In our latest jacket comparison, where we looked at Montreal and Montreaux coats for women by Marmot, we went through a number of details that those two designs came with and how you can best utilize those jackets for a well-rounded experience in the cold.
Well, now that winter is so close, it is time to look at two other jackets made for the cold. This time we picked two Patagonia jackets, the Nano Air® and Nano Puff® designs.
These are two of the most popular Patagonia jackets, renowned for their performance, insulation and high breathability.
Today’s purpose is not to establish which of these two designs is superior to the other, but rather to look at their differences and similarities and determine which one you should choose depending on the activity and weather conditions you will be in.
We picked Patagonia because it is one of the best brands in the outdoor apparel market and one that we have frequently featured in our selections, comparisons and reviews (for example, here, here and here).
Today we will see how its own jackets compare to each other. Let’s get started!
- 1. Patagonia – The Brand
- 2. The Nano Air® Jacket
- 3. The Nano Puff® Jacket
- 4. Nano Air® vs. Nano Puff® – What’s the Difference?
- 5. Which One is Better? Which One to Choose?
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1. Patagonia – The Brand
As is now typical with our single-brand comparisons, we will first start with a short introduction of the brand of choice.
Patagonia is an American brand, established in 1973 in Ventura, California by Yvon Chouinard, an avid rock climber. As a brand, Patagonia earned a reputation for high quality sports gear that performed exceptionally well and apparel that wore comfortably.
Its wide product range includes a variety of different layers, performance levels and outdoor gear, with options for everyone, regardless of age or gender.
In a previous piece, we discussed the reasons behind Patagonia’s popularity despite its high prices, and while the quality of its products is the primary reason, the brand’s dedication to sustainable production means is another major factor for its loyal customers.
Their manufacturing is also meticulous in order to ensure that the finished products are of high quality and will last for a long time, thus reducing the need to produce an excessive number of the same design.
With that out of the way, it’s time to start with today’s chosen jackets, Nano Air being the first one.
2. The Nano Air® Jacket
Design Features and Style
A jacket made for both warmth and breathability, few designs out there perform like Nano Air. Nano Air’s purpose is to be used in active settings, where you will be exposed to cold weather, too.
Starting from the top, this is a hoodless jacket, which comes with a high stand-up collar that keeps the neck protected and prevents the cold and elements from getting inside from the top. There is chin guard on the collar to prevent chafing from the central zipper.
This is a low-bulk zipper, with a storm flap accompanying it to help it withstand the elements better.
It is a regular-length jacket, ending at the hips, and it comes with three outer pockets, two on the sides, which serve as both storage space and hand warmer pockets and one on the left side of the chest. All three of them close with low-bulk hidden zippers.
Up to this point, Nano Air is similar to most jackets out there. What exactly sets it apart is its mechanical stretch, especially noticeable on the sleeves.
This is done to make the jacket fit much better, as well as to move easier as you move. Seeing that this is a design for active wear, both of these qualities are very important, in particular its ability to adapt to movement.
Its face fabric is woven in a plain-weave style, which is made to be soft, durable and far better at not pilling than the original design used to be.
Its sleeve cuffs are snag-resistant Variable Conditions cuffs. They are elastic and comfortable, providing a universal fit.
The hem is also elasticized to fit better and also close off the jacket from the elements.
This is an insulated design, of course, the insulation of which really sets it apart, as we will discuss shortly.
It comes in both men’s and women’s versions and stuffs in its own pocket, while also being Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.
This is a mainly polyester jacket, which comes with a 100% Polyester shell, nearly 87% of which is sourced from recycled content. Its plain weave does not solely help in regards to stretch and comfort, but it also makes the shell far more resistant to abrasion and aids with breathability.
Despite not being neither windproof nor waterproof, Nano Air is water-resistant thanks to its DWR coating.
However, this is a design intended as a mid-layer when it comes to wet conditions, meaning that you will have to rely on a waterproof layer to keep everything dry from the outside.
Moving on to the most important part, the insulation. 60-g Full Range® insulation, which is now sourced from 40% recycled content, is what makes Nano Air different from most jackets in its same category.
This is a four-way stretchable insulation, with a high level of breathability and very good insulation.
These two qualities create a near-perfect balance between warmth and breathability, without allowing the jacket to heat up or cool down excessively. All materials used are bluesign® certified, too.
3. The Nano Puff® Jacket
Design Features and Style
Nano Puff is a design made for cold weather and dry conditions. It comes without a hood, but has a high stand-up collar with chin guard to protect against the zipper.
