Tested and reviewed by Trek Scotland over three seasons [April to November] in the Scottish Highlands.
The Micro Puff Hoody, in line with Patagonia’s ethical practices, is a Fair Trade sewn item using Bluesign Approved fabrics. The shell is made from nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and is filled with a PlumaFill synthetic down alternative.
Notably light at just 227 grams, when first inspecting the jacket we weren’t entirely convinced by its promised “down-like” warmth. It felt thin and certainly not like something that would offer any significant protection from the cold. However, having seen the benefits of synthetic down in other products, we were optimistic. The PlumaFill makes this the best warmth-to-weight jacket Patagonia have produced with the added benefit of being “warm when wet”, something that eludes traditional goose down but is no-doubt beneficial when operating in Scottish conditions. However, it is noticeable straight away that there are down-like qualities to this product. It is highly compressible meaning it can be packed away within its own pocket to an impressive size – useful when you’re having to carry everything you need for a couple of days on your back and space-saving is a must. It is also soft to the touch. If it wasn’t for the weight you could be fooled into thinking it was filled with traditional down.
The structure of the hoody allows the PlumaFill to really show its full potential. The unique patented construction of a “discontinuous quilting” means that over time there is no clumping of the filling and the jacket remains able to loft (and subsequently warm). Paired with the ultralight nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum shell, lofting is maximised, and the Micro Puff is born.
In practice, this is a great jacket. It lives up to its potential and we found it to be warm enough for three-season mountaineering combined with our usual layering system. Its weight and compressible size also meant that it could be added to a winter kit for that extra layer if needed. There were no noticeable cold spots and the design certainly lent itself to good lofting. Caught out once in a downpour, the Micro Puff initially held off the water but did eventually soak, as expected. However, drying was reasonably quick and warmth was never affected.
The style of the jacket is simple. There are no cords to pull, just elasticated cuffs, hem and hood meaning warmth is locked in without needing to make adjustments. Two simple pockets on the outside and two drop pockets on the inside mean the structure of the quilting isn’t interrupted unnecessarily and the jacket can loft to its full potential. The outer pockets aren’t particularly compatible with a rucksack waistband, so whatever you need to store in there, ensure it’s something you don’t need regularly or something that might dig in with a tight buckle over the top. A feature that is missing, that could be beneficial and shouldn’t compromise warmth, is a small internal chest pocket. This is a feature we’ve enjoyed on other jackets for storing small items with easy access. But this isn’t a huge gripe. The colour choices are refreshing for women’s clothing. Usually purples and pinks feature heavily but finally there are some darker colours available as well as the brighter “Mako Blue” which is what we received.
The materials and design used with Patagonia’s Micro Puff Hoody make this an incredibly light and warm piece of kit. There are no bells and whistles, but the focus is securely on making this a jacket that will always be either on you or in your rucksack. Its light weight and simplicity also make it a jacket that you can operate freely and comfortably in, so skiers or climbers would benefit equally from the Mirco Puff’s ingenuity. Couple this with Patagonia’s astounding ethical reputation, and you can’t go far wrong investing in this piece of kit that is designed to last, be repaired easily, and finally at the end of its life, find a use as something else.
Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...