When talking about backpacking clothing, the Nano Puff and Down Sweater are excellent choices. We’ve taken a deeper look at each of these jackets and prepared a comparison based on a variety of important factors.
What Is The Nano Puff?
The Nano Puff is multifunctional as it’s stylish enough to go out to dinner, yet technological enough to wear in more harsh weather.
There are several specific design details that we appreciated. Specifically, the drawcord hem helps to lock in warmth on chilly days. Also, the hand warmer pockets had zipped closures when not in use.
The whole jacket folds down into its own internal chest pocket with a zip, which also serves as a stuff sack and has a reinforced carabiner clip-in ring for convenient carrying.
In addition, the outside shell of the Nano Puff is similarly composed of recycled polyester ripstop. What’s more, it’s an environmentally friendly insulated fabric that is warm despite being synthetic. While different from the natural down in the sweater, it’s just as warm.
The Nano Puff also includes three zippers and cuffs made of heavy-duty elastic that prevents fraying and holds up even after years of wear. The Nano Puff weighs 11.9 ounces.
What Is The Down Sweater?
Despite being labeled as a sweater, this item is more akin to a coat or jacket, as demonstrated by the “zip-up” front and exterior look.
The “sweater’s” exterior shell is constructed of recycled polyester ripstop, but it is wonderfully insulated with 800-fill down to keep travelers comfortable and toasty on any outdoor journey.
The Patagonia Down Sweater’s arm cuff material is a super-durable elastic combined with nylon. It includes two exterior pockets and one internal pocket for a total of three compartments, and it weighs just 13.1 ounces.
What’s more is that the Down Sweater Jacket is created responsibly. It’s goose down is verified by NSF International to help guarantee that the birds that produce the down are treated properly and are not harmed.
The exterior is constructed of recycled polyester ripstop with a finish of DWR.
The elastic cuffs on the wrists aren’t too restrictive, which is a common complaint with comparable jackets. However, the adjustable hem is well-designed; by tugging the string in hand warmer pockets, you can bring the hem in without having to struggle in the cold.
Patagonia also practices ethical sourcing. Every feather used is traceable, which indicates that all the down in the jacket came from birds that were neither live-plucked nor force-fed.
When it comes to the outer shell, the 2030-denier fabric is more light weight compared to similar down jackets on the market.
The Down Sweater is made from a combination of fibers that make it suitable for rugged use and strenuous sports.
How The Nano Puff And Down Sweater Compare
Now that you know the fundamentals of both the Nano Puff and Down Sweater, it is time to put them head-to-head to really find out which one comes out on top.
The Down Sweater is considerably warmer than the Nano Puff in dry weather, yet it may be a better alternative because of its increased longevity.
However, it loses much of its insulating properties when wet, thus Nano Puff may be a better alternative for moist locations.
The down within the Down Sweater offers warmth by heating the air trapped between its open spaces. When the down is wet, these blotches get smaller (or even exist – depending on the liquid intensity).
As a result, the Down Sweater loses its insulating properties.
In contrast, the Nano Puff gives warmth through synthetic insulation rather than down.
It successfully simulates the heating property of down, and it also does not lose its insulating strength when wet, however, it has its own drawbacks and disadvantages:
The more frequently you insert the Nano Puff into its own bag, the faster it ages, and, in the long term for about three to four years, it loses its insulating function.
The Down Sweater, on the other hand, can keep you warm for decades.
These jackets aren’t manufactured with sophisticated breathable fabric. Also since they lack pit zips, I recommend skipping them if breathability is one of your requirements.
If the jacket is not breathable, things will get sticky around the collar quite quickly.
When this occurs, both your base layer and mid-layer might become drenched with perspiration, which is not only uncomfortable but can potentially lead to hypothermia in severe situations.
In general, there is a trade-off between warmth, weatherproofing, and breathability.
As a result, bulkier down mid-layers that employ a water-resistant shell fabric are likely to be less breathable than lighter down mid-layers that do not use a water-resistant shell.
They aren’t intended to breathe in the first place, therefore they’re both poorer than average.
The Nano Puff isn’t ideal for walking in a downpour, but it does give adequate weather protection.
It also features a DWR finish, which makes it weather resistant. The shell is sturdy and does a good job of keeping light rain out.
However, the jacket is densely stitched, resulting in several weak points. Water will ultimately seep through the insulation with time and use, especially if exposed for a lengthy period of time.
The good news is that due to its synthetic materials, the jacket will continue to insulate even when wet. When moisture enters the insulation of a down jacket, it becomes clumpy.
The Down Sweater is extremely soft to the touch and quite comfy. It is additionally treated with DWR to repel rain and snow. This coating is nicely incorporated into the shell to keep the jacket’s quality feel.
The hefty zippers are simple to grasp and stay smooth even in frigid temperatures. This insulation is strong and dependable, with a full weight of 3 ounces.
The issue with this is that it is simply a coating, and it will eventually wear away. In heavy rain, the DWR will be overwhelmed, and water will begin to saturate your jacket.
