First of all, these jackets are very similar since they both offer synthetic insulation, so the differences aren't big to say the least.
But... which one should YOU get? Quick answer:
In summary, unless you're specifically looking for something with exceptionally high warmth to weight ratio, then the Nano Puff is probably a better option for you.
Because, main differences between these two Patagonia Jackets are:
- Nano Puff is more durable, versatile and looks better (at least to me)
- Micro Puff is a bit warmer and 3.5 oz lighter
You can see their manuals here [PDF Guide - 2019/2020].
I've also put this post together for the comparison between all the popular Arcteryx and Patagonia mid-layers, including the two in this post.
So if you're interested to see how well these two jackets scored in the warmth, comfort, weather & abrasion resistance, breathability and style departments; check that out as well.
I talked to the Patagonia Customer Service myself (screenshots below), made hours of research and laid out what I found about the differences between Patagonia Nano Puff and Micro Puff Jackets.
So, as you see, their five KEY differences that we'll dive deep into are:
Before we get down to the bolts and nuts of all these elements one by one, one thing I'd like to add is that if you're planning to be physically active inside either of these jackets, then forget about getting either of them since they both offer very low breathability and hence will be sweaty... So check this post out instead in that case.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's get to the differences of these jackets.
Don't worry, I'm not going to make this post a scientific article, but let me mention one thing.
Generally speaking, in order to score the warmth ratings of insulated products, Fill Power (FP) term is being used in today's market.
It's the measured loft of down. In other words, it's the end size of the down when it's at rest, e.g. "fully expanded volume".
The higher the FP rating of an insulator, the warmer it is (assuming everything else is equal).
These jackets are insulated via synthetic materials instead of down.
So instead of FP, they use language such as "PlumaFill" or "PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco".
I did some research to figure their equivalent down qualities, and found this:
PlumaFill insulation of Micro Puff does not only offer better insulation compared to Nano Puff's PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco - but its quantity is ALSO more than Nano Puff (65 grams vs 60 grams).
That said, fill power isn't the end-all be-all, although it's the most important. Things like fabric thickness also affect warmth and actually help the Nano close the gap with the Micro Puff in terms of warmth to some degree.
Check out this article of mine for more about this.
This means that Micro Puff will offer more warmth, that's certain. But... how warmer it will feel when you're wearing it?
- What's the ULTIMATE result?
Well, according to this chart by Patagonia Micro Puff is just over Nano when it comes to warmth.
And the rep said:
So... my conclusion is...
Generally speaking, with a long sleeved shirt beneath and without any shell above these jackets, we can say that the lowest temperatures an average person can wear these jackets comfortably without feeling cold would be around...
30 deg F (0 deg C) for Nano Puff and 20 deg F (-5 deg C) for Micro Puff.
If you think you run colder or warmer than the average person, then shift these temperatures accordingly.
Yes the difference is minimal, but it's there.
This is mostly determined by the thicknesses of sheel and lining fabrics of jackets.
The thinner the fabrics, the more compressible the product will become.
In our case, Nano Puff vs Micro Puff, the difference is that Nano Puff uses 1.4-oz 20-denier for shell and 1.3-oz 22-denier for lining fabrics (both w/ DWR); whereas Micro Puff uses 0.7-oz 10-denier Quantum Perfex w/ DWR for both shell and lining.
The one that Micro Puff uses (Quantum Perfex) is the LIGHTEST that Patagonia uses!
DWR is a coating. It's basically sprayed on to the surface of these jackets as a finish. It stands for Durable Water Repellent - which means that both these jackets will "repel" water under wet conditions. Instead of soaking into the fabric, the water will be smoothly slipping down their surface. DWR also decreases dry time.
It's a good thing that both jackets are coated in DWR, but pay attention to the fact that DWR is a coating - meaning that it will wear off over time.
Yes, thinner fabrics are used for Micro Puff - but fabrics of Nano Puff are also quite thin. Also, Micro Puff is filled with a higher FP down and with MORE of it, which roughly balances out the sack sizes.
The size differences between the sacks aren't noticeable.
On a sidenote - this difference in fabric thicknesses is also the cause of the weight difference between these jackets.
As a result, Micro Puff sits at 235 g (8.3 oz) compared to Nano Puff's 337 g (11.9 oz). Which is nearly 100 grams (3.5 oz) of extra weight.
Noticeable? For casual purposes, no. For pro-purposes (trekking, climbing etc) can be.
Micro Puff is 3.5 oz (100 grams) lighter than Nano Puff.
On the other hand, there IS a sacrifice made by using this thin fabrics.
Which brings me to my next point...
Micro Puff is made of thinner fabrics, so it's more fragile compared to Nano Puff.
Again, these jackets aren't THAT different in any of these departments, so obviously Nano Puff isn't quite robust either.
Micro Puff is fragile and needs to be treated more kindly compared to Nano Puff. Durability of Nano Puff is better than Micro Puff, but it still isn't very robust.
If it still isn't obvious by now, Micro Puff is much more of a "Pro" product when you compare it to Nano Puff.
Its advantages such as being 0.5 lighter and being compressed slightly smaller into its own stuff sack would mostly considered essential when it comes to serious outdoor activities.
On the other hand, the advantages of Nano Puff, such as better durability and prettier design are more reasonable trade-offs for most casual outgoings around the neighborhood - especially when you consider the fact that you sacrifice very little (if not noticeable at all!) in weight, packed size and warmth.
Comes down to your choice. My guess is that most of you guys are here for casual outwear, so I'd recommend Nano Puff over Micro Puff to all of you.
what that's used for As you might see it already,
Is it just me?
Or does Micro Puff's shoulder reinforcements and wrinkled backside REALLY make it look like kind of... "obsolete" or "stale"?
To me, this is another reason why Nano Puff is a better choice for casual outwear over Micro Puff.
Besides casual outwear, you'd put less importance on the design of the jacket and more on its performance and functionality, so it'd be a better idea to go for Micro Puff in such cases.
Nano looks prettier than Micro, but let me know what you think in the comment section below!
If you're looking for a stylish & robust, casual outwear that provides above average warmth and high versatility, then Nano Puff is probably your jacket. If you're specifically looking for something with exceptionally high warmth to weight ratio, then go for Micro.
Here's a good video of this comparison made by Ultra Light Gear:
Check out the review of Nano here:
And the review of Micro here:
Navigate to the product pages here:
Nano Puff Men's:
Nano Puff Women's:
Micro Puff Men's:
Micro Puff Women's:
I hope this review was helpful for you to understand which synthetic jacket would be the best choice for your needs. Feel free to ask me any questions, provide feedback and I'll be happy to respond in the comment section below if it's within my knowledge.
My entire review list:
Thanks a lot for reading.
References & Further reading