Patagonia goes from Micro to Macro

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One final highlight from this month’s ISPO outdoors trade show in snowy Munich was Patagonia’s launch of a new Macro Puff jacket, basically a slightly heavier, warmer version of the impressively light Micro Puff jacket launched this winter.

A quick recap: the Micro Puff is Patagonia’s lightweight, synthetic-filled jacket that offers, in Patagonia’s words ‘the best warmth for weight of any jacket we’ve ever built’. The jacket uses a fill called PlumaFill which has similar warmth-to-weight properties as top-end, high fillpower down, but with the warm when wet and quick-drying ability of an artificial fill. It’s pretty much the first synthetic insulated jacket to match down in the warmth-to-weight, compact-packing stakes.

Enter the Macro Puff
The undisputed star of the Patagonia stand was the new Macro Puff. In a mixed-metaphor nutshell, it pretty much does what it says on the can – in effect it’s a heavier, warmer, slightly bulkier PlumaFill jacket that uses a 135g/m2 weight of the fill as opposed to the 65/m2 in the Micro Puff. It uses a similar construction with strategic quilting holding the fill stably in place, while minimising heat loss through stitch-through areas. There are some differences though: the Macro has a tougher, matt-finished face fabric, gets an adjustable hem with the pulls hidden in the deep, handwarmer pockets. And there are two deep internal stash pockets.

The one I’m wearing right now
How much heavier is it. Well, the one I’m wearing right now weighs a smidgeon under 350g. Claimed weight for the equivalent Micro Puff is 235g, so it’s around 50% heavier. How warm is it? Subjectively, for its weight, I’d say it’s the warmest synthetic jacket I’ve ever used. Interestingly, it weighs roughly the same as a Rab Continuum down jacket – 850 fillpower down and lightweight Pertex Quantum fabric – but my gut feel is that the Macro Puff is actually warmer, probably because the Continuum is extensively stitch-through quilted, so loses heat from all those seams, while the Macro Puff has only intermittent stitching.

And right now, that’s about all I’m going to say. If there’s a downside, it’s that a super lightweight synthetic insulated jacket that performs as well as, or even better than top-end down, also costs roughly as much. In US dollars, it’s set, once it appears around September time, to sell for $349 with helmet hood and $300 without. Not exactly cheap, but then you’re getting similar insulation performance to top-end down, but with greater resistance to a soaking.

More about the Macro Puff later in the year.

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