Patagonia DAS Light REVIEW and Micro Puff Comparison

Patagonia introduced the Micro Puff a few years ago (after years of development), but the initial version wasn’t much of a climbers’ jacket. While the insulation — Patagonia’s own PlumaFill — is phenomenal, and one of the best synthetic insulations on the market, the design was, and continues to be, more city-friendly than alpine-focused. Fit through the body is trim (insofar as wearing a harness goes), the hood won’t fit over a helmet, and the overall length of the jacket just doesn’t, ahem, cut it, in the mountains. All that said, I have, love, and continually use a Micro Puff Hoody on pretty much every camping trip, around every campfire, and on those very cold days when working outside. It’s a superb jacket; I just can’t recall a time I have ever used it climbing.

Love the two drop pockets, but not stoked on the overall fit and small hood…

A year or so after the Micro Puff came out, Patagonia released the Micro Puff Storm, a much roomier, more featured, longer-cut jacket encased in their proprietary H2No waterproof-breathable fabric. It’s an excellent kinda-lightweight belay jacket, but it veered in the opposite direction of the Micro Puff: heavier, bulkier, more expensive. (And, as of this writing, currently unavailable while Patagonia attempts to source environmentally-conscious recycled fabrics for its construction. Mine is a couple years old.)

Two inside drop pockets, a two-way zip, long hem, helmet hood – love it!

Now, finally, three years or so after the initial Micro Puff launch, we have a version of the Micro Puff that’s actually built for climbers: the DAS Light Hoody. Like the other Micro Puffs, it uses 65g PlumaFill insulation but, compared to the original Micro Puff Hoody, it has a roomier cut, helmet-compatible hood, two-way zipper — and is barely any heavier! The outer fabric is lightweight and mostly weather-resistant Pertex Quantum Pro, but for some reason while the DAS Light retains the Micro Puff’s two hand pockets, it loses the two interior drop pockets — a strange omission in an otherwise great design.

Why no inside pockets on the DAS Light, Patagonia?!

Here’s a handy comparison table of the three jackets:

Micro Puff HoodyDAS LightMicro Puff Storm
Insulation65g PlumaFill65g PlumaFill65g PlumaFill
Outer FabricPertex Quantum GLPertex Quantum ProH2No
Outer Denier0.7oz 10d0.8oz 10d1.7oz 12d
Weight (stated)264 g320 g615 g
Weight (actual)252 g326 g622 g
Price CAD375409650
Price USD299329499
Pockets OUTtwo handtwo handtwo hand
Pockets INtwo dropnonetwo drop
Pockets CHESTnoneone leftnone
Main zipone-waytwo-waytwo-way
Hem drawcordnonoyes

Furthermore, here’s a visual comparison of the different cuts and fits. All the jackets are Men’s Mediums, and all are worn over just the base layer shown above. For reference, I’m around 180cm/5’11” and 74kg/163lbs. My shoulder circumference is around 115cm/45in, with a chest circumference of 104cm/41in, and a waist that hovers around 81cm/32in. Click and drag on the jacket images to rotate, click again to zoom in.

Micro Puff Hoody

DAS Light

Micro Puff Storm

After that the design and general fit characteristics should be clear, so here’s how it all plays out for me using the three back-to-back:

The Micro Puff is great insulation for those days when I’m not wearing a helmet. For me, that’s chilly summer days camping in the mountains, fall days around the campfire, or as a mid-layer when working outside in very cold winter weather. I love the quick-to-warm insulation, the fact that I can cram it into whatever crevice I can find and it still lofts up every time, that it’s synthetic so I’m not worried about getting it wet (or dirty, which then requires washing), and by virtue of the hood, that it has a relatively high collar for those really cold morning. I very rarely wear the hood: I prefer a good toque over the constrictions of even the best under-helmet hoods, and my usage of the Micro Puff hardly ever requires the hood. Honestly, I wish I’d gotten the hoodless Jacket version. Sometimes I think I could forgive the Micro Puff its small hood, but then I remember it doesn’t have a double-slider zipper. One fault I could look over, but two and I start looking at other jackets.

The Micro Puff Storm is a massive step up, both in terms of coverage and warmth. Probably due to the H2No shell, it is noticeably warmer than the Micro Puff in the same conditions and is, obviously, unbeatable when it comes to winter use. My favourite feature of the Storm is the ‘snow-skirt’ drawstring at the hem: it cinches down under my butt and keeps random updrafts from stealing away all my precious warm air. It’s hard to explain but it’s an exceptional feature that I want Patagonia to incorporate in all their insulated jackets (the new DAS Parka has this as well). Additionally, the Storm has a huge helmet-swallowing hood, two large inside drop pockets, two giant hand pockets (that also double as venting zips thanks to their mesh backing), and, of course, that wind- and water-proof outer shell keeping everything sealed against the elements. Oh, and did I mention it has a dual-slider zipper? The Storm is near perfect, I tell you: it feels like a lighter-insulated version of the absolutely superb Arc’teryx Dually.

