I am definitely a fan of vests, so a little biased towards the most versatile top layer that can be bought. But the Patagonia Nano Puff Vest rendition of a timeless piece is one of my favorites and probably has the most uses of my vests. Made with 60g primaloft one and weighing in under 8oz, this little piece will always keep you warm, and stuffs down to the size of a pop can.
I tested this jacket here in the NW and while traveling through Europe earlier this season. Find out how the Patagonia Nano Puff Vest held up below :
Patagonia Nano Puff Vest Review
Its the extra, water-resistant, warm-when-wet piece you want just in case you need some warmth in the summer and just in case you need some extra warmth in the winter. And if you are concerned about looks, in black or dark blue the Nano Puff vest is certainly permissible in urban places under a coat or as a top layer.
On the practicalities of wearing the current (2014) cut, you may want to drop a few pounds, as Patagonia seems to have dropped an inch or two compared to other garments. I normally wear a small in Patagonia with some room, and while I have room for a fleece or two under this, I would not call it large.
I am perfectly happy, but standard sizing, rather than size-down-for-Patagonia, might not hurt. Plenty of arm space and a little arm elastic, elastic draw at the bottom, and full-length zipper with microfiber chin guard make for a comfortable but warm active layer. For pockets, there are two big zip pockets that can fit a small field guide, a couple iPhone 6s, a passport, or a couple cans, and a similar-size internal pockets does double duty- as all internal pockets should- as a stuff sack.
Just plan on conserving on pocket-fill if you plan on wearing under a nicer coat or over a flannel. Just be sure to wash after wearing instead of a T-shirt or in the depths of a snow cave and you’ll be fine wearing the Nano Puff around town.
I still haven’t figured out what patterns match best, but the quilted block pattern goes well with many plains or plaids.