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As I’ve been hiking and camping regularly over the past decade and more, I’ve tested a lot of outdoor apparel. The more gear I try, I’m always surprised by my love for the basics – the tried and true pieces that I turn to over and over again.
One of those pieces is the women’s Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie. I’ve used this jacket for over 4 years now. It’s been my go-to outer layer for hiking, camping, running errands, and taking walks with my dog.
My partner Ryan also grabs his men’s version as a mid-layer for skiing and winter hikes with our son in tow.
However, I know this jacket is an investment, so you may be wondering if it’s worth the price. In this Patagonia Nano Puff review, I share what I love about the Women’s Insulated Hoodie, as well as what I think could be improved.
Read on to learn about this jacket’s comfort, fit, durability, warmth, and more.
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Patagonia Nano Puff Performance
The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie is a warm, functional, and very reliable piece of gear that I love wearing.
In my Nano Puff review below, you’ll find a breakdown of its key performance features:
Many outdoor enthusiasts think that the best insulated jackets must be filled with goose or duck down for optimal warmth.
But the Patagonia Nano Puff proves otherwise for shoulder-season temperatures. Filled with PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation – a synthetic insulation – and lined with a recycled polyester shell, it has a great weight-to-warmth ratio. I also find that the outer shell does a good job of keeping the cold wind from getting through.
It’s not designed to be a winter jacket, though. While the Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie does cut the wind, it’s not super thick. This makes it the perfect jacket for spring and fall temps or summer evenings around the campfire.
If you’re winter hiking, you’ll want to layer underneath it to provide enough insulation in freezing temps. When I wear this on my winter hikes, I typically have on an Icebreaker wool base layer top and a mid-layer such as the Patagonia R1 underneath the jacket.
One of the main selling points for the Patagonia Nano Puff is its packability. Weighing only 10.8 oz, this jacket packs down super small and even stuffs into its own internal chest pocket so you can toss it into your day pack when not needed. I don’t think twice about bringing this jacket on hikes because it’s so light and packable.
It also comes with me whenever I’m on a road trip in my Sprinter Van. As a van lifer, I only have room for a couple of jackets, and because this one packs up small and offers so much versatility, it’s a staple on my van life clothing packing list.
The Patagonia Nano Puff is designed to keep you warm and dry, which means that it doesn’t have the best ventilation compared to more breathable jackets (like Patagonia’s Nano-Air). The polyester shell does a great job at blocking wind and shedding light rain but at the expense of optimal airflow.
Because of that, it’s not my first choice to wear when I know I’ll be working up a heavy sweat, but it’s a great option for lighter hikes and outdoor activities. I also wear it as a mid-layer under my ski jacket on cold ski days.
Over my 4 years wearing the Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie, I’m happy to report it has held up amazingly well. It hasn’t torn or frayed or gotten wonky in the wash.
I’ve worn it on road trips and backpacking trips (sweating every step of the way), and it’s gone through sunny hikes, windy hikes, chilly hikes, every kind of hike you could imagine.
No matter how much I abuse this jacket, it has never snagged or torn. Even through camping trips, road trips, resting against sharp rocks, and dogs jumping on me and sitting in my lap in the car, it’s still as good as new.
On the other hand, Ryan has had issues with the zipper on his Nano Puff. It started with the zipper not zipping smoothly, and it eventually got to the point where it didn’t zip at all.
I took it to the Patagonia store for a quick fix, which worked temporarily, but it didn’t quite do the trick. We ended up having to send it in for a free repair. That took about 6 weeks from the time we dropped it off to when we got it back. Now it works like new.
Compared to down, the Nano Puff’s synthetic materials perform better in wet conditions, making it an excellent choice if you live in a damp climate like the Pacific Northwest or tend to hike in variable weather.
It’s designed with a polyester ripstop shell to stop wind and a DWR (durable water-repellant) finish to ward off light rain, but it won’t keep you dry in a downpour. If you’ll be outdoors in heavy rain, you’ll want to layer the Nano Puff under a waterproof rain jacket.
Patagonia Nano Puff Comfort & Fit
Made from soft, synthetic materials and designed with a flattering look, the Nano Puff hits the comfort and fit marks (so much so that I decided to buy another one when I outgrew the medium size post-pregnancy!)
The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie makes me feel like I’m wrapped in a cocoon. Unlike some materials, this jacket doesn’t feel scratchy on my skin so I can wear it over a t-shirt when it’s a little chilly or as an extra layer over a pullover when it’s really cold.
I have full freedom of movement when I’m hiking, and it’s comfortable enough to sleep in on backpacking and camping trips.
My only complaint about the material is it’s a bit slippery. It makes holding my baby a bit difficult because he’s always sliding down the side of my jacket.
I think the cut of the Patagonia Nano Puff is quite flattering. It’s not as puffy as other similar jackets, so you don’t end up looking like a marshmallow.
I also love the length because it’s long enough to cover my hips and doesn’t ride up when I’m wearing it under a backpack.
For reference: I am 5’5”, and pre-pregnancy, I was 135 lbs and wore a Medium (the pink version). Now post-pregnancy I weigh 145 pounds and a large (the gold color) is a lot more comfortable with room to layer underneath. If you’re a large-chested woman like myself who runs in between sizes, you should consider sizing up.
Key Features of the Patagonia Nano Puff
I wouldn’t call the Patagonia Nano Puff a highly technical jacket, but it does have some nice features that are worth mentioning:
The Nano Puff is made with 100% recycled insulation and the shell and lining are also made with recycled materials. With synthetic insulation, it’s also vegan-friendly.
Patagonia is a leader in sustainable outdoor apparel and is dedicated to responsible production. They’re part of 1% for the Planet, so 1% of sales goes to the preservation of the environment. Read more about their environmental and social policies here.
As a whole, Patagonia is a brand I feel great about supporting. I am impressed with the quality of their products, and I consistently find my Patagonia pieces perform well for all the things I love to do outside.
I’m also a fan of the Worn Wear Collection (where you might be able to score a used Nano Puff) and the repair program, which is designed to keep products in use longer, so they’re on people instead of filling up landfills.
Patagonia Nano Puff Alternatives
Not sold on the Nano Puff yet? Here are other insulated options to check out in your search for the perfect synthetic insulated jacket:
Where to Buy the Patagonia Nano Puff
The Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie is available through a variety of outdoor retailers including Patagonia, REI and Backcountry. They come in both men’s and women’s and in a variety of styles and colors. It also comes in a non-hooded version and a vest at a lower price.
The Nano Puff Jacket is an outdoorsy woman’s ideal piece of gear, mainly because it’s lightweight and delivers warmth and comfort. Overall, I love mine and would buy it again knowing how well it’s lasted over the years. And even though it’s an investment, the cost-per-wear is low for me.
So if you’re looking for a lightweight jacket that will last for the long haul and keep you warm, I’d happily recommend it as a “core” piece of gear that’ll get you through many years of hiking, exploring, and living.
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Do you have a Nano Puff? Would you recommend buying one? Let us know your thoughts on the fit, durability, and design in the comments below.