Ultimate Insulation

Patagonia Just Gave One of its Best Jackets an Important Upgrade


Earlier this month, Patagonia quietly added brand new apparel and equipment for fall and winter to its website. Its workwear collection, now freshly-expanded with Dyneema-enhanced denim, has received all of the attention so far. Dig deeper though, and some noteworthy cold-weather innovations are uncovered, like a new seamless baselayer called Capilene Air (which we reviewed last winter) and a new jacket called the Micro Puff Storm.

You may recognize the Micro Puff name — that jacket came out last year and Patagonia hailed it as the lightest synthetic insulation jacket that it’s ever made. The story here is the jacket’s faux-feather guts, which consist of a new insulation called PlumaFill. In PlumaFill, an array of down-mimicking polyester fibers are secured together in one continuous, fluffy line that weaves its way throughout the jacket, trapping more heat while using less material. It works too, and the Micro Puff has won numerous awards, including Gear Patrol‘s designation as the best synthetic jacket of the year.

One year later, Patagonia is giving the Micro Puff a makeover with the Storm. The new version, billed as a belay jacket, features the same lightweight PlumaFill insulation but now it’s protected with a two-layer waterproof shell. Even though the original Micro Puff is water-resistant and its synthetic insulation doesn’t spoil like down when wet, the new shell provides adequate weather protection for dealing with colder temperatures and harsher weather. Other design differences include two sizeable exterior hand warmer pockets and two drop-in pouches inside and a two-way zipper that gives climbers harness access without having to strip off the coat entirely.

While the Micro Puff Storm is designed for climbers, its features imply plenty of usability for anyone looking for a warm, lightweight winter coat. If it’s rugged enough to handle the mountains, chances are it’ll make a decent barrier in town and on the ski slopes too.

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