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Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody Review

  • Day Hiker

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody Overview

The intrepid explorer Sir Edmund Hillary would have loved the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody. This jacket is truly a game changer as far as active insulation goes. Its sole purpose is to keep you comfy while you grind out the miles in the shoulder season and winter, so consider tossing your bulky and movement-restricting layer system if that’s your idea of fun.

The Nano-Air uses specialized synthetic insulation and a stretchy face fabric to create a warm, yet breathable jacket. When the mercury plummets and the grade steepens, I reach for the Nano-Air every time, which is a rare quality because it’s usually warmth or breathability, not both. Designed for active pursuits in the colder months, this is the perfect layer for cycling, climbing, hiking, or any other highly aerobic activity. Once you zip up you won’t want (or need) to zip down.

For these reasons we’ve awarded the Patagonia Nano-Air our Premium Pick award for the Day Hiker. Wilderness Backpackers may also benefit from its utility and surprising all day comfort.

While we feel that the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody (and Jacket) is the peak of comfortable active synthetic insulation, there are some notable products from other companies that compare favorably. The Outdoor Research Uberlayer is the most like the Nano-Air, and is a highly competent piece of kit. The Outdoor Research Cathode and Arc’teryx Atom LT are two jackets that work well for similar pursuits, and are a bit cheaper.

Check out our comprehensive guide to synthetic insulated jackets, and read the full Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody review below.

Nano-Air Hoody Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Average Weight 13.6 oz. (385 g) Not extremely lightweight, not terribly heavy. The Nano-Air Hoody is an average weight for a synthetic puffy, but it doesn’t compress very well.
Insulation FullRange, 60g Patagonia exclusively uses FullRange insulation, and it helped to reinvent active insulation. Warm, but extremely breathable. See more about synthetic insulation in our Guide.
Shell Fabric 1.3 oz 20D 100% nylon ripstop Not the burliest face fabric, but holds up pretty well. Feels very soft. See more about synthetic insulated jacket shell fabric in our Guide.
Lining Fabric 2oz 50D 100% nylon plain weave The lining fabric is extremely soft and cozy.
DWR Treatment Yes This jacket sheds light water and snow extremely well.
Number of Pockets 4 Two hand-zippered hand pockets that are high enough for a hipbelt, and two exterior zippered chest pockets to take small items with you.
Stuffs Into Itself No FullRange insulation doesn’t compress well, so this jacket does not stuff into itself.
Hood/Jacket Option Hood and Jacket Patagonia sells this as a hoody or as a jacket.
Adjustable Hood No There is elastic around the hood, but no adjustable toggle. This means you can’t cinch it tight.
Adjustable Waist Yes Two adjustable toggles at the waist lets you keep in warmth easily.
Gender Men’s, Women’s Patagonia makes this jacket for both men and women, and all the features are the same.
Sizes Available Men’s XS-XXL, Women’s XXS-XL A good amount of sizes. Fits slim.
Manufacturer Warranty Ironclad Guarantee Patagonia has a limited lifetime warranty on all of its products, including this jacket. If there are defects in workmanship or materials send it in to be replaced or repaired.
Retail Price $299 A high cost for a specific jacket. If you want the best in active insulation, get this jacket.

Gear Review of Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody

Origins: Easing You In

Whenever I’m testing a new piece of gear, I like to find the most adverse conditions possible. Good gear should hold up, right? So, on a Sunday evening I was scoping the forecast for the mountains near my house. I didn’t want to drive far, so I chose Mt. Bierdstat, only a 30 minute drive from my front door. The 14,060-foot giant looked to have favorable conditions for Monday morning — “favorable” in this case meant it had the horrendous weather I was looking for. The temperature for the day: 20-30 degrees, and the wind blowing a consistent 30-40 m.p.h. with gusts over 60mph.

Uh, yeah. If that isn’t a good gear-testing ground,I don’t know what is.

Patagonia-Nano-Air-Hoody-review-starting-on-the-hike
Heading into the wild for a hike. To be clear, not the same hike as detailed in this review. The weather didn’t allow for sunny, smiling pictures on that day.

The wife and I started fairly late in the day by our standards, hitting the trail around 6:30 a.m. Fully donned in our Gore-Tex Pro gear, we expected things to be bad from the start. The trail starts above timberline and weaves through willows, creeks, and other vegetation. It was actually a mild start to the day until we gained 1,000 feet. That’s when the party started.

