The new 2017 Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody ticks all the boxes for a synthetic insulation layer. Other companies have tried to create synthetic insulation that mimics down. North Face tried with Thermoball (made with Primaloft). But no one has been able to match the compressibility and warmth-to-weight ratio of feathers. Patagonia steps into the ring with insulation they claim has all of the best qualities of real down. They also claim it stays warm when wet and won’t clump or shift. Did they pull it off?
Why did Patagonia Develop the Micro Puff?
Patagonia spent over a decade developing the Micro Puff Collection. Why? Problems – 1) Down is a great insulator, but worthless when wet. 2) Synthetic insulation is great when wet, but does not compress well. 3) Down does not tend to stay in place after washing. So how did Patagonia resolve these problems?
The answer is PlumaFill – a down-like synthetic insulation that lofts and traps heat like down, but unlike down, PlumaFill does not shift around after use or washing. How many of you have spent hours trying to get down to un-clump after you wash it? Pain in the rear, even with tennis balls in the dryer and pulling clumps apart by hand. Patagonia quilts the PlumaFill in such a way that it creates larger areas of loft as well as reduces weight. Less sewing, less weight + more warmth = win!
The shell of the Micro Puff Hoody is made of wind-blocking Pertex Quantum GL ultralight nylon and coated with Patagonia’s C6 DWR.The face fabric has a bit of a sheen to it and is slightly crinkly. This is typical of other UL jackets with the Pertex fabric. The Men’s Micro Puff Hoody weighs in at 9.3oz for a men’s medium (the XL we tested weight in just under 11oz). That is really light for a fully functional insulated jacket. Even with that light weight, you still get two zippered hand pockets. Inside, large drop pockets can easily swallow up your skins (or a few tall boys). The left pocket is also a stuff sack with a nice loop to attach to your backpack or harness. The hood is a simple and functional scuba style. No cords to adjust, no tabs to worry about. Just pop it over your head and go about your business.
Review: Patagonia Micro Puff
Does it really feel as warm as down?
Yes, it feels much like down. If you told me it was down, I would probably believe you! The Micro Puff is a legit insulated jacket. I would put it on par with the warmth of any other ultralight down jacket in this weight range.
Does the PlumaFill insulation stay in place?
Yes, the quilting is genius. It keeps the insulation in place, reduces weight and allows for more loft. After compressing the jacket, stuffing it in the stuff sack, sleeping in it and using it, the insulation stayed in place.
Does PlumaFill compress like down?
Yes, I was easily able to get it to compress into the left pocket. Once I took it out of the compressed state, it lofted back up to regular size. Most other synthetics would not only be harder to compress into stuff pocket, but they would be more sizeable.
Is the Patagonia Micro Puff hoody warm?
Figure the Micro Puff hoody will be just a bit less warm than a down hoody with equivalent weight. It’s for taking the chill off, but won’t be your heavy insulation for really cold temps. For that, Patagonia introduced the Hyper Puff hoody earlier this year.
This could easily be your daily driver for insulation. This is not a belay parka, nor is it meant to be. It is a true ultralight alternative to a down puffy jacket. The fabric blocks wind, the PlumaLoft retains heat, the whole jacket design is ultra functional and the style is on point. The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is going to see a lot of use!
Patagonia Micro Puff Press Release
VENTURA, California. (September 6, 2017)—After nearly a decade of reimagining the limits of synthetic insulation, Patagonia has developed the Micro Puff Hoody, the lightest, most packable insulated jacket the company has ever created, offering the best properties of down and synthetic insulations in an ultralight package. Patagonia has achieved a previously unattained balance of warmth, weight and compressibility by using PlumaFill, an innovative synthetic insulation, combined with a unique patent-pending construction technique that prevents shifting and clumping over the life of the garment.
“Knowing that down gets wet and loses its heat-trapping loft while synthetics never quite achieve the same warmth and compressibility, our research and development team spent years tinkering with and field-testing every iteration and combination of materials and insulation. We were looking to solve for the Achilles’ heel of each type of insulation, and we ruled out dozens of technologies before getting to PlumaFill,” said Jenna Johnson, vice president of technical outdoor. “We have found a previously unattained sweet spot with the Micro Puff where we can truly maximize the tremendous benefits of both down and synthetic insulation.”
For the first time, Patagonia is using PlumaFill synthetic insulation that has a unique stabilizing structure featuring strands of heat-trapping ultrafine filaments that offer the warmth and packability of down but with the warm-when-wet performance of synthetics. Paired with an ultralight nylon Pertex Quantum® GL woven fabric, it is highly compressible and has a down-like touch. To stabilize the insulation and prevent shifting and clumping, Patagonia’s design team worked in its Innovation Forge on countless versions to come up with a unique solution that stabilizes the insulation. They developed an offset, discontinuous stitching pattern which reduces the number of quilt points, achieves larger lofted areas, cuts the overall weight of the jacket and prevents cold spots. Combined with a design that utilizes fewer, yet larger, pattern pieces, heat is allowed to move more freely within the jacket, offering consistent warmth.
Patagonia’s alpine climbing ambassador Colin Haley states, “I have been bringing the Micro Puff on almost every mountain endeavor that I’ve been on in the past nine months. This is one of the more exciting new products that Patagonia has come out with and, in my opinion, what makes these jackets special is a warmth-to-weight ratio that is extremely good. Most people who pick these jackets up for the first time mistakenly assume that they are down, not synthetic.”
Other features include two welted zippered handwarmer pockets and a left pocket that doubles as a stuffsack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop. The men’s and women’s Micro Puff Hoody will be available in Patagonia stores and on Patagonia.com starting on September 6, 2017.