And then there is the DAS Light. It’s barely 60-grams heavier than the Micro Puff and practically half the weight of the Storm but it feels much closer to the Storm in terms of performance. Compared to the Micro Puff, the fit is much roomier, with a longer cut, looser sleeves, helmet-friendly hood and a dual-slider zipper. Perfect! Well, almost: as mentioned above, for some bizarre reason (I have emailed them about this, I have received answers, I still don’t understand), Patagonia decided to ditch the two interior drop pockets on the DAS Light (now how am I supposed to keep my beer from freezing while on belay?!). However, the dual-slider zipper and large hood are so useful to me to keep me warm that I can forgive the lack of interior pockets. After three years of wondering just what Patagonia’s designers were doing with the PlumaFill insulation we finally have an answer and it’s a good one. Not perfect, mind you — it just needs two inside drop pockets and a snap at the hem, oh, and maybe a hem drawcord — but oh-so-damn-close that I can live with it.

Coming up next (ok, soon-ish): comparing the DAS Light to the Arc’teryx Nuclei FL. Also, adding inside pockets and a hem snap to the DAS Light (anyone have a sewing machine I can borrow?)

As always, huge thanks to Patagonia for sending me all these jackets over the years so I can test and review them, and bring you these random ramblings.

15 thoughts on “Patagonia DAS Light REVIEW and Micro Puff Comparison

  1. Steve T says:

    Hi, Thouroughly enjoyed your review. I bought the Micro Puff, regrettably. I knew it the minute I received it – got it in the mail. In fact I still have the tags on it. Anyway the Micro Puff Storm was what I really wanted. Now I find out the M P Storm is discontinued! Isn’t it unusual to review a discontinued item – unless my info is wrong. Thanks!

    • Raf says:

      It is, but I’m not your usual reviewer. If you can, return the Micro Puff and get the DAS Light. Or, wait for the next version of the Micro Puff Storm (I am presuming Winter 2021 at the earliest).

  2. Andrew says:

    Awesome! I just ordered the Das light. It seems like it’d be perfect as an ultralight belay parka for shoulder season. Do you think it’d be warm enough for temperatures in the 20s F with a warm base layer and nano air light hoody from the high alpine kit?

    • Raf says:

      Definitely! I had mine over just a base layer and light mid (Nano Air Hybrid) and it was perfectly warm at -5C or so (right around the 20s in Fahrenheit).

      • Andrew says:

        Awesome! Thanks for the reply! I just got mine in the chartreuse color and am really excited to try it out! It’s so light compared to my other synthetic belay puffy (the last iteration of the DAS parka, prior to this new one). It seems like it’ll be perfect for summer, fall, spring and milder winter days.

        I know that you’ve had the micro puff for a while. In your experience, how is the durability of the plumafill insulation? I used to have the arc’teryx atom lt with coreloft and I’ve found that coreloft (and synthetic insulation in general) tends to degrade fairly rapidly. I’m hoping that the down like structure of plumafill will lead to a greater lifespan!

        • Raf says:

          I haven’t had any issues with the PlumaFill, but I also make sure all my jackets hang fully lofted on coat hangers when not in use (aka stuffed into a backpack or worn).

  3. Jeroen says:

    Great review, looking forward to the comparison with the Nuclei FL, which is my favorite.

    • Raf says:

      Thanks! I think the DAS Light will take it for me… that dual-slider zipper is so useful, and the hem feels a bit longer than the Nuclei. Plus, extra inside pockets are easy to sew in, replacing a whole zipper is much harder… I’m curious to compare the two back-to-back over the coming weeks.

      • Matt says:

        DAS light is for sure longer than the Nuclei FL, but I actually sent it back.. did not fit as well for me as Nuclei FL (arms were too short actually – I’m 6’2″, 180 lbs swimmer build) and the lack of a drawcord along the hem was a killer also – too billowy around waist even with layers underneath…

        • Raf says:

          I can totally see that. I’m 5’11” but 25lbs or so lighter than you and I feel the arms are ‘just’ the right length — whereas they’re much longer on the Nuclei FL (which, on the other hand, as you say, has a shorter hem).

          As I keep saying over and over, there’s no such thing as a perfect piece of gear!

  4. EZ-D says:

    Does the chest pocket on the DAS light have a inside zipper pull so you stuff into the pocket, zip closed and clip to harness? This feature is way more important to me than inside glove (or beer) warmer pockets – which I also think should be required.

    Love your A-B-C etc reviews!

  5. matt zia says:

    Funny, a close friend and climbing partner asked me yesterday if I could make some modifications to his DAS Light, including a drawcord at the hem. I can take some photos of the mods and might do a pair of drop pockets too.

    • Raf says:

      Yeah, that’d be awesome! As soon as I get back home I’ll get the Nuclei and DAS Light comparison up, then start modifying my DAS Light!

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