This is a jacket built for belays, frigid camps, and the moments when the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate. Patagonia paid close attention to the details when making a cold weather hoody that will offer protection from a myriad of undesirable weather conditions. Their new HyperDAS insulation utilizes a vertical orientation for the synthetic insulating fibers, instead of horizontal. The result? A highly durable synthetic puffy that retains its loft after rigorous use.
Women’s Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody Features:
- 2-way stretch nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum® shell with DWR treatment
- Synthetic 100-g HyperDAS insulation
- Helmet-compatible hood with adjustable drawcord and visor
- Elastic cuffs and adjustable drawcord hem for maximum warmth
- Three zippered external pockets (two handwarmer, one chest) and a large internal mesh pocket
- Articulated design in cut and stitching, enabling a wide range of motion while in use
- MSRP: $299.00
HyperDAS is lightweight, durable and compressible
The age-old adage of outdoor gear nerds has always been deliberating the choice between synthetic and down insulation. Synthetic materials will continue to insulate even when damp, but down will clump up and become useless. However synthetic materials also tend to be far heavier, bulkier, and less compressible than down, with a shorter lifespan to boot.
Let’s dive a little deeper with the insulation dichotomy. Down is the lofty plumage underneath geese and duck’s outer feathers. Down retains heat by trapping warm air between the filaments and holding it close to the body. The Hyper Puff is stuffed with 100-gauge HyperDAS (DAS an acronym for “dead air space”) synthetic technology. The HyperDAS insulation mimics down by creating the loft that down naturally possesses. By creating air space in insulation, warmth can be held between the synthetic fibers and perform similarly to down. The HyperDAS is an accordion-like insulation that is designed to offer maximum warmth and durability for a lifetime of type two fun.
The usual downfall for synthetic insulation versus down is a higher weight-to-warmth ratio and shorter lifespan than down insulations. Synthetic insulation seems to always come at the cost of a heavier garment to achieve the same level of warmth, and the fibers don’t hold up well to the abuse and constant compressing that outdoor ventures often demand of gear. However, I was surprised at how light the Hyper Puff is: a mere 15.9 oz. It’s lighter than my Outdoor Research Floodlight Parka (about 20 oz), and is only a touch heavier than my The North Face Ventrix Hoody (under 15 oz).
The HyperDAS insulation maintains a standard of longevity while also meeting the specific demands we outdoor enthusiasts have of our gear. These needs include high-warmth and low-weight for our insulating layers, with major bonus points for durability and breathability. The Hyper Puff compressed down to about the size of a cantaloupe in the included dual-cord stuff sack. While it didn’t compress as much as a competing down item might, it was pretty darn close.
Both synthetic fibers and down fill are prone to breakdown after going through the constant cycle of “compress, re-loft, compress.” But the HyperDAS fibers, which are oriented vertically instead of horizontally, enables the material to regain its original loft even after several stuffings. The “puffiness” of the HyperPuff is comparable to that of a down puffy, and by looks alone it is sometimes hard to believe that it isn’t full of feathers.
I stuffed my HyperPuff into climbing packs, tiny carry-on bags, the mesh pocket of my NineTrails pack, into the stuff sack it came with… Each time it re-lofted with a liveliness unmerited by the abuse I put it through. Several weeks of heavy use and it still looks extraordinarily new.
So the HyperDAS insulation is compressible and lightweight. Great, you’re now probably wondering if it’s any good at its main purpose: insulation. In brief, yes. The HyperPuff offers impressive warmth. I wore it camping in the North Cascades in October (a time of cold, wet climes in the Pacific Northwest) as well as climbing in Arizona in November (where cool temps are of the desert variety: dry and frigid). I was comfortable in low temps wearing this over a light long sleeve. In fact, I can’t remember a time that I put this jacket and wasn’t immediately warm. The Hyper Puff traps heat and keeps it close. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it as an extra layer on trips, especially where wet weather is a possibility.
The shell material is the well-known Pertex Quantum fabric. Engineered to balance water resistance and windproof abilities with a soft hand, the Pertex Quantum face fabric offers a durable edge to the Hyper Puff. After heavy use, my Hyper Puff Hoody still looks remarkably fresh. No snags or holes to report. The garment is designed to have all around stretch, which is evident in both the 2-way stretch ripstop Pertex and in the articulated stitching design. The result is a shell that affords a full range of movement while also providing thorough protection from the elements. The DWR treatment on the face fabric–the windproof Pertex Quantum–further ensures that rain and snow will roll off the jacket, keeping you dry and warm underneath. While DWR has its limits, the added protection from bad weather is a welcome addition to a belay jacket like the Hyper Puff.
The hood is a simple, yet thoughtful, design. The minimal visor keeps moisture from rolling into your face, and a single drawcord adjustment ensures that your peripheral vision is not impaired by a floppy hood. The hood is insulated as generously as the rest of the jacket, and I loved that I could really up the ante on warmth by just plopping on my hood.
In addition to the hood adjustment, the hem has two simple toggle adjustments to seal out the cold. The collar zips up real high, over the chin and mouth (a detail I always appreciate, because my cheeks and chin can get so cold.) The cuffs I found particularly interesting. Instead of a velcro cuff, or an external elastic cuff oft seen in insulating layers, the HyperPuff has a broad, internal elastic. This ruched cuff is about an inch wide, and the HyperPuff sleeve extends another inch or so beyond the elastic. So the cuff itself hugs the wrist, but the jacket extends to about midway down my hand, like a thumb loop would. I liked the extended sleeve, as it was a few extra inches of warmth.
It’s clear that the Hyper Puff is designed with a lot of attention to technical details. That being said, it isn’t the most attractive puffy. The cut felt boxy and unflattering, which doesn’t matter if you plan on being on a cold belay ledge. However, it does matter if this is the kind of puffy you want to wear around town as well. The matte finish of the Pertex Quantum fabric is nice for about the city, especially compared to high-shine technical pieces. But the shapeless feel of the cut and overall technical appearance prompts me to pick another layer when I am going to beers with friends or heading downtown.
- Lightweight, but still provides major warmth
- Durable face fabric and insulation
- Retains it’s puffiness, even after repeated compression
- Not a very flattering cut for around town wear
- Extra long sleeves could be annoying when trying to put on gloves
- I would have liked a two-way zipper for added comfort while on belay
The Bottom Line: Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody
The Hyper Puff is a great layer for forays into inclement weather. The synthetic insulation will stand up to wet weather better than down, which will inevitably clump and thus lose insulating abilities when exposed to moisture. The Hyper Puff delivers fantastic warmth without adding tons of unnecessary ounces. The windproof Pertex Quantum ripstop, accordion-like HyperDAS insulation, and DWR treatment provide added protections in the midst of undesirable weather systems. The Hyper Puff is a great option for when you need added warmth for stationary activities (like belays in alpine conditions), or when you anticipate the weather giving you some added thrills.
Buy Now: Available at Patagonia.com