Last Updated: January 12, 2021

Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater: A Detailed Comparison

Patagonia has long been trusted and loved for the great outdoors.

With premium materials and quality build, this brand is reliable no matter the activity and the time of the year. 

And as you probably know, the Nano Puff and Down Sweater are two of their best mid-season or layered offerings that give you lots of options when you want to be outside in the cold.

Both lightweight, packable, and downright functional, which one fits you best? We break down the details and help you decide.

patagonia nano puff hoody
Patagonia Men Men's Down Sweater Puffer Black Size L


1.4-oz 22-denier 100% recycled polyester with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish

1.4-oz 20x30-denier 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish


60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco 100% polyester (55% postconsumer recycled content)

800-fill-power Advanced Global Traceable Down 

Average weight

11.9 oz (337 g) 

13.1 oz (371 g)

Zippered Front Pockets



Internal Chest Pocket



Elastic Cuffs



Drop Tail Hem

Yes (slightly longer at rear)


Hem Adjusting Cord 



Packs into own pocket 

Yes - Chest Pocket


Warmth, Waterproof & Windproof

With 800-fill power, the Down Sweater beats the Nano Puff's Primaloft in terms of warmth. 

The Down Sweater stacks up very well to many down sweaters in the market. The windproof outer shell holds up very well even in inclement weather. It's a very premium feel without the weight and keeps the wearer comfortably toasty. In alpine weather, the Down Sweater is a great mid-layer for outdoor sports such as skiing. On its own, it keeps the wearer more than comfortable in the alpine summer.

On the other hand, the Nano Puff is the go-to Patagonia jacket for shoulder season - that transition between summer to fall to winter to spring. In harsher climates, the Nano Puff can be a good base layer that can keep the wearer warm even in the low 40s Fahrenheit.

You'll do better with a Down Sweater for high alpine activities, but the Nano Puff performs well for backpacking, camping, and day hikes. The water-resistant material makes it versatile and keeps you prepared for any kind of weather.

However, keep in mind that a full down jacket (like the Down Sweater) will not dry easily once it gets wet. So, this should either be used when it's dry out, or as an inner layer. You should always have an outer Goretex or similar at hand in case of rain or (wet) snow.

nano puff material

Nano Puff - Less bulk, brick layout, synthetic insulation

Down Sweater - More bulk, striped layout, down insulation 800 fill


Material and Construction

Both jackets are very lightweight with the Nano Puff having a bit of an advantage by a few ounces. This is mainly because of the difference in materials.

The Nano Puff is made of compressible insulation, simple features, and lightweight materials making it a impressively packable synthetic jacket. It packs into its internal chest pocket and can be compressed even further into a small luggage. The stuff pocket also has a loop so you can attach it to a harness or hook.

Nano Puff Stuffed into pocket 

It also has a coating of DWR making it weather resistant. The shell is strong and keeps light rain out fairly well. However, the jacket is filled with stitching which creates many weak spots. Over time and over use, the water will eventually seep into the insulation especially during extended exposure. The good news about this the jacket will continue to insulate even when wet because of its synthetic materials. A down jacket will turn clumpy when moisture seeps into the insulation. The Nano Puff is not the best going through a deluge of rain, but it provides decent weather protection.

The Down Sweater is soft to the touch and very comfortable. It is also coated with DWR to keep rain and snow away. This coating is well integrated into the shell so the jacket can retain its premium feel. The bulky zippers are easy to handle and remain smooth despite freezing conditions. With the fill weight at 3 ounces, this insulation is solid and reliable. Patagonia also uses responsible sourcing. Every feather used is 100% traceable, which means that all the down in the jacket is from birds that were not live plucked or force fed. Going to the outer shell, the 20x30-denier fabric is on the lighter side compared to similar down jackets in the market. With a mix of 7D and 10D fabrics, the Down Sweater is ready for rough use and vigorous activities.

Overall Style, Shape & Fit

Both the Nano Puff and the Down Sweater are outdoor jackets. They have a relatively relaxed fit, and both come in men and women's styles. Both also have a drop tail hem where the back is a bit longer for more (butt) coverage.

patagonia nano puff hoody

Nano Puff, slimmer fit

Patagonia Men Men's Down Sweater Puffer Black Size L

Down Sweater, bulkier down, lose fit

The Nano Puff is a little bit more snug so you can layer over it. While this is possible as well with the Down Sweater, it's a bit bulkier because of the fill. On the other hand, the Nano Puff offers plenty of mobility. It's not too snug and not too loose. There's still enough space for a thin midlayer as well. The downside is the single hem adjust on the right side. It's a small issue, but the adjustment is very noticeable and only tightens up to the right. A double hem adjustment would make the fit more even and the look more uniform. True to Patagonia's commitment to sustainability, the insulation in the Nano Puff is 55% post-consumer recycled content.

The Down Sweater is roomy with extra bulk in the torso and arms. This is meant for better insulation, but can be off-putting if you're very concerned about your shape. Nevertheless, this more boxy style is very functional and never feels overwhelming. It simply has a less athletic style than the Nano Puff. There is enough space for a light mid-layer, but would still be warm enough on its own. The bulk isn't restrictive either. There are two front cinches so you can adjust the tightness of the hem to hug your body. You can access them through the hand pockets, which is handy if the weather is completely freezing and you don't want to take your hands out. It's a small detail that makes it a little bit inconvenient, but still very functional.

Choosing The Right Jacket

While both jackets perform excellently, the difference in use is pretty obvious.

The Nano Puff is great for everyday use. It's very lightweight, can be packed pretty easily, and provides adequate protection against weather elements. It's great for travel and backpacking, giving you ample warmth in cool climates but enough ventilation during summer hikes. For more extreme climates, it's still good as a base layer, but you will need several layers over it to keep you warm.

The Down Sweater is meant for colder climates and rougher outdoor activities. You'll probably end up sweating in your sweater in shoulder season, but you'll be very comfortable during ski trips and alpine hikes. It's not as lightweight and packable as the Nano Puff, but the Down Sweater will keep you toasty despite the freezing climate.

Are you ready for your next adventure? Wherever you end up, you'll never go wrong with the Patagonia Nano Puff and the Down Sweater!

Patagonia M's Nano Hoody Winter Jacket Navy Blue Mens XXL

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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