I think most people who follow me know I have a thing for “sun-hoodies”. They are literally my favorite type of active outdoor clothing and I’ve had the opportunity to review quite a few different brands. When I saw the KÜHL’s AIRKÜHL™ Men’s Hoody I immediately placed an order. For those who are not aware of what a “sun-hoody” is it’s basically the best thing to happen to outdoor clothing since the use of synthetics! It is by far the BEST protection from both sun/UV and the incoming mosquito/black fly season! Every outdoors-person should own at least one (I won’t disclose how many I currently have in my gear closet).
Let’s start with…
Incredibly soft with superior moisture management and breathability, KÜHL’s AIRKÜHL™ Men’s Hoody displays excellent abrasion and snag resistance for increased durability. Maximum sun protection (UPF 50+) paired with odor resistant properties keep you fresh and confident throughout the day.
Five-panel hood constructed to lay flat without bulk when not in use
Featuring the original thumb loop
DIFFERENT BY CONSTRUCTION
Open-air construction for advanced breathability
Odor-resistant infused fabric keeps you fresh longer so you can wash less and wear more
UPF 50+ sun protection
Sun-hoodie season is from the end of April to the late September so I spend a lot of days wearing one of these! I can tell from the weight of the fabric KÜHL has found a great balance in lightweight comfort and durability. I’ve worn mine for about 20 days so far this season without washing so I can attest to the “odor-resistant” technology. My wife would let me know right? The weave is somehow a bit tighter than other models which reduces snagging but is still super soft and breathable. Using the size chart I went for a size large and it fits great, just slightly snug in the forearms.
If you have already joined the sun-hoodie movement then you already know how great these are! KÜHL has joined a few other top-of-the-line companies in producing a seriously excellent sun-hoodie and this one is available and in-stock in 4 different colors (I’m really partial to the two lighter colors, Sea Breeze and Cloud Gray). A slightly different model is offered in womens, the KÜHL ENGINEERED™ HOODY. A great addition to any outdoor wardrobe made by an ethical company! A couple more KUHL reviews will be coming soon!
See you in the mountains,
Northeast Alpine Start
Disclaimer: The author purchased this item with his own money. Affiliate links help support this blog! Thank you.
Yesterday I received an email from REI informing me of some great changes to their membership program. I became an REI Member at their flagship store in Seattle, Washington during a Cascades climbing trip in 2017. While every REI Member enjoys their yearly dividend check members will now have access to free shipping from REI.com, early access to special offers, access to the Buy & Trade used gear section, and 20% off shop services!
All of this for a one-time fee of $30? This is a membership that literally pays for itself just by purchasing $300 or more over a lifetime!
You can read more details on these changes and the rest of the member benefits here.
Northeast Alpine Start is affiliated with REI and shopping through any of the above links will earn this site a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.
The Sierra Designs Cold Canyon Hoodie is a versatile mid-layer that can function as a stand-alone outer layer during high output activities during dry conditions. I’ve been testing on all Fall and I’m ready to share my opinions on the piece. First, the description from the Sierra Designs and the manufacturer specs:
The Cold Canyon Hoodie gives you stretch grid fleece that moves with you and vents heat with ease. Thumb loops allow for easy layering as a mid-layer, while a nylon wind breaker front sustains heat when moving quickly, allowing flow everywhere else.
Heavy weight stretch grid fleece provides breathability and warmth
Thumb loops for easy layering
Nylon windbreak on chest cuts wind while moving and still vents throughout
2 zippered hand warmer pockets
Shell: Stretch Grid Fleece
Tech Specs – Size M
Center Back Length: 28.5 in / 72.4 cm
Sleeve Length: 36.87 in / 93.66 cm
Weight: 18.75 oz / 531.55 g
I tested this jacket in the White Mountains from September to December while hiking a few of the 4,000 footers and rock climbing at Rumney, Cathedral, and in Huntington Ravine. All told I put about a dozen days into getting a feel for this jacket. The grid-fleece is a pretty great fabric. It is soft and brushed on the inside with a denser weave on the outside. The result is it traps a decent amount of heat for such a thin fabric and the outer weave seems to block a little bit of wind without sacrificing any breathability. When the winds do pick up the nylon chest panels provide even more protection. For a fleece mid-layer it seems pretty technical, with thumb loops ,a well sized hood, and a large sized zippered chest pocket.
I found this jacket to run pretty big. I went for a size large for my 5′ 9″, 180lb build and I think a medium would have been a better fit for me, especially in the sleeves which feel a bit too long, so consider sizing down if you want it to be a less casual fit. If you have particularly long arms you might stick with your regular size.
The Sierra Designs Cold Canyon Hoodie is definitely a nice addition to an active outdoor wardrobe. Other than running a bit big and weighing a bit more than a less technical fleece there isn’t much to complain about here. The MRSP is right around what I would have guessed in terms of value, and if you can catch it on sale this would be a great choice for a versatile mid-layer. In fact Sierra Designs is running a one-day “flash” sale for the non-hooded version of this jacket, so if you don’t need a hood and are just looking for a solid fleece mid-layer check out the Sierra Designs Cold Canyon Fleece Jacket, which is 40% off today only!
