The Stretch Nano Storm uses 60 g synthetic insulation throughout, which is reportedly the same insulation as the Nano Air Jacket. But the Nano Storm feels much warmer in use. I think a large part of this is due to the fact that it’s actually weather and windproof, there are no breezes cutting through it. The jacket also feels heftier and thicker throughout, which, along with the soft liner, makes it feel warm as soon as you put it on.
That’s a stark contrast to the Mountain Equipment Prophet (with its nylon liner that can feel a bit clammy where it touches the skin and takes a minute to warm up) even though it uses heavier 80 g insulation.
That said, over longer periods of time (e.g., while sitting and waiting for a skier to climb a line so that I can shoot it, both feel like they are insulating about the same, but I think I would give the nod to the Prophet for longer-term situations, like when sleeping in the jacket.
It’s hard to asses the breathability of an insulating piece, especially since I run hot, and rarely wear any insulator during sustained exertion. That said, the Stretch Nano Storm feels noticeably more breathable than most puffies I’ve used, and the soft liner keeps it from getting clammy with sweat. If you were to force me to say, bootpack a big line in either a regular puffy, the Mountain Equipment Prophet, or the Stretch Nano Storm I’d choose the Nano Storm first, then the Prophet, and my last choice would be a regular puffy for breathability.
Uses and Comparisons
I used the Stretch Nano Storm as an insulator both under and over my ski shell in new Zealand. I found that it fit better over my shell since it’s longer than most size-Large touring shells I’ve used. I’ve also used it as my go-to insulator for just about everything else since then. It’s more comfortable than a puffy, the face fabric is more durable, and it’s more weatherproof, so I wear it around town, when resting on hikes, or, most recently, while camping at the beach.
In this regard, it’s much more versatile than the Prophet which is so technical that I rarely wear it when I’m not in the mountains. The Nano Storm stretches much further into the casual, everyday wear end of the spectrum than the Prophet.
But the Prophet is much more appropriate for technical missions, mainly because of its lighter weight and packability. The Stretch Nano Storm just does not pack down very small. It doesn’t have any pocket to stuff into, and I feel like it packs to at least the size of a shell, plus a traditional puffy, so there isn’t a space-savings gained by marrying 2 pieces into 1. That’s frustrating when space is at a premium, so for longer, overnight missions, I’d choose the Prophet in a heartbeat because of its handy stuff pocket. Even if it did have a stuff pocket, the softer, more comfortable, more durable-feeling fabric of the Nano Storm (all great things) just takes up more room than the Gore Thermium of the Prophet.
So if you’re looking for a very versatile piece that’s comfortable on the skin track and also at a BBQ, the Stretch Nano Storm is hard to beat. But if you’re looking for something with a more technical fit, that’s more insulated and much more packable, the Prophet is going to be a better choice.
Patagonia’s new Stretch Nano Storm Jacket is another great option for skiers and climbers looking for alternatives to the traditional puffy midlayer + shell combination. It’s not the most packable piece if that is a priority for you, but its quiet, stretchy materials make it suitable for a very wide range of conditions and situations, and it’s one of the most comfortable insulators we’ve used.