Deciding on the Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater? Before you choose, read this review because it will give you the confidence to make up your mind!
Patagonia has been a favorite of backpackers for years because they produce durable and practical gear. People who regularly travel through chilly places tend to have at least one Patagonia jacket or sweater because they are lightweight while still being warm.
If you are planning on getting a new jacket from Patagonia, you have probably run into the difficulty of deciding between the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket and the Patagonia Down Sweater.
We will make things a little easier for you in this review by examining how the two outerwear options measure up to each other. You can find out details about the difference between the Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater and see which option is recommended for your backpacking style.
Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater: Basics
Before getting further into all the details about the two options, we are going to take a quick look at the basic specifications for the jackets. Here’s a basic rundown of the Patagonia Down vs Nano Puff jackets.
Shell material: Recycled polyester Ripstop
Cuff material: Elastic
Insulation material: 60g PrimaLoft gold insulation eco
Sizes available: Adult XS through XXL
Colors available: 12 total
Weight: 11.9 oz.
Number of pockets: 3 total
Recommended for: Traveling, hiking, backcountry skiing, alpine climbing
Shell material: Recycled polyester ripstop
Cuff material: Nylon bound elastic
Insulation material: 800-fill traceable down
Sizes available: Adult XS through XXL
Colors available: 8 total
Weight: 13.1 oz
Number of pockets: 3 total
Recommended for: Traveling, climbing, snowboard, skiing, hiking
Nano Puff or Down Sweater: Head-to-Head
As you can see, there are some differences when you look at the jackets basic specifications, but simply reading the product descriptions might not be the best way to decide between the Nano Puff jacket vs Down Sweater. If you truly want to make sure you have the perfect product for your needs, it is helpful to know exactly how both options look and function. In this part of our review, we will take a closer look at each feature on both jackets.
The Patagonia Down Sweater has a zipper closure in the front and two zippered pockets. Inside of the sweater is an internal chest pocket. This gives you the option of storing things in the sweater or stuffing the rest of the sweater into the pocket for storage. The Nano Puff Jacket also contains two zippered pockets on the front of the sweater, an interior pocket, and a zip that goes all the way down the front.
Both options have an adjustable drawcord at the hem to help keep the cold air out. However, the pockets on the Puff Jacket have straight up and down openings while the pockets on the Down Sweater are slightly angled towards each other.
Though both jackets have a fairly similar design, some people find that the angled pockets are a little easier to slide their hands into. When you look at the two jackets side by side, you will notice that the Nano Puff is a little longer in the back. This drop tail hem provides extra coverage and warmth.
When it comes to the outer shell, these two jackets are almost identical. They both use a recycled form of polyester. However, the Nano Puff Jacket looks a little glossier due to the special coatings on top of the polyester material. The big difference in the Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater comes when we take a look at what is inside the two jackets.
The Down Sweater uses actual goose down that has been ethically sourced. The Nano Puff Jacket uses a synthetic form of down. Though we tend to assume that synthetic materials are worse than natural ones, this is not actually true when it comes to down. Synthetic down is better than real down at maintaining temperatures when moist. In soaking wet conditions, the Nano Puff Jacket will stay warm but the Down Sweater may not.
Another key difference in materials is the material used around the cuff. Both have an elastic cuff to lock in warmth around the wrists, but only the down sweater has nylon covering the elastic. This is a little more comfortable and also gives the jacket a nicer appearance.
“In soaking wet conditions, the Nano Puff Jacket will stay warm but the Down Sweater may not.”
Heaviness and Compressibility
As all experienced backpackers know, one of the key things to consider when picking gear is weight. Every ounce you have to carry is an extra ounce that can weigh you down while battling harsh conditions. The Down Sweater is just over an ounce lighter than the Puff Jacket due to its different insulating materials.
If your pack is filled with essentials, you might be wondering how you will carry the jacket when you get too warm to wear it. Both options are made from a very compressible material. They have an inside pocket that you can stuff the rest of the jacket into, and it all folds down into a small packet roughly the size of a snack-sized bag of chips.
Of course one of your big concerns is probably how durable these jackets are. A good jacket for outdoor events needs to be one that is sturdy enough to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. The synthetic polyester material used for both shells is fairly sturdy, and it will not roughen or wear away due to repeated friction from arm movements or backpack straps.
However, the Down Sweater comes out ahead in rough conditions which could cause a snag or a rip in your jacket. The shell for the Down Sweater has Ripstop technology. This means that if you rip the threading in the down sweater, the rip stays in that tiny area instead of traveling all the way along the seam. It means that you have one less thing to worry about while outside.
