by Alan Dixon | 2004-11-17 03:00:00-07
High in Yellowstone's backcountry, warming up in the Micro Puff on a ski break.
At 11.0 ounces (312 g), Patagonia gets back to the roots of the original Puffball - maximum warmth with minimal weight and bulk. Since its introduction, ultralighters have watched their beloved Puffball increase in weight with heavier materials and construction. Patagonia reverses this trend and then some. The new Micro Puff Pullover weights only an ounce more than the old Puffball Vest! The shell fabric drops from 2.3 to 1.0 oz/yd2 and the insulation goes from the economical 4.2 oz/yd2 Thermolite Micro to a premium performance 2.6 oz/yd2 Polarguard Delta. For those who want more warmth, ventilation and pockets, Patagonia has recently added a fully zippered, hooded jacket to the Micro Puff lineup. The jacket weighs 16.5 oz (468 g).
• Garment Style
|Non-hooded pullover with half-length, 14 in (35 cm), zipper|
• Fabric Description
|External fabric: 1.0 oz/yd2 (24 g/m2) 15 x 20 microdenier ripstop polyester with Deluge DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Lining fabric: 1.0 oz/yd2 microdenier ripstop polyester; DWR finish|
• Insulation Description
|2.6 oz/yd2 (88 g/m2) Polarguard Delta|
• Other Features
|Single external chest pocket 8 in (20 cm) zipper, single cordlock elastic drawcord hem, 3 in (7.6 cm) high collar.|
|11.0 oz (312 g) as measured men's medium. (manufacturer's specification: 12.5 oz (354 g))|
|0.53 in (1.35 cm)|
• Model Year
|$145.00 Manufacturer's suggested retail price.|
Using the Micro Puff to dry out damp clothing from a long day's ski in wet snow.
For its weight and loft the new Micro Puff is one of the warmest synthetic garments on the market. I'm glad to see Polarguard Delta used in a lightweight garment. In my opinion Polarguard Delta is the highest performing synthetic insulation for both wet and dry conditions! See more on this in the review summary.
I did my primary testing of the Micro Puff on a five-day ski trip in Yellowstone's high altitude backcountry. Daytime temperatures were below freezing and nighttime temperatures dropped to around 10 °F a few nights. The Micro Puff kept me warm at cold and windy rest stops. It was ideal for putting on at the end of the day and drying out sweat and snow soaked clothing. I usually retired for a 30 to 45 minute rest in my tent by which time my wet clothing was dry - a testament to the warmth and breathability of the pullover. I also wore the Micro Puff to bed to boost the warmth of an underrated top bag (no down on the bottom). I stayed warm well below the rated temperature of the sleeping bag.
I used the Micro Puff in a whole day of wet snow. I never got wet nor did the pullover absorb undue amounts of moisture. It took less than an hour to completely dry the pullover out once we reached camp for the night. The microfiber shell and DWR finish did a good job of shedding precipitation, although it did wet out over time. Even wetted out, the tight weave of the microdenier shell prevented/slowed moisture entry to reasonable levels, which certainly contributed to its low moisture absorption and fast drying time. The microdenier shell is very windproof.
The Micro Puff is a minimalist pullover. It has no hood, a half-length zipper, one pocket, and half-elastic cuffs. Its design goal is maximum warmth for minimum weight. If you're looking for a fully zippered jacket with a hood and lots of pockets, this isn't it. Even so, I liked its single large zippered chest pocket. It holds a surprising amount of stuff. I used it to store my none-too-small digital camera and sometimes my GPS unit as well. It's easily accessed and located away from shoulder straps and hipbelts. The very light shell fabric on the pullover has proved quite durable over the past six moths of use.
At $145 for an 11.0 ounce pullover with over half an inch of loft the Micro Puff is a surprisingly good deal. Most other manufacturer's jackets in this range are heavier or not as warm for a similar price.
My main gripe with the Micro Puff is that its cuff openings are a bit tight. I had some difficulty pulling the cuff over my Suunto Vector wrist computer. Since this is an on-and-off-at-rest-stops garment, I struggled with this many times during the day. The zipper pull for the front pocket is small, slippery and hard to use with gloves. I suggest Patagonia use the same pull as on the chest zipper. I never used the drawcord hem adjustment and would have been just as happy with a sewn-in elastic hem to save a bit of weight.
"Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover REVIEW," by Alan Dixon. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/patagonia_micro_puff_pullover_review.html, 2004-11-17 03:00:00-07.