Expert Review: Patagonia Women's Nano Air Hoody
This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2019.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2019.
The Patagonia Nano Air hoody is a great synthetic layer for aerobic activities such as backcountry ski touring or cold weather running. It is warm, yet breathable; has a zippered pocket for your valuables; and is incredibly comfortable.
About the piece
- Model: Patagonia Women’s Nano Air Hoody
- Size: XS
- Fit: True to size
- Height: 5’3”
- Weight: 115lbs
- Experience: 25+ years of skiing
- When I bought this: January 2019
- Days tested : 200+
- Where I’ve used it: Colorado resorts, Utah resorts and backcountry
- Conditions I’ve used it in: powder, spring skiing, touring, blizzard days
How it performs
What I was looking for
At the time of purchasing this jacket, I was looking for a synthetic layer to use for winter/cold day activities. I wanted something I could layer under for skiing, particularly backcountry skiing, but that would also work well for running and hiking to a climbing crag in the early spring/late fall.
Why I chose this gear
I bought this particular product because it was a synthetic layer that seemed really breathable. At the time of purchasing I had a Nano Puff Jacket from Patagonia which I had used as a layering piece while skiing and for some cold weather running, but the face fabric on the Nano Puff is not very breathable, so I found I was overheating a bit. I wanted something that was still synthetically insulated (synthetic insulation is better than down insulation for highly aerobic activities because syntehtcic insulation keeps you warm even if its wet from sweat or precipitation whereas down looses it’s insulation capabilities when its wet) but that would be more breathable. The Nano Air is the same fit and type of insulation as the Nano Puff, but with a more breathable face fabric. I didn’t really look at other options at the time, though I did have the choice between a hood and no hood in the Nano air and getting either a full zip or a half zip. I ended up getting the hooded version of the Nano Air as opposed to the non hooded version because I don’t have any jackets with hoods, and thought I would sometimes want to use this on really cold days. I decided to get the half zip instead of the full zip verison of this jacket because I figure it is so breathable that I wouldn’t really need to be taking it on and off all the time. I also liked the looks of the half zip a bit more than the full zip.
What I love about it
- Fit: The Patagonia Nano Air fits me really well. I got the XS, which is the size I normally get in jackets (though I have found some Patagonia jackets fit either slightly large or small, this one is really true to size). The sleeves are the perfect length and when I have the hood up, it is a snug fit around my face and head that prevents cool air from getting in and keeps heat in. I find that a lot of jackets have a loose fitting hood that provides protection from rain/snow, but doesn’t do a good job of insulating, but I find the hood on the Nano Air Hoody does a great job at both.
- Range of Motion: This jacket is extremely comfortable and I have a great range of motion. In the Nano Puff I felt a bit constricted if my hands were above my head due to the face fabric being a bit stiffer. The face fabric on the Nano Air Hoody is so lightweight and stretchy that I find I have an awesome range of motion. I have rock climbed in the Nano Air Hoody a ton and never felt constricted.
- Design: Overall, it’s a super functionally built jacket. The half zip makes it easy to get on and off, there is a chest pocket on the left side of the jacket that zips and easily stores my phone/keys/whatever else I need to put in there. The hood is really well designed, as I mentioned before, and the zipper pulls are large enough that it’s easy to zip the jacket up and down and get into the pocket with gloved hands
- Style: This is a more form-fitting jacket. It works better at keeping you warm if it is a closer fit, since there is less air between you and the jacket to insulate. The zipper comes down far enough that it is easy to get the jacket on and off despite that it is a more form fitting piece. In terms of how it looks, I seriously get compliments on this jacket everytime I wear it out.
- Quality of Materials: The face fabric on the Nano Air feels soft whereas the Nano Puff is that loud, shiny polyester ripstop fabric. There are some drawbacks to the softer face fabric, as mentioned below in the durability section, but I got this jacket because I wanted something breathable, and the softer face fabric does a great job at being breathable. The insulation in this jacket is a recycled synthetic insulation made from polyester. It does a great job at keeping me warm during aerobic activities, even on days where I am sweating a lot.
- Pockets: There is one pocket on the left chest of this jacket. It is large and can fit my phone, wallet, and keys. I am glad it’s so large as it is easy to store things, but I do notice that if I put too much in this pocket, it sags a bit and looks kinda funny from the outside. I like that it is on the left side of my body as it is really easy to get in and out of as a right handed person. It also has a large zipper pull that is easy to use with a gloved hand.
- Breathability: Though there are no vents on this jacket, the synthetic insulation and thin face fabric make it super breathable. The half zip style also makes it easy to unzip the jacket a bit if I do find I am overheating.
- Warmth: For a lighter weight synthetic jacket, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody is pretty warm. It is not my warmest jacket or something I would wear on freezing cold resort days (for this I would use my Patagonia Down Sweater or my Patagonia MicroPuff), but I got it as an insulating piece to do aerobic activities in. I use it pretty much everytime I go ski touring and cold weather running, and it keeps me plenty warm, even if it is wet either from me sweating or from heavy precipitation.
- Weight: This jacket weighs about 12 oz. Though not technically an ultralight jacket, that is pretty lightweight and makes it easy to toss in a pack if I think I might need an extra layer on a hike or something.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: I have really put some miles in with this jacket, and there are no rips or holes so that is impressive, however I will say that the face fabric of the jacket is showing its age. It’s balling up a bit and starting to look worn. It is one of my favorite jackets so I try now to not use it as much or wash it as much because I want it to last a bit longer. I recognize that this face fabric is so light because it helps with breathability, but I do wish it was slightly more abrasion resistant so it wasn’t showing the wear as much as it is.
- Waterproofing: This jacket is not waterproof. Though there is a light durable water repellant coating on the outside of the jacket, even light rain/snow will soak right through.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this gear was a particularly cold backcountry ski tour near Salt Lake City. We started before sunrise and it took us about 2 hours to reach the top of the line. I normally switch layers as I start hiking and take my hat/on and off, but I was so cold on this tour that I kept the hood of my Patagonia Nano Air Hoody up the entire time. I was impressed with how well it kept my ears and head warm. When we got to the top to transition and ski down, both of my ski partners were jumping around trying to stay warm and I felt like a bundled up little turtle with my jacket zipped up and my hood covering most of my face. It was a fun ski line through the trees with some fresh powder and I was warm the whole time!
Value for the money vs. other options
I got this jacket for around $220 and I have definitely gotten my moneys worth of wear from it. The only real issue I have with it is the durability. I have since gotten an Arc’Teryx Atom LT jacket which is super similar in terms of the insulation, but it has a more durable face fabric that has lasted a bit better after a lot of wear and washing. It is around the same price as the Nano Air, though not quite as breathable so I don’t love wearing it on runs as much. I don’t regret buying the Nano Air at all and it is still a jacket I use a lot and recommend to friends, particularly for cold weather running. But if it is durability and a synthetic insulated wear-all-the time jacket you are looking for - the Atom LT will give you a bit more bang for your buck.
The Paragonia Nano Air Jacket is my go to cold weather running jacket that I have used for many years as a mid layer for ski touring. The breathability will keep you from overheating during aerobic activities, and the synthetic insulation will keep you warm even if you are sweating or it’s raining/snowing a bit. It is exceptionally well designed in terms of the fit and comfort, though I wish the face fabric was slightly more durable.