The North Face ThermoBall vs Patagonia Nano Puff – Which Is Better?

With the cold season upon us, it’s time to look for a warm winter jacket that can withstand low temperatures and strong winds. The North Face Thermoball vs Patagonia Nano Puff are two popular winter coats. Whether for climbing, hiking, skiing, or simply daily use in the city, a high-quality jacket from a trusted brand is essential to get you through the cool months with ease. 

Two of the best warm winter jackets available are made by American outdoor clothing giants The North Face (TNF) and Patagonia. But which one is better? While they’re both available in different models (as vests, with hoods, etc.), we’re taking a look at the basic full-zip standard versions of each.

So, read on to learn more about these warm winter jackets for women and men in our in-depth comparison of The North Face ThermoBall vs Patagonia Nano Puff!

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The North Face ThermoBall Jacket

Developed in partnership with synthetic insulation manufacturer PrimaLoft®, The North Face created ThermoBall, a proprietary insulation material. Using small, round synthetic-fiber clusters, this innovative insulation traps body heat in small air pockets, thereby retaining warmth even in damp conditions.

Despite its lightweight size, the ThermoBall is capable of providing the same insulation as a 600-fill-power goose down. 

The jacket features an exposed Vislon center front zip, an internal chest pocket with a secure zip as well as secure-zip hand pockets. While its bottleneck quilt pattern minimizes cold spots, the 15D ripstop nylon shell repels water and protects you from wind through its DWR finish.

In addition, adjustable internal elastic bands around the cuffs ensure cold air won’t crawl up your arms. Whenever temperatures rise, you can conveniently stash the jacket away as it nicely fits into its own hand pocket. 


People who are conscious of their environmental impact will be happy to learn that The North Face is passionate about fighting climate change. 

The brand has been offsetting 100% of its business travel and employee commute emissions through the Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program. Go Zero plants and protects forests in American wildlife refuges to offset emissions. As part of this committment, The North Face produced the ThermoBall jacket with recycled materials to reduce landfill waste and the use of new materials. 

ThermboBall Tech Specs Overview 

  • Fabric: 15D ripstop nylon 
  • Insulation: 13g of synthetic fibers
  • Weight: 12.3 ounces


Fusing quality, style, and performance, the ThermoBall jacket is an excellent choice for hikers, backpackers, or those that want to keep warm in cold, wet weather. It provides warmth without the need for the excessive bulk typical for down jackets. Because of that, it is also ideally suited to act as a mid-layer under a thicker jacket or coat. 

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Ideal for skiers or climbers looking to stay warm without compromising their arm movement, the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket perfectly combines insulation and flexibility. The hoodless design features a high collar that keeps your neck warm and protected. What’s more, the center-front zipper has a moisture-wicking interior storm flap and a chin zipper to protect your throat. 

Made from 55% recycled materials, this Patagonia jacket features a 60g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco that is lined with a DWR finish and wrapped in a polyester ripstop shell.

A brick-quilted pattern with side panels doubles as a design detail and a performance feature that evenly distributes and stabilizes the insulation padding. Meanwhile, front zipped pockets, elasticized cuffs, and a drawstring hem lock out the cold and keep your hands and upper body warm at all times. 

Two zippered pockets with zipper garages keep your hands warm while an internal zippered chest pocket with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop conveniently transforms into a stuff sack.

While the Nano Puff was made to insulate the heat and protect outdoor enthusiasts, it’s also perfectly suitable for everyday wear. 

Environmental Impact

Even more so than The North Face, Patagonia has always been passionate about protecting the environment. In fact, its outdoor-loving founder made it a point to promote sustainability and compassion for nature during the brand’s early days in the 1970s. As part of TNS’ committment to reducing its carbon footprint, the brand only uses traceable and responsibly sourced raw materials derived from nature, and synthetics made with recycled materials. 

Nano Puff Tech Specs – Overview

  • Fabric: 100% post-consumer recycled polyester 
  • Insulation: PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco and 100% recycled components
  • Weight: 12.8 ounces


Specifically made for the outdoors, this warm, water-resistant, and windproof Patagonia jacket is highly compressible, lightweight, and maintains 98% heat in damp conditions. Since it was produced using recycled materials, it’s a popular choice for environmentally-conscious adventurers. 

