Patagonia Micro Puff: Tested

Post by blogger | October 23, 2017      
Shoveling out the front of the Kelman Hut on the Tasman Saddle, NZ. Patagonia's Micro-puff was my only go to puffy jacket for a week high on the glacier.

Shoveling out the front of the Kelman Hut on the Tasman Saddle, NZ. Patagonia’s Micro Puff was my only go to puffy jacket for a week high on the glacier.

I’ll begin this review with a strong recommendation for Patagonia’s newest insulation layer: Micro Puff. This thing is sweet. Of course, since this is WildSnow, I’ll attempt to pick it apart so this isn’t just a fluff PR post, but it almost is.

When the Micro Puff first arrived, I would randomly pick it up around the house and think, “Dang, this is light”. After a few reps of “Micro lifting,” I’d feel a peace settle over me, then move on to whatever I was doing. Now that I’ve had the Micro Puff climbing, hiking, and hanging out in classic stormy weather of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, I’ve moved beyond my spiritual reflections on the jacket’s weight, and am convinced of its worthiness as a go-to layer.

I’ve own a synthetic Patagonia Nano Puff for a while and tend to carry it on multi-pitch climbs in the Cascades, but never found it to be warm enough or confidence-inspiring enough to use in colder conditions. Micro Puff appears to answer that.

Additionally, I’ve used the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody for a few years as a ski touring layer (how many Patagonia puffy jackets can you mention in one blogpost?), but find it to be too bulky, as well as being heavy for climbing or when you want to trim some weight on the insulating layer. The Micro Puff doesn’t hug you with the same thick insulation coziness as the Nano-Air, but is in my opinion superior, technically speaking.

Micro Puff’s PlumaFill synthetic insulation is impressive in terms of weight to warmth ratio. The insulation’s ability to loft provides noticeable heat retention as well as compressibility. Apparently the insulation is constructed in a way that prevents shifting and degradation for the life of the product (read; no cold spots or settled insulation). The verdict is not out on that; synthetic insulation is known to sometimes not equal down in terms of durability, so I’ll be watching that issue. But I’m optimistic.

Along with the insulation, Patagonia utilized a lightweight Pertex Quantum nylon fabric for the shell. So far this is holding up to most of my activities. But, these lightweight pieces are fragile. That can be a serious downside if you’re doing rough work such as rock scrambling or stocking a hut with firewood. Thus I’m careful with the Micro around sharps, and I wouldn’t use it as an outer layer if I was going to be scraping up a rock pitch.

Most importantly, this is about puff — getting as much moisture resistant insulation between myself and the outside, with as little weight as possible. In that, I’m 100% confident in this synthetic fill and DWR treated shell fabric.

The offset stitching to hold the insulation in place.

Offset stitching to hold the insulation in place.

The Micro Puff stuffs into one of the side hand pockets. You can see the reinforced loops for clipping to a harness.

The Micro Puff stuffs into one of its side hand pockets. You can see the reinforced loops for clipping to a harness.

Interior glove/goggle pockets

Interior glove/goggle pockets.

In terms of design, Patagonia went the minimalist route (consistent with the purpose of this layer). The Micro Puff hood is helmet compatible, has no cinch cord, and is fully insulated. You get two small hand pockets, two goggle/glove pouches on the inside, and the entire jacket stuffs into one of its own pockets. The resulting stuff pouch has reinforced loops for dangle storage. Jacket hem has an elastic strip but no cinch cord. The only stitching is a minimal amount needed to keep the insulation in place.

Weight: The Micro Puff comes in at 9.3 ounces for a men’s medium.

Some of you might want a slightly thicker “puff” insulation layer, but you’ll be surprised how much warmth PlumaFill yields at a thinner profile. Shell fabric is fragile, but that’s to be expected. Overall, this is a piece that lives up to the word “minimalist,” it ticks a lot of boxes for me and I’ll continue packing it as a primary layer and a backup jacket in certain conditions.
Shop here for the Micro Puff.

(Full disclosure, Patagonia sent me a test jacket I can keep and wear out, as with all WildSnow content we have full editorial control and we do not trade product for content.)

Shop here for the Micro Puff.


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9 Responses to “Patagonia Micro Puff: Tested”

  1. Ryan October 23rd, 2017 9:31 am

    Coop, have you worn the Rab xenon hoody at all? I have the first gen and love it. I’ve been impressed with its durability in the 5 or so years I’ve had it and the Micropuff uses the same fabric so should be similar in that regard. It’s definitely not for scraping up off widths but has always seemed less fragile than expected. My xenon is in need of replacement after an unfortunate incident with a heater and I’m wondering how the micro puff compares in terms of warmth.

    This seems like it could be as warm (early reviews seem to suggest warmer?) than the xenon at a lower weight and with the big upgrade of the interior drop pockets which the xenon doesn’t have and I’ve always wished it did.

  2. wtofd October 23rd, 2017 9:37 am

    Any chance of a photo with a helmet on?

  3. Coop October 23rd, 2017 11:59 am

    @Ryan. Unfortunately I have not worn the Raab Xenon, so I cannot speak directly to the comparison. I can’t recommend the micro enough for its weight/warmth ratio. I’ll definitely update around durability as issues come up.

  4. VtVolk October 23rd, 2017 4:44 pm

    Louie or Coop, can either of you comment of this new MicroPuff compared to the previous one from 5-10 years ago? It sounds like this new version is much lighter and more packable, but is it as warm?

  5. Tom N October 23rd, 2017 8:40 pm

    I ordered the Micro Puff almost immediately, but sad to say I returned it just as quickly due to the poor fit. I ordered the Medium and for an athletic, fit build it was just too baggy. If Patagonia gets the fit correct, it would be a great piece.

  6. equilibrium October 24th, 2017 6:54 am

    How would you compare this to the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer?

  7. Jason K October 24th, 2017 9:28 am

    Regarding the new micropuff vs Rab Xenon: I’ve woned two Xenons. The first generation, and the Xenon X. Both were phenomenal over-layers for lightweight ski touring. Plenty warm, good fit. The updates to the latter versions like zipper pockets were key. I put a pretty good tear in the sleeve of my X last spring, so was on the lookout for something new, and stumbled into a micropuff. I have to say I’m quite impressed so far. I’ve only toured twice with it, but was not let down. Over a T-shirt, it doesnt seem as warm as the Xenon, but over a wind-layer, it does. Not sure if that is just a weird perception thing, something about fit, or something else. Regardless, both are great jackets, but if you care about saving a few ounces (like I often do), the micropuff should be great.

  8. Fred Flintstone October 24th, 2017 11:26 am


  9. Rob S November 7th, 2017 8:14 am

    No mention of the $32.15/oz price tag? 🙂

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