Recommended Price: £200 – £250
Weight: 295g (men’s large)
The Micro-Puff is a truly ultra-light mid-layer jacket. Patagonia state the weight as being 264g – my large comes in at 295g and packs down to a tiny size in its own pocket. The amount of warmth on offer here for such a slight jacket is phenomenal – I’ve found it as warm as fleeces at around twice the weight.
The outer is ripstop nylon Pertex Quantum – which is ultralight and windproof, whilst the insulation is PlumaFill – a synthetic that is claimed to be almost as warm as down, whilst still keeping you warm when wet. The (fair-trade certified) construction is unusual, with a pattern of interlocking squares retaining the insulation in place rather than the usual horizontal bands we are used to seeing on insulated jackets.
The fit is quite close for a jacket, ideal as the Micro-Puff is best worn straight over a base-layer; it’s very comfortable with good movement. I’ve found it warm enough worn on its own over a thermal base-layer down to temperatures only a little above freezing when moving, which is pretty incredible for the weight. But that close fit means the jacket works great as a mid-layer when conditions are colder still. Similarly, the hood is small and intended to be worn under a helmet if your activity demands one. There are two side pockets, which are placed quite high.
The price of that level of warmth-weight performance – beyond the high price tag – is that the outer is very thin, and could easily be torn if pushing through vegetation or brushing against rocks, though this is less of a problem when using it as a mid-layer. For weight-conscious hikers and backpackers with the cash to spend, the Hoody really delivers something exceptional.