By: Bart Beck
When the seasonal cold starts to set in and you head to the closet, there’s nothing like reaching in and finding that one fleece that you’ll put on at the beginning of the season and use until spring breaks. Versatile, soft, light, and warm are all attributes that you look for in that fleece, and Mountain Hardwear gets all three when it comes to the Monkey Man Jacket.
When it comes to fleece fabric, Mountain Hardwear hits it on the nose by using Polartec’s High Loft fabric to craft the Mountain Man. This piley fleece gives plush softness and warmth in a weight that you can’t beat. In addition to that, you also get solid wicking properties, so you don’t get soaked when you work hard; and, although I’ve never tested it, you get thermal properties, even when damp or wet. It’s thanks to these properties that I wear it around the house, as a midlayer while skiing, and also throw it in my backpack to accompany me on all of my backcountry adventures.
Another plus that I’ve found with the Monkey Man is its cut. Both the men’s and women’s versions come in a nice, sleek athletic fit that doesn’t come off as boxy or too restrictive. The women’s comes in a ladies’ specific fit that is flattering, comfortable, and fully functional (with that said, both still look good on and fit individuals with varying body shapes and sizes). To round out the fit, the Monkey Man Fleece incorporates a bit of stretch in its fabric and design. This all adds up to a fleece that allows you to move freely and comfortable, no matter what activity you’re pursuing. I can honestly say, I’ve never found an instance when I’ve felt restricted or inhibited by this jacket.
The only drawback I’ve found with this fleece is that it can be a little too warm and insulating in certain circumstances. This mainly occurs when fully layered and transitioning between activities or atmospheres. Thankfully, Mountain Hardwear put some under-arm and side panels to increase breathability (and reduce bulk) where you need it most.
You really can’t go wrong with the Monkey Woman or Man Jacket. Functionally, it’s lightweight, uninhibiting, and far from bulky, yet it packs a punch in the warmth department. Aesthetically, it looks and feels great, whether you’re wearing it to work or out to play on the weekend. I’ve put some trust and faith in my Monkey Man the past few seasons, and I don’t plan on changing the lineup anytime soon.