Down sweater battle: Mountain Hardwear Nitrous v. Patagonia Down Sweater

I’ve been refining and updating my gear lately (which is a bit odd given the lack of income), and recently acquired both the ever popular Patagonia Down Sweater and the Mountain Hardwear Nitrous down sweater. Let’s get these two into the ring and see who is left standing!

Quick overview:

Current champ: Patagonia Down Sweater:
Probably the most popular thing in Patagonia’s product line, odds are you or one of your friends owns this jacket. The Patagonia uses a DWR coated, windproof and 100% recycled polyester ripstop shell with 800 fill power down. The Patagucci also sports two zippered external fleece lined pockets and a zippered internal mesh stretchy pocket that doubles as a stuff sack that you can never lose. Elastic cuffs and a drawcord waist complete the Patagonia’s features.

Challenger: Mountain Hardwear Nitrous
The Mountain Hardwear Nitrous down sweater doesn’t have the storied history and popularity of the Patagonia, but is a fine jacket nonetheless. The Nitrous uses Mountain Hardwear’s ‘Ecosensor Ripstop’ for it’s shell, and 800 fill down. Ecosensor is a DWR coated ripstop polyester consisting of 13% (not 12%…not 14%, but 13) recycled polyester. Like the ‘gucci the Nitrous sports two external handwarmer pockets, however they are non-zippered. The Nitrous also has an external zippered chest pocket and chamois lined collar to eliminate zipper rub on your windburned face. Elastic cuffs, waist drawcord and easy to lose (not permanently attached) stuff sack round out the Mountain Hardwear’s features.

Weigh in:
Patagonia claims a 12.4 oz average weight and gives no fill weight. However, they do mention their fabric is 1.4 oz./yard, so we’ll assume it’s an average fill weight of 11 oz. Mountain Hardwear claims an average weight of 12 oz. for the Nitrous, and the EcoSensor weighs in at 1 oz./yard, so we’ll assume 11 oz. of fill as well. I don’t have a scale, but I can say they both feel damn light. Anecdotally I’d say the Patagonia outer fabric FEELS more substantial and up to abuse, but as I haven’t had an issue with either that’s just me talking about my ass. Both shells leak about the same amount of feathers, so no advantage to either.

Round 1: Place of manufacture
Both garments are made in China. Let’s take a minute to celebrate the irony that is the American consumer’s desire for low priced products, thus driving manufacturing offshore, while simultaneously complaining about jobs lost to foreign countries.
10-10 round (yeah, when’s the last time you saw a 10:10 round?)

Round 2: Features
The Patagonia uses a 100% recycled shell AND is windproof. Because I’m fond of Earth I say advantage Patagonia by way of 100% being greater than 13%.
Both use 800 fill power down. Even.
Both have elastic cuffs, drawcord hem and lined pockets. Even.
The Patagonia has zippered external pockets, the Mountain Hardwear does not. Since one of the pocket zips on my Patagonia Down Sweater vest blew out within a week of owning I’m giving this one to Mountain Hardwear
The Nitrous has a chamois lined chin, Patagonia does not. Advantage MH.
Stuff sack – can’t lose the ‘gucci, the MH’s you can. Advantage ‘gucci, though I’m gonna say it doesn’t count for much because the MH basically nets me a stuff sack I can use for other purposes.
This was a close round, but I’m going to give it to MH by way of not being a fan of the ‘gucci zips and the fleece lined collar. 10-9 round.

Final round: Fit
Fit is where the Nitrous KILLS it over the Patagonia for me. I’m about 6’4, 200 lbs, and the Patagonia just fits boxy, like plastic bag, whereas the Mountain Hardwear has a nice athletic cut. However, if you were built more like a fireplug and less like a swimmer the Patagonia may be more up your alley. 10-8 round and pure domination by Mountain Hardwear for my body type, YMMV.

Final score:
While the Patagonia Down Sweater put up a good fight with it’s 100% recycled and windproof shell, the Mountain Hardwear ultimately took a close fight with it’s total domination in fit. 30-27, final. Honestly though, you can’t go wrong with either jacket. Both have lifetime warranties and are well made, it really comes down to fit (and possibly color options).

As everyone has seen both of these items I’ll just throw a couple quick unscientific pics up highlighting the sizing (sorry can’t try ’em on and shoot a photo for fit comparisons as I broke my tripod) differences. Note that both are size large.

