The Gear Junkie: The Patagonia ‘new’ Micro Puff Hoody

Gearing up for the winter ahead? A stalwart Patagonia puffy gets an upgrade this season with “strands” of synthetic insulation for warmth inside.

The company calls it the “lightest, most-packable” insulated jacket it has ever made. Available this month, the Micro Puff Hoody gives direct competition to mid-weight goose down.

A new insulation type for Patagonia, PlumaFill is at a glance like much of the competition. Meaning the fluffy stuff inside is a white, feather-like matrix designed to trap heat.

PlumaFill replicates the structure and function of down. But it comes in strands, not loose fibers. This allows for less stitching on the jacket and does not require traditional baffles to hold the insulation in place.

Pull on the Micro Puff Hoody ($299) and you indeed feel immediate warmth. The insulation is made of polyester and its ultra-fine filaments trap body heat.

Beyond the faux-feathers, the jacket is a basic build. A main zipper, two hand pockets, and two interior pockets — plus a head-hugging hood — are the main features on the utilitarian piece.

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There are no Velcro cuffs nor a drawstring at the waist. The hood does not adjust, but instead it fits tight and moves comfortably as you turn to look left and right.

For the face fabric, Patagonia goes with a light nylon rip-stop called Pertex Quantum GL. The material is a longtime favorite of mine, with a shiny exterior and thin, durable weave.

It blocks wind and has a DWR (durable water repellent) finish to keep light precipitation at bay. However, this is not a shell jacket; use it as a mid-layer with a hard-shell on top if bad weather is in the forecast.

Like a down jacket, the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody packs up small. Designers used fewer, yet larger, pattern pieces when constructing the coat.

The end product is a patent-pending design that achieves larger lofted areas and cuts the overall weight of the jacket. It is small and light for its…

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