North Face ThermoBall vs Patagonia Nano Puff Comparison 

To property compare Patagonia vs North Face and ThermoBall vs Nano Puff, we’ve made a side-by-side overview of some of their key features:  

The North Face ThermoBall Patagonia Nano Puff

Classic full-zip jacket with a typical fit

Primarily protects from cold weather, and rain

Insulated with 33G of The North Face proprietary

ThermoBall PrimaLoft® Shell

Elastic cuffs

15D 100% nylon fabric

Made with bluesign-approved sustainable materials

Men’s sizing from XS to XXL (15 color options)

Women’s sizing from XS to XL (15 color options)

Weighs 12.3 ounces

Retails for around $199 
Classic full-zip quilted jacket

Protects from cold weather, wind and rain

Insulated with 60G PrimaLoft®  Gold

Produced with bluesign-approved fabric and fibers made of recycled materials

Elastic Cuffs

Men’s sizing from XS to XXL (10 color options)

Women’s sizing from XXS to XL (7 color options)

Regular fit allows for layering

Weighs 12.8 ounces

Retails for $139 to $199 

Design & Fit 

Designed for outdoor explorations, both jackets feature lightweight fabric and a relaxed fit.

Since the Nano Puff is a bit more form-fitting, you may opt to go up a size if you prefer to have more room. 

When it comes to design, the ThermoBall displays stacked bricks, whereas the Nano Puff has a brick wall pattern. While the Nano Puff’s backside slightly tapers down for some added warmth, the ThermoBall is only tapered on the women’s model.  

The North Face ThermoBall comes in a much wider variety of colors than the Patagonia Nano Puff. Depending on your preference, you can opt to buy the ThermoBall in a neutral tone or a vibrant color. What’s more, the number of colors is equally great for both men and women with some overlap in the basic tones. 

Also worth mentioning is the popularity of Patagonia’s Nano Puff. It was awarded the editor’s choice award by Climbing Magazine and is one of the brand’s best-selling and most popular jackets. Available for men and women, the Nano Puff is sought-after for its classic style and excellent performance. 

Insulation & Warmth 

It’s important to note that both jackets are primarily meant for in-between seasons and are optimal for layering with thermal shells.  

In terms of insulation and materials, both jackets are very similar. While the Thermoball has proprietary insulation, it uses PrimaLoft®  technology that ensures the jacket’s synthetic fabric retains heat in any weather. According to studies, this insulation equals that of a 600-fill goose down. At the same time, the Thermoball is very breathable and lightweight and offers excellent compressibility. 

Patagonia’s Nano Puff is made from 60Gs of PrimaLoft®  Gold Eco insulation, made from 55% recycled materials. The insulation is synthetic, eco-friendly, water-repellent, and thermally efficient. It can maintain warmth even in wet weather. Despite the warmth it offers, the Nano Puff is very lightweight and only measures 12.8 ounces.

Weather Resistance

Both jackets are synthetic, have a DWR coating that makes them water-resistant, and dry quickly. An advantage of both their synthetic PrimaLoft® insulations is that water or moisture doesn’t affect their performance. Down, on the other hand, becomes practically useless when it gets wet. However, whether you’re wearing a Thermoball or a Nano Puff, it makes sense to have an added waterproof layer for unexpected weather like heavy rains. 

The North Face’s Thermoball has an added advantage, as it has non-stick insulation which means that its clusters won’t clump together when wet, thereby maintaining excellent insulation even in rain. 

Since these jackets are lightweight and small, they can easily be stashed away and carried on the go. In terms of wind resistance, however, Nano Puff has a slight advantage as it is better at protecting you from strong winds.

Environmental Impact

The North Face and Patagonia’s target market is nature lovers so they both make it a point to not only market themselves as sustainable outdoor clothing brands but also back up their promises with actionable steps. 

Both brands use bluesign-approved materials in the shell and lining of their jackets. Bluesign is a Swiss company that works with brands, manufacturers, and chemical suppliers to create more sustainable solutions along the entire textile value chain. Through this, they help reduce the overall impact on the environment and people. 

Although The North Face and Patagonia work with bluesign, only Patagonia uses 55% post-consumer recycled materials in its insulation. 

Key Differences Between the Nano Puff vs ThermoBall

To summarize all mentioned features, here are the key differences between The North Face ThermoBall vs Patagonia Nano Puff jackets:

  • The Nano Puff is slightly thinner and less puffy
  • The ThermoBall features a more tapered waistline
  • The Nano Puff offers better wind protection 
  • The Nano Puff is more environmentally friendly as it is made with more recycled materials 
  • The Nano Puff has a slightly longer rear hem
  • The ThermoBall has a straight quilt pattern, while the Nano Puff has a staggered brick pattern
  • Both offer a form-fitting shape 
  • They’re both lightweight, easy to layer and pack

As you can see, both the Nano Puff and the ThermoBall offer excellent features that keep you warm, dry, and protected on cold, windy days. For the quality and longevity they offer, they’re reasonably priced, especially considering that each will likely last you for years to come. 