As we stared up at the snow slope that led to the saddle (around 13,600 feet), we tossed on the microspikes and zipped our hardshells up to the chin. I tend to run extremely hot and because I knew the kind of effort I’d need to make it up the slope, I decided I’d just wear my wool baselayer under my hardshell and leave the Nano-Air in my pack. It was shortly after we started up the snow-packed talus that the wind began to howl and the bone-chilling cold set in.

I hunkered down behind a rock pile,threw the Nano-Air jacket on, and zipped the hardshell back up to my chin. Oh, sweet baby Jesus.

Patagonia-Nano-Air-Hoody-review-day-hiking-with-sunglasses
Ready for anything.

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

There I was, looking at the summit, still over a thousand vertical feet away from me. The wind blasted over 60 m.p.h. and slammed all manner of snow and ice into my face. Huffing and puffing I kicked steps into the side of the mountain and kept climbing.

When I stopped to take a break, I hunkered down in my own personal storm shelter and…I actually felt comfortable. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. The windchill must have dropped into the negatives by that point and yet, surprisingly, I felt amazing. Not cold, not hot — temperate, swell, even. I wore a super fine merino wool T-shirt, a long sleeve midweight merino midlayer, the newly donned Patagonia Nano-Air, and my Gore-Tex Pro hardshell.

By the time we summited, my face was battered with wind-blown ice and I had even needed to toss on my giant winter mittens to keep my hands warm, but the Nano-Air regulated my body temperature. Standing still at 14,060 feet I still felt warm and safe, which has never happened before.

Since that summit I’ve been a huge believer in the Nano-Air. I had never felt more alive on a Fourtneer, and more thankful for such a kick ass piece of gear. This piece is a staple for winter and shoulder season hikes.

Patagonia-Nano-Air-Hoody-review-trekking-with-poles
A different hike. Coordinated the blues for maximum visual effect.

Digging Deeper

Patagonia uses a new, exclusive synthetic insulation for the Nano-Air called FullRange. I don’t know what the hell it’s made of (Patagonia doesn’t exactly say), but it’s pure magic. Balancing warmth and breathability is no easy feat, and Patagonia has nailed it with this piece. Even during periods of extreme exertion, the jacket manages to breath just enough to not get your engine red hot and dripping with sweat.

This is a true workhorse designed for alpine climbs, winter hikes, or anything highly active in cold weather. It definitely takes design queues from other alpine pieces and the hand pockets, which are cozy and warm, are still accessible with a pack on. There are two additional zippered chest pockets, which I especially love. They are sized perfectly to fit snacks, and your body heat will keep them from freezing.  Hell, you might even be able to toss a hot pocket in there and have a nice toasty treat at the summit!

Patagonia-Nano-Air-Hoody-review-chest-pocket
Two external chest zip pockets are a nice touch.

Comfort

If Patagonia ever releases a Nano-Air Onesie, I’ll all over it, no matter the cost. This is absolutely the comfiest layer I’ve used, and I find myself getting stoked once the mercury drops enough for me to slip it on. We all have that pair of sweatpants that is tattered and filled with holes but seems to get more comfortable with age, yes? The Nano-Air is on that level of comfort.

When the conditions outside are at their harshest I love slipping the elasticized hood over my noggin’ and relishing in the warmth. A nice addition to the comfort factor is the dual drawcords on the waist hem. This allows you to really cinch the jacket tight to your body, keeping out any blowing wind and retaining body heat even better.

Patagonia-Nano-Air-Hoody-review-with-camp-stove
Wearing the Nano-Air around camp. Cozy, comfy, and easy to lounge in.

Durability

Other than some piling, not unlike other Patagonia products I own (such as the R1), durability seems to be top notch. You wouldn’t guess it from feeling the face fabric of this jacket, but it has held up so far. Granted, this jacket is a layering piece and typically worn under my shell, so it doesn’t face the brunt of the abuse I put it through.

That said, when I have worn it as an outer layer it has held up quite well. In light drizzle and snow, water beads off the fabric thanks to the DWR treatment. The spots where piling has occurred is mostly on the shoulders and waist where my backpack makes contact with the jacket. I’ve also worn the Nano-Air while just chilling at camp, and it’s held up to my PBR-fueled firewood gathering sessions. Despite tromping through the brush and hauling large loads of wood back to camp it doesn’t seem any worse for the wear. I was honestly surprised that the jacket didn’t get snagged or pill around the chest where I carried the wood.

