Monday, 20 June 2011
Mountain Hardwear Micro Chill Fleece Jacket
I had the opportunity to try a Mountain Hardwear Micro Chill 1/2 zip fleece top a while back thanks to Webtogs. Although it was a nice enough top I felt that it was a bit expensive given that it was a fairly basic design. I also mentioned the full zip version which had a few other features that I felt made it worth the small increase in price.
The features missing on the 1/2 zip version that I'd have liked were a waist draw cord and some kind of cuff on the sleeves. The Micro Chill Full Zip fleece has both and in addition has a small zipped chest pocket and 2 zipped hand warmer pockets. I mentioned at the time that I didn't own a 100 wt fleece but I found that the more I wore the 1/2 zip version the more often I found myself looking at the jacket, in the end I decided to purchase one.
I choose size medium the same as the 1/2 zip as although it's a little looser than perhaps a 100 wt fleece should be I wanted the extra arm length, I also choose the same colour. Delivery was quick as usual, I ordered on Friday afternoon and the jacket arrived on Monday. The fit is pretty much the same as the 1/2 zip as you'd expect and I'm very pleased with it. I much prefer to have a waist draw cord generally but as I up sized slightly in this case it's almost a necessity. The shock cord is slightly stiff and I may replace it with a softer cord in time.
The shock cord adjusts at both side by way of a captive cord lock although it's slightly over engineered. Rather than attach the cord lock directly by way of a webbing loop the webbing loop has a plastic ring which in turn prevents the cord lock from moving.
The main zip is quite chunky and allows the jacket to be zipped into a compatible shell while the pocket zip are less chunky. The cuffs appear to be loose like the ones on the 1/2 zip version but actually have inner cuffs which seem to be made from a lycra type fabric. This works quite well, the cuffs aren't bulky yet the fleece protects the lycra and as the inner cuffs are wide they aren't uncomfortable or restrictive.
One thing that did strike me as a bit strange though is the shoulder/sleeve design. I mentioned when I reviewed the 1/2 zip version that the sleeves were raglan style rather than regular set in style and that the seams were flat stitched to reduce bulk or rubbing from rucksac shoulder straps, the full zip version in spite of sharing the same name (Micro Chill) has set in regular seam shoulders. This isn't something that concerns me personally but it's worth noting if you suffer from sensitive shoulders.
Although the full zip version is more expensive at £49.50, the 1/2 zip version being £40.49 I personally feel that if you're spending £40 or so it's worth spending the extra £10 for the increased versatility.