PATAGONIA WOMEN'S NANO PUFF PULLOVER
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
INITIAL REPORT - November 15, 2009
FIELD REPORT - February 02, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - March 27, 2010
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 35-acre/14-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.patagonia.com
MSRP: US $150.00
Listed Weight: 8.2 oz (232 g) 8.2 oz
Measured Weight: 8 oz (227 g)
Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L & XL
Size Tested: Medium
Colors Available: Black, Seaport (blue) and Green Oasis
Color Tested: Green Oasis
Material: Shell and lining: 1-oz (28 g) 15-denier 100% all-recycled polyester with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.
Insulation: 60-g PrimaLoft® One.
Recyclable through the Common Threads Recycling Program (Recycled Polyester - "We recycle used soda bottles, unusable second quality fabrics and worn out garments into polyester fibers to produce many of our clothes." )
Made in Thailand and Vietnam.
Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee: "We guarantee everything we make."
|Picture Courtesy of Patagonia|
I spent quite a bit of time checking out the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover (hereafter called either the "Nano Puff" or "Pullover") both on the Patagonia website with its nifty "zoom" feature and in person at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah. The website depiction is spot-on accurate to the real thing. Everything I memorized from the text description on the website was borne out when I received and thoroughly inspected the Pullover.
Taking the Pullover from the box, the first thing that caught my eye was the color. The best I can describe it is to say it is sort of a yellow-limey-green. Certainly not a subtle color in my opinion and a bit brighter than what I had thought it would be. Next the diamond-shaped quilting of the fabric which gives the Nano Puff a neat, fresh look caught my eye. No chunky horizontal lines here! This pattern lends a slim silhouette to the modified princess-seamed shape. There is a paneled yoke across the back for added shaping. The polyester fabric has a matte finish and feels silky soft to the touch.
The Nano Puff has a generous 3 inch (7.5 cm) stand-up collar which can be zippered right to the top via the 11.5 inch (29 cm) nylon front center zipper. The center zipper pull is small with a funky rubber-rimmed pull. There is a zipper "garage" (flap at neckline) to keep the zipper from touching my skin. To the left of the zipper is an approximately 6 inch by 10 inch (15 cm x 25.5 cm) Napoleon pocket with a 6 inch (15 cm) zipper. The pocket zipper pull has a braided cord pull. Just to the left of the pocket is the discreet "Patagonia" logo label in black.
Thin, fabric-covered elastic cuffs and hem are moderately stretchy for a warm fit.
The inside of the Nano Puff is same-fabric lined and smooth (without any bulky seams). There are two neck "tags" at the back of the Pullover; one is the Patagonia label, the other a size label. The usual care and instructions tag is located at the left/right side seam along with a Primaloft tag.
Patagonia's quality shines through with no loose threads, crooked stitching, pulls or other defects to be found anywhere in or on the Pullover.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The care instructions for the Nano listed in those cryptic (to me) international symbols with the following line in English and French - "Do not use fabric softener." I'm guessing the Japanese use different international symbols because following the above instructions are 3 additional symbols and several lines in Japanese. And as I wrote "Japanese", I realized, what the heck do I know! The symbols could easily be another Asian language.
In any case, the care instructions translate to:
Delicate/Gentle Wash Cycle
Maximum Water Temperature 65 - 85 F (18 - 30 C)
Do Not Bleach
Tumble Dry Normal Cycle with Low Heat
Do Not Iron
There isn't anything difficult about these pretty standard technical gear care procedures. I will, however, be air-drying the Pullover rather than using the commercial dryers I am currently "forced" to use.
TRYING IT OUT
Thanks to a very comprehensive Fit Guide and Size Chart on the Patagonia website, I was quite confident the size Medium I ordered would fit correctly. In making my decision to go with a size Medium, I went with the Chest size rather than the Waist and Hip. According to the Size Chart, the Small would have been perfect for my lower body measurements but would most likely have been too small in the chest. Since I especially wanted to be able to layer the Nano Puff, I chose the larger size. I was right. The Pullover fit is just what I wanted. Slim and trim. Not boxy and loose.
There is no excess sleeve length to hang down and cover my hands for which I'm very glad - I don't like excessively long sleeves. The elasticized cuffs are tight enough to hug my wrists but do not constrict.
The hem of the Pullover rests just below my hipbone, about 6 in (15 cm) below my waist and is snug but not tight.
Slipping the Pullover on, I was immediately impressed with how comfortable it felt. Very soft and lightweight. I could definitely discern the additional warmth on my upper body - it was just about sundown and the temperature had dropped a bit. But, I did not feel any additional bulk. Very nice!
