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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.