Best for warmth and wind- shedding on-the-go
At a glance
Plusses: Very comfortable, stretch fit, stylish
318g (m), 269g (w)
Features: This is a partially windproof, highly breathable, insulated shell designed for active use. A high stretch polyester shell and lining encase Patagonia’s FullRange synthetic insulation, which is throughout the garment, including the hood. There are two handwarmer pockets and a generous chest pocket into which the jacket can be stuffed. A carabiner loop lets you clip it to a harness. Both fabric and lining are partly recycled. It’s super light and packs up small.
Fit: It’s a stylish jacket designed to be close-fitting. I’m a small in most brands and a small in this fitted me perfectly, with just enough room for a thick mid-layer underneath. The sleeves are cut close with a stretchy cuff, but are not restrictive, being long and loose. The stretchy hood is snug-fitting and can be removed without undoing the zip.
Comfort: In a nutshell, this jacket is so comfortable that once it’s on you won’t want to take it off. Thanks to a combination of stretch fabrics, non-restrictive cut and a very soft micro-textured inner face and a cosy, but not bulky, insulation, it begs to be worn all day. It’s your own portable microclimate.
In use: After using the Nano-Air for about a month it’s become a go-to jacket, even during a Christchurch winter when you might expect to want something thicker. On a trip over the Paparoa Track in June, I took the Nano-Air and a down jacket but the Nano did the job so well that I never pulled the downie out of my pack. I’ve worn it over a base layer as an extra warm and windproof mid-layer, and also over a fleece mid-layer like you would a down jacket. I’d wear it walking to the crag and inbetween climbs, for day and overnight tramps outside of winter and on day rides or touring when I want a warm jacket during breaks or in cold wind. But don’t expect it to be as wind resistant as a hard shell, or a dedicated windproof, because it is built to breathe.
Value: At $499 the Nano-Air is expensive, but it is high-end and relatively unique with versatility and comfort that few other garments can match.
Verdict: This jacket’s optimal niche is probably when worn over a base layer as a windproof and highly breathable mid-layer; it’s warm enough to stave off the cold, and a chilling breeze, but not so much that you overheat. Doubled with a fleece jacket you’ll have a very warm combo, but for the coldest weather, or non-active use, a warmer jacket would be called for.