A perennial favorite of BACKPACKER editors, the Nano Puff is a no-brainer layer that your gift-ee will use 12 months a year (alone in the warmer months and as part of a layering system when the mercury drops). “It’s seriously versatile,” says one tester. “I used it as my evening camp coat in New England last summer. And on a 5-day ski-tour in Norway it rarely left my body. Worn over a baselayer and under a shell, it was the perfect friction-free midlayer."
The 100%-recycled nylon shell blocks wind and a water-resistant DWR fends off drizzle and wet snow. It’s insulated with PrimaLoft One, a quick-dry synthetic that’s quilted to prevent it from shifting around and developing cold spots. Elasticized cuffs help keep in heat, and chest pocket keep important things handy. The hoodless design is simple and clean (the zipper is half length so there’s no extra material, seams, or bulk under a hipbelt or harness) which is why it packs down into such a small and tidy softball-sized bundle. $149; m’s xs-xxl, w’s xs-xl; 10.2 oz.; patagonia.com