Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm vs Nano Air
An insulated jacket is on the must-have list for backcountry skiing. It’s the layer that keeps you warm during breaks or transitions and offers a safety margin should you end up having to wait out a repair, deal with an injury or adjust to changing weather. I’ve developed a preference for synthetic insulation versus down over the years due to synthetics’ resilience in regard to being wet or dry, packed and repacked and generally abused day in and day out all winter. Down is arguably warmer, but over the course of a day (and season) a synthetic puffy just handles the rigors of abuse better. The trick is to find a synthetic puffy that’s warm enough for your climate and compact enough to pack easily. The new Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm takes on the task with good marks for breathability and adds protection from the elements to its list of features all while remaining light and packable.
For those familiar with the Nano Air Hoodie, the Stretch Nano Storm adds a supple and stretchy 2-layer waterproof/breathable outer shell fabric with a highly breathable liner and the same lightweight synthetic insulation found in other Nano Air products. It’s a waterproof–breathable and insulated puffy. Or is it a lightly insulated shell? Regardless, what separates it from the Nano air is the exterior shell material.
What’s the big deal about Nano Air products in general you ask? Well, the nature of older insulation required that it be lined with a tightly woven (i.e. not-so-breathable) lining. The break through with the Nano Air line is that the insulation can be contained with a breathable lining fabric, thus making the jacket way more breathable than traditional insulated jackets. Of course, most bigger brands now have their own version of this, but Patagonia was first – or at least early – to the table
The Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm is ideal for throwing on over your uphill layers during transitions and breaks. In fact, on many days it’s your shell and your puffy in one package, especially in cold weather. Meaning, you could leave your shell behind. On the other hand, the regular Nano Air jackets are great insulation layers, but need to be combined with a shell for full wind/waterproof type protection.
When compared to the Nano Air Hoodie, the Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm is not as breathable. But it is still more breathable than most insulated jackets. Patagonia added pit-zips to the Stretch Nano Storm to help with breathability and the jacket breathes quite well for a waterproof-breathable and insulated shell. It’s a solid choice for skiers in dryer and colder climates where there are days when you need an insulated layer on the uptrack or are looking to streamline your packing list.