I just discovered a new personal quirk. Apparently when I post a review I compulsively must post a picture of the item in the same color in which I reviewed it. If it’s not the same color, I just can’t do it. Weird…anyhoo, so I asked for the Azara hoody in the browny bronze color shown above. No, it’s not orange, it’s definitely browny bronze. I have no real feelings on the color other than the other choices being black (borrrrinnnggg and hard to find in a backpack with all the other black stuff), pink (ergh), and purple (really? come on, pink and purple?), none of which I liked much. But I’m happy with the browny bronze; it goes well with my (admittedly purple) rain shell.
I also confess to setting this hoody aside for a week or two when it arrived. I was all, “oh, another puffy jacket, ho hum” and hung it up on my office door and neglected it for a while. It’s kind of a sleeper, you know? Finally I could no longer take the guilt and grabbed it to take along on a hike, and I don’t think I’ve ever taken it off since. My husband commented “you must like that thing, because you are always wearing it.” And it’s true! I love this thing! It’s rare to feel too hot or too cold underneath, unless really zipped up tight with a shell on top and exerting oneself in the warmer ranges of cold temperatures. I love how low-pro it is and how it slides under the slimmest fit shells. It’s true that I’m rarely without this layer.
I really appreciate the fussless elastic cuffs. No velcro or
fake velcro rip and stick to grab delicate fibers, always be too tight or too lose, and to slowly lose its stick and die an early death flapping in the breeze and annoying the hell out of you. These cuffs are nicely done, simple, and effective.
The fit is perfect if you buy a size up. I’m a small in almost everything but the M was great for me. Arms are long enough and there’s not too much wiggle room. I wouldn’t try to size this one like a belay jacket. It seems more like a layering or standalone piece to me. And the Pertex outer is great for layering because it’s so slidey. Maybe that’s why I wear it so much, because I hardly notice it under shells, unlike more conventional puffies that are too, you know, puffy.
The one hangup I have with this jacket are the zipper pulls, or maybe the cord adjustments that abut them. The cord adjuster things are so big that it’s sometimes hard to find the zipper pull to vent a little, especially with gloves on. Personally I’d rather the cord adjustments get smaller, but if the zipper pull got bigger or even more tactically differentiated from the cord things, I’d be happy. Even with this minor quibble, this is a piece that is solidly in my everyday kit. From teens (it hasn’t gotten colder than the teens in my neck of Alaska yet this year) to a damp and blustery forties, this no-fuss layer always comes along for the ride. A solid first entry into the women’s apparel market from Brooks-Range.
Brooks Range-Lightweight Pertex (R) Quantum shell fabric w/ DWR treatment-800+ European Goose Down-Hood collar combo-Helmet compatible hood-Fleeced lined collar-Zipper chin guard-Low bulk cuffs-Internal pocket-Zipper hand warming pockets$120.00
Brooks RangeInsulation: Primaloft One (R) , 60g/m2Shell Fabric: 15 denier Pertex (TM) Weight (size - M) : 12.1 oz. (343 g)$94.50