Patagonia Nano Air Hoody

The Hood

We’ve been testing the Nano Air Hoody, but Patagonia also makes a non-hooded version of the jacket. I haven’t found myself using the hood much so far, but I do think it will be a nice feature for ice and rock climbers. (Jonathan: Yep. I’ve used the hood on some hikes when the wind has kicked up fierce, and the hood has worked very well and been much appreciated.)

The Nano Air’s hood is has a stretchy “binding” around it that keeps in in place very well, and gives it a snug fit. The hood isn’t quite like a storm hood you’ll find on a hard shell—the brim extends down at the front toward your face, covering the forehead, and touching just above the eyebrows. The sides of the hood cover the ears well too, yet no part of it reduces my vision at all.

I’ll need to confirm this, but I think the hood should fit over a low-profile climbing helmet without a problem.


Conditions during our trip to New Zealand were often quite warm, often pushing 50 degrees F on days we were skiing, with even warmer temps on days when we were off the mountain.

Will Brown reviews the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody, Blister Gear Review.
Jonathan Ellsworth in the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody, hiking to Temple Basin Ski Area.

As such, we haven’t yet had the chance to wear the Nano Air in full-on, mid-winter conditions, but my hunch is that if you’re moving—skinning or hiking—it should be able to keep you warm and comfortable in temps around the mid-20s. The jacket kept me perfectly warm while hiking above Telluride earlier this month while the town was getting hit with its first dose of (wet and warm) snow.

When it comes to providing warmth when you’re sitting still, the Nano Air isn’t on the same level as the Nano Puff or TNF Thermoball Hoodie, so strictly speaking, those are probably better belay jackets in cold temps.

However, the Nano Air is a close second in terms of warmth, and it’s definitely more breathable than the Nano Puff or Thermoball Hoodie. I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, but layering a light shell like the  Mountain Equipment Arclight or Westcomb Apoc over the Nano Air will make it a bit warmer (partially by gaining some wind resistance), perhaps without sacrificing too much in the way of breathability.


We want to wear the Nano Air on more bootpacks and a few tours to really get a full and complete sense of how well it breathes, but so far we’ve been pretty impressed, especially given that it seems almost as warm as the Nano Puff.

I wore the Nano Air while hiking from the parking lot to the lodge at both Broken River Ski Area and Temple Basin Ski area with temperatures in upper 40s / low 50s. The rest of the group was hiking in only base layers or t-shirts, and while I did need to take the Nano Air off halfway through the hike because I was starting to sweat, I remained comfortable and dry in the jacket longer than I would have expected, given how warm the ambient temperature was. Had I been wearing the Nano Puff, I’m certain that I would have had to take it off sooner.

Obviously it’s going to depend on how active you are and how strenuous a given activity is, but as a general guide, I think you can expect to wear the Nano Air during aerobic activities and remain comfortable in temperatures in the upper 40’s. And as I mentioned above, while I still need to confirm this, given its warmth, I think the Nano Air will keep you comfortable  (both dry and warm) on skins, bootpacks, or while climbing in much colder temps, well below freezing.

Jackets made with a low-density knit fleece material, like The North Face Radium, Mountain Equipment Concordia Jacket, or Patagonia R3 (which all use Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft) also offer an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio, and these do breathe better than the Nano Air. However, these jackets offer practically no windproofing or waterproofing, so they fall well behind the Nano Air in those respects.

Wind Resistance

While it is quite breathable in its own right, and considering the warmth it can provide, the Nano Air also blocks wind relatively well, while offering some water resistance.

Patagonia says the Nano Puff is 100% windproof, and that seems right to me. By comparison, I’d say that the Nano Air blocks about 30% less wind. It definitely offers some protection, but Jonathan and I find that we lose heat more easily wearing the Nano Air in cold, very blustery conditions than when wearing the Nano Puff or Thermoball Hoodie.

So while the Nano Air’s superior breathability doesn’t sacrifice a whole lot in terms of warmth over the Nano Puff, the difference in wind resistance between the two is more noticeable. The same could be said for the Nano Air’s water resistance.

