Icebreaker's Kodiak Hoody - Gear Review

Monday, February 18, 2013

Few things can take the bite out of a frigid winter day.  Planning a day adventuring in the outdoors but between the thermometer and your level of activity, dressing appropriately is nearly impossible.  As you know, layers are key, but which layers?

I have a relatively new found love affair with wool, merino wool to be precise.   If your first thought of wool goes directly to your grandfather's work shirt; itchy, rough and about as comfortable as a Brillo pad, you have no idea.  The Kodiak Hoody from Icebreaker is a piece of wool clothing that you can use year round.  made from their Merino "Realfleece 320" it is a heavier mid-layer that has been brushed to a softness you simply need to feel to believe.  I know these guys make wool gear, but I had to check the tag to be certain.  It's so soft you can hardly believe there is any wool in there.  FYI; it's 100% merino wool, no blend, no BS. Adding to the natural wonders of wool, Icebreaker employs the use of Bluesign endorsed "nanotechnology" to help repel water, mud and oil. 

It was Icebreaker that opened my eyes to the new generation wool a couple years ago.  It wasn't the materials or marketing that peaked my interest, it was their design.  Icebreaker is a performance clothing maker that realizes just because you are using their gear for active pursuits, doesn't mean you want to look like you are leaving home in sweats.  The Kodiak has acted as everything from a fall jacket over a simple t-shirt when temps are in the upper 40's, to a very welcomed thermal layer under my shell jacket during a sub-zero cold spell here in the frozen wasteland...  Performance minded the Kodiak has panels in the sided and back for stretch and a zipper chest pocket with a slit for your headphone cord.

This thing is machine washable and comes out looking beautiful.  DO NOT put it in the dryer though, trust me on  this one.  It feels so much like any old cotton hoody that it's easy to mix it up with the $20 beater from college.  I ran mine through once, it wan't happy.  Fortunately, I was able to get it wet again and hang it to dry resolving the problem.  Bullet dodged.

MSRP: Regularly $270 currently on sale for $189...  It may not be cheap, but it is easily a 3 season piece.  Once you put one on, you'll never look at a cotton sweatshirt the same way again.

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