Last Updated: July 24, 2020

Patagonia Nano Puff vs Nano Air: The Warmest Is…

PRODUCT COMPARISON

Nano Puff

The Nano Puff is an ultralightweight puffer jacket that provides a surprising amount of warmth. It's insulation also makes it highly compressible, and it can be folded away into it's own internal chest pocket. With a rip-stop lining and a water-repellent finish, this jacket is ready to battle the elements. It's also an environemtally friendly product, thanks to its eco-insualtion and a fully recycled shell fabric, plus it's been Fair Trade Certified™ sewn - what's not to love?
  • Weight: 11.9 oz (337g)
  • Materials:
  • Shell: 1.4-oz 20-denier 100% recycled polyester with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Lining: 1.3-oz 22-denier 100% recycled polyester with a DWR finish
  • Insulation: 60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco 100% polyester (55% postconsumer recycled content)
  • Pockets: two handwarmer pockets, zippered internal chest pocket doubles as a stuffsack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop
  • Center-front zipper: wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at chin
View Latest Deal

Nano Air

The Nano Air is a great jacket for anyone that needs an extra layer while they're on the move. Constructed from flexible and incredibly breathable fabrics, you won't find yourself overheating, yet the insulation is there for when you need it. It packs down into a compact little bundle and fits inside its own pockets so no stuff sack is needed. Featuring recycled fabrics and with Fair Trade Certified™ sewing, this jacket is as good for the environment as it is for your closet!
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (318g)
  • Materials:
  • Shell and lining: 1.7-oz 100% polyester (87% recycled) plain weave with four-way mechanical stretch and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Cuffs: 4.9-oz 100% polyester snag-resistant stretch knit with a DWR finish
  • Insulation: 60-g FullRange® 100% polyester (40% recycled) with four-way stretch
  • Pockets: Two zippered handwarmer pockets and a left-chest zippered pocket
  • Center-front zipper: zipper garage at chin
  • Hem: elasticized
View Latest Deal

Patagonia has an exceptional reputation for producing some of the world’s finest outdoor clothing. Founded by an accomplished rock climber, and with teams full of outdoor enthusiasts, it’s not surprising that their gear is purpose-built and can often last you a lifetime. They’re also renowned for their environmentally and animal welfare responsibility programs and are world leaders in the manufacturing of ethical materials and products.

Here, we are going to weigh up two or their best-selling jackets – the Nano Puff and the Nano Air – so that you can decide which one is right for you. Both jackets are constructed with eco-friendly materials and are great in their own way but, as we’ll see, have very different purposes.

In a nutshell, the Nano Puff is the better option if you’ll be hanging around in cooler climates and want insulation without excessive bulk, but if you’ll be physically exerting yourself while wearing your jacket, you’ll be better off with the Nano Air. So, let’s take a look at what it is that makes these two jackets so unique.

Materials

As for all Patagonia products, the Nano Puff and the Nano Air are constructed from high-end materials (just like their Micro Puff which we have compared here). Both feature recycled polyester, have a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, and have been built from bluesign®-approved fabrics that have been Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. Yet there are some key differences between the two, particularly in terms of the type of insulation used. So, let’s take a closer look.

Shell and Lining

The Nano Puff features a 1.4 oz polyester shell and a 1.3 oz polyester lining, both 100% recycled and treated with a DWR finish.

Both the shell and the lining of the Nano Air are constructed from 1.7 oz polyester (87% recycled), treated with a DWR finish. However, unlike the Puff, the fabrics used for the Nano Air have been weaved to provide a 4-way mechanical stretch, which is great if you’ll be super active while wearing your jacket.

Insulation

One of the main differences between the two jackets is the type of insulation used – the Puff is filled with PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco, whereas the Air takes Patagonia’s FullRange insulator – but what does this mean?

Well, PrimaLoft is a synthetic insulation that’s designed to mimic the best qualities of down insulation (loft and warmth) while retaining the best quality of synthetic insulation – the ability to stay warm even when wet (for more details on PrimaLoft vs Down, see here). It’s super lightweight, 55% postconsumer recycled, and retains 96% of warmth when wet – winning.

FullRange insulation is made up of various polyester fibers of different deniers (thicknesses). It’s designed to allow for stretch but to reduce permanent fiber movement – they will eventually recover their original positions.

There are 60g of insulation in each jacket and as we’ll see later on, there are huge pros and cons of each type of insulation.

Breathability

How important the breathability of your jacket is will depend on what you’ll be doing while wearing it – if you’ll be hiking at a fairly steady pace or hanging out around a campsite, ventilation probably isn’t your top priority, but if you’ll be climbing, running, or any other highly active sport, then ventilation is key.

We mentioned earlier that the FullRange insulation used in the Nano Air provides excellent mechanical stretch, but we didn’t mention that it also allows for incredible airflow. Airflow is typically measured in cubic feet per minute, and the Nano Air has an impressive airflow of 40CFM (trust us, this is very high for a jacket!).

