I own a lot of jackets—too many, really. As a result, when it comes to choosing my layers for a day of ice climbing, skiing, or winter trail running, I’ll stare into my closet, overwhelmed and indecisive. Which combination of vests, fleeces, and shells should I wear?
The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid ($199) all but solved those problems. It's the lightest offering in the Nano-Air collection, with panels of 40-gram FullRange insulation—a proprietary synthetic that’s woven for exceptional stretch and air permeability—concentrated just on the front of the torso and tops of the arms. Under the arms and across the back, the jacket is a waffle-knit polyester, which looks and feels like your favorite henley. That waffle knit is stretchy, too; paired with an elastic hem, it makes for a non-constrictive fit around the hips (I've owned too many jackets that weren't properly cut to fit curvy hips).
The end result is a jacket that is warm enough to get me out the door on cold mornings when I don’t want to get out of bed—but dumps heat so well that I’m not trudging through puddles of my own sweat.
In cold conditions, it’s the only midlayer I need. For skiing, I pair it with a baselayer and my Patagonia Triolet hardshell; for ice climbing, I pair it with a baselayer and my Outdoor Research Iceline softshell, eliminating bulk without compromising on warmth.
For high-output activities, it works beautifully on its own. I have a bad habit of dressing too warm at the trailhead and then finishing my run with my jacket tied around my waist, but I’ve never had to do that while wearing the Nano-Air Light Hybrid.
Most importantly, the waffle knit is infused with odor-controlling Polygiene. On more than one occasion, I’ve worn this jacket for a full day of ice climbing, gone home, showered, changed and then put it back on to go out for dinner. No one was ever the wiser.