Between nine and five on Monday through Friday, your jacket has only two or three buttons. After hours and on the weekends, though, your warmth-giving options usually have zippers of varying length: quarter, half, and full-zip. And, in spite of the incremental weight trade-off, nothing is more convenient than a full-zip hooded sweatshirt for instant comfort.
Unfortunately, most hooded sweatshirts are, shall we say, generously cut. Many are made of cotton, which absorbs moisture, gaining weight in the process, and takes forever to dry. Seeking a more athletic option with a trimmer profile, I picked up Eastern Mountain Sports’ Powerstretch Full-Zip [fleece] Hoodie. The list of features is fairly impressive: decent warmth for its weight, good wicking action, and versatile enough to be worn as a lightweight jacket or as an insulating layer. Although the color options are limited, you have the choice of getting stylish contrast stitching (in my experience, the stitching is much less pronounced than the website makes it look). Speaking of stitching, the seams are unobtrusive, particularly in the shoulder area, which makes carrying a backpack full of client files much more comfortable. The close-fitting scuba-style hood provides noticeable warmth without impeding peripheral vision. I wore it as my primary jacket during a cold, damp, Northern Michigan weekend camping trip this fall, and it stood up to the blustery mid- to upper-30s temps. Paired with a rain shell, it was more than satisfactory.
The hoodie is definitely more technical than casual. It has longer sleeves equipped with thumbholes, which is nice except for the 85% of the time you don’t need to use the thumbholes. I’ve had to roll up the sleeves a few inches to avoid the bunched-up, factory-reject look. This isn’t a problem per se – it was designed this way and the thumbholes are nice if you’re caught in the cold without gloves. Given the fact that the hoodie doesn’t have any meaningful pocket space (there’s a small/useless zippered chest pocket, big enough for maybe an ID, a credit card, and some folding cash), getting caught without gloves could be a real problem. Although others seem to have trouble with the fabric pilling, I have not had that issue in the eleven months I’ve owned the jacket. At $99, though, it is a bit pricey to have quality concerns.
Overall, the EMS Powerstretch Full-Zip Hoodie is a versatile, technical option for lightweight, cool-weather warmth. Not great for casual situations, it’s still a good addition to the active attorney’s outdoor wardrobe.
Eastern Mountain Sports Powerstretch Full-Zip Hoodie – Rating:
7 of 10 Gavels
Get it here: Eastern Mountain Sports