  $799 List | $799.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very warm, great weather resistance, high quality construction
Cons:  Boxy fit, unremarkable style, expensive
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2019
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Warmth - 20% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7
  • Ventilation - 15% 7
  • Style - 15% 6
  • Features - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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.


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award 
Price $799.00 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Very warm, great weather resistance, high quality constructionExcellent performance in every category, durableImpeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protectionCompletely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride styleExcellent weather resistance, lightweight, breathable
Cons Boxy fit, unremarkable style, expensiveMore snug fit than other optionsSuper expensive, too warm for some applicationsExpensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry useLacks warmth, style could be better, light on features
Bottom Line High quality warmth and weather resistance, at a price.This excellent all-around ski jacket wins our Editors’ Choice Award.Arc'teryx’s top of the line ski jacket keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable, for a small fortune.A durable, weatherproof jacket that wins out Editors’ Choice Award for shells.A lightweight Gore-Tex shell that is perfect for the backcountry.
Rating Categories Patagonia Primo Puff Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft Arc'teryx Macai Arc'teryx Sabre AR Jacket Hemispheres Jacket
Warmth (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
4
10
0
3
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
Comfort And Fit (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ventilation (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
Style (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Features (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
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6
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
Pit-Zips? Open Mesh-backed Mesh-backed Open Open
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
RECCO? Yes Yes Yes Yes No

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.

Performance Comparison


Lead editor Jeff Dobronyi ripping some pow turns on a cold day in the Primo Puff on top and Sabre AR pants on bottom.
Lead editor Jeff Dobronyi ripping some pow turns on a cold day in the Primo Puff on top and Sabre AR pants on bottom.

Warmth


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.

Lots of puffy synthetic insulation mean the Primo Puff is a warm jacket.
Lots of puffy synthetic insulation mean the Primo Puff is a warm jacket.

Weather Resistance


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.

A large and effective powder skirt seals the hem on super deep days.
A large and effective powder skirt seals the hem on super deep days.

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.

A boxy fit stands between this jacket and its more close-fitting competition.
A boxy fit stands between this jacket and its more close-fitting competition.

Ventilation


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.

Long pit vents with no mesh backing means lots of airflow.
Long pit vents with no mesh backing means lots of airflow.

Style


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.

A boxy  loose cut doesn't win any style awards. The Patagonia logo on the chest is easily visible.
A boxy, loose cut doesn't win any style awards. The Patagonia logo on the chest is easily visible.

Features


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.

Lots of pockets with waterproof zippers were the main features of this jacket.
Lots of pockets with waterproof zippers were the main features of this jacket.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The Primo Puff is a good choice for bad weather and cold temperatures.
The Primo Puff is a good choice for bad weather and cold temperatures.


Jeff Dobronyi