Patagonia is likely a company that almost all outdoor enthusiasts know about. We commend them for the environmental and social responsibility, while all the while appreciating the high quality products that they put out. Their stuff may cost a little bit extra, but you can be assured that you are receiving some top-notch products.
While their new Micro Puff technology has been out for a bit with their Micro Puff Hoody, their new vest of the same material has given them a leg up…with no arms (rim shot). So what is “Micro Puff”. Well, simply put it’s a ridiculously light product that can fold down admiringly small AND still provide amazing warmth at the same time. The more detailed version is:
It took us nearly a decade to reimagine insulation, but we’re pretty happy with the result—a [product] as impressively warm, light and packable as down, but that stays warm even when wet. Down gets wet and loses its heat-trapping loft, synthetics never quite achieve the same warmth and compressibility. This is the perplexity of insulation. But after years of tinkering we’ve managed to solve for the worst of each through advanced research and development. Using a filament that feels like down plumes, and a patterning construction that prevents shifting, clumping, or cold spots, we’ve constructed a jacket the reimagines insulation.
Our combination of Materials PlumaFill insulation and patent-pending construction achieves a previously unattained balance of warmth, weight and compressibility.
Having never really been a “vest” guy, I was intrigued by the concept. I mean, how warm can an item be that leaves arms exposed to the conditions that the rest of the body is trying to be protected from? Turns out, quite well. I do know that down-filled items can be warm, but really become a burden when it gets wet – not exactly something great for active individuals in Oregon.
I ended up wearing this when we were doing some remodeling work and I was working mostly inside, but with consistent treks to the garage for saw cuts. It was not a warm day – in fact, it was quite chilly both in the house and out, considering that doors and garages were wide open. And even though I was walking back and forth, I was not exerting much energy. Even with minimal effort, I was kept surprisingly warm – a previously thought impossible task. Those filaments mentioned above absolutely do the job of trapping in body heat and I was kept so warm – even with my limbs exposed. When I got sweaty inside, the vest never weighed me down and even a few rainy days in it never yielded a problem either. I think this is pretty revolutionary stuff.
The fit is also not like vests I have previously worn. The fit was a little more snug and compact, but still had stretch. I wouldn’t call it a “slim fit”, but it fits closer to the body than cheap vests I was used to in my distant past. The arm holes are also narrower, a binding feature put in place to ensure that heat stays where it is needed most. It also cinches up quite tightly near the chin for a “next-to-skin” feel. I wasn’t the hugest fan of this, but I understand the importance of keeping things tight to not let the air out. It has been simple enough for me to not need to cinch up that tightly unless it’s absolutely necessary.
It feels really great on the outside as well, with their “nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum® GL shell”, which is the lightest option they’ve ever used. I mean, it keeps you protected against the elements AND folds down to almost pocket-sized. Patagonia also describes that they use a unique stitching pattern that is offset and discontinuous in an effort to prevent cold spots from popping up and “reduce the number of quilt points.”
There are two zippered pockets and one of them doubles as a stuff sack if you are in need of packing capabilities. It even comes with a carabiner clip loop if you want to attach to a pack. Even with all these great qualities, it’s important to know (and probably not difficult to understand) that lightweight gear needs a little extra care. Though it’s actually a very appropriate face fabric option (10-denier, if you’re familiar with the term), it may not completely withstand the harshest activities as other more durable options. However, that lower number means it is lighter. It’s a give or take thing, so if you are expecting this to withstand all jagged rocks on your next rock climb, it may not be exactly what you need.
As mentioned earlier, Patagonia has some other non-vest Micro Puff options available as well. I am very pleased with this item – so much so that my wife gives me the “again” eyebrow raise when I’m wearing it out for the 3rd or 4th consecutive day.
Products & Price:
- Micro Puff Vest ($199)
More about Patagonia:
Our Mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
The quality of Patagonia depends, to a large degree, on whether we can reduce our impact on the environment. This means auditing the materials and methods we use to make our products, taking responsibility for the entire lifecycle of our products and examining how we use resources at our buildings and facilities.
Thank you to Patagonia for providing us with a test item. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.