While they are similar jackets in that they are both mid-layer, lightweight, and designed to keep you warm, there are some key differences between these two jackets.
In this article, we are going to compare the Patagonia Nano Puff and the Patagonia Down Sweater across a range of factors to help you decide which is the best one for you.
Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater: Warmth
To get straight to the point – in dry conditions, the Patagonia Down Sweater can keep you warmer at lower temperatures than the nano puff.
Down is so good at retaining heat as it traps air in the spaces between the down material and then heats it naturally. This then provides a layer of warm air between you and the conditions outside.
Although the Patagonia Down Sweater will keep you warmer at lower temperatures in dry conditions, the Nano Puff jacket is still more than capable of keeping you warm and comfortable when you’re out in the cold.
If you are going to be more active outside e.g. a challenging hike, then the Nano Puff could be a better choice as the Down Sweater could be too warm for high-intensity activities.
When spending time outdoors, the weather can change quickly. Although we have already spoken about the Patagonia Down Sweater being the warmer option of the two in dry weather- this does change fairly significantly if the conditions become wet.
Down jackets do not perform well once they get wet. They take longer to dry, and any air the down material trapped soon disappears, along with any warmth it was retaining.
The Patagonia Down Sweater has been coated with a DWR (durable water repellent), which helps to bead water as it hits the jacket resulting in water running off the down sweater rather than soaking through.
The problem with this is that it is only a coating and it will get worn away. In heavier downpours, the DWR will be overwhelmed and water will start soaking your jacket.
Once this happens, the 800 fill power down loses a lot of its warmth and you will be cold.
The Patagonia Nano Puff holds up much better in wetter conditions. As it uses synthetic insulation, it does not have the problem of losing its heat retaining properties once wet as the Down Sweater does.
The Nano Puff jacket is also coated with a DWR and has Primaloft Gold insulation. This means it is water-resistant and can keep you warm, even in wet and cold weather.
Both jackets are windproof and are similar in their ability to keep you warm in more blustery conditions.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jackets
They can both withstand carrying a backpack, the odd scrape and bump, and they both put up with expected general use of an outdoor jacket pretty well.
The Down Sweater is made from 100% recycled polyester ripstop. This is a very durable material that is used for paragliding canopies and stunt kites, so you know it can handle a bit of a beating.
The Nano Puff jacket is made from 100% recycled polyester. Polyester is a commonly used material for outdoor clothing as it can withstand the rigors of outdoor life without too many issues.
Of the two, the Nano Puff is slightly more durable, mainly due to the synthetic insulation holding up better when the conditions change from dry to wet. That being said, both are on pretty even ground in dry, calm conditions.
Both of these jackets are pretty stylish. They look good and will definitely not make you look out of place in many outdoor environments.
Style may not be a top priority for some outdoor folk, they may put practicality and functionality above the desire to look stylish.
When it comes to how each jacket fits, the Patagonia Nano Puff fits more snugly than the down sweater. This is because the down insulation in the sweater is bulkier than the Nano Puff’s synthetic insulation.
The bulkier insulation does give a slightly more ‘boxy’ look to the jacket. If you are concerned with how your body shape appears, the Down Sweater might be too bulky for you.
If you simply judge the style of the jackets on looks alone, then the down sweater will probably come out as the winner. Obviously, this is dependent on your personal style preferences but the nano puff has a more creased appearance than the down sweater.
Both of these jackets compress down into small packs (more on that to come). This is likely to be why the Nano Puff looks more creased than the down sweater. The down insulation can hold its shape better when compressed so it looks more natural when unpacked. The synthetic insulation in the Nano Puff jacket tends to struggle a bit more to return to its desired shape after being packed away.
Both, the Nano Puff jacket and the Down Sweater, have a relatively loose fit. As mentioned earlier, the Nano Puff does fit a bit tighter than the down sweater but it is still loose enough to be comfortable and it doesn’t impact your mobility in any way.
We have to say again though, both the Patagonia Nano Puff and the Patagonia Down Sweater are very good-looking jackets.
Patagonia Down Sweater
One of the best things about the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket and the Patagonia Down Sweater is that they pack down into small packs. The packs are contained within a pocket on the jacket so each one effectively packs into itself rather than into a separate pack.
When packed away, both jackets are compact. The Nano Puff does pack away to a smaller compressed size though (although there isn’t a huge difference). This is because of the added bulk the down insulation adds to the down sweater.
When packed away, the Nano Puff also has a carry loop which lets you attach it to the outside of a backpack if you don’t have space inside.
Carrying an extra layer or jacket can take up quite a bit of space in your kit bag so the fact that these jackets pack away so small is a great bonus and definitely adds an extra layer of practicality and convenience to both of them.
Final thoughts on Patagonia Nano Puff vs Down Sweater
Both can retain a lot of body heat and keep you warm, both can keep the wind at bay, both pack down very small, and both look pretty cool.
The Nano Puff makes a great choice of a go-to, lightweight, outdoor jacket. It can withstand wetter conditions better than the Down Sweater and it packs up a bit smaller too.
As it is less bulky than the down sweater, it can be worn as a mid-layer very comfortably, but it can also be worn as a base layer in colder conditions.
If you are very active outdoors then the Nano Puff jacket is a good choice as it is breathable and won’t retain as much body heat as the down sweater will.
The Patagonia Down Sweater is a good choice if you are heading out into colder temperatures. Providing the conditions stay dry, the down sweater will keep you very warm and very comfortable.
It may be slightly heavier than the Nano Puff and it may pack down to a slightly bigger size, but if your priority is warmth, you can’t really go wrong with the down sweater.
If you live in a dry, cold climate and want a lightweight jacket to keep you warm, that looks good and is easy to carry in your kit bag, the Patagonia Down Sweater fits the bill very well.
The fact that they are so similarly priced means you can make a decision based on your preferences and needs rather than having to make a financial-based decision.