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Introducing the Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket

It’s after Labor Day (already!?!), which means the new Patagonia fall & winter clothing is filling up our stores in preparation for the cold weather ahead. Most exciting of these new arrivals for fall & winter 2014: the Patagonia Nano-Air collection.

First, Patagonia’s marketing schpiel: “…offering excellent temperature regulation and unrestricted movement, allowing it to be worn continuously during an aerobic, start-stop mountain mission.” Okay, raise your hand if you’ve heard that before. Me too. But the Nano-Air isn’t like anything we’ve seen before.

The past few winters have brought several new technologies in insulated outerwear, from The North Face’s highly-regarded Thermoball to the appearance of new water-resistant treatments on a variety of down-insulated products from most major vendors. Yet here we are, with another big outdoor industry player rolling out another trademarked synthetic insulation. What’s the concept here?

A simple one, actually: an insulated jacket that stretches and breathes like fleece, without letting wind slice right through like a breathable fleece jacket does. A jacket you can leave on once it’s on.

This jacket combines the qualities of fleece, softshell and insulation, and the result is an incredibly soft, stretchy jacket with Patagonia’s athletic “slim fit.” That’s mechanical stretch, not spandex, so it won’t soak up moisture; wear it as an outer layer over Capilene or slip on a shell when you stop moving or the weather turns truly brutal.

My first impression, upon trying one on? This thing is positively wispy, and perhaps the most comfortable piece of technical clothing I’ve ever worn. Patagonia claims 40 CFM, so it should breathe wonderfully. Being 85 degrees outside, I didn’t get to find out.

For the 2014 launch, it comes in four flavors: the Men’s Nano-Air Jacket, Women’s Nano-Air Jacket, Men’s Nano-Air Hoody and Women’s Nano-Air Hoody. Basically: men’s or women’s, with or without a hood.

There is a definite need for a versatile jacket that breathes this well during high-output, dynamic outdoor activity while offering more protection than a fleece. A wide variety of wintry pursuits demand it. The Nano-Air looks to be an excellent choice for a “full range” (get it?!) of temperatures and conditions, and they’re already selling fast despite the lingering warm weather. Where will you take yours?

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