Having sold out in the original colours last Autumn my long awaited Nano-Air Hoody came through the door mid January sporting a bright red colour and bold statement – ‘Put it on, leave it on’. I feel I have put the jacket through its paces making many journeys into the mountains over the Scottish winter season used as a mid and out-layer where suitable.
So exactly how warm is it and what is its place in my layering system?
Patagonia have used 60g of their new FullRange Insulation throughout the Nano-Air range. They say this fabric is both supremely stretchy and breathable, which it is. When compared to the Nano Puff which uses the same amount (60g) of Primaloft Insulation you will see a huge difference. The Nano-Air is considerably more ‘puffy’, light, soft and stretchy to handle – almost delicate…..
I feel the warmth of the Nano-Air Hoody lies somewhere between an R3 fleece and the old Micro Puff belay jacket. It isn’t warm enough to be a winter belay jacket nor does it claim to be a one. I found it most effective layered over a Capilene 4 Expedition baselayer and underneath a shell jacket. In this scenario the jacket was amazing, it breaths so well and has a perfect amount of insulation to keep you warm whilst on the move or stood on cold belays. In the Scottish winter environment, layered like this, I thought the Hoody was superb.
Of interest was trying to use the Nano Air on its own, layered ontop of a base layer but without a shell to protect it. Whilst working in the mountains this set up worked very well, I put this down to continuously moving with minimum time stood stationary. The Hoody isn’t very windproof so a continuous movement kept the warmth flowing inside the garment. If I was to stop and teach skills for example I would have to layer a shell over the top as the wind would bite through it. Patagonia have branded the Nano Air as being exceptionally breathable so it’s no surprise that in a cold windy environment you require some reinforcement to keep the elements at bay.
Having recently made a seasonal transition from winter to spring it has been great to use the Hoody whilst rock climbing. Again, the stretch and mid-weight warmth was note worthy and in a cold but sunny environment the insulation performed well enough for me to ‘Put it on, leave it on’ without the use of a shell. I dragged it up some very rough gabbro rock last weekend and didn’t feel the need to protect the jacket or be particularly conscious of it rubbing against rough rock. With all of this in mind I can’t wait to use the Hoody in an alpine environment where weight, warmth and versatility are key.
The hood is well fitted and very stretchy. During the winter I found it worked best under a low profile helmet such as my Black Diamond Vapour but also went snugly over the top of it whilst rock climbing.
The elasticated cuffs are pretty basic but do the job of sealing in that precious heat whilst the overall length sits nicely below a harness without interfering with racked climbing equipment.
The athletic cut is well thought out and tapered in all the right spots. My pet hate is baggy clothing as I tend to catch it on anything and everything whilst climbing. The Nano-Air is well fitted around shoulders, waist and arm length. I am 5”7 in height and approximately 64kg, a small fits very well.
The only disappointment and it’s a minor detail, are the pocket zips. I found they occasionally catch on the fabric that protects the zippered pocket. I would love to see a similar model to the main central zip which is a different style and has never caught on the fabric whilst doing/undoing the jacket.
The new FullRange insulation stands out because it is so breathable but also delivers a high amount of insulation whilst on the move or under a shell. The fabric is stretchy and durable which bodes well for heavy use from active climbers, guides and instructors looking for a multi-use piece of insulation that will last long after the £200 price tag is forgotten.
As for durability, well yes there are a few marks around the neck from taking coils on and off whilst mountaineering but as yet no damage. The fabric has also started to ball up a little around the harness and cuff area, again no damage but certainly noticeable amounts of use in these areas.
In my opinion it’s a great lightweight piece of insulation best used as a mid-layer in the winter and has great potential as a standalone layer whilst climbing in the Alpine.