Despite its lack of rip stop threading, the Nano Puff jacket is still reasonably sturdy. Since it has small, square quilting, there is less of a risk of insulation getting lumpy. The closer stitching also means that threads will not rip all the way down the jacket just because they tear in one place.
“The Down Sweater is more resilient in the face of potential snags or a rips.”
No matter how perfect the rest of a jacket is, a bad zipper can end up making you throw out the whole thing. Since zippers are so important to keeping a jacket functional, I’m going to take the time to talk a bit about the types of zippers used for the two Patagonia jackets. The Nano Puff Jacket uses coil zippers. These are a style of plastic zipper where the teeth are sewn into the side tape along the jacket.
In contrast, the down sweater has Vislon style zippers. This type of zipper is a plastic zipper molded directly onto the zipper tape. Due to their construction, the down sweater’s zippers do a better job of fighting the weather and not breaking with a lot of use. However, the zippers on the Nano Puff Jacket are more flexible, letting you move with plenty of ease.
Style and Fit
Overall, the two styles of jacket have a similar shape. They are both fitted through the torso with a little extra room in case you want to wear other layers underneath them. A slightly raised color helps to protect your neck from wind or sun on both items.
The main difference in Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater appearance is their texture. The Nano Puff Jacket has quilting seams that run both horizontally and vertically, turning the jacket into a surface of small, regular squares. The down sweater is missing the vertical quilting seams, so it just looks like it has horizontal stripes running down the sweater.
Another key difference is that you have the option of ordering the Patagonia Nano Puff with a hood if desired. There is no hooded option for the down sweater. Despite their overall similar style, the nano puff jacket looks a little different because it comes in a variety of colors. The extra colors are definitely a bonus since you are more likely to wear a jacket in a color you love. People who get the down sweater only have a few options to choose from.
Both the Nano Puff Jacket and Down Sweater come in a men’s and women’s design. The two styles look extremely similar, and the women’s is not any more fitted at the waist or flared at the hips. The only difference is the sizing which is changed to match female sizes.
An important thing to keep in mind about these two jackets is that they have different features. The main special feature of the down sweater is that it is windproof. Special coatings on the material help to keep wind from cutting through the sweater and chilling you. The Nano Puff Jacket does not have as much wind resistance.
Instead, its primary special feature is water resistance. When you wear this jacket, you can stay dry in snow, rain, and fog. In addition to the waterproof coating, the Nano puff jacket also has synthetic down that will still warm you when it is wet. Another helpful feature of the Nano Puff is its storm flap. This is a strip of moisture wicking fabric along the inside of the front zipper, and it helps to keep the front of the jacket from leaking in the water.
Who Should Get the Down Sweater?
Overall, the Down Sweater is a little thicker and warmer. Use it in weather under 40 degrees Fahrenheit if you need something warm yet lightweight. If you are going to be out in chilly weather and your primary focus is warmth, then this is a great choice.
Since it is so lightweight and flexible, it would also be a great option if you are planning on doing something athletic like skiing or snowboarding. The nice thing about wearing this jacket for high speed winter sports is that it is windproof, so even cold wind will not chill you while you are doing things. -BUY IT
Who Should Get the Nano Puff Jacket?
The Patagonia Nano Puff thermal properties make it perfect for backpacking. Is the Patagonia Nano Puff warm? You bet it is, but it’s not too warm. Which is perfect for most active people above 40 degrees F. It might look thin and lightweight, but the synthetic materials mean that it is plenty warm enough for most conditions without overheating. You can use it as a base layer while moving around or wear it when you want something warm at camp. If you’re in search of something even lighter, why not try a field jacket?
If you want a layering piece that you can wear over sweaters or under larger coats, then the Nano Puff Jacket is perfect for your needs. We appreciate that it is also waterproof, which is perfect for those days when the powder turns to wet snow. If you plan on being in lots of cold, damp climates, then this is a good addition to your wardrobe. -BUY IT
Ultimately, both of these jackets are great options for people who are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. They are equally lightweight and compressible, so either will work for a busy backpacker who needs something low in weight and small in size.
For the average backpacker, we would suggest the Nano Puff Jacket over the Down Sweater. The Nano Puff is just a little better at all-around protection, especially in damp situations, and the Down Sweater feels a little too hot when you start to break a sweat. However, if you are in a dry area and your priorities are heat retention and durability, than the Down Sweater is a good option too.