If you’re looking for a lightweight Patagonia jacket, there are either down or synthetic insulation to choose from. Check out our Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff comparison to see the benefits of each type.

A lightweight insulated jacket is great for warmer winter temperatures or icy ones that require a bit of layering.

And Patagonia is one of the top brands when it comes to these types of jackets, offering both down and synthetic insulation in their models.

If you want a great jacket, but don’t know which insulation type is best, we’ve broken it down for you. Read on for our Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff jacket reviews.

Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff

Patagonia Nano Puff

Patagonia Down Sweater

Shell MaterialRecycled Polyester RipstopRecycled Polyester Ripstop
Insulation60g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco800-fill Traceable Down
Weight (Size Med)11.9 oz13.1 oz
Pockets2 zippered handwarmer pockets, zippered internal chest pocket2 zippered handwarmer pockets, zippered internal chest pocket
Water ResistantYesYes
Hem DrawcordYesYes
CuffsElasticNylon-bound Elastic
ZipperFull zipFull zip
HoodOptionalOptional
SizesXS, S, M, L, XL, XXLXS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Best ForTravel, Alpine Climbing, Backcountry Skiing, HikingTravel, Hiking, Climbing, Skiing/Snowboarding

Why Get a Lightweight Insulated Jacket?

The best lightweight insulated jackets have many benefits over a bulky parka.

They are light on your back without sacrificing warmth.

In fact, many of these jackets are warmer than heavier models, due to the insulation and waterproofing used to keep you toasty and dry.

These types of jackets are also easy to carry with you anywhere you go. This is because they are quite packable, many having pockets that double as a stuff sack.

And even if they don’t have this feature, you can roll them up small and put them in a backpack or suitcase if needed.

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How Will You Use Your Lightweight Insulated Jacket?

The beauty of a lightweight packable insulated jacket is that you can use them for almost anything.

They are light enough to wear for strenuous sports like hiking or skiing. But they are also warm enough for an evening by the fire when camping during the cooler months.

If you bought it as a lightweight hiking jacket, it can be packed small and stuffed in a backpack if the weather warms up. In fact, you can take this jacket anywhere you go, thanks to its packability.

Best of all, these jackets look great, so you can even use them for daily use while working around the house, running errands, or meeting a group of friends for dinner.

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Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff Comparison

Patagonia is a highly rated brand with a wide range of products to choose from and insulated jackets are no exception.

But if you want two of their best options, take a look at our Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff comparison reviews below.

Warmth & Insulation

There are two types of insulation, down and synthetic. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Down insulation is the warmest, yet is still breathable enough to reduce sweating inside the coat. Down retains its loft and shape, even if compressed. It is also lightweight and can be compressed to a small size.

But down loses some of its insulating power if it gets wet, plus it takes a while to dry. And you need to be very careful when cleaning it.

The best synthetic insulation is warm and quite water-resistant. If it does get wet, it won’t lose its warmth the way down will. And it dries fast.

Plus, synthetic fill is much cheaper to buy. But this type is a bit bulkier and heavier than down. It can be compressed, but not as small as a down garment can.

In our Nano Puff vs Down Sweater comparison, each one uses different insulation for a proper comparison.

The Down Sweater uses 800-fill Traceable Down, which means they ensure the down comes from birds that are not live-plucked or force-fed and treated humanely. This down is extremely warm, making it a great lightweight down jacket for any type of activity.

The Nano Puff uses synthetic insulation, namely 60g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco. This insulation uses 55% post-consumer recycled content, which means less waste for the company.

The insulation is also water-repellent, maintaining 98% of its warmth, even if you get wet in the rain or snow.

Weight

If you’re spending all day on the trail, or you don’t want a bulky jacket weighing you down. Lighter is always better, especially if it keeps you as warm as a heavier jacket would.

The Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket weighs only 13.1 oz, which is quite light. But its still very warm thanks to the 800-fill down insulation stuffed inside it.

Despite using the heavier synthetic insulation, The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket weighs a bit less at only 11.9 oz. But it still traps in the heat for an ultra-warm jacket.

Fit

When comparing the fit of a jacket, whether its the Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff models or any other jacket, there are a few things to consider.

One is the cut of the jacket. Some cuts are slimmer than others, so decide if you like a more form-fitting jacket or one that’s a bit wider for more room. You also want to think about whether you’ll be layering underneath your jacket.

The Down Sweater and the Nano Puff both have a regular fit. This means they aren’t too slim but aren’t too oversized either.

They are perfectly in between, making them great technical jackets that can be layered over lighter clothing without reducing your mobility.

Compressibility

If you’re taking your lightweight Patagonia jacket on the road or the trail, you want to know it can be compressed to a small size for easy storage if the weather warms up.

Thankfully, both the Down Sweater and the Nano Puff can be compressed quite small for easy toting.

Each jacket has an internal zippered pocket that can be turned inside out as you stuff the jacket inside it.

And both models have a carabiner clip-in loop so you can hang the stuffed parcel off your backpack, belt, or anywhere else that’s convenient. The only difference is that the Nano Puff’s loop is reinforced, making it a bit stronger.

Materials & Durability

The materials used in any jacket need to be strong, otherwise, your new jacket won’t last more than a few days on the trail or the slopes. Patagonia has taken this into account in both of these models.

