Long Term Review: Patagonia Nano Air Light Hybrid Hoody

From the moment I put on Patagonia’s excessively long-named (but descriptive) Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody, I knew it was going to be one of my all-time favourite pieces. Over the past few years of their existence, I’ve tried every iteration of the Nano-Air insulated jackets but none of them ever really ‘clicked’: they were too warm, or not windproof enough, or too bulky, or just didn’t fit right. This thing, though, wow — I received it a few days before a two-week road trip, and save for a few moments when the California sun was just too strong, I (almost) literally wore it for two weeks straight (that includes sleeping in it on cooler nights high up in the mountains). I am so stoked that Fall is finally here and the temps are cool enough that I can wear the NALHH all the time, again.

Cooler weather in the mountains of California — I practically lived in the NALHH during the entire two-week trip.

The NALHH uses Patagonia’s proprietary FullRange insulation, a stretchy, extremely breathable synthetic, in a super light 40 g/m weight. This insulation is combined with a wicking knit fabric to create a zoned and very functional jacket. The front, shoulders, outside of the sleeves and hood are all insulated, while the side-panels and whole back are made of stretchy knit. It’s an amazing combination: warm, fairly windproof, exceptionally breathable.

The inside is soft next-to-skin and I typically wear it over just a lightweight t-shirt. Thanks to the loose, wicking, waffle knit on the back, the NALHH breathes very well when wearing a pack and dries rapidly — I can’t ever recall a time when I was uncomfortable or clammy even during strenuous uphill walking.

Though I am not generally a fan of small under-helmet hoods, this one is incredibly comfortable: so much so that I will pull it on instead of putting on a toque (and I love my toques!). Though it doesn’t have any adjustments it fits well and doesn’t obscure vision or impede head movement. It does not as mentioned, fit over a helmet, and, for my level of body heat generation anyway, is much too warm to wear underneath one. I suspect, however, that it would not fit as well over a bare head if it were made bigger, even if it did have some adjusters. A bit of a compromise but one I am willing to make given how amazingly well it performs on approaches.

Fit is simply superb. Nay — it’s perfect. The hem is comfortably long, the sleeves are just the right length, the shoulders are roomy and the waist isn’t too loose without being overly body-hugging. The stretchy fabrics accentuate this as the NALHH moves effortlessly with you without binding, readily sliding under other layers.

There are two hand pockets with tiny, snag-free zippers, and low-profile thumb loops built into the sleeves. This is quite likely the best implementation of thumb loops I’ve ever seen, remaining practically invisible until you want to use them.

Being such a versatile piece the NALHH will always find room in my pack, but it helps that it weighs only 312 grams (in a Men’s Medium). Retailing for $299 CAD, this is an item that everyone should own — and if not the Hoody, then the Jacket version which has the same functionality, just without the hood, and retails for a bit less, at $239. Or even better, both, as this is such a good piece I want to wear it everywhere, all the time. I cannot recommend Nano-Air Light Hybrid enough: I absolutely love it.

Pros: extremely breathable, superb fit, stretchy, great (under helmet) hood, excellent thumb loops
Cons: I only have one of these
Overall: I’ve been wearing Patagonia’s Piton Hybrid Hoody for years — I actually have two of those — and have finally found a replacement that is even more versatile, with an even better fit and absolutely outstanding performance.

Perfect for a windy lunch stop along the California coast.

Photos by Veronica

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