When this happens, the 800-fill power down loses a lot of heat, and you will be cold.
In wetter situations, the Patagonia Nano Puff performs significantly better. Because it is made of synthetic insulation, it does not lose its heat-retaining characteristics when wet, as the Down Sweater does.
Both jackets are windproof and have a comparable capacity to keep you warm in windy circumstances.
As previously stated, both of these jackets include three pockets: two on the exterior on either side of the coat and one on the inside of the chest.
In addition to the pockets, both jackets include a draw cord at the bottom of the coat, which aids in keeping the warmth produced by the insulation from escaping.
With the arrangement of the exterior pockets, the Down Sweater and the Nano Puff jacket differ somewhat. The Nano Puff coat features perfectly horizontal exterior pockets, but the Patagonia Down Sweater has visibly tilted outer pockets.
This purposefully done design feature makes it simpler and more natural for a traveler to put their hands in those pockets on a cold day. The length of the jackets is another significant variation.
The Patagonia Down Sweater terminates almost straight at the hipline, but the Nano Puff jacket is slightly longer, especially in the back.
This longer shape does not obstruct trekkers on the route, but it does give a bit of additional warmth and protection to the backside.
Style And Fit
If you rate the coats only on their appearance, the Down Sweater is likely to be the winner. Obviously, your particular aesthetic choices will determine this, but the Nano Puff has a more wrinkled aspect than the Down Sweater.
Both the Nano Puff and the Down Sweater are suitable for wearing outside. They feature a loose fit and are available in both men’s and women’s fashions.
Both feature a drop-tail hem and a somewhat longer back for greater (butt) covering.
Nano Puff Fit
The Nano Puff is a touch tighter, allowing you to layer over it. While this is also doable with the Down Sweater, it is a little thicker due to the fill.
The Nano Puff, on the other hand, has a lot of movement. It’s not too tight or too loose. There’s also enough room for a lightweight mid-layer. The solitary hem adjuster on the right side is a drawback.
It’s a little issue, but the change is obvious and only tightens up to the right. A hem adjustment would improve the fit and uniformity of the style.
The insulation in the Nano Puff includes 55 percent post-consumer recycled material, in keeping with Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability.
Down Sweater Fit
The Down Sweater has additional heft in the torso and arms. This is meant to improve insulation, but it might be unappealing if you’re concerned about your form.
Nonetheless, its boxier shape is incredibly useful and never seems too much. It just has a less sporty look than the Nano Puff. There is plenty of room for a mid-layer, but it is warm enough without one.
The mass is also not a hindrance. There are two front cinches that allow you to tighten the hem to fit your figure.
You can get to them via the hand pockets, which are useful if the weather is freezing, and you don’t want to take your hands out. It’s a minor element that makes it slightly uncomfortable, but it’s still quite practical.
Weight And Packability
If you work hard enough, then both coats can be packed. In terms of compressibility, we found that the Nano Puff outperformed the Down Sweater.
However, the difference is negligible in this aspect. You can see how they are packaged in the photo below.
The Nano Puff is ideal for daily usage. It’s quite light, compact, and offers good weather protection.
Additionally, it’s ideal for travel and trekking. Ideal for providing adequate warmth in chilly weather yet allowing for adequate breathability on summer excursions.
While it’s excellent as a foundation layer in colder locations, you’ll need many layers over it to be warm.
Probably the nicest features of the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket and the Patagonia Down Sweater is how tiny they pack.
Because the compression pouch is in the jacket’s pocket, they essentially pack into themselves rather than into separate packs.
When folded, the Nano Puff incorporates a carry loop. As a result, it allows you to attach it to your backpack’s exterior attachment points. When there isn’t enough room inside your pack, this is a design blessing.
Carrying an additional layer or jacket might take up a lot of room in your kit bag. But these coats fold down so little, which is a huge bonus! What’s more, it an added layer of practicality and convenience to each of them.
The Nano Puff is an exceptional choice if you want a jacket that serves as a warm base layer when trekking or relaxing around camp. Because it’s so thin, I wouldn’t count on it to keep me warm in Michigan throughout the winter.
Despite its thinness, the Nano Puff is a very warm jacket. I’d use this jacket when hiking in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit for added warmth.
If I was expecting snow or daytime highs of 30-40 degrees, I’d either acquire a warmer jacket or add a layer under the Nano Puff.
The Down Sweater is a thicker jacket designed for warmth. If you’re planning a trek in the cold weather or need a garment to function as a full-time winter coat, then I’d choose this jacket over the Nano Puff.
However, one thing I’d be concerned with is the down becoming wet. This especially become an issue in wet, sticky snow. While it’s not a problem with dry powdery snow, nothing worse than getting a down coat wet.
Both the Nano Puff and the Down Sweater are excellent coats. I’d suggest the Nano Puff over the Down Sweater for most hikers.
It’s better for most applications and looks better, which is important when you’re hiking in the middle of nowhere.
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