Who needs a puffy in the Caribbean? Our online editor Vince Hempsall answers this question and more with his honest review of the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody.

The first piece of clothing Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard ever sold was a rugby shirt he imported to the U.S. from Umbro, England. It was built to withstand the rigours of an aggressive sport and had a collar – all factors his rock climbing buddies looked for because collars kept hardware slings from cutting into necks and the fabric stood up to repetitive friction against stone. Today, his Ventura, California-based company sells hundreds of different wearables from gitch to gloves. For this honest review, we look at the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, which the company claims is the best warmth for weight of any jacket it’s built.

The author sporting the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody on a multi-pitch alpine climb during a sunny fall day in the Valhalla Mountain Range, British Columbia.

Snapshot: Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

    1. Pros: The Micro Puff Hoody packs up to the same size as a new toilet paper roll and weighs about the same.
    2. Cons: On its own, the Micro Puff Hoody will not keep you consistently warm in temperatures colder than -10°C.
    3. Price: $349 Cdn
    4. Who Should Buy: Recreationalists who layer up for outdoor adventures in temperatures ranging from +10°C to -10°C.
    5. Who Shouldn’t Buy: Those who live in a climate with winters that average -15°C. Get a proper down jacket rather than the hoody.
    6. Helpful Hack: The entire jacket stuffs into the left inside pocket, which has a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop.
    7. Author’s overall rating: 9/10

The Test

I didn’t take me long to run the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody through its paces. Within hours of unwrapping it, I took it on an overnight excursion into the Valhalla Mountain Range in British Columbia to see how it would fare on a multi-pitch alpine route. It was early September and the weather called for sun but the temperatures were going to be chilly: as low as 8°C at night. Typically I don’t climb in puffy jackets as they’re usually too bulky but I made an exception for the purposes of this review and I have to say, I was exceptionally impressed. Since then I’ve taken it on backcountry ski missions, mountain bike rides, canoe excursions, and I’ve walked around town in it. I even took it to the Caribbean. More on that below.

A puffy jacket that can be carted to southern climes. Gotta love that. The author takes in the Atlantic in 8°C.

The Verdict

Because of its compressibility and weight I can comfortably say the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is the best and most versatile puffy I’ve ever owned. It wads up into the size of a softball and weighs about the same as one (264 g or 9.3 oz), which means there’s no hesitation when it comes to taking it along on an adventure. I’ve even thrown it into my small, 12-litre mountain bike backpack on cold fall days just in case. Likewise it’s gone on every backcountry ski outing since I’ve received it because even if it’s too warm to wear it on the uptrack, it barely takes up any weight or room in my pack.

I’ve even brought it to the Caribbean because when we left Canada it was -20°C and I wasn’t about to wear a tank top to the airport. Instead I wore the puffy and then tucked it into a corner of the carry-on after arrival. As it happens, we had a multi-day layover on the east coast of Florida during that trip and a northerly system whipped through dropping the temperature to +8°C, not including windchill. No problem! I just grabbed the Micro Puff from my suitcase and hung out on the beach.

Aside from its versatility, the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is superbly tapered and there isn’t any part of it that bulks out awkwardly no matter what activity I’m involved in. (I’m 5′ 11″ and the medium fits me perfectly.) Even the hood is tapered to the shape of my head, plus the elasticized cuffs keep the sleeves in place and trap warmth. This is a minimal garment though so don’t expect things like drawstrings on the hood or copious pockets. (There are two inside and two outside.) The zipper is tiny and can be challenging to use with gloves and the pockets are positioned such that they can’t be accessed if you’re wearing a climbing harness. Aside from those issues, though, I can find nothing wrong with the Micro Puff Hoody. It’ll go with me wherever I roam. Even to the tropics.

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

The Micro Puff Hoody compresses to the size of a softball, and weighs about the same.

The Deets

    • MSRP: $349 Cdn
    • Weight: 264 g / 9.3 oz
    • Ultralight nylon ripstop shell is water-resistant, windproof and treated with a DWR finish
    • Proprietary PlumaFill insulation replicates the structure of down in a continuous synthetic insulation material, offering the warmth and packability of down but with the warm-when-wet performance of synthetic insulation
    • Innovative quilting construction complements the insulation by stabilizing and maximizing the loft of the PlumaFill strands with minimal stitching
    • Centre-front zipper has a storm flap and zipper garage at chin
    • Two zippered handwarmer pockets and two internal drop-in pockets
    • Colours: Black, Forge Grey, Paintbrush Red, Dolomite Blue, Mico Green, Balkan Blue
    • Available in Men’s and Women’s sizes, XS to XXL