Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover Review
By Aaron Imber
The Patagonia Nano Puff is simply a standard in the industry. It is a proven, packable, synthetic puffy, with a fantastic warranty. The Nano Puff is an excellent backup jacket, and/or lightweight mid layer. There are other jackets on the market that are lighter. There are other jackets that are cheaper. But the Nano Puff is so well rounded, and so proven, that it is an icon in the outdoor industry. Plus it comes from a company that prides itself on social responsibility and environmental sustainability. For me, this jacket is a trusted companion that I’ll always have in the arsenal.
Here is Patagonia’s description from their site:
The original, climber-designed Nano Puff® style, the Nano Puff® Pullover remains a modern classic: sleek, light and warm. It’s both an insulated pullover in late-fall squalls and a micro-belay parka on chilly rock routes. The Nano shuts out wind, sheds snow and traps heat—even when wet—with PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation (60-g) an incredibly warm, low-bulk, compressible and hydrophobic synthetic insulation. The sculpted fit opens up with a deep-venting half-zip that has a soft, wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage. The windproof, 100% recycled polyester ripstop shell glides effortlessly in your layering system and the pullover packs down to practically nothing and stuffs into a single chest pocket that has a carabiner clip-in loop. Elasticized cuffs and hem seal out wind and trap warmth. http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-nano-puff-pullover?p=84021-0
Everything said here is completely true in my experience. I am not the most avid climber, but the Nano Puff has preformed for me as described in multiple rolls. It’s kept me warm on mountain peaks, next to alpine lakes, and on windy beaches. It is plenty windproof, warm, and performs when wet. Of course, this is all in relation to its super packable size. Also, I like the slippery shell material when layering. The Nano Puff serves as a benchmark for me when I’m testing other synthetic, puffy jackets.
A Quick Note:
I think it was a great idea to evaluate product descriptions as part of an in-depth gear review. I mean no disrespect. I just want to improve my reviews. Thank you for your knowledge. –Aaron
I bought this jacket at a super steep discount from a physical retail store. Because of the crazy price, I was willing to buy a jacket that was definitely too big for me. I was also skeptical of the pullover design. Even so, after 4 years and a lot of use, I love this jacket regardless. Let’s start breaking into the particulars.
The Patagonia Nano Puff is very warm for its weight. Especially when you consider that it is not down. The Primaloft insulation preforms well. As an active layer, it is too warm for me on most days. For example, if I am going to wear this under a shell for skiing, it is too warm for anything above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Now remember, I run warm, and I am an active skier. So I tend to get very warm when I ski.
Inevitably, any jacket that I own will end up soaked at one point or another. The Nano Puff definitely retains some heat when wet. I would say it looses, at the very least 50% of its warmth. That is a very subjective number though.
It is nice that it retains some heat and dries much more quickly than down. Down is great for its own reasons, but these are undoubtable advantages that come with good, synthetic insulation.
For a stationary, sit around the fire, camp jacket, there are warmer options out there. But remember, it’s very lightweight, and you’re sitting next to a campfire. The Nano Puff is warm enough for many as a belay jacket in the fall.
I really like the Nano Puff as a backpacking and travel piece: a reliable midlayer that’s super packable, warm enough, wind proof, and not down. I do like down though. I go back and forth between synthetic and down as you can probably tell. It’s a fun debate / I talk to myself about jackets throughout the day. Anyway…
Fabric, Hardware, and Construction
The shell fabric of the Nano Puff is easy to slide over and under layers. This is one of the reasons I love puffy jackets in general. The shell feels a bit tougher in hand than some of the other options out there. It is light nylon though, so the duct tape will eventually come out to play. If you’re too fancy for duct tape, I have had great success with McNett’s Tenacious Tape repair tape lately.
I have had no problems with the Nano Puff’s zippers. The zipper pulls aren’t very large, but some small cordage and a figure 8 knot fix that if you want longer pulls for gloves and mittens. The stitching is simple, but solid. The square pattern stitching effectively keeps the insulation from moving around too much. The cuffs are simple and I have no complaints about them.
Pockets and Packability
The pullover design is streamlined and there is only one pocket. It is a chest pocket and the whole jacket can stuff into it creating, a super clean, small package. You save weight and pack space with this minimalist design. The Nano Puff Pullover is all about balance and simplicity young mountain monk.
However, I will say that I miss traditional hand pockets. My hands run very cold and I like the option of stuffing them into puffy pockets. The full zip jacket version might be the better choice for me. But that’s why they make three designs: pullover, jacket, and hoody, choose your weapon grasshopper.
Claimed Weights from Patagonia.com:
Nano Puff Pullover: 286 g (10.1 oz.)
Nano Puff Jacket (full zip): 334 g (11.8 oz.)
Nano Puff Hoody (full zip + hood): 357 g (12.6 oz.)
Some guys and gals want the lightest gear available. Some want everything to be completely indestructible and carry the inevitable heavy pack. Some guys are right in the middle. Fortunately for me I am somewhere in the middle, and by my standards this jacket is very light considering its usefulness.
If you want to the lightest insulation available you should probably consider down alternatives like the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer (7 oz. / 197 g. & warmer). Remember, gear selection and design is all about compromises. Follow your breath and think clearly.
Say what you will about Patagonia, but you can’t deny that they try. I am a big fan of their programing towards sustainability and corporate responsibility. I think Patagonia provides an excellent example of a company that actively pursues a declared ethos. Great job Patagonia! Oh, buy the way their warranty programs are benchmarks in the industry. Recycled materials, labor ethics policies, efforts towards tracing, ethical down production, keep it up guys! I love when I see companies pursuing Ethos Based Business.
I think the Nano Puff Pullover shines as the backup jacket: the jacket you keep in your pack when you inevitably get chilly. It’s the jacket you put on at the top of a peak, while your playing backcountry four square next to an alpine lake, or when the inevitable crazy weather pattern rolls in that no one, including your fancy ABC watch, predicted. You can drink bag wine in windy conditions, or create the perfect habanero shot while basking in the lightweight comfort of a jacket that also makes you look super legit once it’s covered in duct tape. It’s simply good to go.
Aaron Imber and Ulysses Lieblich pioneered backcountry Foursquare next to the high mountain lakes of the Collegiate Peaks in 2010. It is a grueling sport that demands specialized techniques and pushes gear to the limits of design and innovation. Its sister sport: High Alpine Bowling should be approached with extreme caution, as it is enormously dangerous and technical. The High Alpine Leisure Sports Society of North America (HALSSNA) does not recommend anyone try these activities without proper training and equipment. For more information about Backcountry Foursquare bring your favorite playground ball to a high alpine lake higher than 10,000 feet above sea level.
Aaron Imber is Editor-In-Chief of MagpieGearReview.com. You can reach him at MagpieGearReview@gmail.com.