“The Patagonia Nano Puff is the greatest jacket ever made.” It would be impossible to even guess how many times I’ve repeated these words. In fact, it’s probably so frequent that it classifies as excessive. Like Uncle Rico talking about his high school football days, I must’ve subconsciously believed if I told just one more person, I’d be one step closer to enlightening the masses. Well, it turns out, maybe the Nano Puff isn’t the greatest jacket ever made. I now believe that crown goes to the Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody.
The Nano Puff has two features that contributed to my love fest. First, it packs down to fit into its own chest pocket, making it ideal for travel. Second, the jacket is a perfect match for a wide range of weather conditions. In the case of the new Tough Puff Hoody, anglers get an easy-to-pack jacket that handles different weather conditions as well as features that will add further appeal to anglers.
Let’s start with the word “tough.” While the Nano Puff remains a favorite jacket, it did at times have a hard time keeping up with me. Thrashed by brush and stabbed by plenty of flies, my Nano Puff has been patched and pieced back together enough that I almost wear it with honor. However, I’d frequently desired a solution to fears of abrasion. The Tough Puff Hoody is that solution.
The Tough Puff Hoody features a 100% polyester outer shell with a “moisture-shedding DWR (durable water repellent) finish.” Bringing enhanced durability, this jacket is designed for handling the conditions anglers often face.
The Tough Puff Hoody also delivers comfort. Similar to the Nano-Air® design and the idea that you would never want to take it off, the Tough Puff feels as comfortable as my favorite cotton hoody but with technical features that make it more practical in the mountains or on the water. In fact, during a day recently with extreme temperature fluctuations, my Tough Puff kept me warm on a frigid morning then raised eyebrows later when I was still wearing it zipped up after highs reached 80 degrees.
The Tough Puff is also my new favorite because of additional design features that suit the needs of fly anglers. In addition to its water repellent and abrasion resistant finish, the Tough Puff features a “60-g FullRange® 100% polyester stretch insulation.” The stretch is key. From climbing around the bank to reaching for fish, the stretch brings added comfort and mobility. And for those times when you’re trekking through the woods or rowing the raft, the material of the Tough Puff brings warmth but also breathability. A Capilene® lining inside also brings enhanced breathability and moisture wicking.
I tested this jacket day-in and day-out in a wide range of conditions but knew my concluding thoughts would come after a weekend in steelhead country. It is often on the water up in Northern California where I discover shortcomings to technical gear, but in the case of the Tough Puff Hoody, this is where I found more to love about this piece. The crew at Patagonia truly thought of everything with the Tough Puff. As someone who always wants to cut down on bulk with my packs and attire, it came as a surprise that the Tough Puff has two chest pockets for fly boxes. Most jackets with these pockets tend to be bulky in the chest, but here they are low-profile, which makes the Tough Puff a more suitable crossover to daily casual life. In addition to these pockets, the Tough Puff features lower pockets as well. With many fly fishing jackets having upper fly box pockets but not normal lower pockets, this design feature brings even more practical use. And finally, elastic in the cuffs helps keep the cold out while allowing comfort with layering underneath.
Look out, friends! A fair warning that you will hear me talk about the Tough Puff Hoody a good bit from now on. This is undoubtedly my go-to piece from here on out.
The Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody comes in Black and Bay Blue and retails for $299.
– Tim Harden
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