To the outdoorsperson, a sweater necessarily takes on multiple personalities. The ideal one will, of course, be highly functional for all sorts of use and abuse in the outdoors. It should be light and warm, and it certainly doesn’t hurt if it’s breathable. At the same time, though, it’s wonderful if it can also be worn around town comfortably, or at least without looking ridiculous. Enter the Patagonia Special Edition Nano Puff Pullover.

Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover Features:

  • The toughest, lightest-weight shell fabric we offer, a 0.8-oz 10-denier 100% nylon ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • The most thermally-efficient synthetic insulation available; water-repellent, compressible 60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation has excellent warmth-to-weight and maintains 96% of warmth, even when wet
  • Brick quilting pattern with horizontal quilt lines on side panels stabilizes insulation, and uses durable thread for abrasion resistance
  • Easy venting, deep center-front zipper has wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at chin for next-to-skin comfort
  • Left chest pocket has clean-finished zipper garage and doubles as a self stuffsack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop
  • Elasticized cuffs and hem seal in warmth
  • Shell and lining: 0.8-oz 10-denier 100% nylon ripstop, with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation 100% polyester
  • 234 g (8.3 oz)
  • MSRP: $219

Photo Aug 26, 9 30 22 AM

High-tech, refined sweater

I first received the Nano Puff Special Edition Pullover in late June, when the days were already quite hot and the only cold nights that I could find were at alpine lakes high in the Gallatins. Now, though, I’m up before the sun in Spokane and need a sweater for that early morning chill. In the meantime, I’ve packed the pullover everywhere from Mt. Rainier to Okanogan (which is currently on fire) and it’s had its scrapes and scuffs, but it’s definitely ready for a review.

As you’ll notice, the product in this review is the ‘special edition’ Nano Puff pullover. What precisely is the difference between this and the normal, un-special edition? The secret lies in the shell fabric that Patagonia used for each model. The normal pullover has a 22D polyester blend, which is less durable but naturally more hydrophobic. The special edition model, though, features a 10D ripstop nylon weave which cuts the weight of the pullover by 20%! In other words, the pullover went from weighing 10oz to 8oz.

Photo Aug 26, 9 30 38 AM

Note the fleecy goodness

This is important for a number of reasons. For one thing, people who buy a pullover are generally concerned about weight – that’s one of the substantive reasons for using roughly half as much zipper in a product. Additionally, nylon is more durable over time than polyester, and as such this contributes to that ‘buy it and wear it forever’ expectation that rightly comes with Patagonia products. Speaking of longevity, it’s worth noting that Patagonia chose an extra durable thread to actually stitch the pullover together with, which is appreciated since the stitching is often one of the first things to go on a puffy.

Although light fabrics are great, they come with a cost – during my testing, I managed to put a small abrasion hole into the jacket near the cuff of my left sleeve. This was, admittedly, because I was hauling rocks to help secure tents in a high wind, which is fairly abusive work. However, it’s also a fairly normal camp task and one that simulates the abuse of extended wear in harsh  conditions. Yes, I was being extra hard on the jacket because I was testing it, but potential purchasers should take note that it’s still a puffy, not Cordura.

The featureset of the jacket is sparse, but refined. Crucially, there’s a chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack and includes a loop to hook it onto your pack or harness with a carabiner. This pocket can also be opened up to provide a bit of ventilation, which is nice, but the effect is marginal. Up top, the zipper track (which pulls easily and has never snagged on me) finishes out in a soft, minimalist zipper garage. I appreciated that on cold days.

Photo Aug 13, 7 33 44 AM

The fit of the jacket is fairly interesting. I can only really describe it as ‘tailored.’ It doesn’t feel athletic in the traditional sense of athletic-cut apparel – there’s something more sophisticated about it. Regardless, the Medium that I tested fits securely around my 32″ waist (no billowing here) and offers hardly any stretch at the hem. The shoulders are roomy enough to accommodate my frame, which is average, and the sleeves are the perfect length. For reference, I’m 5’11” and 180 pounds. Although the fit is conservative, the nylon fabric is so slipper that it’s always easy to get on and off, even when wet. I used this piece on several mountaineering trips, and that trim waist was important for helping the Pullover lay neatly under a harness.

As you’ve probably read, the Nano Puff is filled with 60g of polyester Primaloft Gold insulation. In practical terms, that translates into a light to medium level of insulation (more towards medium, in my opinion) that’s also breathable and water resistant. I was actually quite surprised by how warm the Nano Puff is – it was sufficient as a single insulating layer for me over just a slight baselayer in temps down to the high 40’s with fairly sedentary activity, although I wouldn’t have wanted it to be my only layer for hours on end. But, if you pop it on first thing in the morning and get out of your tent, it’s the ideal shoulder season piece to keep on as the morning’s various temperatures make their transition.

Note the small hole from abrasion

Note the small hole from abrasion

The Good

  • Very light, and quite warm for its weight
  • Durable stitching greatly enhances longevity
  • Half zipper pulls easily, no snags
  • Slippery fabric helps make layering transitions easy

The Bad 

  • Lightweight fabric got a small abrasion hole during my testing

The Bottom Line: Patagonia Nano Puff

The Special Edition Nano Puff Pullover is one of those products that’s hard not to love. It’s comfortable and warm, and definitely has the vibe of a product that I just know will be with me for years to come. Patagonia is still making plenty of winners, and this Pullover is another testimony to the effectiveness of the brand’s ethics and values.

Buy now: Patagonia.com

About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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