Vancouver Island is a land of cool damp windy weather. It can be dry and hot, but that’s rare. It’s challenging to pack light and be comfortable. To get enough insulation from fleece you end up with a bulky load. So some form of compressible insulation is mandatory. There are quite a few lightweight down and synthetic jackets on the market. I tried on a MEC product, but it didn’t fit well. Next up was the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody. It fit pretty well so I bought it. Really Sharon got it for me as a birthday present – thanks! :-)
I’ll let you read the product details above. What I like about this hoody is:
- fit me pretty well
- warm in our typical cool temps
- rain resistant [don't get your hopes up too much on this feature!]
- packs small
- dries reasonably fast
- bright colour pops in photos
- priced similarly to other products I looked at
- lifetime warranty
- Patagonia has good environmental policies
This hoody and similar garments are pretty useful, but they have limitations:
- there isn’t that much insulation in this hoody so don’t expect it to keep you warm in a Edmonton blizzard.
- while it’s windproof and water resistant don’t mistake this for a rain jacket…you will get wet.
- if you get wet the synthetic insulation won’t work so well…it’s better than wet down, but not that much better. What synthetic insulation buys you is a shot at drying out the hoody after it gets wet.
- to get so light the outer fabric is delicate…it won’t explode while hiking, but it’s not going to survive a ton of bushwhacking or being rubber against sharp rocks.
As long as your expectations are realistic you’ll be happy with this hoody.
I’ve only had the Nano Puff for 3 months, but it’s become a regular resident in my backpack or bike bags. It’s almost always handy to have around and it packs small enough that if I don’t use it I don’t feel like it’s a burden to have along. My only concern is how durable it will be. The fabric isn’t very heavy duty, but on the plus side the sewn through quilted construction is easy to repair with a patch so it shouldn’t be too hard to get a few years of use from it.
Almost every major brand has a comparable product these days. Although I appreciate Patagonia’s environmental policies and lifetime warranty – getting a good fit is critical for the minimal insulation to work for you. Definitely try on before you buy and select the garment that fits you the best.
I have to give Scott credit for demonstrating how practical these lightweight insulated jackets are. He was right…=)