Eddie Bauer First Ascent Hangfire Hoodie
Fabric: Stretch Fleece
Price Paid: $129
The Hangfire Hoodie is a stretchy fleece jacket with an integrated hood. It's a light weight piece that I find a lot of use for.
First, here's my video review of the Hangfire:
The jacket is made of 2 way stretch fabric and has a tight athletic fit. First Ascent's approach to sizing is that they have designed their First Ascent line to work together in a sized layering system. The base layers and insulation layers are sized tighter and the shells and outerwear are sized a little larger.
I have found this to be very good in the sleeve length and jacket lengths - - the underlayers are a little shorted - - just the way you'd like them to be to keep from poking out under your shell or jacket. The Hangfire is sized perfectly in this way and I have been able to get it to fit under everything I own including my softshell and belay jacket.
Probably the best feature of this jacket is the hood. They did a very good job designing the hood to be form fitting. It works under a helmet, under or over a hat, and under other outer hoods. The secret to the design is the hood is lined with a microstretch layer that clings to your head. The result is the edge of the hood - - which fits very comfortably around my face - - doesn't move around when I turn my head - - it stays stuck in place. For me, this single feature was worth the price of the jacket !! The front zipper is offset so when it's zipped all the way up it winds up to the side of the chin, leaving some comfortable stretch fabric on the chin - - no scraping or scratching.
This is the first time I've had a light insulator with a hood. I was a little worried that it would be redundant and I wouldn't really use it. Turns out the hood gets used a lot - - it's a great way to manage heat. I like to combine it with a lightweight wool beanie and if I start to get a little cool I can put the hood up. It's also really good for climbing when there's a little bit of a breeze that you want to keep off your neck - -just put it up under the helmet and it's just warm enough.
The other thing I like is the jacket has several kinds of materials and is put together in numerous panels that include a fleece and also a stretch fleece.
It has some three outer pockets - - two side pockets and a chest pocket - - with really good small zippers that lay flat under the other layers.
The jacket is a lighter weight that's perfect for high aerobic activity in cold weather. I combine it with a Patagonia Cap 3 Zip Tee and if it's dry and not too windy, it's a perfect outer layer for hiking in cold weather since it breathes pretty well.
The only thing that keeps it from being a 5.0 for me is that when it's zipped half way open, which I do a lot, the offset design of the main zipper makes one side of the jacket hang open to one side more than the other side. This asymmetric affect gets a little annoying because it can cause the jacket to twist a little as you move around, and it looks a little funny to have one side of the jacket hanging open to the side and the other side looking more zipped in place.
Aside from the minor issue with the offset zipper dynamics, this is a really terrific jacket that I'd highly recommend.
Price Paid: $80
I got this because I forgot to bring a jacket to San Francisco, so I grabbed it thinking it could have some hiking use. I love it. I used it on a foggy 5k that same weekend over a t-shirt and was quite comfortable.
It fit well, did not bind, stretched appriopriately and wicked. I use it as my main cover layer now if needed. Cannot wait to see how I will use it in Nepal for Everest Base camp.
The quality is impeccable as well.
Price Paid: $60
Got the newer model on sale this last summer. This version has the zipper under the chin, not off to the side, and has a hybrid fabric design.
In use I found it to be an excellent mid-layer, fits me just right over long underwear or light shirt, doesn't weigh much, packs compactly, is warm stretchy, and versatile. Hood is very nice feature.