The only concern I have would be the elastic used for the cuffs and hood. Neither the cuff or hood uses a velcro or drawcord closure, rather it relies on elastic built into the material. Only time will tell how these fare.

That said, I have every confidence that this piece will stand the test of time. I have an eight-month-old husky mix who likes to play aggressively and he has clawed at and/or bitten this jacket many times over. It remarkably doesn’t show any signs of being attacked by a dog. If it can hold up to the dog test, it should perform admirably for years to come.

Fit

I’m 5’11” with a build that says I like to play in the mountains but I also really like beer. I find myself between a men’s medium and large, and I actually own this jacket in a medium. I’m wearing a Large in this review and the fit is fantastic. It allows for layering underneath and all the points, like shoulders and cuffs, fit me just right.

I especially like the slightly larger size for extended coverage below the waist. This is crucial for colder days out there. To help dial in fit, Patagonia has graciously provided two drawcords at the waist to cinch the jacket against the body. This really helps keep it in place under a pack or harness, and blocks all the cold air from blowing up underneath.

Style

This jacket gets a lot of style points. First of all, it says Patagonia, so people will think you’re super cool and either love to protect the environment, or that you just watched Wild. In all seriousness, I love the look of this jacket. It’s understated and doesn’t scream “OUTDOOR JACKET” like most puffies. Your local bartender will probably give you a longer pour for looking so cool. Just remember to tip!

Grievances

While I do love this the Nano-Air, there are a few things I would like to see updated. The hood is nice and simple, but without the ability to adjust it things can get a bit wonky. Because I’m in-between a medium and a large and tested the bigger size, the hood is a bit baggy on my head, rendering it slightly useless for alpine pursuits. I’d like to see a simple drawcord here to get things adjusted and fitting properly.

Patagonia-Nano-Air-Hoody-review-elastic-hood
The hood of the Nano-Air uses elastic to seal in warmth. This does work, but for serious adventures an adjustable toggle would be better.

In terms of packability, the Nano-Air is not winning any awards. This is a pretty bulky jacket, but that’s what you get with synthetic insulation, especially Full Range, which is quite puffy. It takes up a large amount of room in my 34-liter day pack. Generally, I’ll start my hike with this jacket on and then stuff it  into an external pouch if necessary.

Lastly, I want to touch on breathability again for a minute. This jacket is touted as extremely breathable (by myself and others), and it is, but there is a limit. I found on sustained lung-bustingly steep grades that the Nano-Air just couldn’t keep up with the exertion I was putting out. I’d say anything over 1,000 vertical feet per mile, it just can’t do enough to keep you comfortable. Depending on where you live and hike this won’t ever be an issue, but here in the high Rockies of Colorado, that’s pretty much what I get. I think the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hoody may perform better on the steeper and higher exertion activities.

Final Word

I’ve never wanted a ninja suit before, but if there was a Patagonia Nano-Air NinjaSuit, I’d be all over it. Rarely do you find such cozy activewear. From pajamas to potato sack races to the summit of many Colorado fourteeners, I want the Nano-Air on me at all times.

Where to Buy Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody

We tested and reviewed the men’s Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody. There is a women’s version of the Nano-Air Hoody with all the same features and materials, but a different build (obviously).

Patagonia is notorious for making multiple versions of things, so there are a few. The first is the Nano-Air Jacket for men and women, which is the same exact as the Hoody, but without a hood. There is also a Nano-Air Vest for men and women, which has no hood or sleeves.

Patagonia also makes the Nano-Air Lite Hoody, which is a thinner, more breathable version of the original. It also makes the Nano-Air Hybrid Lite Jacket, which is a slightly insulated jacket meant for extreme active pursuits.

While we like all of these models, the original Nano-Air Hoody and Jacket are our favorite. You can compare prices below.

Jon Rosenberg

Jon Rosenberg is an avid adventurer and mountaineer based out of Clear Creek County, Colorado. Living at over 9,000 feet, he’s treated to some of the best hiking, backpacking, paddling, running, and everything else. Jon lives in a small cabin in a ghost town with his wife DeDe and husky-mix, Bivy. You really ought to see their gear room.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.

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