Patagonia Macro Puff Hoody Review
Cons: Expensive, not warm enough for stand-alone winter use, not waterproof
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The brand new Patagonia Macro Puff Hoody is an insulated jacket that provides enough warmth for cool nights in the spring and fall, but not enough warmth or weather resistance to be a go-to winter jacket for most users. It fits very comfortably and is well designed for warmth and style, but we can't recommend it as a primary winter jacket.
The Macro Puff can't compare to the warmth, weather resistance, or durability of the other jackets in this review, nor does it try. If we were testing it as a synthetic puffy jacket for cool weather and outdoor recreation, it would likely be at the top of the pack.
The Macro Puff Hoody features Patagonia's proprietary Plumafill synthetic insulation, which attempts to imitate the structure of down insulation while preserving the primary benefit of synthetic insulation: the ability to preserve loft (and thus warmth) when wet. This jacket features heavier insulation around the torso and lighter insulation in the arms, which limits the overall weight of the jacket while maximizing warmth.
While this jacket is warm enough for warmer winter days and fall and spring use, it's not enough for the near-freezing conditions found across much of the U.S. in the winter. Paired with a sweater or an additional layer, it could work. In the mostly sunny and dry Southwestern U.S., this would be a great winter jacket.
Patagonia has treated the thin nylon shell of this jacket with their high-quality water repellent coating, which helps keep a light sprinkle or gentle snowfall from penetrating the jacket. However, any precipitation lasting longer than a few minutes will soak through the shell and into the jacket. This jacket is not designed to be resistant to anything but the lightest inclement weather. If you are expecting a wet winter, or just want a jacket that you can use every day, no matter the weather, then check out the high-scoring Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka.
The Macro Puff Hoody is a very comfortable jacket, thanks to its well-tailored fit and long hem. This jacket fit our testers well, who commented favorably on their ability to raise their arms, twist from side to side, and bend over without any resistance or discomfort.
The hood feels cozy around the back of the neck, and the 10-denier nylon fabric of the jacket is soft on the skin. This avoids the crinkly and stiff feeling of the Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Camosun Parka, and it feels very similar to the inner layer of the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka. However, the fabric can sometimes feels too much like a plastic bag, especially if you are on the move and generating heat, sweating at all, or if it gets wet from rain, which is a distinct possibility in this jacket.
Lightweight and sleek, the Macro Puff Hoody is a bare-bones synthetic puffy that doesn't pack much for features. The two handwarmer pockets and one front chest pocket are spacious, the chest pocket perhaps too much so, as it doesn't keep a smartphone snug against the body and lets it bang around. The two internal stash pockets are slightly baggy, and the fabric can easily get caught in the front zipper. The hood features an adjustable drawcord that keeps the insulation snug around the head, and the hood can easily accommodate a hat, ski helmet, or climbing helmet.
Other jackets in the review have more flash, but the features of the Macro Puff fit the style and intended use of the piece. The Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka has more adaptability to a variety of weather conditions, and the Editors' Choice Camosun has pockets with a soft fabric lining, but none of these would fit in with the minimalistic vibe of the Macro Puff Hoody.
With a distinctly technical look, the Macro Puff continues on a stylistic theme that has been fundamental to Patagonia's products for decades and embraced by their loyal customer base. The long hem and casual, slightly baggy fit allow this product to look good in most settings, without looking overly tight and purpose-built.
From the streets of Brooklyn to the trails of the Sierra, Patagonia products achieve good style without making too much of a fashion statement, and this jacket is no different. For a more fashion-forward option in the same warmth range, check out the Marmot Fordham, or to make a big splash, take a look at the Patagonia Frozen Range Parka or The North Face Gotham III Jacket.
We did not have any durability issues in our product testing, but the outer fabric is thin and feels fragile. It would not surprise us to see the jacket rip after getting caught in its own zipper or snagged on a rock or a sharp edge in the office. Synthetic insulation breaks down over time and will lose its insulating properties within a few years with heavy use. Other jackets in this review are much more durable, like the Arc'teryx Camosun Parka and the Best Bang for the Buck, the Marmot Fordham.
This jacket is expensive compared to the other fully-featured winter jackets in this review. For example, the Marmot Fordham is warmer and cheaper. The Macro Puff Hoody is also relatively expensive when considering the expected lifespan of a synthetically insulated jacket. On the other hand, Patagonia has a great warranty and is known to stand by their products by either replacing or repairing damaged or worn products. You'll have to pay a premium to wear the Patagonia brand name.
Despite its shortcomings as a winter jacket, this is a great choice for those who live in the warmest climates of the U.S., or who are looking for a 3-season insulated jacket. Outdoor enthusiasts should strongly consider this jacket as part of a layering system for cold conditions.
— Jeff Dobronyi