When fully zipped the collar stands very high, touching my chin and covering all of my neck. Unzipping it a few inches (cm), allows me to fold the collar down to create a still neat look.
The lone chest pocket is large, but when I tried putting in my cell phone, the weight of the phone was uncomfortable to me. The thin-ness of the fabric will probably limit what I put into the pocket. A wallet, sunglasses, maps, and such come to mind.
During this initial inspection, I found both zippers to work smoothly and without snagging.
I practically drooled all over the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover the very first time I saw it at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. I even offered to buy the Pullover from the vendor on the spot. After 3 days of intermittantly staring at the Patagonia display, my husband finally had to almost drag me away from the mannequin modeling the Pullover. Now that I have my hot little hands on the Nano Puff, I plan on wearing it to death - mine, not the Pullover's!
Below are the results of my first two months wearing the Pullover.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
|Snowshoeing with Kathryn Doiron at Snowbasin||With the Christmas holidays and then a bout with a nasty cold, I was only able to wear the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover on 3 day hikes during these last two months. I did take the Pullover with me on my trip to Walt Disney World one day in Orlando, Florida and I sure was glad I had as the temps were around the freezing mark! Lastly, I wore the Pullover on an all-day outing at Snowbasin in Utah for the annual All Mountain Day at the Outdoor Retailer Winter 2010 Show.|
All the day hikes were in the mountains behind my land in Canon City, Colorado with the elevation upwards of 5600 ft (1700 m) to 5800 ft (1770 m). The weather was generally sunny to partly cloudy with temperatures from 38 F (3 C) to 65 F (18 C). The terrain is rocky to muddy with lots of ups and downs and scrubby pine to juniper and cactus vegetation. While I didn't hike in snowy conditions, I did encounter snow on the ground in patches.
At Snowbasin, it was very cloudy with heavy mist turning off and on to snow. That day combined walking around on snow-covered ground, snowshoeing a 7.5K (4.7 mi) trail and messing around with cross-country skis (don't ask!).
I also wore the Pullover several days at work when it was especially cold and even one night to sleep in.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Wearing the Pullover for these past weeks has given me an appreciation of just how versatile it is. I've worn it over base layers, under a down vest, with a windproof shell and various combinations of these layers.
It is thin enough to go under all but my tightest outer clothing and bulky enough to go over one or two base layers. It is trim enough to not be in the way with excess fabric, but roomy enough to not constrict my movements. I find it is warm enough to be worn on its own (with just a medium-weight base layer) down to 50 F (10 C) when mildly active and down to 30 F (-1 C) when very active snowshoeing and such. Just below freezing, I find adding another layer is necessary. Enough with the "enoughs"!
I'm not sure what is causing it to do so, but while the waistband and the cuffs tend to snugly encircle my waist and wrists; they get covered up by the sleeves and body of the Pullover which renders the waistband and cuffs invisible and forms a bit of a "puff". This is not unsightly, really, just a fact. (See picture below.)
|Cuff on Nano Puff Pullover|
Windy conditions are not favorable to the Pullover. I have had problems with feeling cold when the wind blows briskly. This is particularly noticeable when I am wearing a vest over or under the Pullover. At those times, just my arms would be chilled while my core was fine.
At Snowbasin where it was very damp and snowy, I wore a light down vest over the Pullover and a silk-weight base layer and was toasty warm when active. I had started out with a waterproof shell over both the vest and Pullover but got too warm while snowshoeing and took off the shell. This would have worked great except the mist turned to snow and the snow melted on the Pullover. As the Pullover started to dampen, I needed to put my waterproof shell back on.
I love how the zipper allows me to ventilate a bit. The zipper, coupled with the folded-down collar, is long enough to allow quite a lot of air to cool my chest. Conversely, with the high stand-up collar, when I need extra warmth, I can zip up right to my chin. And the fabric inside the collar is soft against my skin. A "parking garage" for the zipper keeps it from rubbing, too.
I haven't noticed any fraying of the cuffs or waistband or developed any pulls or snags of the outer fabric. No threads have broken and the zipper has remained smooth to operate which I can still do one-handed.
I've washed the Pullover once so far and not so much because it was really dirty, but as a test to see how the Pullover would fare. My son has one of those new fancy HD washers with all sorts of special cycles, but essentially I used a cold water wash with cold water rinse, on an ultra-gentle wash/rinse cycle. All the other clothes in the batch were technical hiking clothing so I used a tech wash soap and no fabric softener. I did not dry the Pullover but rather hung it in the laundry room to dry on a wooden hanger. The Pullover looks brand new!