Extra body width on Patagonia v. Mountain Hardwear
Extra body width on Patagonia v. Mountain Hardwear
A little extra length in the sleeves on the Nitrous
A little extra length in the sleeves on the Nitrous
A little extra body length is nice when youre an orangutan
A little extra body length is nice when you’re built like an orangutan




Looking for a Patagonia or Mountain Hardwear down sweater?  You can find them at, evo, Mountain Gear and REI

16 Replies to “Down sweater battle: Mountain Hardwear Nitrous v. Patagonia Down Sweater”

  1. Very interesting.

    I was thinking about switching, but hadn’t tried the Nitrous on yet.

    I’m 6’1″ 160, so you can imagine how my down sweater fits. Although, it’s a medium because I’m more legs than torso (19″ on top), so it’s not *that* bad.


    I think I’m more interested in finding a better synthetic hoody to replace my non-hooded Puffball P/O, but if the opportunity presents itself, I think I may swing the Nitrous 1:1 over the Patagucci. After I try it on, of course.

    P.S.- Check the vid I just posted on my site.

  2. Oh man, dood, yeah that thing must fit like ass. Maybe not so much the length but the body width. It’d be worth checking out the MH Nitrous, or maybe their synth equivalent to the Puffball. I’ve been pretty stoked with the fit of the MH stuff that I’ve got (picked up a Paclite shell at their warehouse sale in the spring)

    BTW, if you haven’t hit the warehouse sale/employee store down there you need to check it.


  4. Woulda blogged about apples but you went blogzilla on that one today

  5. I am about your size and have always had that issue with Patagonia clothing — arcteryx generally fits me better. Did you get the L or XL MH jacket?

  6. I got the L in the MH jacket. I tried the XL and the L in the Patagonia, the one above in the photos is an L.

  7. I think I mentioned this on TGR, but don’t remember where. Anyway, I got my Nitrous. Unfortunately in black, so I’ll be sporting the ninja steeze at times, but whatever.

    Only complaint: cuffs don’t cinch on me like the Patagucci. I have like a -3 ape index and the cuffs hang a long ways down the back of my hands. I’ll be getting a couple of narrow velcro strips added soon. I wish they’d had velcro on them to begin with, but whatever.

    Good fit otherwise. Glad I switched.

    1. OHHH!!! I see how it is, come to my blog and call me an ape!

      LOL, glad you got hooked up w/ the Nitrous, ninja styley (I’ll be sure to look carefully at tree wells when we ski together). The ‘gucci fit really is…odd. My issue with the cuffs isn’t hte length, but that they’ve stretched out quite a bit over time – the elastic isn’t doing it’s job.

  8. Heh, I wish I had even a +0 ape index, not to mention forearms bigger than twigs. I’d be a way better climber. 🙂

    BTW, I love that one of the tags in the cloud is “Jeremy Jones has huge balls.”

  9. Thanks for the excellent review of them. I’m personally a MH nut! I love the scoring comparison.

    1. No prob, glad you liked the write up

  10. How does the patagonia down sweater compared with the Marmot Mieka 800 fill down sweater?

    1. Hey Cindy, to be honest have got no clue. Haven’t been paying much attention to down sweaters since going through that decision making process a few years back. Both companies make quality product, I’d say go with whichever fits best as they both have different cuts. Good luck and report back your findings!

  11. The American consumer never asked for cheaper prices the Patagonia Mt Hardwear sinply sought higher profits by going off shore.
    Now the quality break down (punintended) is proof of the brand not the consumer losing out to foolish thinking that China can make any type of outerwear equal in quality to the fabrics, sewing, zippers and down right knowledge of American workers.
    We the American textile workers are now doing it ourselves to bring back to the consumer the simply best outerwear and sleeping bags on the planet.
    Down outerwear was invented in America and build to last not break in a few weeks from zippers to fabric leaking down.
    Pataguci is now Pata-targree low class off the mountain junk. Even Wal Mart seems to be higher on the mountain as does Costco.
    Just how does $200 plus down pata hard wear price out at $39 in Costco if the fill wt is 11 ozs

    By the way they are all made in the same chinese factories so what could possibly explain the cheap price of $39 vs $239 or more??

    Bet you can’t get a straight answer as they duck (pun intended) the truth and question
    Who am I… the inventor of Polarfleece and prior to that the marketer of Polarguard that kicked out down in the US military and it has never been seen again for 45 years.
    Check out my store Wiggy’s Oregon in Bend Oregon… we give life guarantees on our made in America outerwear and sleeping bags but folks never have to use them.

  12. They don’t have 11 oz of down. I think it’s closer to 3 oz. If they had 11 oz, they’d be furnaces fit for winter camping on Denali. I’m not sure how much fabric the shell uses, but the zippers weigh a bit, so do the draw cords and stitching.

    1. Oh yeah, nice catch there, not sure WTF I was thinking at the time. 11 oz. of down would be warm as hell and take up a TON of volume, wouldn’t be a down sweater in size or warmth.

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