Gear Review: Smartwool Men's PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Hoody

Within the past few days we have had such strong winds that I had to take down the hanging sign with my house number for fear that my home would soon be numberless. The other day, it went from +20 in the morning, to an inch of snow at night. Welcome to the crazy Canadian Spring fluctuations that require you to be prepared. We gave the Smartwool Men's PhD Smartloft Full Zip Hoody a try to see how it stood up to this Spring.

This jacket is made with a 100% Nylon exterior, and lined with Merino Wool for a very soft feel. The elastic cuffs fit well, and the drawstring allowed you to cinch-up the bottom of the jacket snugly to keep out any drafts. The jacket moved very fluidly with me and due to its light weight, was my first choice from my closet when heading out for a hike. The Smartloft (a mix of wool insulated with quilted nylon) wasn't bulky, kept me pleasantly warm, and the DWR coating shed any rain or snow.

The zipper sometimes catches on the draft flap inside if you zip up quickly, but didn't allow any wind to whistle through and give you a chill. Leaning into wind kept me perfectly warm and dry, and the two hand pockets offered the same shelter. There are also two inner pockets (about the same size as an iPad mini) to stash gloves, or a granola bar for later.

The attached hood has room for a helmet, although it can be a little hard to manage in direct headwinds when you aren't wearing one because there are no cords to tighten the area. Its larger size helped baffle crosswind, and since the SmartLoft isn't that puffy, it lays flat when leaning against something like a tree or your car seat, so you don't have an uncomfortable bulge in the back of your neck.

Although the Smartwool Men's PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Hoody isn't highly packable, it stood up to everything that Spring has thrown at it, and therefore has become my go-to jacket for all of my outdoor adventures. The bright colours of the jacket this year are also are quite sharp and attractive, and this jacket also comes in a version for Women. The Merino Max Double Jersey knit that runs through the back of the jacket and along the inside collar and hood gives you the warm embrace you want during the chill of Spring.