The Down Sweater has a recycled polyester ripstop shell and lining, which is durable enough to handle a bit of rough use. The Nano Puff uses recycled polyester as well, but it doesn’t have the ripstop. This means if the Nano Puff tears, the tear will spread much easier than the Down Sweater would.

Water Resistance

Water-resistance isn’t the same as waterproofing. It repels the water from light rain or snow, but not in a downpour. But unless you like hiking in the rain or skiing during a blizzard, this should still keep you dry.

Once again, there is little to compare when looking at the Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff jackets. Both have a DWR (durable water resistant) finish on both the shell and the lining material. This keeps you relatively dry, but if the rain or snow get too heavy, you better get inside or you’ll likely be soaked.

Pockets

Pockets are a necessity on any jacket, to keep your hands warm on chilly days and to give you a bit of extra storage space for those items you like to keep close at hand.

The Down Sweater has two zippered handwarmer pockets, both with zipper garages to hold those zipper pulls and reduce the chances of leaking at the top of the zipper. There is also an internal zippered chest pocket which also doubles as a stuff sack.

The Nano Puff also has two zippered handwarmer pockets with zipper garages for the same reasons, plus the zippered internal chest pocket/stuff sack.

Hood

A hood is great for keeping your head warm, plus it helps by blocking the cold air that could sneak down into the top of the jacket. Many of them are adjustable at the front and the back for the perfect fit.

The regular Patagonia Down Sweater doesn’t come with a hood, but there is a Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody available. It has many of the same features as the regular model, with the addition of an adjustable hood for extra comfort.

There is also a Nano Puff Hoody available for those who want the hood attached to their Nano Puff jacket. The hood is not adjustable, but it does have elastic around the front for a tighter fit.

Zippers

Zippers are extremely important for any type of jacket. If they snag or break when you use them, you’ll regret purchasing that jacket and send it back. Zippers should also help block out the moisture or your jacket will leak, reducing its water resistance.

There are Vislon zippers on the front and the hand pockets of the Down Sweater. These zippers are made of Delrin plastic and are molded right onto the zipper tape. The construction makes these zippers extremely strong and as weatherproof as possible.

The Nano Puff uses coil zippers for the front and on all the pockets. These zippers are also made of plastic but are sewn onto the side tape. They are a bit stronger and more flexible than Vislon zippers, but they don’t last as long or withstand the weather as well.

Cuffs & Hems

Cuffs and hems can help block out the cold and the moisture, depending on how they are constructed.

The Patagonia Down Sweater has nylon-bound elastic cuffs. The nylon makes them more comfortable against your skin and the elastic holds them tight to your wrists to block out the chill. There is an adjustable hem which has the pull-cord in the hand pockets and cord locks at the front.

The Nano Puff also has elastic cuffs to keep them cinched around your wrists at all times. The hem is also adjustable with the pull-cords in the pockets, plus it is a drop-tail hem, which hangs a bit lower at the back for a bit of extra warmth.

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Colors

The color of a jacket may not be as important as the other features, but if you don’t’ like the color, you aren’t going to wear it. Thankfully, both jackets in our Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff comparison have a few to choose from.

The men’s Patagonia Down Sweater jacket comes in eight colors, including Black, Forged Grey, Navy Blue, Paintbrush Red, Rugby Yellow, Sprouted Green, Fluid Green, and Smolder Blue.

The Men’s Nano Puff also has eight colors, including Black, Forge Grey, Paintbrush Red, Viking Blue, Copper Ore, Dolomite Blue, Sprouted Green, and Mojave Khaki.

Special Features

For special features, there are only a few to speak of with these two jackets. The Down Sweater has a moisture-wicking interior storm flap on the front center zipper to reduce leaks in this area. There is also a zipper garage at the chin to keep the cold tab from chilling your skin.

There is also a quilted-through construction on this Patagonia packable down jacket, which holds the down insulation in place to reduce cold spots.

The Nano Puff also has a moisture-wicking storm flap inside the front zipper, which includes the zipper garage for extra comfort. This jacket has a brick quilting pattern to stabilize the insulation for less movement and no cold spots.

Women’s Sizes

Both the Down Sweater and the Nano Puff jacket comes in women’s versions, so the ladies have the right fit and style to meet their preferences.

The sizes in both models include XX-Small, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large. The women’s Down Sweater also has six stylish colors to choose from, while the women’s Nano Puff offers one more at seven colors.

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The Bottom Line: Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff

You may have noticed a number of similarities in our Patagonia Down Sweater vs Nano Puff comparisons.

These include the way the jackets are cut, the materials used, the DWR finish, and the location of the pockets. They also both have adjustable hems and elastic cuffs to block out the cold.

But there are a few key differences. The Patagonia Down Sweater uses ripstop material for added durability. There is nylon around the cuffs for extra comfort. It also has that down insulation for incredible warmth during your adventures.

But this insulation also comes at a higher cost. This jacket is best for more rugged activities, like climbing and hiking, due to its strength and high heat retention.

The Patagonia Nano Puff has the recycled synthetic insulation which creates less waste, plus keeps you warm in those icy temperatures. There is a drop-tail hem for a bit more coverage at the back. The reinforced clip-in loop won’t break at the slightest tug.

This jacket is also lighter and cheaper than the Down Sweater. Because the insulation still keeps you warm when wet, and dries quickly, this jacket is best for snowy sports like skiing and snowboarding.

About the author

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.