We love puffy jackets. We just wish they didn’t make us feel so, well, puffy. Therein lies the brilliance of Patagonia’s new barely there Nano pullover ($150). Three ounces lighter than Patagonia’s Down Sweater—a SKI staff favorite we were sure would never be unseated—the Nano’s synthetic PrimaLoft insulation retains heat even when wet. The wind- and moisture-resistant polyester shell is 100 percent recycled material and recyclable through Patagonia’s Common Threads program.
What’s up with down? Here’s a look at nature’s original insulator
and its synthetic look-alikes.
When it comes to puffy winter jackets, imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also the solution to a lot of problems. Goose down—the original puffy stuffing—is a natural insulator: It’s extremely warm, it compresses and rebounds easily, and it’s durable. But it has its shortcomings, too, the most notable being that it loses its loft, and therefore its insulation capabilities, when it gets wet.