In the search for the ultimate synthetic insulation, Patagonia has come up with some gems. But, none of the prior materials match the latest Micro Puff in terms of weight to warmth ratio. This stuff is wicked-light, packable and serves up extra core warmth on cold days.
Patagonia Micro Puff Vest Features:
- Exterior shell is ultralight nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum®
- Water-resistant and treated with DWR finish
- Utilizes unique PlumaFill insulation that mimics the feel of down, but performs better in the real world
- Unique staggered quilting pattern to stabilize and maximize loft
- Front zipper with storm flap and zipper garage
- Two large zippered hand warmer pockets and two internal drop-in pockets
- Left pocket doubles as a stuffsack
- Elasticized arm holes and hem
- Weight: 150 grams (medium, actual)
- MSRP: $199
Micro Puff is wicked-light and super-packable
It would be fair statement that I love vests. Their versatility goes without saying and I’m particularly taken by Patagonia’s new Micro Puff Vest. I grab it more often than any other vest on the rack because it’s just so darn comfortable.
On a recent trip to Zion National Park, the ambient temperature was around 60 degrees, but in the shadows deep inside those canyon walls, it was mighty chilly. That range of temperature was the perfect match for the Micro Puff Vest with the ability to span warm sun and chilly shadows without getting too hot or cold.
When I packed it away inside my Camelbak Mule LR, it took up almost no space. It easily stuffs and zips inside the left pocket to a size about the same as a large energy drink can. The PlumaFill insulation compresses something amazing — surpassing the compression of any synthetic puffy I’ve experienced.
The wearability of the Micro Puff is beyond compare. Due to its light weight, it feels like you’re wearing nothing yet it insulates quite well. It’s not an expedition-type warmth, but it covers the sweet spot of temperatures that the average adventurers will be encountering — from ski trips to Snowbird, early mornings at the beach and trail running after the sun goes down.
As a mid-layer, the Micro Puff Vest adds warmth without getting in the way and as an outer layer, it keeps your core warm and dry. During long or hard efforts, I’ve been surprised how well it breathes and, of course, it maintains warmth exceptionally-well when wet. The staggered quilting pattern plays a part in both the warmth and breathability by letting the PlumaFill insulation work its magic.
To keep the chill out, the Micro Puff Vest features an elastic hem and sleeve openings. Initially, the sleeve openings felt a little tight, but they quickly disappear and do a great job of blocking out crosswinds out on the trail.
I love the size of the pockets here and the interior sleeve pockets add even more versatility as they are perfectly-sized to stash your skins to keep them warm on the descent or a pair of winter gloves. The zippers are easy to open and close and they provide instant warmth for bare hands when temperatures drop.
Two things detract from the otherwise perfect design here: 1) The collar is just a touch too tall and 2) the front zipper is either too stiff or gets affected by the tall collar height. Let me explain further… the collar height provides excellent neck coverage for warmth (a good thing), but the tall front tends to dig into the underside of my chin (not so good). If you’re going to zip it up, it’s best-suited for standing, walking or running activities.
Additionally, the tall height tends to bunch up the front zipper when zipped all the way up and in a seated position (like a chairlift or hanging out by the campfire). It turns the frontside of the vest into a wavy roller coaster instead of sitting flat against my chest.
- Super lightweight
- Feels like you’re wearing air
- Very versatile insulation for a variety of activities
- Breathes well
- Adeptly sheds moisture (no, it’s not a proper rain layer)
- Packs down to next to nothing
- Quiet outer fabric
- Tall collar height digs into underside of chin
- Subsequently, the tall collar makes the front zipper bunch up like a roller coaster
The Bottom Line: Patagonia Micro Puff Vest
The star of the show here is the new PlumaFill insulation. It is the best-feeling synthetic insulation I’ve ever used and packs down next to nothing. Breathability remains fantastic and this vest is the one I grab more often than any other.
Buy Now: Available at Patagonia.com