Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody Review
I had a Patagonia DAS (Dead Air Space) Parka for years. It was a super warm and durable synthetic insulated jacket that just seemed to work in so many situations. This was particularly the case in our damp cold climate where it excelled as a belay jacket and yet still compressed small enough to always be in my rucksack. Eventually it lost some of its loft and received a few war wounds, but it always remained an absolutely superb jacket. Patagonia have recently introduced a reincarnation of the DAS with their Hyper Puff jacket and I was keen to see how this compared to my original faithful…...
The Hyper Puff is a hefty bundle of high loft 100 gram HyperDAS synthetic insulation wrapped in a shell and lining of Pertex Quantum. The insulation, shell and lining allow an element of stretch so the jacket can be worn snug and still allow a full range of motion. The shell features a DWR (durable water repellent) coating for use in damp conditions.
Patagonia have used a system of variable quilting and ‘engineered patterning’ to allow a full range of motion and the Hyper Puff closes with a full length zip that is backed by a wind flap to minimise heat loss.
The helmet compatible hood has internal elastic stitching to allow a snug fit and a stiffened visor and simple drawcord adjustment to alter the volume. There are 2 zipped handwarmer pockets, an additional zipped external pocket and a large internal mesh storage pocket. A drawcord adjustable hem and elasticated cuffs complete the picture. The Hyper Puff comes with a stuffsack.
The Hyper Puff is a very chunky and well insulated jacket. Infact, the insulation almost feels stiff and springy enough that you could let the jacket stand up on its own! This isn't a problem - just an observation. It does mean that you might fight a bit to get it into the stuffsack but then, when you pull it out, it will spring open into a bundle of insulation that is very much ready for action.
For me (at 5’8” and 38” chest), a size medium is a great fit. It is long enough in the hem to be very protective around the lower back while being a good length in the arms and snug around the body while still allowing for layering underneath. It is the best fitting insulated jacket of this thickness that I've ever used.
There is a substantial layer of insulation in all parts of the Hyper Puff. The torso is cosy but Patagonia have also ensured the arms are well protected and the hood is equally toasty. This is a perfect belay layer for freezing belays in damp conditions and I already consider it a very significant step up on my well loved DAS Parka.
Some of this improvement is also down to the stretch fabrics. The old DAS always felt a little on the looser side but the addition of a stretch Quantum liner and outer and the stretchy insulation mean this jacket will give a full range of movements even when it is a snug fit. Patagonia have also utilised ‘articulated patterning’ which is a system again aiding the free movement range while keeping the optimum fit. I think this jacket will even do great service as a stand alone cold weather ski jacket in cold but drier weather.
The Hyper DAS closes with a substantial front zipper backed by a wind flap. It has been designed so the zip won't snag on the flap and works superbly. When you are trying to pull a jacket like this on at a freezing belay you don't want to have to fight with the zipper. At the top the zip pulls up high to protect the chin but Patagonia have incorporated a substantial zipper garage to protect the chin from zip chafing.
The hood is cavernous and really helps to make this feel like a very warm layer. It has elasticated stitching that contours to the back of the head and yet it sits far enough forward to protect the face from sideways wind and wind blown snow. If needed, the single volume adjuster will allow it to be pulled back slightly to aid vision.
The hood will easily fit over a climbing helmet and again the elasticated stitching comes into play here. It accommodates the extra bulk of a helmet while also ensuring the hood will move when the wearer turns in any direction. The stiffened visor completes the hood design to create, overall, what I would consider the best synthetic insulated jacket hood I have ever come across (in the ‘very warm’ category).
The pocket arrangement works really well. 2 zippered insulated handwarmer pockets do exactly what they are supposed to and an additional zipped external pocket will store other small items. The handwarmer pockets are set quite high which means you could wear a harness and still access them if needed. Another large internal mesh pocket will easily hold a drink bottle, goggles or gloves.
I think the elasticated cuffs are a great design. They mean the jacket can be pulled on over gloves and yet seal cosily around the glove tops or wrists. It also means the cuffs can be pulled up the arms if you were climbing in the jacket or doing anything that needed the lower arms to be free. The hem drawcord is concealed well but, when needed, does exactly what a hem drawcord should - although the overall snug fit means I haven't had much cause to use this yet.
The styling of the Hyper DAS is subtle but cool. When your teenage children see you pull a new technical jacket from its packaging and say they want one themselves then you know the Patagonia designers have passed the styling test!
The original Patagonia DAS Parka was a superb jacket, but the new Hyper DAS is SO much better. The fit is superb, the features are perfect and the performance is brilliant. The only thing I can't comment on yet is long term durability, but I don't expect any problems there and in every other way this is a truly fantastic piece of clothing. Do bear in mind that it doesn't pack up particularly small and is, at 530 grams, reasonably heavy, but for those days when you really need top level insulation I really haven't come across anything that will beat this. The Hyper DAS comes in at a weighty £290 cost, but for this you are packing a lot of research and development and some cutting edge technologies and materials. I truly applaud Patagonia for creating garments of this quality.
Posted by Paul
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