Since the temperatures plunged a few weeks ago I’ve been relying on the Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody (it’s more like a baselayer) for every hike I’ve been on, including a two-day backpack through the Brecon Beacons, an overnight in a bothy, a climbing trip and an early morning round of Helvellyn.
Quick verdict: it’s brilliant.
The Secret Ingredients
First of all, before we look into the Patagonia Capilene Air’s performance out in the field, I’ll give a run through the tech behind it.
It uses a blend of soft merino wool from New Zealand (51%) and a polyester fleece that’s made out of used plastic bottles – the same type of fleece fabric that Patagonia made a name for itself with back in 1993 with the release of those classic Synchilla fleeces.
These two materials are woven into a kind-of 3D knit resulting in thousands of insulating air pockets, and it’s all done completely seamlessly so there’s much less chance of any irritation to the skin.
Another clever thing about this construction is that even despite the absence of any elastane the whole knit is springy and close-fitting. It has a lovely bit of stretch to it without feeling either constricting or saggy.
I’ve tried the Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody in a number of different ways. I’ve worn it under a rain coat, under an insulated jacket, and just by itself while out on a surprisingly mild autumn hike (plus in the pub afterwards). I’ve also hiked and camped for a couple of days in it without removing it at all. And It’s been up to the task on every occasion.
It didn’t win an ISPO Gold Award for nothing.