As I've mentioned before, I have a couple of pieces of Patagonia gear made from their Capilene synthetic, and while it works fine, it's never felt perfect to me. It doesn't breathe quite as well as some other technical fibers, and when it gets wet, it sticks to the skin and feels clammy.
On the other hand, I absolutely love Patagonia's merino wool socks. So, I've been pretty interested in trying out their merino base layers.
Happily, Santa (actually, Mrs. Santa) came early this year. In fact, she was just in time for last weekend's cold snap. So, I got try out my new Merino 3 midweight hoodie over the course of a two-hour run in sub-freezing weather.
The Merino 3 fabric is 80% merino wool, blended with 20% polyester to increase the fabric's durability. And boy, did it work wonderfully. I stayed warm and dry throughout the run. When zipped up, it even covers the neck nicely. And when the sun came out and I started feeling a little too warm, a quick pull of the zipper released the extra heat and brought my body temperature just where I wanted it.
But the best feature is the hood. I had doubts whether it would be able to replace the beanie that I usually wear. But this hood did the job and then some. It stays on around my head even when I'm running fast (well, sort of fast), keeps my head warm without overheating, and again, when the sun comes out, its easy to pull back the hood. Unlike with a hat, you don't have to worry about stashing anything in a pocket.
Which is good because the one thing this top is missing is pockets! I get the fact that this is a base layer, so it is not meant to have pockets like a top layer. But on most DC winter days, this hoodie is perfect without a vest or additional layering. A zip pocket to stash a few things would make this even more perfect.
But, I'm not complaining! While running, I almost never had occasion to think about the temperature outside, which is the best compliment I can give a piece of winter gear. Plus, not only does it look sharp, it fits beautifully. You might just find me wearing it out and about when I'm not running...
Cold Weather Gear