Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid
- Supreme breathability
- Extremely compressible
- Low water resistance
- Low wind resistance
- Limited to highly aerobic pursuits in colder climates
The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid provides just enough insulation and wind resistance to keep adventurers comfortable when highly active. The jacket’s extreme breathability and light insulation performs admirably for highly aerobic pursuits near freezing and moderately active sports in mild seasons.
This is the Patagonia Nano-Air Hybrid jacket’s calling: venting off heat and body vapor during activity. The shell fabrics and “FullRange” polyester insulation in the front panel are extremely air and vapor permeable, especially while in forward motion. The back, sides and back of the arms are comprised of a waffle knit polyester that does a stellar job of wicking moisture from the skin or base layers, dispersing it and shedding excess heat due to its airy construction (light is visible through this fabric). The claimed air permeability of the waffle knit is 130CFM and 40CFM in the front.
Although everything in the jacket remains intact after rigorous testing, the shell fabric on the front panel shows signs of abrasion where pack straps create friction. The Patagonia Nano-Air Hybrid jacket uses super light, porous and compressible fabrics so a certain level of care must be taken to ensure longevity.
The functional constraints of available textiles force designers to choose a position on the weatherproof vs. breathable scale, and the Patagonia Nano-Air Hybrid jacket purposely lies on the far end of breathable. This jacket provides just enough warmth and wind protection for mild winter conditions during highly active pursuits like trail running, and in slightly warmer conditions is better suited for moderately active endeavors like rock climbing. The front panel’s shell is DWR treated but the porous nature of the material limits water and wind resistance to minimal levels. This garment is constructed to work best at high levels of physical activity in milder conditions, so the lack of a hood didn’t affect scoring.
The Patagonia Nano-Air Hybrid is trim and close fitting, but all fabrics and insulation have mechanical stretch, allowing this jacket to unobtrusively move with the body no matter how aggressive the activity. The inside surfaces of the jacket are soft and comfortable against bare skin or light base layers and the lower hem and wrists are bound with elastic.
This Patagonia Nano-Air Hybrid jacket is the most compressible garment in this test, easily hiding in the smallest crannies of your pack, making it a good “just in case” active insulating piece for highly aerobic adventures.
The Patagonia Nano-Air Hybrid jacket has two zipped and low profile handwarmer pockets and the wrists have thumb slots to provide some hand coverage. The wrist binding, close fit and fabric elasticity allow the sleeves to be pushed to the upper forearm when necessary. All zippers are minimalist, keeping comfort high when layering and the top of the main zipper has a soft zipper garage, protecting the chin and lips when the jacket is fully closed.
How We Tested It
The jackets in this test were used over a three-month period in Central Texas winter/spring conditions while guiding, hiking, rock climbing and mountaineering in Central Mexico. This tester is 6 feet tall, has a 32” waist and weighs 167 lbs.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Best Softshells of 2017, Best Synthetic Sweaters of 2017, along with our insulated jacket tests, softshell jacket tests, and other related hiking and camping gear tests.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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