Old man winter paid an early visit to the Boise foothills last week. With a wet wind blowing from the north; drizzle turned to sleet as I climbed past 6,500 feet.
It was miserable by any standard but the ideal proving ground for Patagonia’s Nano-Air jacket. Billed as a “put it on, keep it on” piece, the jacket has insulation for warmth, but it breathes like crazy.
It’s also one of the most comfortable tops you can wear, be it as a layer or alone as outerwear worn against the wind.
The Gear: Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket
Nano-Air Jacket Details
- Available: Now
- Price: Nano-Air Jacket $250, Nano-Air Hoody $300
- Weight: Men’s 13.4 oz, Women’s 12.4 oz (medium hoodies)
- Where to use it: Alpine climbing, backcountry skiing, backpacking, cold weather running
- Who’s it for: Active outdoor enthusiasts who prize thermal efficiency during stop and go activities
First Impressions Of Patagonia’s Nano-Air
Charging the hill, my sleeves became slightly damp, but never saturated, and I remained warm but never hot. I stopped at the summit to take a 15-minute break.
While the wind and snow stormed around me, my sleeves and core soon felt dry. Intrigued, I turned my toes downhill and ran an hour loop back to the truck, staying comfortable the entire way down.
Traditional layering would have us wear a thermal base, followed by a fleece, all layered under a shell. When it came time to belay, you threw on the parka and waited your turn.
The Nano-Air simplifies this convention.
Paired with a base layer — even a short-sleeve shirt — the Nano-Air will likely get you through most of the day. Should conditions turn, throw on a wind or rain shell, and not only does that system then block wind, it traps heat like a dutch oven.
Nano-Air Technical Specs
With proprietary synthetic insulation and a DWR-treated ripstop nylon face, the jacket is exceptionally breathable. The shell and insulation are sewn together through large, articulated baffles.
It has four pockets: two generous hand pockets and two smaller chest pockets (large enough to hold a smartphone or wallet). All pocket zippers are reinforced with top and bottom bar stitching for longevity.
The elastic cuffs and hood are piped in a soft stretchy binding. The waist hem has two adjustable draw cords to trap heat. A split zipper garage wraps over both the left and right zipper teeth, protecting the chin from chafing even when unzipped.
Difference From The Nano Puff Jacket
The key difference from its predecessor (the Nano Puff jacket) is the Nano-Air’s insulation, which is exclusive to Patagonia. The insulation is very stretchy, providing for a full range of motion.
While the Nano Puff is wrapped in a shiny wind-blocking poly shell, the Nano-Air has a soft-to-the-touch ripstop shell — it feels more like a sweatshirt than a jacket. The porous nylon greatly increases its breathability to an unprecedented airflow of 40CFM (cubic feet per square foot per minute).
Awesome! Breathe in, breathe out! The Nano-Air has set the bar for breathability in loft-based insulation. You can literally put your mouth to the fabric and suck enough air through the shell to breathe. But this doesn’t come at the penalty of feeling like a knitted afghan in the wind. It strikes a perfect balance between breathability and wind protection.
Flaw: The hood is oversized to swallow a protected noggin. Without a helmet (or brimmed hat, which I found pitched the hood fine), the hood falls over the brow. I wish it had a posterior drawstring to take up the slack. Also, the porous nylon is prone to holding smells. Fortunately, it appears to fade quickly.
Made in: Vietnam.
Nano-Air Review Verdict
Who Should Buy It: Athletes pursuing stop and go adventures in chilly environments.
Conclusion: This jacket delivers as described; I’d nominate this for gear of the year…it’s awesome.
Contact Brand/More Beta: www.patagonia.com
Patagonia looks to release a similar jacket in 2017, the Nano Air Light Hybrid