Patagonia’s Micro Puff Hoody
Ultralight winter gear for active photographers.
The intent for purchasing the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody was for the weight, and function as a second layer below my Canada Goose Anorak Parka while working at -40ºF (That review coming soon). After using this jacket for several months from -13ºf to 40ºF in both physical and stationary situations, here’s what I’ve learned.
As a photographer and guide here in Alaska, I find myself in all kinds of conditions, and weight should be in gear not what I’m wearing. Innovation in ultralight gear has come a very long way, and each season I review the function of my gear so I can improve upon it. Winter by far is our most challenging in the field, for me and clients.
How we use our gear
One of our coldest trips is the Yukon Quest Adventure, which temps average -30º, to –42ºf below zero. I tell clients “You’re only as cold as you dress” so it’s good to be prepared.
Over the years our cold weather workshops and tours have afforded us some real education in dialing in our gear. Photographing extreme adventure sports like the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and Yukon Quest require you to be prepared. Mushers were my lightbulb moment in choosing this Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, because this sport that requires both extreme physical demand, as well low motion travel at times. That and the Patagonia brand that has had a presence on the race trail over the years as a sublayer! The application of this jacket in races echos my needs in mixed cold weather physical activity.
Construction of the Jacket:
- Ultralight nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum® shell is water-resistant, windproof and treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Revolutionary PlumaFill insulation replicates the structure of down in a continuous synthetic insulation material, offering the warmth and packability of down but with the warm-when-wet performance of synthetic insulation
- Innovative quilting construction complements the insulation by stabilizing and maximizing the loft of the PlumaFill strands with minimal stitching
- Center-front zipper has storm flap and zipper garage at chin for next-to-skin comfort
- Two welted zippered handwarmer pockets and two internal drop-in pockets; left pocket doubles as a stuffsack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop
- Under-the-helmet hood construction is light and simple
- Elasticized cuffs and hem seal in warmth
- Weight: 264 g (9.3 oz)
Temperature and Function:
25ºF Moderate Winter Temps
Elements exposure time: 2 Hours
Jacket alone performed very well in keeping me warm with just a Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody underneath, although any thermal layer would perform just the same. Activity was mild to moderate while out photographing foxes, which included sitting in the woods, and tromping through snow up to 1-mile. I did not overheat or feel chilled during these activities, which also had me laying in the slow for up to 10 minutes at a time, several times.
5ºF to -13ºF Dry Winter Conditions
Elements exposure time: 2 Hours
Once again out photographing foxes, under the same type of activity above, the jacket alone performed well with a thermal layer. However, at a standstill I got chilled within :30 minutes. Being chilled was expected, because this was a functional limits test. I returned back to my vehicle and put a sweatshirt over my base layer, put the jacket back on. I was comfortable for the remainder of my time shooting, both stationary and active.
Indoor / Outdoor Performance
One of my favorite features about this jacket is even temperature distribution, which keeps me warm outside, but I don’t find myself overheating when I come inside. In either conditions, warming is even through out the jacket due to Patagonia’s staggered insulation pocket size and design.
Note: I’m a 6’ 200/lb born and raised Alaskan, I don’t chill easily as some might. In writing this review from experience, I did consider the sensitivity others may have in these temps. That said, at 0ºF you most might be chilled within 10-15 minutes.
Review SummaryThe shell of this jacket is constructed from Patagonia innovative lightweight synthetic nylon material, that is also wet resistant. The PlumaFill synthetic insulation is also very lightweight, and easily compressible. My issue with most of these type of jackets is that the fill shifts around from original stitch compartments to others, which creates cold spots in the jacket. I believe Patagonia has solved this with their staggered stitch design, which stabilizes the insulation from shifting around. (NICE!)
All of this makes the jacket lightweight (9.3 oz), highly compressible, and folds down into its own pocket. I’ve worn my jacket everyday this winter from daily use, to all my outdoor activities in photography. As of this review, I’ve not seen any insulation shift, rips, or tears. I have noticed some random threads appear and dangle, but none that show any integrity changes of the jacket. Perhaps “end threads” tucked away during manufacturing. A quick snip with scissors, all seem to be fine!
The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is an outstanding lightweight jacket, as well a sublayer. While it feels less than substantial, it’s worth your time to give Patagonia’s technology a run for your money… You’ll be very happy!
This is not a paid or sponsored gear review, and the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody was purchased out of pocket. I will update here further as I continue to use this product regarding covering any pros and cons on durability. My opinions are mine based on real world product experiences.
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