UKC

Patagonia's Women's Nano-Air Hoody Review

© HSwift

Heather Swift takes the new Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody out in the Alps from sunny limestone sport to big north faces...


There's been a big buzz around Patagonia's Nano-Air Hoody with rave reviews and a '2015 Outside Gear of the Year' Award. Warm, stretchy and breathable, 'Put it on, leave it on' is the bold strap line Patagonia give with the jacket, so my mission was to find out if the hype was true.

Heather Swift alpine climbing in the Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody  © HSwift
Heather Swift alpine climbing in the Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody

I will admit I liked the jacket straight away, I mean really liked it. The fact that it weighed next to nothing (351g) was the initial thing I noticed. It came in a great bright colour (Cobalt Blue), felt comfy the moment I put it on, had a good snug fit with enough room for layers underneath, was long enough to wear with a harness, had sleeves a sensible length and a well cut hood.

I could go on, but the bottom line is it's an excellently cut jacket for active women, which fitted very well with any combination of layers both under or over it.

The Hoody is a serious piece of kit for the outdoors though, not just a show piece. Made using Patagonia's newest innovation, FullRange Insulation, this jacket has a 4-way stretch breathable ripstop shell and is designed to be used throughout any colder stop-start action mountain day.

Summer Alpine rock (chilly!) in the Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody  © HSwift
Summer Alpine rock (chilly!) in the Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody

Its list of technical features includes 60g stretchable and breathable insulation, water repellent yet stretchable shell, lightweight, hood with stretch binding, two chest pockets, two larger above-the-harness pockets, drawcord hem, front zip with storm flap and garage.

Patagonia makes top quality products in a highly competitive market. I was pleasantly suprised to find the £200 price tag sits well with comparable products, plus the hoody has the technical features to back it up.

Four pretty colour-ways are a bonus, especially when women's outdoor clothing is usually limited in options. I tried out the jacket for a myriad of activites, from quick acclimatisation missions to major alpine north faces, cragging to classic multi-pitch rock climbing peaks, to the pub on a cold evening, with or without a shell, from 2am starts to mid-day sun and in wind and rain.

After the clouds came in on the Aiguille du Peigne  © Aiguille du Peigne
After the clouds came in on the Aiguille du Peigne
© Aiguille du Peigne
Alpine sport climbing on a sunny day in the Gastlosen  © Heather Swift Collection
Alpine sport climbing on a sunny day in the Gastlosen
© Heather Swift Collection

 

The big question was, did I put it on and leave it on? YES.

  • Minor alpine routes on a windy day with no outer shell: tick.
  • 1000m north faces pitching ice and then moving together: tick.
  • Sunny rock faces: tick, any sweat breathed out.

 

It kept me warm enough on every route, and I never felt damp from being hot. I could always access at least two pockets. The hood pulled on and off without undoing the zip, even with a helmet on. The occasional rain fall was easily repelled. It even went in my pack as a light weight insulation layer for long runs.

You may ask did I find any faults? Yes, there were a couple.

The cuff binding is a little basic and 'bobbled up' quickly, the pocket zips catch the fabric more than is ideal and the outer shell is not particularly tough. The Hoody is so all round practical I found myself climbing in it constantly as the outer layer, and the ripstop fabric does catch on rock.

Cold and cloudy in the Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody  © Heather Swift Collection
Cold and cloudy in the Patagonia Women's Nano-Air Hoody
© Heather Swift Collection
A tired Heather on the summit of the Grandes Jorasses, with the Nano Air Hoody as a mid layer.  © Heather Swift
A tired Heather on the summit of the Grandes Jorasses, with the Nano Air Hoody as a mid layer.
© Heather Swift

 

Did these points matter? No.

All in all an absolutely excellent piece of kit, the Nano-Air Hoody will be top of my clothes list this winter for climbing, ski-touring, you name it, everything!

Patagonia Women's Nano Air Hoody  © Patagonia
PATAGONIA SAY:

  • Light-yet-durable 100% nylon ripstop shell and plain-weave liner offer generous mechanical stretch and exceptional breathability, with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Revolutionary 60-g FullRange™ Insulation warms and stretches; combined with the shell and liner, this creates a jacket with generous mechanical stretch and unprecedented air permeability (40CFM)
  • Iconic Nano Puff® brick quilting in the side panels, articulated patterning and other quilting details improve shape and durability
  • Stretchy hood with binding easily pulls on or off, even when jacket is zipped
  • Center-front zipper has wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at chin for next-to-skin comfort
  • Two handwarmer pockets and two chest pockets are zippered, welted and low-bulk to wear comfortably with a harness or pack
  • Stretch binding at the cuffs and a dual-adjustable drawcord hem seal in warmth
  • Shell: 1.3-oz 20-denier 100% nylon ripstop with mechanical stretch and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Lining: 2.0-oz 50-denier %100 nylon plain weave with mechanical stretch and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 60-g FullRange™ 100% polyester stretch insulation
  • 351 g (12.4 oz)
  • Made in Vietnam.

 



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4 Nov, 2014
Is this just Patagonia's version of the Atom LT?
4 Nov, 2014
Looks like it doesnt it? Only 9 grammes less in weight compared to the LT, same characteristics but more expensive and more stretchy than the LT. First glance, chest pockets look useless, right in the way of rucksack shoulder and chest straps. Other than that, looks ok but I wouldn't exchange my LT for it.http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-nano-air-hoody?p=84260-0
4 Nov, 2014
I've tried one on in Needlesports. The chest pockets are fine and won't interfere with a strap, but something as heavy as a modern smartphone deforms the shape. I think the Nano Air is more akin to the Rab Strata than the LT. The LT doesn't breathe as well as the Strata (I have the Rab, my wife the LT). The main differences are: a) stretch, the Strata has some but the Nano Air really strrreeetttccches b) 2-way permeability. The Strata (and other polartech alpha pieces) is basically windproof, the nano air is not. This matters because on the one hand it allows for more cooling on the move (good) but requires you to throw on a shell (wind-or hard-) when resting for prolonged periods in the windy UK (bad). This latter weakness makes a nonsense of the claim that this garment does away with frequent costume changes. Patagonia puts a better spin on this weakness by stating that " pull a lightweight shell on over the Nano-Air™ and it's thermal properties skyrocket!" So you still have to throw off your pack and put on a shell. You won't need to do this with the Strata or LT until conditions are somewhat more severe, but you'll cook faster on the move. All in all I liked it. Super lightweight and very comfortable but cut rather baggy for the typical Patagonia prop forward cum rock climber. I'd like to try one in the field (=own one) but between my ME Eclipse microfleece and a Rab Strata I'm not sure if the niche is big enough.
4 Nov, 2014
How does this differ from the MEC Uplink - also 350gm, stretchy, lightly insulated and wind resistant - other than being twice the price? The Uplink is more tailored to a climber's fit than Patagonia's fat old men styling.http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-734/mec-uplink-hoodie-mens/?h=10+50089+50020+50122&f=10+50021+50089
4 Nov, 2014
There is a whopping difference in breathablility, not to mention the Nano Air isn't particularly wind resistant. Of all the garments mentioned, the Nano Air would be the most comfortable to wear under a shell, but also the first to need a shell thrown over it.
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