Water Resistance

While the outer shell fabric of the Nano Air is treated with a DWR (durable water repellant) finish, it is only substantial enough to fend off dry snow and very, very light drizzle / mist. Small droplets of moisture will bead up and can be brushed off the jacket, but if any get pressed into the material (by a backpack strap, for example), the shell fabric becomes saturated quite easily. Wet snow or ordinary drops of rain will soak into the shell material in their own pretty quickly. The outer shell material of the Nano Puff will also become wet in similar conditions, but it may last a bit longer before saturating.

Will Brown reviews the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody, Blister Gear Review.
Saturated shell fabric on a sleeve of the Nano Air.

If you’re going to be brushed with a little bit of dry snow or a very light drizzle here and there, the Nano Air will remain breathable and keep you dry, no problem. And it’s also well worth noting that even if the outer shell material does get saturated, the Nano Air’s insulation will continue to hold it’s loft, and you will have quite a while before you actually feel any wetness on the inside of the jacket. I haven’t gotten the Nano Air totally soaked yet, but I was still warm and dry while much of the shell material on the sleeves and the shoulders was wet and it dried quite quickly.

*An aside: Neither Jonathan nor I have experience with the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody, but when it comes to balancing breathability, water and wind resistance, and warmth, it looks to be the jacket that’s most comparable to the Nano Air currently on the market. We hope to review the men’s Atom LT soon to see how it stacks up.

Weight / Packability

Neither the Nano Puff, The North Face Thermoball Hoodie (Large = ~395 grams), or the Nano Air (Large = ~410 grams) are highly packable, but the Nano Puff will compress down to a slightly smaller size—it stuffs into one of its own pockets to about the size of a softball. The Nano air is just a bit bulkier, and the FullRange insulation seems less willing to compress than the Nano Puff’s.


The Nano Air’s 20-denier shell material is soft and quite thin, although there is a gridded ripstop pattern woven into it that’s very difficult to see.

Neither Jonathan nor I have had any durability issues with the Nano Air so far, but (as with most midlayers) we’d recommend avoiding tree branches while touring or hiking in the jacket, and being careful when shouldering skis. More time and use will tell, but we’ve found no reason to say that the Nano Air’s outer shell material is too light or too thin to use climbing.

Bottom Line

Given their outstanding breathability, there is still a place for hi-loft, open fleece jackets like the Radium to provide warmth during high-output activities. There is also still a place for synthetic insulators like the Nano Puff or Thermoball Hoodie that offer a bit more warmth and weather protection than the Nano Air—they’re probably better suited for sedentary activities like belaying, hanging out at camp, etc. (Though again, pairing the Nano Air with a light, breathable hard shell might outperform a single piece like the Nano Puff when things get windy or wet.)

But the degree to which the Patagonia Nano Air combines much of the breathability of open fleece with some of the water & wind resistance of a puffy jacket is very impressive.

The Nano Air is a highly versatile layering piece that can be used comfortably in a wider range of conditions (either as an outer layer or under a shell) than either the Radium, the Nano Puff, or the Thermoball Hoodie.

And we’ll say it again: the Nano Air is just plain cozy, and works great as a casual piece for kicking around town.


10 comments on “Patagonia Nano Air Hoody”

  1. Thanks as always for a great review guys. I bought this jacket for my wife a few weeks ago for her birthday and it has quickly become her most used jacket and her favorite all-arounder.

    Also, I own the Atom LT. It works great as an everyday jacket for Park City for 9-10 months of the year. It’s a bit warm for July and August. I took it on a week long AT trip this winter at Sorcerer Lodge in the Selkirks as well. Pretty impressive DWR during snow flurries and the thinner material along the flanks/armpits allows you to leave it on while skinning a lot longer than you’d expect. It’s pretty comfy in anything but direct sun and above freezing temps. Curious to hear your Atom LT vs Nano Air review to come

    • Also curious to hear back about Atom LT vs Nano Air. So far to me nothing is up to the Atom LT, simply the best mid layer insulation piece out there. Haven’t had a chance to check the Nano Air yet though.