Comparing the Brands: The North Face vs. Patagonia

Over the past decade, outdoor exploration has grown exponentially. Further accelerated by months of Covid-19 lockdowns that forced people into isolation in their homes, there’s a renewed hunger of people to get out, escape their everyday stress, leave technology behind, re-discover nature, and reconnect to their inner selves. 

This growing trend has motivated new outdoor apparel start-ups to pop up on the regular. However, none of them can rival the long history, following, and market share of two of the best in the industry: The North Face and Patagonia. 

Anytime you’re on the hunt for some outdoor gear, you’ll come across either of the two brands and find yourself comparing their products and price points. While their range of clothing, footwear, and gear are similar, there are some differences in their corporate practices and philosophy.  Let’s have a look at both companies. 

The North Face

The North Face’s mission statement reads: “Provide the best gear for our athletes and the modern-day explorer, support the preservation of the outdoors, and inspire a global movement of exploration.”

Founded by Douglas and Susie Tompkins in 1968, The North Face started selling climbing gear at its retail store in San Francisco.

Acquired just two years later by Kenneth Klopp, the brand steadily grew until it was acquired by VF Corporation for over US $25 million in the year 2000. 

Their logo symbolizes the granite dome Half Dome in Yosemite Park. The brand encourages exploration, promotes social responsibility, and supports environmental activism. Today, The North Face is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and offers everything outdoorsy, including running shoes, climbing equipment, and skiing gear. 


Patagonia is determined to make the best product, cause no needless harm, use business to protect natural resources, and continually innovate and develop new ways to do things. 

Founded by American rock climber, environmentalist, and philanthropist Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia Inc. started as a retailer of outdoor clothing in Ventura, California. Over the years, the brand developed to improve its product quality and style. 

The brand is committed to reducing its environmental impact by employing ethical principles in sourcing materials and working with quality suppliers. They minimize the use of dye and primarily manufacture using organic cotton and recycled materials. On top of that, they donate at least 1% of their sales, service, and time to a number of environmental causes every year. 

Today, Patagonia operates factories in sixteen countries and stores in more than ten countries.


While both companies place a heavy emphasis on quality, Patagonia products are usually a bit pricier than those from The North Face. This traces back to Patagonia’s production practices and quality of materials sourced. However, depending on the product and seasonal sales, the price comparison of these brands may vary. 

Which Brand Is Better?

In the world of outdoor enthusiasts, virtually everyone knows The North Face and Patagonia. As industry-leading suppliers of outdoor apparel and gear, they are both known not just for the quality of their products, but also for their commitment to the environment. 

When it comes to comparing these two corporate giants, it’s impossible to declare a winner. Depending on your style, preferences, and values, one may be more suitable than the other. Both brands offer extensive collections and excellent products with modern designs that are very similar. 

One key difference lies in their product lines. While both sell outdoor clothing and packs, The North Face also has an unmatched range of gear, including sleeping bags, tents, camping equipment, and more. In comparison, Patagonia’s collection of gear is much smaller. 

Their clothing also shows differences. Patagonia is primarily focused on high-quality clothing for different outdoor activities and sports. They don’t offer much in terms of affordable, casual apparel. The clothing collection of The North Face is much larger and also has casual, mid-range options. 

However, the most significant differences between Patagonia and The North Face are their values and histories. Environmental activism and philanthropy have always been key focuses of Patagonia. And although The North Face now also incorporates environmentally-friendly measures in their manufacturing and business processes, they’ve only started doing so in recent years.

Historically, TNF was primarily focused on innovation and product quality, which is why they are a favorite among adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Generally, both brands are similar in style, functionality, and technical performance. Which brand you’ll ultimately choose will depend on the product you’re shopping for. Just as in the case of the North Face ThermoBall vs Patagonia Nano Puff, you may simply prefer one style over the other, regardless of which brand it was made by. 

The Right Jacket for You

If you’re still expecting a clear answer as to which of these two seasonal jackets is better, we’ll leave you with this: the choice is yours!

When it comes to North Face ThermoBall vs Patagonia Nano Puff, both offer quality and efficiency in terms of aesthetics, thermal insulation, and water- and wind resistance. And since they’re made by two of the world’s best outdoor apparel brands, you really can’t go wrong with either.

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