A media sample was provided for purpose of review. Affiliate links above support the content created at this blog and when you make a purchase through them the author receives a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.
Quick shout out that Backcountry is running 25% off almost every single Outdoor Research item right now.
My “pick” is the Echo Hooded LS Shirt. Northeast Mountaineering outfits their guides with this super versatile hoodie and it’s a great piece. If you’ve been waiting for a good sale on a sun hoodie you should also check out the Astroman Sun Hoodie! To see everything from Outdoor Research on sale go here!
While not the right season for it there is also a great deal on the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hooded Jacket, another item provided to me to guide in for Northeast Mountaineering. It is a definite staff favorite and the perfect “light hoodie” to add to your kit!
To see everything from Arc’teryx that is at least 20% off go here!
I’m fortunate to be able to review about a half-dozen of the industry’s best belay jackets each winter. Chances are from December to April I’m spending 5-6 days a week climbing frozen waterfalls or teaching avalanche courses up on notoriously cold Mount Washington. This gives me a lot of field time to put these jackets through the ringer and form some opinions which I am happy to share with you to help you navigate the myriad of choices out there!
Some impressive numbers from BightGear that speak to this process:
WEAR TESTING BY THE NUMBERS
2016 – Over 1.2 Million vertical feet of wear testing by our guide team of primary fabrics used in 76 sample prototypes to build 19 different styles.
2017 – Reached over 48 million vertical feet of wear testing and use of 143 prototypes by our team of 60+ guides, and thousands of RMI climbers on Mt. Rainier.
2018 – On target to reach over 100 million vertical feet of testing with the launch of the Bight Test program on mountains and outdoor playgrounds around the world.
Pretty cool right? Having learned all this I was more than happy to receive the BightGear Caldera Down Parka for a demo. After a month of testing in a variety of conditions I feel I can fairly share my opinion on this piece. In the realm of down insulated belay parkas the Caldera easily competes with the best in class options out there! Let’s start with the most noticeable then finish with the minutiae.
How Warm Is It?
BightGear stuffed this parka with over 6 ounces of 850 fill power HyperDRY™ Goose Down. That’s a lot of high loft quality down, and the result is a parka that feels like a nice sleeping bag for your torso. By using more I-beam baffles in the construction of the parka (vs sewn through) BightGear completely eliminates cold-spots. The arms and hood feel just as lofty as the torso which I prefer in this “over all” type parka. I’ve worn this over my other layers down to -16 Fahrenheit while demoing snow pits at 4,400 feet on Mount Washington. Even after an hour of standing relatively still while teaching the basics of snow-pack evaluation I was kept toasty.
How Dry Is It?
The BightGear Caldera uses a silky 20D nylon rip-stop with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Most of the days I tested the parka were in temperatures well below those where I would encounter any liquid precipitation. I did expose it to a rather drippy ice climb a couple weeks ago and noticed water beads off as expected with a DWR finish. I also wore it over a soaked soft-shell jacket following a deluge of an ice climb and it dried me out quite quickly without feeling like it absorbed to much of the moisture. I’ve become a huge fan of the DWR treated down used in this parka as I believe regular down would quickly become a wet lump of non-insulating feathers under similar conditions.
How Light and Pack-able Is It?
BightGear lists the weight of a size large at 646 grams (22.8 ounces). My home scale weighed my large in at 640 grams (22.6 ounces). This is within an ounce of other similar style/priced options. It easily stuffs into my Hyperlight Mountain Gear waterproof stuff sack and if packing space is at a real premium I can use my extra small compression stuff sack to get this down to the size of a 32 ounce water bottle!
BightGear included a lot design choices to further make the Caldera one of the best down parkas I’ve ever tested. The hood fits perfectly over my climbing helmet and is well stuffed with down making it a comfortable place to retreat in the harshest conditions. The brushed tricot lining on the inside collar is super cozy when in “full turtle” mode. This same lining is in the well positioned hand warming front pockets. Articulated elbows make this jacket fit great over my other layers and the PowerStretch cuffs seal out cold and snow while playing in deep snow. There are also two stretchy inside stash pockets that can hold gloves or a water bottle.
It is clear that the BightGear Caldera Parka was designed by working mountain guides. It has everything you want in a big down “puffy” and nothing you don’t want. Of all the down parkas I have tested this one stands out as a top-pick for many reasons, not the least of which is the “half-sleeping bag” type feeling you get when you slip this on over your other layers. If you are looking to upgrade your belay jacket this one would be an excellent choice!
Exclusive 30% Off Discount!
I am super excited to be able to offer my readers a 30% off discount on ANY thing from BightGear’s Website! While I can not post the code publicly here all you need to do is shoot me a DM through Instagram, a PM through Facebook, or go old school and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! This discount is only good until April 1st, 2019 so don’t delay!
See you in the mountains,
Northeast Alpine Start
A media sample was provided for purpose of review.