Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Patagonia Micro Puff Vest

I'm pretty sure this vest is my favorite clothing purchase this year. The goal with this vest was to find a super light and packable vest for overnighters. It's nice to have an always-warm happy upper body solution to put on after a long ride. This is especially true when cycling in the mountains or at the edges of the seasons where night-time temps can get under 40 F. So having a compact piece of warmth to put on for hanging out around the camp and for summer-sleeping-bag-supplement is a great thing.

Originally, I was keeping my eye out for the Patagonia down vest. But then I saw the Micro Puff on ebay for $40. Micro Puff is not marketed as synthetic down, but that's how I think of it. It looks and acts like down. I've always been wary of synthetic down just because the real stuff is so magical. I didn't want to deal with the inevitable let down (pa dum pum) of the fake stuff.

Anyway, at $40, I took the bet and I've been surprised at how wonderful this little vest is. I wear it all the time on the bike and off. It's amazingly warm for how small it is. It does ok in light rain too. For super cold (single digits and below) riding, I go: two micro wool long sleeve shirts, this vest, then a hooded shell. Works like a charm.

It wads nicely

If I continue to use this vest like I have been, I may just swear by it. Time will tell.

I can't believe how often I grab this vest. For any longish ride where I wonder if I might possibily potentially be in cold situation, this vest is in my bag. Look at how tiny it balls up?

Durability wise, I've had it for about 6 months -- no rip yet. Pretty good for me. But I've not crashed in it yet.

Hanging out at CDA Nat'l Forest in my comfy vest after an all day ride.
Explaining something really important after drinking a TenFidy.
Photo by Alex Wetmore

Looking at the Patagonia's site, it looks like the latest version of this vest is baffled on the outside, but otherwise, looks the same. It's also $130. But for some reason, you see these pop up on Ebay where you don't see the down versions.

This whole synthetic down thing really opens my mind to trying a different sleeping bag too. I love my 30F down bag, but I have gotten stuck with some wet clumpy situations a couple times.

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