Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hoody
Stated Weight: 309 g (10.9 oz)
Blister’s Measured Weight (Large): 325 g
- 100% nylon ripstop shell and plain-weave with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Engineered pattern eliminates all seaming across the shoulders and back
- Stretchy hood with binding easily pulls on or off, even when jacket is zipped
- Deep center-front zipper to allow for quick venting and easy on-off
- Left-chest zippered pocket
- Stretch-woven cuffs
- Shell: 1.6-oz 30-denier 100% nylon stretch ripstop
- Lining: 2-oz 50-denier 100% nylon stretch plain weave
- Cuff: 4.7-oz 88% polyester/12% spandex stretch-woven.
- Insulation: 40-g FullRange 100% polyester stretch insulation
Reviewer: 6’, 185 lbs, typically wears a size Large.
Days Tested: 7
We’ve been fans of the Patagonia Nano-Air series since its debut, and the Nano-Air Hoody continues to be one of our go-to midlayers. So we were excited to check out their latest offering, the Nano-Air Light Hoody, that Patagonia claims is “75% more breathable, 33% less insulative, and lighter weight than the regular Nano-Air Hoody with same level of unprecedented stretch.”
We just got back from ski touring and lift-accessed skiing at Porters and Craigieburn Valley, New Zealand, and, overall, came away impressed with the new Nano-Air Light.
Construction and Materials
You can check out our review of the original Nano-Air Hoody for a description of the Full Range insulation and the basic concepts behind the Nano-Air Line.
The new Nano-Air Light uses a revised and lighter (40 g) version of the Full Range insulation that is intended to offer higher air permeability than the original Nano-Air. Interestingly, the Nano-Air Light uses a higher weight shell material (1.6 oz, 30 denier) than the Nano-Air (1.3 oz, 20 denier) although that difference is not obvious in the hand.
I have worn size Large in many Patagonia products over the years, and the Nano-Air Light fits me similarly — but a bit slimmer. Due to its stretch, it is still easy to get on, and I would not consider bumping up to an XL. The Nano-Air Light is a bit too tight to routinely pull on over top of my hardshell, as is often my practice when ski touring with other puffy jackets, but I was able to pull it on over my Patagonia Houdini (as in the above photo) without difficulty.
As of now, the Nano-Air Light only comes in a hooded version with a ¾ zip. If I had my choice, I think I’d rather have a full zipper to make getting the Nano-Air Light on and off quicker and easier, and for even more venting options. I doubt that it would add much weight and we’d love to see Patagonia offer a full-zip version in the future.
In my opinion, the hood on the Nano-Air Light is pretty much perfect — it has just enough coverage to keep the spindrift and wind off of my face and neck without feeling cumbersome or obstructing vision in any way. I’ve worn it over a variety of hats and under my helmet, and it has been ideal throughout. It’s pretty unusual for me to buy a midlayer with a hood because I generally dislike having to deal with multiple hoods (I always have my Patagonia Houdini with me, and my shell always has a hood). But the Nano-Air Light hood is so functional that I probably wouldn’t go for a hoodless version if Patagonia offered one.
This is always one of the toughest things to evaluate, especially when trying to compare one jacket to another. That said, the Nano-Air Light probably is the most breathable mid-layer I’ve ever used aside from a light fleece pullover, and it may even be close to something like a Patagonia R1 Hoody, which has significantly less wind resistance and insulation than the Nano-Air Light.
It’s rare that I skin in anything more than a light merino shirt and a Patagonia Houdini jacket, but while ski touring at Craigieburn and Porters, there were several occasions when it was chilly enough that I spent time booting and skinning in the Nano-Air Light. While wearing it by itself over my light merino baselayer, the comfort range was higher than any other puffy I’ve used with just enough wind and breeze breaking through to cool me off when I overheated. When wearing it coupled with the Black Diamond Helios Jacket, the whole combination was remarkably comfortable even for some extended periods of hiking.
Overall, the Nano-Air Light lives up to Patagonia’s claims on breathability.
Again, I’d say that Patagonia is pretty spot on with their claim that the Nano-Air Light is around 30% less insulative than the Nano-Air. When worn by itself over a light merino baselayer, I am pretty comfy being relatively sedentary down to the mid 40F temp range, and I think it would work well for skinning or hiking in much colder conditions.
Under a shell, it’s been a great layer for lift-served skiing into the 30’s, while also not being too hot to leave on for the occasional 15-20 minute hike (without having to shed layers or helmet).
My suspicion is that for cold, mid-winter ski touring, I’ll be more apt to take a thicker down puffy or even my Nano-Air to put on at the top of runs and for the added safety of carrying a very warm layer. But for both early and late season ski touring, all sorts of summer adventures, and maritime climate lift-served skiing, the Nano-Air Light will be a go-to piece. And for any of you who who would be willing to give up some of the warmth of the original Nano-Air Hoody in exchange for a bit more breathability, I suspect that you will feel the same way. When I think about the best, most versatile clothing that I’ll wear a lot throughout the year, my guess is that the Nano-Air Light will be second only to the Patagonia Houdini.