Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Monkey Woman Jacket

Perhaps the most telling thing I can say about Mountain Hardwear’s Monkey Woman Jacket is simply that on a recent two-week Himalayan trek, I rarely took it off. It is indeed one of the most comfortable insulating layers I have ever had the pleasure of wearing. In fact, it is not just comfortable, it is comforting; I used it as a pillow most evenings in the tent. The plush fleece feels heavenly against your skin.

I first put on the Monkey Woman Jacket for the rather mundane task of airport check-in and security, and discovered the zip pockets to be perfect to keep passports and other documentation secure but close at hand.

Once on the trail, I found the Monkey Woman Jacket’s warmth-to-weight ratio to be very impressive. It delivers significant warmth in a lightweight package of only 15 ounces. It is also breathable with excellent moisture management. If it does get damp, it dries almost instantly. At various times, I layered the Monkey Woman Jacket over technical base layers, under a soft shell, and even under a down jacket for extra toastiness. Its slim shape makes it ideal for non-bulky layering, and the Technostretch waist and wrists eliminate cold drafts.

One of the features I enjoyed the most, and find to be all too rare in fleece jackets, is that when zipped up, the neck fits just right. It is not too tight and the zipper is enclosed at the top by a soft flap of fabric, keeping it away from the neck and eliminating any potential scratchiness.

The hard-working Monkey Woman Jacket held up exceptionally well under two weeks of hard wear with no chance of a wash. It kept its shape, looked and even smelled clean despite constant wear. I will reach for it often for cool and cold weather high intensity activities.

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About the author

Debbie McKeown