Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gear Review: First Ascent Hangfire Hoodie

You know that comfortable hooded sweatshirt that's your favorite for lounging around in on a cool fall afternoon.  It’s not your friend.  In fact, it might just try to kill you.

Et tu Champion?
Why would such a warm, welcoming, and familiar piece of clothing be out to get you?  Truth be told, its not really the sweatshirt’s fault.  It’s just born that way.  You see, that hooded sweatshirt was likely made almost entirely of cotton.  And in cold wet weather, cotton kills.

So what is a hoodie lover to do?  Eddie Bauer’s got an answer for you with the Hangfire Hoodie.

Made of a brushed polyester fleece, the Hangfire feels like cotton, but without the homicidal tendencies.  Given its polyester nature, it dries out more quickly, and even continues providing some insulation value when wet. 

My biggest complaint with many fleece items (including gloves) is that they attract and hold snow like a magnet which eventually melts and reduces the insulating properties.  The outer covering of the Hangfire, however, is manufactured with a DWR treatment which makes it smooth and repels moisture.  Therefore the Hangfire can be worn as an outer layer on warmer days, as well as an inner insulating layer in the cold.

On the way to North Twin.
I packed the Hangfire on virtually every trip I took this winter.  It was warm enough to keep me toasty on my trip up to North Twin in 15'F with wind and only a thin shell on top.  In addition to insulating well, it sheds moisture readily, and is insanely comfortable.  In fact, it is so comfortable that I prefer to wear it as my pajama top while winter camping.

So do yourself a favor and leave the favorite sweatshirt at home.  Bring a fleece hoodie instead.  Your life may depend on it.


  1. I totally agree. I got one last winter, and never stopped wearing it. Very comfy.

  2. Next you will be telling me to trade in logging boots and carharts for birkbenstocks w/wool socks and spandex stretch pants! If I get rid of the hoodie, can I keep the pink sweatpants that say "juicy" across the hind-end?

  3. Only if you promise to stop wearing them to hunting camp. The deer are starting to complain.