When I first got into this outdoor stuff I quickly realized that a down jacket was a must-have piece of gear. That and some very chilly early starts in Scotland. I quickly came to own a down jacket but soon realized whilst great for standing around in it was not so good on the hill in our soggy climate. When I moved to the Lake District I soon acquired a synthetic filled jacket which is still going strong today having been to nearly 6000m in Ecuador, got soaked in Scotland and scraped up a couple of gritstone chimneys. Anyway, a few jackets down the line and I’m pretty happy with my current system of a hooded synthetic (primaloft) jacket which is awesome for Scottish winter belays and a down gillet which in the last couple of weeks I have been layering over the top to add extra insulation. Complementing this I also regularly use a synthetic gillet throughout the rest of the year to add core warmth when needed. The synthetic pieces have replaced bulky 200 weight fleeces (much lighter and more compressible when carried in a sack)and the down is still there for posing.
A key piece in my layering system this year has been the lightweight hoody. The main features of this are a hood obviously and thumb loops. Taking the hood on and off and pulling the sleeves down over your wrists allows for really effective control of your comfort levels whilst on the move.
I have been using the Berghaus Smoulder hoody as it seemed really good value and the fit was good on me. Unfortunately with these things I don’t think it’s been continued. I have also had a Wild Things power-stretch hoody for a while which is a warmer layer but has the bonus feature of horizontally cut thumb loops which are really comfy to use. Most tops feature ‘vertical’ loops that can cut into your hand.
Best purchase of the summer has been a Rab Boreas pull on which I have used on its own and in combination with the other tops. It’s super breathable and dries quickly. The hood will fit over a helmet at a stretch. It’s a must have piece!
So there we have it, the lightweight hoody or a couple in different fabrics has become an essential part of my clothing system out on the hill. Get yours now!