Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

Cold Weather Performance & Comparisons

Sam Shaheen and I have now put a lot more time in the Micro Puff Hoody, and I’ve had the chance to use it in temps well below 0°F, so we can now comment on how it performs in some colder conditions.

In our initial review, after using the Micro Puff Hoody in milder summer temperatures (down to around 40°F), we noted that we were very impressed by its warmth-to-weight ratio. Now, after using it as an insulator in the winter while ski touring, alpine climbing, and for general around-town use, I can say I am still very impressed by this synthetic mid layer’s level of warmth.

Though everyone’s personal comfort levels vary when it comes to temperature, I’ve been pretty comfortable with just a light base layer and the Micro Puff Hoody in temps down to around 25°F while remaining fairly sedentary. The Micro Puff Hoody feels significantly warmer than the Patagonia Nano Puff, the Arc’teryx Atom LT, and North Face Ventrix Hoodie (this difference is even more noticeable for the latter two when it’s windy).

Luke Koppa reviews the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody for Blister
Luke Koppa in the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, Cameron Pass, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

I’ve had a couple days in the Eddie Bauer EverTherm Down Hooded Jacket, and I’d say it’s pretty comparable to the Micro Puff Hoody in terms of warmth. Overall, I’d say the Micro Puff Hoody feels pretty similar to the average 800-fill-power, lightweight down mid layer (e.g. Patagonia Down Sweater or Mountain Hardwear Nitrous). No, the Micro Puff Hoody is not going to replace your heavy belay jacket, but considering that the Micro Puff provides similar warmth to a high-quality down mid layer, yet won’t lose much insulative value when wet, I’m still very impressed by this piece.

I think the significance of this is best illustrated when using the Micro Puff Hoody as a “just in case” layer for activities like ski touring or alpine climbing. For this use, I always want a synthetic jacket since it’s going to spend most of its time packed away in the bottom of my pack where it is very likely to get wet as I’m not all that careful when it comes to keeping snow out of my bag. In the past, I would have had to settle for either a colder midlayer like the Nano Puff, or deal with the increased bulk and weight of a heavier synthetic insulator like the old Patagonia Winter Sun Hoody. With the Micro Puff Hoody, I get as much warmth as a down midlayer like the EverTherm, but without having to worry about it getting wet.

Weather Resistance

After around 125 days of use, we have not noticed a significant drop in the performance of the DWR on the Micro Puff Hoody’s face fabric. It easily repels cold, dry snow, and offers pretty average resistance to wetter snow / rain — it’ll bead up for a few minutes, but don’t expect to stay dry in an extended downpour.

Luke Koppa reviews the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody for Blister
Luke Koppa in the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, Cameron Pass, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

 

Update: 11.8.18

I’ve now used the Micro Puff Hoody for around 75 days, and Sam’s used his for about 50. And we are still really, really happy with this jacket. And for the second year in a row, we’ve given it a “Best Of” award in our Winter Buyer’s Guide.

It has continued to be our go-to insulation piece for all sorts of activities where packability, warmth, low weight, and performance in wet conditions are our priorities (e.g., ski touring and alpine climbing).

I don’t think there has been a day where I’ve gone touring without the Micro Puff Hoody in my pack. It’s just such an easy decision to bring since it (1) doesn’t weigh much at all, (2) doesn’t take up much space in my pack, (3) is very warm, and (4) will maintain that warmth when it inevitably gets wet.

Durability Update

In terms of durability, the Micro Puff Hoody has held up about as well as we’d expected. Sam’s Micro Puff has a few small slices from ski edges, climbing gear, etc., and mine has just one pin-head-sized hole. Given how light the Micro Puff Hoody’s fabric is, its durability seems to fall in line with other similarly ultralight jackets we’ve used.

While I have used it as an outer layer on the descent while touring, I have been careful about brushing up against trees and rocks as the fabric is very thin. So, as long as you treat it like the ultralight piece that it is, I think you can expect the same level of durability from the Micro Puff Hoody as you would from any comparably lightweight mid layer.

It’s also worth noting that we haven’t noticed any significant decrease in insulative value, so thus far, the PlumaFill insulation seems to be holding up well. We’ll update this review if we notice any changes down the line.

Patagonia Micro Puff Lineup

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Patagonia has now expanded the Micro Puff lineup, which now includes the Micro Puff Hoody, non-hooded Micro Puff Jacket, Micro Puff Vest, and the waterproof Micro Puff Storm. So you can now get the ultralight, water-resistant PlumaFill insulation in a greater variety of silhouettes.

Bottom Line

After using it in a wide variety of conditions, and temperatures well below 0°F, we can confidently say that the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is the most impressive synthetic midlayer we’ve ever used. It offers warmth comparable to high-quality down mid layers of a similar weight, but won’t lose all it’s loft when it gets wet. So if you’re looking for a new midlayer with an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio but still want something that will retain its warmth when wet, the Micro Puff Hoody is our top choice.

12 thoughts on “Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

  1. Live plucking is very uncool, but aren’t most ducks and geese farmed for meat, with down the by product? I don’t see down as a non green friendly material. What are synthetics made of?

    Anyway, the jacket looks sweet.

