For years I have been in search of a garment that fills a specific niche in my layering system. How many times can you recall being too cold in you base layer, and too hot with your shell on? You are forced to battle with yourself between sweating and shivering. On nearly a day-to-day basis for the last 15 years I have been out in the hills playing. From morning trail runs with the dog, guiding in Franconia Notch, or skiing off the summit of Mt. Washington; no matter what the objective a light weight hoody that blocks the wind without adding insulation is essential.
Me in the SO Hoody on the right. Andrew in the Ultimate Hoody on the left.
My criteria for this hoody is rather straight forward:
1) Must be light and compressible enough to fit in my pocket, or bullet pack.
2) Must be thin enough to allow perspiration to pass through without becoming soggy.
3) Must provide protection from the wind to prevent too much evaporative cooling.
4) Must have a hood that fits over my helmet while at belays.
Seems simple? Well a quick internet search will show you that, finding that simple hoody that fills the 4 requirements listed above, is a tall order. That is until I picked up the “Wall SO Hoody” by Mammut. https://www.mammut.ch/US/en_US/B2C-Kategorie/Men/Wall-SO-Hoody-Men/p/1010-19840-4075
MMG guide Erik and I in our SO Hoodies, Sundance Wall Estes Park, CO.
Until I was acquainted with the Wall SO Hoody I would have given my other choices in wind-shirt hoodies a C for a grade. They always did the job I required, but with some undesirable side effects. They blocked the wind. They were compressible. However, I always struggled to zip the zipper when I had a hood on over my helmet. These hoodies did an okay job of allowing sweat to pass through, except for under my arms; where after a long day of work they would often leave my underarms damp and raw. I never thought I had a choice. I wasn’t going to carry a soft shell in July, and I wasn’t going to skin up Mt. Washington in my Gore-Tex. So, all things considered I had it pretty good.
MMG guide Todd, Guiding in his SO Hoody, Franconia Notch, NH.
This spring the Wall SO Hoody entered my quiver of layers. Since then it has been with me almost every day. I just cant help it, its perfect for everything. It excels at all 4 of my requirements, even adding a few benefits that I never knew I wanted.
First, It is made with Mammut Soft Tech Windstopper fabric for the maid body of the garment. This not only blocks the wind, but when climbing the garment can stretch providing full range of motion, all while staying tucked into my harness.
Second, the underarms are comprised of a breathable stretch fabric allowing the high moister areas to dry even more quickly than the main body. No more damp raw underarms!
Third, The hood fits over my helmet, and I can even climb with it on. This increases comfort drastically on windy pitches at the top of a wall.
Fourth, it’s compressible. Weighing in at only 305 grams it doesn’t slow me down.
The best part is its durability. I’ve put this thing through the ringer and it still looks good enough to wear to the pub or the coffee shop. It’s not showing any signs of slowing down ether.
The perfectly chilly canyons of Red Rocks, NV.
So far the Wall SO Hoody has been the perfect companion. If working sport pitches at Rumney, NH; Guiding on Cannon, NH; Exploring the Front Range, CO; or climbing a shady route in Black Velvet Canyon, NV it has proven its worth. The Mammut team deserves kudos on this one. I think I’m going to take my SO Hoody and go climbing now.