Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Review


Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Review

Heather and I have been presented clothing ranges for a good number of seasons now and we know the brands and their teams well, and it's fair to say that for sheer product enthusiasm our Patagonia rep and former staff member, Andy Foster, wins hands down. But we had never seen anything from Andy that compared with his excitement for the, "amazing synthetic piece you're going to love which will change the world of insulation for ever." At the range meeting in June 2017, he talked and talked it up before showing it to us, which is always a dangerous thing to do. But when he hung it out for us to look at and tried it on for ourselves, we were immediately "super-psyched." Not due to release in the U.K. until the start of 2018, we couldn't stop ourselves from talking about it at Up and Under.

Then, one day in October, a package arrived with my name on it, accompanied by a lovely letter from Becky at Patagonia - it was a PATAGONIA MICRO PUFF HOODY!  Before his extremely untimely passing in Yosemite, Andy had managed to secure one for me. Unwrapping the jacket and reading Becky's letter was extremely moving. It meant a great deal to me and whenever I put the hoody on I remember Andy's zest for life and extreme levels of enthusiasm. Having said all this, I'm not reviewing this product through rose-tinted spectacles for he was right, it's an awesome piece of clothing and is a serious game-changer for lightweight insulation. 

The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody attains the promised land, by using a new synthetic insulation that has a better warmth to weight ratio than any down Patagonia have ever used. Yes - really! After a decade of work, Patagonia have come up with their PlumaFill insulation, which uses a very clever structure of fibres to trap air in a similar way to down, but without the downside of fill collapse, which occurs when down gets wet (this includes hydrophobic down after a while, as well). So the jacket weighs very little (we weighed my M at a breathtakingly light 250g), packs very small (22x15x13cm when packed easily in its own pocket, but can be crushed smaller) and will provide warmth even after continued soaking. 

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody ReviewSo what do I think about it and its features? Well, it certainly does what it says on the tin. It feels lovely and light when you put it on; take 10 paces and to warm it up and that's it, the warmth stays locked in there. Due to the structure of the fill it doesn't need to have the continuous gridded or skinny baffle stitching of a down jacket as there is much less potential for fill migration, which helps provide more evenly warmed large areas that are better at keeping the warmth inside. I've been stood around in some pretty cold spots for prolonged periods of time recently and haven't noticed a dip in comfort over time. But how warm is it; what does it compare with? It's about 100g lighter, but quite a bit warmer, than the Nano-Puff Hoody, and 160g lighter than a Down Sweater Hoody - probably approaching a similar level of warmth in my eyes.

I have been out in the jacket in prolonged, light rain and the tight woven shiny Pertex Quantum face fabric and DWR keep a surprising amount of moisture out, and the jacket stayed warm even well after ingress was occurring. The inner lining also uses Pertex Quantum, so it takes a lot to get moisture from the fill onto your underclothes.

The fit of the jacket is slightly more boxy than some Patagonia products, but it seems about right for usual Patagonia sizes, i.e. slightly bigger than most European brands of the same size. I'm a fan of the cuffs and hood with the light elastication, though some colleagues have felt the cuffs to be a little bit baggy. The hood itself stays on in windy conditions, but really comes into its own under a shell and works well under a helmet as there is no peak or stiffening to get in the way. Similar to the cuffs I am happy with the hem fit, but some colleagues who don't have my well built lower body felt that a synch might have been nice to reduce heat loss when you're bent lacing your shoes up. The zip is a Light YKK Offering that feels sturdy enough and doesn't seem to catch, which happens too often on many lightweight material jackets. The baffles behind the zip press together snuggly to reduce heat loss at the zip. Two zipped hand-warmer pockets are in the right place for hand warming without interfering with a harness or backpack and are big enough for getting gloved hands in and out of easily. The left pocket is the storage pocket and the jacket compresses into it easily, making it into a nice travel pillow. There is also a clipping point inside so it can go on the back of your harness. Two large internal pockets are great for keeping your gloves or hat warm and are large enough to fit a water bottle, but I think a full one would be a bit too much stress for the jacket; they're more suited to wallets and guidebooks.

Patagonia Micro Puff HoodyI've used the jacket as a casual piece for picking the kids up from school and around town (it got plenty of "ooh" type comments from the parents in the playground), as a warm layer for breaks when walking, bouldering and on belays, and I've packed it into my hydration vest while winter fell-running as my emergency warm layer. So far I haven't needed it in an emergency, but it's the first thing out of the pack when I finish my run and it's a joy to put on over a sweaty base layer, knowing its going to make me warm and help me dry out as well. 


I absolutely love the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody as a garment in its own right, but when you realise the implications of the first real synthetic alternative to down, the opportunities for using it are mind-boggling. I can't wait to take it to the Alps on some long routes, as my pack, which has been getting smaller each season, is going to suddenly be even smaller - well it will have more space for even more food in it anyway. This is a product to take along and not notice you're taking it - Patagonia have got it right when they say, "We tried everything and came up with nothing. The Micro Puff Hoody - Our lightest, most packable insulated jacket ever."

Don't just take my word for it though, either come and see in store or in the mean time check out the film below about this amazing product thats going to change insulation for ever.

Thanks again to Becky and the team at Patagonia and to Elgan Bruce and Mark Salter for the photos. If you'd like to find out more about our friend Andy Foster, then please take a look at www.camandbearuk.com, along with the associated Facebook and Just Giving pages.

Crescent Slabs - Pavey Arc

Will you be stocking women’s Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody - and price please.

I'm afraid that we didn't forward order it so we won't have any women's coming in, however, there is 1 size L currently available from Patagonia that I can order in if you call me asap.

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