Review: Patagonia Women’s Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody

Super lightweight but warm in all the right places, is this the perfect layer for summer alpine activities?

Feature type Review

Read time 6 mins

Published Sep 12, 2023

Hannah Mitchell BASE Digital Writer Hannah is a Lake District-based journalist and all-round outdoor lass with a particular fondness for rock faces.

OUR VERDICT

Super lightweight but warm in all the right places, the Nano-Air® Light Hybrid Hoody is the perfect mid/outer layer for high-elevation and summer alpine activities.

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Weight 278g
Features 100% recycled polyester shadow ripstop shell and lining, 40-gram FullRange™ insulation, R1® Air fleece panels, ergonomic hood, cuffs and zippers

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Adapts well to temperature change and activity level
  • Works comfortably with harnesses and backpacks

Cons

  • If I had to find one, it would simply be that it doesn’t pack into its own pocket like a lot of Patagonia stuff does!

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

Sometimes I wonder if my internal thermostat is broken. I often find that I’m running either too hot for comfort, or too cold. Nailing the perfect temperature doesn’t come easy to me, and I often find I have to begin my outdoor days with the old alpine adage ‘be bold, start cold’, as even in the colder months I’ll likely be sweating after just a few minutes of exertion. Then follows the inevitable damp, uncomfortable belays – yuck.

There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a layering system that works for you, even more so finding a layer that actually works across a really broad range of temps and activity levels. It’s not that I’m looking for a mythical layer that you never have to add to or subtract from, but doing so as infrequently as possible would be nice, especially on long, summer alpine days when I need to move fast in order to catch the last lift down!

I want something that works with a harness, basically because I spend a lot of time wearing one, and I want sleeves that are long enough to offer decent coverage for reachy moves and a cut that won’t ride up and expose my lower back. Hoods are handy, especially ones that fit under or over a helmet, and pockets, everybody loves pockets.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Ok, so first of all, the colour. I’m a green girl, and in my opinion there is a distinct lack of green options available to women in the outdoor clothing world, and I love this shade. It’s definitely not for everyone, a fact that is quite possibly reflected by this being the only shade that is ON SALE right now for 30% less. Green girls: GO.

The Nano-Air® Light Hybrid Hoody feels super-soft to touch, from the zig-zag R1 Air fleece to the recycled polyester shell. It’s also incredibly lightweight and scrunches down in your hands, so will definitely stuff nicely into my pack. Chucking it on, I’m pretty chuffed that it’s got a nice, long cut that won’t hitch up with a harness or give me chilly kidneys. At 5’8″, this is often a problem for me, as are sleeves that pull up to mid-forearm when reaching up on the rock, but not with this jacket. Patagonia sizes often befuddle me a bit as they seem to come up quite big. Had I wanted a closer fit I could definitely have managed with a Small, but for layering underneath and a nice little bit of breathing room (or room for post-climb pizza), the Medium is comfortable enough.

The jacket feels airy, but I can instantly feel the effects of the 40-gram FullRange™ insulation

The jacket feels airy, but I can instantly feel the effects of the 40-gram FullRange™ insulation. The hood is roomy and generous, but has a low enough profile that it’ll sit comfortably underneath a helmet. It zips right up over your chin too, and the zipper garage is soft and unobtrusive. I’ve got big alpine plans afoot this year, and I’m keen to see how this hoody holds its own.

THE TEST

I’ve had this jacket since mid-summer now, and in that time it has been lugged around the Lakes as an evening layer for when things cool down, either fell walking or climbing, and latterly, the Nano-Air® Light Hybrid Hoody has joined me on a trip to the alps, taking in Switzerland, France and Italy respectively. Whilst I opted for something a little more insulated for the colder, higher peaks and glacial terrain, this hoody was my go-to for big days out on the Brévent on multi-pitch rock routes where the days often start and end chilly (and the chair lift can get a bit breezy too). The hidden zip hand warmer pockets are generous enough to keep your phone, wallet and lift pass handy.

It stuffed into a rucksack with ease and squashed down nicely (although it did come out a bit creased, if that sort of thing bothers you), and has been worn with a backpack and harness – often at the same time. I’ve worn this with as little as a sports bra and tank underneath, as well as with light, long-sleeved base layers. It has seen the inside of a waterproof on more than one occasion, and has an impressive capacity to somehow feel ‘just right’ in any of these combinations!

WHO IS THIS ITEM FOR?

The Nano-Air® Light Hybrid Hoody is for mountain folk who want a nice all-rounder that’s both light and breathable, as well as offering light insulation, a little water-resistance and an accommodating hood that’ll keep the wind off your ears.

I think this hoody is a particularly useful layer for those who heat up easily but get frustrated with stripping off, only to pile the layers back on five minutes later when the wind picks up. Patagonia have definitely woven some sort of thermal wizardry into this hoody, it actually seems to be really well regulating, even for an erratic individual like me!

There are of course, the ethical elements of Patagonia products that also make this hoody a good choice for the environmentally-minded – the 100% recycled polyester outer shell with DWR-free treatment for starters, then there’s the 100% recycled fleece and 93% recycled insulation. There’s also the fact that Patagonia repair their products for free too, in line with their movement towards a more circular economy and  encouraging more sustainable consumer practices.

WHAT STANDS OUT?

Temperature regulation

I don’t know how they’ve done it (though I strongly suspect it’s down to the clever combo of fleece panels and insulated sections) but somehow this hoody seems to respond really well to changing conditions and activity levels. It’s also versatile in this regard for layering underneath or on top for cold or wet weather.

Practicality

Despite the slightly silky feel to the polyester shell, the construction of the hoody has proven to be pretty tough. It’s rip-stop too, so any disasters that might occur shouldn’t be TOO disastrous. It’s a hoody for a multitude of activities; climbing, mountaineering and fell walking, it’s even totally suitable for hanging out in Poco Loco when the weather turns nasty (also tested).

Cut and comfort

For taller folk, this has a nice long cut that sits well under a harness. The sleeves have a tapered cuff too, which gives you a little more warmth and coverage on the backs of your hands whilst keeping your palms and fingers free for fiddling with gear! There’s no drawcord on the waist which is probably noteworthy for some, although I find tightening drawcords can actually cause the ‘ride up’ sometimes anyway, and I don’t feel like this is any lesser or a layer for not having one.

Lightness

I guess the clue was in the name, but I didn’t expect an insulated hoody to feel quite this light. It’s a pleasant surprise, and the compactness means it stuffs easily into a bag, has a low profile on the body and doesn’t restrict movement when in use.

VALUE FOR MONEY

As I mentioned before, this particular colourway is on sale right now – so for Patagonia it’s really a bargain! If we’re talking full price however, £270 does seem a bit on the scary side for a lightweight hoody. If it’s what you NEED (and as it turns out, the Nano-Air® Light Hybrid is exactly what I needed to perfect my summer alpine layering system), you’ll likely see a nice return on your investment in the form of hassle-free mountain days, comfort and fantastic thermal regulation.

Whether something is worth its price tag is highly subjective, but for me – this absolutely is. I’m also inclined to wear my stuff until one of us dies, and in the event of a rip or zip failure, I would 100% be taking advantage of Patagonia’s repair scheme too.

BASE BOTTOM LINE

The Nano-Air® Light Hybrid Hoody ticks all my boxes. It’s a brand that I’m a big fan of, whose ethics assure me that what I’m buying into treads a little more lightly on the planet than some. The versatility, fit, colour and above all, actually really useful nature of the product means I know I’ll wear this on plenty more adventures. This is just the beginning of a really beautiful, sweat-free belaytionship (yep, I went there).

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