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Sierra Designs Gnar Hoody Jacket

I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday surprise than Sierra Design’s Gnar Hoody Jacket. It combines the coziness of a hoody with the super light, warm insulation of 800 fill down. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is my favorite jacket ever.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we’re experts at layering to ward off the bone-chilling dampness that pervades our winters. While I’ve sometimes felt not quite warm enough wearing layers of long underwear, fleece, and a waterproof shell, adding the Gnar Hoody totally blocks the cold. I’ve worn this hoody jacket layered under a shell out walking in the rain, as an outer layer when skiing, and over a single layer around town, and felt totally comfortable and warm in all instances.

The Gnar Hoody Jacket is also great indoors, and somehow, doesn’t make me too warm. I spent a lot of time in drafty coffee houses, so it's nice to have a lightweight jacket I can wad up and stuff into my laptop bag.

The Gnar Hoody has a trim, flattering cut, and I appreciate the adjustable hem, which which I can tighten it up easily. One of my guy friends has mentioned several times how flattering this jacket is on me. Yes!

When I was skiing in this jacket yesterday at Snoqualmie Pass in Washington’s Cascades, I especially loved the elastic-lined thumb hole at the base of the sleeves. When I pulled my ski gloves on with my thumbs hooked through these openings, my wrists were completely covered and protected against the wind chill.  No more annoying cold wrists!

To be honest, I was surprised at how well the Gnar Hoody insulated me from the cold and kept me comfortably warm when downhill skiing and riding up the lifts (think wind chill with temps around 20 degrees F). I wore just a turtleneck and a light soft shell jacket underneath and didn’t need to throw on the fleece vest I stuffed in my pack just in case. I guess I thought because this down hoody is so soft and lightweight it couldn’t possibly serve me as well in the snowy mountains as in the city. I was happy to be wrong.

The Gnar Hoody Jacket has plenty of pockets, inside and out, for me to stash my keys, lip balm, credits cards, and more. The jacket comes with a cute little stuff sack so I can compress it to fit easily into a small pack or tote.  Finally, I love the message inscribed on the front zipper lining, which just happens to be my personal mantra: "Seek Adventure."

The Gnar Hoody Jacket in available in women's sizes XS through XL (also available in men's sizes), in Blueberry, Agate, Black, Wild Orchid, and Citron. Note on fit: I’m 5’2” and petite but buxom with broad shoulders for my height. The size M fit great except it's a tad tight around the chest..  

Bottom Line: I love this trim, attractive down hoody; its down insulation keeps me cozy warm every time I venture outside.--J.I. (January 2012)

BUY ONLINE: $209, on sale for LESS at Amazon. Click for men's.

Manufacturer's Site: www.sierradesigns.com

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.