Friday, February 25, 2011

Pre-quick-mini review: Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover

Mr. Photogenic. Pic by Maddie.
After declaring the Micro Puff Vest my best favorite clothing purchase of 2010, I asked the Patagonians to send me a Nano Puff Pullover to review. And they did. I asked for a Large and I requested that it be not-black. I'm done with black clothing. Non-black is the new black. You heard it here first.

So when I opened the package and saw this extremely turquoisey blue, I was a bit shocked. But as a wise woman once informed me: it's not the jacket that makes the man. It's the man that makes the jacket! So I wore it out proudly and without apology.

And by gum, things are looking up.

Seriously. Ok. So I'm probably not subjective since I didn't pay for it. But after a measly 2 weeks of wearing this jacket, I'm amazed. There's the color thing, which is basically just that it's visible from a cycling perspective. But the color thing goes farther. I swear to god I get more smiles from unknowns -- men, women, childers, even dogs -- wearing this super blue jacket, than I ever get wearing anything else. It's both a conversation starter and stopper. Not many blues do that.

Action shot. Photo by John.
But warmth wise, I'm completely and utterly confused. This scrawny-ass, super light, super packable, insignificant pile of recycled plastic is warm. Dare I say it's nearly as warm as a full-on 600ish down jacket? Not sure I dare quite yet on that front. But it might be.

I've been tooling around all week in temperatures that have peaked at about 15F. That's cold by any normal non-Arctic standard. I've shoveled, walked, and cycled aplenty. The most I've had under this wispy little pullover is a long-sleeve medium-weight wool shirt and a thin wool vest. But usually, I've been wearing one ultra-thin weight LS wool + a basic thin wool SS tshirt under it. That's it.

I've been plenty warm. The test is my morning commute, which is 4 miles of downhill coasting into frigid zero degree icy air. The pullover blocks the wind and keeps me warm. How? I'm pretty sure it's magic.

Of course, I have criticisms, because that's how I roll.
1. For serious cardio workouts: forget it. This guy will kill you. I spent an hour or so hammering on the single speed today at about 10 F. Once I start climbing and hammering, I start sweating and this thing gets clammy. I can't imagine trying to XC ski in it. But that's not why I wanted this pullover. I wanted it for tooling around town on the bike and as my main camping pullover: so I can bring a smaller sleeping bag and so I have a for-sure warm solution for the post-ride camp hang.

2. A great little bikey addition would be a rear zipped pocket, with body-facing mesh. With a little design work and ingenuity, this pocket could be used as a pocket, or a vent.

I've got some more hammering to do on this pullover. I need to do a camping season with it. I need to wear it in a down pour. And I need to see how it holds up to a year or so of beating.

And the GoLite folks just sent me their bad-arse 800 fill down anorak. So look forward to a tete`-a-tete showdown between the GoLite anorak and the Patagonia pullover in a future review.

The pullover packs down small into the chest pocket.
But at this early stage of the game, I am seriously impressed with the Patagonia Nano and I can't shut up about it. I'm curious what's next for them though? First it was "micro," then "nano," now what? What's the 11 of small?

Well, turns it out it's pico. The Patagonaia Pico Puff Pullover. I'll definately want a purple one of those. To pick peppers in.


Ken Paulman said...

I got one of these last Christmas (dark blue), and it's what I wear on the daily commute. Coldest ride so far has been -15 degrees, I wore the Patagonia with a lightweight fleece sweater underneath, and stayed plenty warm, even barreling downhill (thought I was going to lose a few fingers by the time I got downtown, but that's hardly the jacket's fault).

But coming back uphill, if it's warmer than 20 degrees, I'll break into a sweat by the time I get home.

It does stay warm when wet, but it takes on a lot of water and tends to stay wet. Snow is fine, but I'd wouldn't want to wear it in a downpour.

For biking, it's great as an outer shell for when it's 15-20 degrees or colder. That makes it a godsend for Minnesota, but in Spokane, you probably won't be wearing it much once the weather gets back to normal.

John Speare said...

Agreed. Soon it will be too warm for this jacket for general riding.

But it will be ideal for overnighters and a stuffable jacket for insurance and long, cold descents.

Anonymous said...

Found this on the web in response to your question about what's next for Patagonia's jacket models.

One nanometer (nm) is equal to one billionth of a meter, or 0.000000001m.

A picometer (pm) is one trillionth (millionth of a millionth) of a meter, or 0.000000000001m.

A femtometer (fm) is one quadrillionth (millionth of a billionth) of a meter, or 0.000000000000001m.

And so on and so forth, dividing by one thousand each time:

Attometer (am) = quintillionth of a meter
Zeptometer (zm) = sextillionth of a meter
Yoctometer (ym) = septillionth of a meter

Eventually, there's the Planck length, widely considered to be the smallest mesure of distance, equal to about 1.6 x 10-35m.

Anonymous said...

Incredible! More white guys getting free warm clothing while helping everyone else buy it.

This is not meant to be a response noted in jest or jeer, just one wondering what the point of an unsolicited review is if not for marketing purposes. Does titillating those who sit uncomfortably in their desk chairs at work reading blogs for the proliferation of their cycling daydreams while reveling in their mutual inadequacy with conditioning explanations of top-of-the-shelf products espouse the essence of cycling in Spokane, or Manhattan?

Sorry to complain, I just prefer your stories of adventure to anything that resembles an advertisement.

John Speare said...

Anon - thanks for the feedback. Maybe I should've titled it a "gushfest" instead of a "review?"
If you've read this blog long enough, two things should be pretty clear: I'm an unapologetic wanker gear head, and I'm prone to gushing about stuff I like: bikes, tires, components, gear, clothing, etc.
I've always been white too.
If the adventure posts drive you here, then consider the gushfests a blog tax.

Vik said...

I need the Patagonia gear review hook up....hahaha....=-)

Unknown said...

It must be hard to ride a bike with so much snow. I am from Bariloche, now I have some apartment for rent buenos aires and I remember my childhood... It was a very snowy one. Yep, it was a nice place to go on vacations, but during winter, to live there in Bariloche, it was hard if you didn't have a car.