      • I picked up a Nano Air on a crazy good Black Friday sale, and it blows the Atom LT out of the water. Seriously, this thing is amazing. The fabric feels soft and closer to sweatshirt material than the slippery plastic of other puffs. It actually really stretches, which is fantastic if you have broad climber’s shoulders. It breaths, everywhere rather than just under your arms, so that I don’t feel like I’m instantly a sweaty mess as soon as I start moving. Just this last weekend I wore it backcountry skiing over a merino 2 shirt, under a NeoShell (Rab Neo Guide), 32 degrees out, howling wind and sleet and never felt either too hot, too cold, or sweaty. The comfort level of this thing is just surreal… it’s like wrapping yourself in a toasty quilt, instead of a garbage sack.

        Like Pit said, I’m going to be putting my Atom LT up for sale. No other puffy I’ve seen remotely compares to the Nano Air.

  2. It seems the Rab Strata Alpha with Polartec Alpha is another jacket with similar qualities; have you looked at this piece? It has become my favorite jacket replacing the Atom and other similar jackets.

    • Hey Ron,

      We haven’t had the chance to test too many pieces from Rab, but are hoping to change that this season, and will definitely include the Strata Hoodie in the mix.



  3. Hi guys,
    Would this be a good winter jacket for the city? I live in NYC and wanted to get a good layer as winters are becoming colder every year… Thanks!!

    • Hi Peter,

      Very sorry I haven’t replied to you sooner. If you’re looking to stay warm as you’re walking around the city, then I think getting something like the Patagonia Down Sweater would make more sense; you don’t really need the increased breathability (and decreased warmth) of the Nano Air unless you’re doing more high-output activities like skinning, hiking, etc.



  4. G’day…I won an Arctery’x Atom Lt…I used this jacket exclusively last year snowshoeing and bushwaching through the Adirondack Mountains….I just purchased a Patagonia Nano-Air and to be honest with you I don’t think I’m going to use the Atom Lt anymore…I putting the Arctery’x Lt up for sale….The Patagonia Nano Air is awesome…it is one of the best technical pieces I’ve ever worn….I’ve been out hiking in it in mid-20 degrees with winds blowing at 10-to -20 and I’ve stayed completely warm…I’ve been wearing a Patagonia R1 pullover under the Nano Air and when colder I’ve slipped an insulated vest on and my core stayed toasty….I love how the Nano Air feels, how comfortable it is, and how it keeps my warm without sweating…I really like how the hood cringes around your neck when not in use, so cold air doesn’t get into the parts of your core body–something the Arctery’x Atom Lt lacks…The hood is great on this jacket while the Arctery’x hood is useless IM0…I’ve walked directly into the wind with the Atom LT and the hood filled up with air and wanted to slide off my head…I had to hold the hood in place…not so withe the Patagonia Nano Air…..get one of these jackets if you love the great outdoors. You will not regret your decisions to spend the money…

  5. Have been conducting extensive comparative testing of the Nano Air and the Mammut Guye, which contains Alpha insulation with Quantum Pertex face fabric. When testing at .7psi vapor pressure diffential, the Guye moves significantly more moisture than the Nano (27% and 34% in two different tests). One test two, conducted with a light base layer, the base layer used in conjunction with the Nano gained more moisture than the base layer used in conjunction with the Guye. This results from the reduced moisture venting capability of the Nano, relative to the Guye. Here is the interesting part: The NANO shows huge air permeability. The Guye shows minimal permeability. Yet, the Guye moves more moisture. I don’t actually understand this. The Nano is a warmer jacket. The fabric R value 1.43 for the Guye and 1.97 for the Nano.

  6. I would echo the statements of the reviewers. As you can see it’s overly baggy in the waist, which would make it less than ideal for climbing. otherwise, Id also say it fits true to size.
    it’s quite air permeable, so on windy days you will want to pack a windshirt or hardshell for low output activities, like descending skiing.
    For me, wearing a baselyaer underneath, it was good for downhill skiing around 20-30F and aerobic activities around 5-15 degrees. If it was windy those temps should be adjusted much higher.

    I could see using this on a mountain ski or fat bike tour around 24-35F, climb up in a base layer or maybe a very thin mid layer, then at the top throw on the Noynoair for the descent. The air permeability will allow your base layer to dry out, much better than wearing a shell.

    The other scenario would be 15-25F but windy, wear it on the way up, where the lack of wind resistance allows keeps you from over heating, then throw on a windshirt at the top for the descent.

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