It is a regular-length jacket in a sculpted fit, which makes it wear comfortably in the cold regardless if you are spending 1 hour or a whole day outdoors.
There are two hand-warmer pockets on the sides with zipper closures, and an internal chest pocket that is both for storing valuable belongings, such as a phone or wallet, and also for stuffing the jacket in when not in use.
Like Nano Air, this design is also Fair Trade Certified™ and it comes with elasticized sleeve cuffs for a better fit and to close the jacket off from the elements. Further helping in this regard is the drop-tail hem, which not only provides better coverage but also adjusts with a drawcord that seals warmth inside the jacket.
Its ripstop shell and inside lining make this jacket quite comfortable to wear and also help with moisture wicking, while adding to its insulating ability as well.
It comes in a brick quilted pattern and is available for both men and women.
Nano Puff is a 100% Polyester jacket made from 100% recycled content. It is lined on the inside to provide further insulation and coziness, while on the outside it is coated with a DWR finish that helps repel water.
With that being said, this is not a design suitable for extended exposure to wet conditions as it will get wet eventually.
However, even if it does get wet, it will continue to provide great insulation thanks to the PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco, which is runner up for best-performing insulation.
Unlike the standard Gold Insulation, Eco is sourced from 55% recycled polyester. We have discussed PrimaLoft insulation in depth in numerous comparisons and reviews (for example, here and here), as it is the best insulation to date in terms of retaining warmth in the worst conditions.
The fabric used in this jacket is bluesign® certified.
4. Nano Air® vs. Nano Puff® – What’s the Difference?
Right off the bat, visually these two jackets are different in their quilting and overall fit. However, they are both hoodless, similar-length and insulated designs, so we will go through the differences separately.
Insulation and Comfort
Both of them are jackets that perform quite well in regards to retaining warmth and providing insulation, but, of course, there are differences between the two.
While Nano Air is more activity-oriented, Nano Puff is more insulation-oriented, thus making it a far warmer jacket. If you want to stay warm in fairly stationary activities outdoors, then Nano Puff is a better option because PrimaLoft Gold provides exceptional warmth.
Nano Air works perfectly as a mid-layer and its comfort is commendable.
That is not to say that Nano Puff does not wear comfortably, but Nano Air’s design is made to move with the body and as such it is a more “dynamic” jacket per se, in particular due to its stretchability.
However, cut-wise, Nano Puff could potentially fit better on most bodies as it is slightly larger in cut.
Weather Resistance and Breathability
In regards to weather resistance, neither of them are suitable for wet conditions, as mentioned prior.
With that being said, Nano Puff would perform better because its shell is windproof and woven considerably more tightly than Nano Air’s shell is. Both of them are water-resistant, however, but that will only go so far.
If wet, both will continue to provide insulation, but it is hard to match PrimaLoft Gold Eco’s ability to retain 98% of its warmth even when wet, which is why Nano Puff has the upper hand in wet conditions.
When it comes to breathability, the difference in their name gives it away. Nano Air is impressively breathable and it is a great jacket for those who are looking to wear a mid-layer that provides warmth without overheating and causing excessive perspiration.
Nano Puff is not suitable if you are looking to stay active while wearing it as it does not breathe well at all and despite its moisture-wicking ability, it will be hard for it to keep up.
Compressibility and Price
Both jackets are compressible, but Nano Puff is better in this regard as well, due to PrimaLoft Gold Eco’s shape and high compressibility that make it easier to stuff the jacket into a very small size.
Lastly, in terms of price, Nano Air typically retails for a higher price than Nano Puff, but neither are the most affordable options.
Usually a Nano Air jacket will go for around $250, whereas the hoodie versions are more expensive than that. Nano Puff, on the other hand, costs around $200.
5. Which One is Better? Which One to Choose?
Overall, if you are looking for an option to wear while being active, Nano Air is the better of the two options. Its insulation is great, it breathes exceptionally well and it is extremely comfortable.
On the other hand, Nano Puff is better suited for those who want a jacket that can hold its own against the cold, provided you are not looking to move too much while wearing it as its low breathability can prove to be an issue.
Price-wise, Nano Puff is the most affordable of the too, it compresses better and has better wind-resistance and overall weather-resistance.
But, versatility-wise, we would definitely go with Nano Air as some of its “drawbacks” can be remedied by simply wearing a waterproof shell.
We hope you found this comparison useful and that now you have a better idea about which one to go for depending on what your requirements are.