Regarding the weight of the Polarguard Delta, Patagonia pulled the exact specs on that from their 'more info' section of the Micro Puff. It was there in December, but not there now...and no longer in the review. I also re-measured weight and compared to the website...it looks like they've gotten it .5 oz lighter (or they're listing the weight of a different size jacket) so I added the model year of my product and moved the jacket size to the 'Actual Weight' section - I don't know if that's acceptable.
Patagonia Micropuff Pullover
Owner Review - Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover
24 January, 2007
Name: Mark Smylie Hart
Height: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email: marksmyliehart at gmail dot com
Location: Urbana, Illinois - USA
Brief Background: Years after a stint in the Boy Scouts, I've gotten the hiking and backpacking bug again and hope to continue to get out more in the near future. My equipment is probably a little heavy for my bare essentials, but I have recently started to carry less (lighter, more multipurpose) equipment in order to accommodate camera gear.
Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover (2006 Model)
Material (from manufacturer's website): Shell: 1.3 oz (37 g) ripstop polyester (DWR Finish) - Insulation: Polarguard Delta
Bought: January 2006
Listed Weight: 12 oz (340 g) / Actual Weight (Men's Extra Large): 13 oz (369 g) with stuff sack measured with cooking scale
MSRP: $148.00 (USD)
Testing Locations and Conditions: Multi-day backpacking trips in Central Illinois (Starved Rock), as well as day hikes in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in wind and wet snow. I have also used this jacket to walk to and from work - 4 miles (6.4 km) in each direction while carrying a 16 lb (7.2 kg) daypack. Temperatures ranged from 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to +4 Celsius) at an average of 900 ft (274 m) above sea level.
Description: This jacket is available in multiple colors and comes with its own stuff-sack. The jacket has elasticized wrist cuffs and an elastic drawstring waist which is operable with one hand. The 1/4 length zipper has a rubberized toggle (good for gloved gripping) and the neck has a small flap to prevent my chin from touching the zipper in the cold, and because it is not covered with microfleece it won't trap moisture and freeze. It also has a concealed, zippered chest pocket to keep small items handy.
Review: While this jacket is rather spartan in terms of bells and whistles, it does one thing and does it very well: it keeps me warm and it does so without restricting my movement. Photography is at times an activity that requires a wide range of motion in the shoulders and I have never felt like I was fighting this jacket to get my elbows in the proper position to frame my shot. It feels thoroughly windproof and when walking across open spaces in January and February; I never felt even the slightest chill. I have used this jacket during cold weather photo-shoots in the middle of winter, very early spring as well as late fall between 15 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to +4 Celsius) when the wind is blowing at a steady 15 mph (24 kph) and have been quite comfortable carrying up to 20 Lb (9 kg) of camera equipment, although if I don't use a sternum strap the ripstop polyester shell floating on the insulation can make the shoulder straps of my backpack want to roam around a bit. While stationary in camp and at night, the Micro Puff has kept me warm while sitting near a medium fire and continued to keep me warm enough in my sleeping bag (military mummy bag) that I could leave the bag's zipper partially open and comfortably read a book in any position.
The Micro Puff also feels as if it weighs nothing and sheds snow, light rain and mist without any trouble and its flexibility allows for unrestricted movement when slinging my backpack on and off, changing lenses, setting up my tent, etc. I haven't put this jacket's Deluge DWR finish to the test in a full rain and I doubt that I ever would in the field - I would cover it with a shell or get under a shelter. That said, its ability to shed sprinkles is comforting in that I know I don't have to scramble to dig out my waterproof shell immediately - I can continue doing what I was doing.
On the cold end of my testing temperature range the Micro Puff is actually more comfortable than wearing a down parka (North Face McMurdo) in which I find myself sweating from medium-paced walking without carrying a load. In the Micro Puff with air temperature of 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 Celsius), I did not sweat at all carrying a 16 Lb (7.2 kg) backpack although I have found that when the temperature is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 Celsius) and above, this jacket is too warm for moderate hiking. I feel the lack of pit-zips increases my tendency to overheat and sweat. However, its weight and the amount of comfort it provides in camp and at rest, I wouldn't dream of leaving it behind on a trip which promises chilly mornings or evenings (it weighs roughly 33% less than either of my 300-weight fleece pullovers, and is windproof to boot). This is also the first jacket with synthetic insulation I've used that hasn't felt odd or lumpy after a short time. This jacket is totally compressible and stuffs into its own sack which, incidentally, makes a fantastic pillow once I'm in my sleeping bag - in the stuff sack the jacket is about the size of a large cylinder of propane fuel.
Caveats: This jacket is made from nylon which makes it prone to melting if it comes in contact with flame or even a hot ember. When wearing this jacket, I play it safe and push the sleeves up or remove the jacket altogether when starting my stove and I am mindful of the wind's direction when I stoke a wood fire or fan the flames - a spark could potentially put a hole in the jacket that the designers didn't intend.
One final item of note regarding this review: I am typically warmer than average. I can feel comfortable wearing a light jacket/windbreaker and a 100-weight fleece with a light snow hat when others I've camped with felt cold while wearing 600-fill down jackets. I feel it is important to mention this because while I feel this jacket is quite warm and comfortable, someone else with a different body type may be too hot or too cold in the same situation.
*Very warm - like a sleeping bag with arms
*Insulates well even when damp/wet with snow
*Shorter collar works well to retain heat, but doesn't crowd the neck and chin when wearing a hardshell
*Compressible and insulation is crush-proof (maintains its loft very well)
*Easy to layer over clothing in colder conditions
*No hand pockets at the waist. It would be nice to have a pair of slash pockets from time to time.
*No pit zips - although I don't feel as if the jacket were designed to be high activity jacket...more of a keep warm while in camp / evil weather jacket.
*Rubberized zipper is quite small and impossible to attach a zipper pull which makes it difficult to grab with mittens, although gloves seem to work fine.
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