I'm still mildly uncertain about whether or not I like the color of the Pullover, but the comfort and utility of the Nano Puff continue to impress me. I have it on right now and plan on lots of usage in the near future.
I have updated this report after two months additional field testing of the Pullover. Please see below for my closing comments.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
|All of my testing of the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover from late January to the present took place in the Wet, Fremont and Cooper mountains of south central Colorado. The elevation I hiked in ranges from a low of 5300 ft (1600 m) to a high of 8400 ft (2400 m). Temperatures fluctuated from 20 F (-7 C) to 60 F (16 C) during daylight hours and freezing to 10 F (- 12 C) just before dawn. Weather conditions were mostly cloudy with some sunshine in the mornings on my dayhikes. Light rain and snow mixes in the afternoons and overnight kept it interesting.|
All of my hiking involved uphill climbs to high points and then downhill treks when homeward bound. Of course, none of these trails are just plain straight-up elevation gains; they all involve lots of "ups and downs". The trail conditions varied. Parts of the Newlin Creek Trail (one of my favorite hikes) are remnants of an old late 1800s sawmill road. The first couple of miles/kilometers of another hike, the Fremont Peak Trail, are over a very-rutted access road to a radio tower. Other sections of trails are simply beaten down pathways. And then, when I'm hiking in the Cooper Mountain area, there are no trails at all!
|On the Newlin Creek Trail|
This means, the terrain runs the gamut of packed down dirt (or mud at this time of year) to pebbly rocks, to broken up shale to hard granite slabs. At higher elevations, there was also loose to packed snow and ice. Oh, and on the Newlin Creek Trail, there are 18 stream crossings which at this time of year are sheer, thickly rippled ice!
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
In February, I wore the Pullover on four dayhikes and on one weekend overnight. In March, I added an additional overnight trip and 2 dayhikes. While I was not in the great outdoors testing, many days found me wearing the Pullover during working hours anyway, just for the extra warmth.
During the last two months, the weather has been up and down so many times I've lost count. It's rained, snowed and been sunny. It's been up to 60 F (16 C) in the daytime and down around 20 F (-7 C), also in the daytime. Nights have ranged from freezing to 10 F (-12 C). Right now it's sleeting with predictions of 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) of snow and then tomorrow, it's supposed to be in the mid-60s F (18 C). Go figure!
This means when venturing out on the trail, the watchword was "layer, layer, layer" and my Patagonia Pullover was a big part of that. Mostly, I wore a light synthetic long-sleeved base layer top and I topped that with the Pullover. This combo was completed with a shell on most days.
I found the Nano Puff to be one of the most comfortable articles of clothing I can wear on the trail, if I am not exerting myself to the point of being hot. The Puff works so well at keeping me warm that many times I would have to remove it to cool off, especially when snowshoeing or climbing uphill. On days when there wasn't any wind at all, unzipping the half-zip just was not enough for me and I often would become sweaty before I would have to stop and stuff the Puff into my backpack. Fortunately, the Puff compresses down to a very small size and I could jam it into the top of my backpack with no ill effects to the Pullover. A quick shake when I pulled it back out and the Nano Puff was ready for action again.
Afternoons and nighttimes were times I particularly enjoyed having the Nano to wear. On the trail or in camp, as the sun went down, so did temperatures and so did my activity level. Having the Puff to pull on was great and what looked to be a thin additional layer added so much extra warmth. And thanks to the not-too-tight sizing, the Nano Puff performed double duty acting as a wonderful and welcome part of my sleepwear repertoire.
Only once did I encounter any real precipitation while wearing the Nano Puff solo, and it didn't do well at repelling moisture in any fashion and I can't say it worked well against the wind, but neither are claims Patagonia makes for the Nano Puff.
Four months and two washings later, the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover still looks pretty darn good. I have experienced no snags, pulls or broken threads. The zipper glides smoothly up and down and does not catch. I have not noticed any excessive stretching of the cuffs or the hemline. The binding on the cuffs and the hemline do look a little worn in spots, but nothing that will keep me from wearing the Puff a lot more in the future.
The Nano Puff Pullover is another quality product from Patagonia. It looks great, feels comfy and keeps me warm. All very good things! Even after, what I think is more than the average use for a four-month time period, the Puff has held up beautifully.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I particularly like the softness, even when zippered to the very top; I don't feel any irritants at all. If I had to come up with any dislikes, I would have to be nit-picky and say I'm not that crazy about the color. But then, I picked it out and it certainly won't stop me from wearing it again!
Thank you to Patagonia and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this special article of clothing!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Read more gear reviews by Kathleen Waters