In contrast, the PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco used in the Nano Puff is designed to trap air that has been heated by the body in small pockets so that it can’t escape. This is how the Puff manages to keep you warm, but it comes at the price of decreased breathability. You can, however, adjust the hem to increase airflow in times of need.

So, if you’ll plan on being active in the great outdoors, then we’d certainly recommend the Nano Air because of its excellent breathability. The Nano Air isn’t so well ventilated but, if you don’t plan on over-exerting yourself, this might not be such a big deal.

Weather Resistance

If you’re looking for a jacket to wear out in the wilderness, it needs to be able to stand up to the elements. So, how well do the Nano Puff and the Nano Air perform in this department?

Warmth

As we mentioned previously, the FullRange insulation used for the Nano Air allows for excellent airflow. Unfortunately, this does come at the price of reduced warmth. This makes sense if you think about it, with all that airflow, heat generated from the body will be swept away quickly. Although this is great if you’ll be active, if you’re hanging around at base camp in the cold it’s not so good.

Despite this, FullRange does provide some insulation, plus there’s an adjustable elasticated hem that you can tighten when you want to trap that precious warm air. Also, the Nano Air has a snugger fit than the Nano Puff, so in times of need, you can slip on an extra layer without compromising on comfort.

One of the major selling points of the Nano Puff is its ability to keep you warm. The PrimaLoft insulation mimics down insulation by trapping warm air as it tries to escape. One huge advantage PrimaLoft has over down, however, is the fact that it can keep you warm even when it’s wet. This is due to the water-resistant polyester fibers that repel water rather than holding it in. This results in an impressive 96% of warmth being retained by the Nano Puff even in wet conditions.

Furthermore, the insulation itself is held in place by horizontal quilt lines, preventing the insulation from bunching up and leaving cold patches. And if that wasn’t enough, the hem is also dropdown and adjustable so that you can keep in that warm air when you need it. Clearly, the Nano Puff is the way to go if you’re looking for a jacket to keep you warm in cooler climates or during periods of inactivity.

Wind Resistance

The excellent breathability of the Nano Air not only reduces its ability to keep you warm, but it also reduces its wind resistance. Good airflow = wind can pass through, we don’t think we need to go into any details here. The lack of breathability seen in the Nano Puff has the opposite effect – it can stand up to wind pretty well.

Water-Resistance

The Nano Puff and the Nano Air are pretty similar in terms of water-resistance. Both contain insulation comprised of water-repellent fibers and they’re both have a DWR coating on their outer shell. The Nano Puff has the upper hand slightly, as it will keep you warmer when wet, but it won’t actually stay any drier. As with all DWR-treated jackets, just remember that the coating will eventually wear off and need replenishing.

Packability

We absolutely love that both the Nano Air and the Nano Puff fold away into their own pockets – no need for an extra stuff sack! The Air folds into a left-chest pocket, while the Puff packs into a chest pocket that also features a carabiner clip-in loop for easy carrying.

Although the Nano Air is slightly lighter than the Puff (11.2 versus 11.9 oz), there really isn’t very much in it, and we think the lightness of the Puff is more impressive considering how warm it will keep you.

Both ultra-light and super compressible, you’ll hardly notice either of these jackets in your backpack!

Value for Money

It’s no secret that Patagonia products aren’t the cheapest options out there, and the Puff and Air are no different, but are they worth it? And which one offers the best value for money?

Both products are without a doubt high-end jackets that have been carefully crafted with durable, comfortable, and environmentally friendly materials. The Nano Puff offers an outstanding warmth-to-weight ratio while the Nano Air provides unprecedented airflow for a durable jacket, and we definitely think both jackets are worth the money.

The Air tends to be around 50 bucks more than the Puff, depending on the seller, but it’s durable, stretchable, and breathable fabric is pretty unique in the industry. Overall, we think these jackets are on par in terms of value for money – they’re both very well designed jackets that are suited to different scenarios, making them tricky to compare directly.

Final Thoughts

Patagonia is a prestigious producer of outdoor clothing, and the Nano Puff and Nano Air are both great examples of fine craftsmanship.

They’re both extremely packable thanks to their light weight and ability to fold up inside one of their own pockets. There are also some similarities in their construction – for instance, they both contain recycled polyester, have a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, have been built from bluesign®-approved fabrics and have been Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

However, there are also key differences between the two in terms of breathability and weather resistance, and this all comes down to the type of insulation used. The Puff uses insulation with excellent heat-retaining properties, which means it can keep you nice and warm (even when wet!), and it also keeps out that pesky wind. This makes it perfect for times of inactivity when warmth is key.

On the flip side, the Air uses insulation that’s designed to provide flexibility and to keep you well-ventilated when active, making it an excellent choice for strenuous tasks.

Overall, the choice of which jacket is right for you really comes down to how much you’ll be moving around – if you’ll be stationary for the Puff and if you’ll be active go for the Air – but whichever jacket you go for, you can rest assured that you won’t be disappointed with your purchase.

BUYING OPTIONS