    • Hey Frame,

      There are a few rather unethical processes that plague the down industry. Live plucking and force feeding (for foie gras) are the primary things that accountable supply chains are trying to eliminate. In both cases, the animals are eventually killed for their meat/organs. Some prominent outdoor companies are making huge efforts to eliminate animal cruelty from their supply chains (TNF and Patagonia are the most prominent) but much of the commercial down in the world comes from non-regulated farms and greater supply chains.

      As a result, it is difficult to ascertain the extent of force feeding and live plucking at farms where down is harvested but there is no doubt that it does exist. 80% of the world’s down currently comes from China where animal regulations are often quite lax compared to the US and Western Europe.

      The outdoor industry has been making steps towards accountable supply chains in the past few years, which is helping with the ethical concerns but it doesn’t change the fact that animals must be killed to harvest their down — a serious ethical concern no matter how humanely we treat them while living. There are also environmental concerns with raising animals for food (and down by proxy) — pressures on water, and other natural resources make farming animals a burden on the environment.

      As far as synthetics, there is some environmental concern with manufacturing. The processes can be energy intensive and the materials can be dangerous environmentally or to those working in the factories. However, most companies keep the specifics of process and materials as trade secrets.

      It is definitely not a simple black and white issue, but I think on the whole, synthetics come out on top both ethically and environmentally.

      Best,
      Sam

    • Hi Tom,

      That is correct – the Micro Puff Hoody does not utilize a fully-baffled construction – the separations are sewn through like most similar insulated mid layers, and does not feature the separate fabric baffles you often see in sleeping bags and warmer down parkas.

      But we chose to use the term “baffles” rather than “chambers” since companies have been using the term “baffles” to describe both actually baffling and sewn-through quilting for years, to the point that the terms now are very often (mistakenly) used interchangeably. As a result, many people will better understand what we’re describing if we used the term baffles. So it’s the result of widespread misuse of the term — and why most companies now use “box baffles” or “fully-baffled” when describing their garments that feature true baffled construction.

      Cheers,

      Luke

  2. Hi Sam and Luke,

    I have been debating if I want to purchase this jacket or not…we are headed to Italy next week, where it is showing the high of mid 60’s and lows mid 40’s…I know it has not been cold enough for y’all to truly try out the jacket – but do you know what temps they recommend the jacket for? I am from the South, so we are not used to cooler weather. I would love for this to work due to how compact it is for traveling. Would love any feedback. Thank you

    • Hi Leslie,

      Thanks for reaching out. As always, recommending any piece of apparel for a specific temperature range is difficult because of the many variables that affect people’s personal levels of comfort.

      That said, since publishing the review, I’ve had a chance to use the Micro Puff in some colder conditions, and have continued to be impressed by it’s level of warmth. I have been comfortable with just a baselayer and the Micro Puff during minimal activity in temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s. I’ve lived in colder climates my whole life, so that’s definitely worth noting, but I have been very surprised by how warm the Micro Puff is.

      So, that’s my experience with the jacket, and based off that, I *think* you’d be comfortable in the Micro Puff in those temps. However, if you want to play it safe in terms of warmth, I’d consider either wearing a warm baselayer and/or fleece underneath the Micro Puff, or considering the Patagonia High-Loft Down Hoody, which will offer a bit more warmth, though it’s heavier and won’t insulate well if it gets wet.

      Hope that helps, and please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Cheers,

      Luke

  3. Hey Ya’ll,

    Thanks for the great review of this fantastic new piece of gear. My question is going to seem small. I notice the model ya’ll, and a few other publications were reviewing looked like the hoody was in ‘Nouveau Green’, but the option to purchase that color does not exist on their website. Was this a special review color of the jacket that was sent to reviewers? Thanks a lot for your time!

    Logan

    • Hi Logan,

      Apologies for the delay — the color we reviewed isn’t currently available, but I believe it will be this coming spring. As of right now, however, the only available options are those currently on their site.

      Best,

      Luke

  4. Now that it has been colder (not quite truly winter yet here in the central/southern Rockies), what do you think of it’s warmth?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Lee,

      I’ll post a more detailed update soon, but after using the Micro Puff in conditions well below 0°F, I can say that I am still very impressed. I’d say it’s right up there with the Patagonia Down Sweater in terms of warmth and noticeably better than the Nano Puff. Though everyone’s personal preferences vary greatly as far as warmth goes, I’ve been comfortable wearing the Micro Puff with just a light base layer in temps down to around 20°F while remaining fairly sedentary.

      Hope that helps, and keep an eye out for the update soon.

      Cheers,

      Luke

  5. With regard to Leslie’s comment re taking this jacket traveling, I took it last Spring on a trip to Portsmouth, NH during a cold spell, wearing it night after night in 35-38 degree weather, with a steady light drizzle and 10-15 mph winds. Worn over cotton dress shirts, the garment’s performance was perfectly acceptable. I was warm and dry. It has become my default jacket for cold weather tourist type trips and I will be taking it to London this January. I usually skip bringing a rain shell unless the forecast calls for dumping.

    On ski touring and winter hiking, I continue to use the Nano Puff jacket as the fabric seems more durable and more tolerant of bushwacking. This latter garment seems to have a tighter fit; the Micro Puff fit is markedly roomier. All and all, an excellent garment.

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