When I first saw the Nano Puff I thought 'not a chance', says Jon Griffith. I couldn't see myself ever using it. I think it was the sales assistant's excitement in Chamonix's Patagonia shop that swayed me in the end ... but then he seemed easily excited by most things. Well, here I am five months later, and I've used it every time I've been in the hills.
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Jon Griffith 'simul soloing the Mallory on the Aiguille du Midi last Thursday (18th March) wearing the Patagonia Nano Puff jack
© Jon Griffith/Jon Bracey
"...Proof of how warm it is - when I got drenched by the cannons on Nuit Blanche I was stood at the lower belay for two hours, waiting for Nick to drop us a static, and I kept reasonably warm. This was the beginning of January after dark without a down jacket..."
The Nano Puff is one of those items of mountain clothing that everyone seems to get hyper about. Patagonia are already proudly calling it a 'cult classic'.
So what's good about it? At 266 grams the Puff is incredibly light but at the same time very warm. Utilizing top of the range PrimaLoft One encased in a 100% recycled polyester Durable Water Repellent (DWR) shell, it is about as good as you can get for warmth to weight ratio for a midlayer, and eco friendly as well.
The jacket is very much a no frills simple design. There is no hood and there are no fancy accessories. It packs away into the external chest pocket nicely, and a krab loop allows you to take it with you on ice or rock climbs without needing to carry a pack. Awesome.
As a winter midlayer it has been indispensable. I've generally combined the Puff with the Patagonia Ascensionist Jacket and found that it adds that extra layer of wind protection that a fleece doesn't. The PrimaLoft means that even when wet it will still insulate, so that when you do finally top out from that WI6 or Scottish 7 lead you won't be freezing cold at the belay while your sweat quickly solidifies around you.
I've come out of leads this winter and been surprised to find that even though the Puff was soaked, I stayed nice and warm when belaying my second up to me. Proof of how warm it is - when I got drenched by the cannons on Nuit Blanche I was stood at the lower belay for two hours, waiting for Nick to drop us a static, and I kept reasonably warm. This was the beginning of January after dark without a down jacket.
The Puff can be worn instead of a fleece or as an accompaniment to one when cold. This winter I've been combining it with a thin Patagonia R1 hoody, and this has been perfect for my needs.
As well as being great for winter climbing, the Puff would make a perfect summer lightweight synthetic for those cragging days that run into the evening. The outer shall is very thin though, so don't expect to be able to climb with this as an outer layer - it's a superlightweight insulating layer that you have to take care of.
Patagonia Nano Puff
There's not a lot to say about the Nano Puff as it's a simple jacket. However, the fact that I've worn it so much speaks for itself. I'm glad I gave the Puff a chance to prove it's worth.
About Jon Griffith
Jon Griffith, left and Jack Geldard
Jon Griffith's first climbing days were in the Avon Gorge at Bristol. After university he moved to Chamonix, where he works as a professional mountain photographer: www.alpineexposures.com.
"It's hard to pick one specific type of climbing that I prefer over the others but I think my heart still lies with big mixed alpine routes that potentially involve a couple of nights bivying. I am still getting used to the whole Chamonix 'get back in time for the last lift' style - I still include bivying as a part of any decent mountaineering experience. I am also still getting used to crack climbing - it hurts.... a lot."
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Jon Griffith: