As the mercury dipped below zero for the third day in a row, I found myself digging once again for the Kodiak Expedition Full Zip Hoody. Over the past few weeks, this sweatshirt made by Minus33 has proven to be a solid all-in-one for any outdoor activity.
The 100-percent merino hoody is soft and warm. The outside is a tightly-woven thick merino and keeps the wind from cutting through. The wool-fleece interior makes it soft and cozy.
The hoody costs $175, which is about on par for this category.
Minus33 is based in New Hampshire. Its roots go to 1916, when L.W. Packard was founded, a textile company that sold wool for decades. It was renamed to Minus33 and still operates on the grounds of the original mill site.
I wore the hoody a ton for about 10 weeks, including in the Minnesota winter as well as on a trip to the Vancouver area this month. Here are some of my testing notes.
Features You Need: The hood is extremely roomy and did a good job keeping the wind off my neck and face. The hand warmer pockets were enough to keep my digits toasty but they aren’t very deep and I wouldn’t trust them to hold anything securely.
Long ribbed cuffs with stitched thumbholes made it easy to keep my hands warm and covered. The long sleeves made it so I didn’t have to worry about exposing wrists when my arms were stretched out.
Sizing: The hoody fit well and is true to size. For reference, I am 6’1” and about 230 pounds, and the Xl fit just right (and accommodated my wide shoulders). It was also tall enough to fall below my base layer and I didn’t have to worry about showing crack when pedaling on a bike.
Not Ultra-Light: This is not a light piece of clothing. It weights just less than two pounds and you can definitely feel its bulk and weight while hefting it around in a backpack. But that weight lends itself to its warmth.
Flaw: I did notice some pilling on the lower back and inside the arms after about a month of wear but after washing and drying it (which the company recommended) and a hearty go-over with a lint roller, the little fuzzies were gone.
Pro Tip: Keep a common adhesive lint roller around to spruce up merino apparel, which tends to collect stray hair and lint; a quick brush-off takes care of the issue and makes the fabric look new.
Who Should Buy It: The hoody is definitely toasty — I found myself reaching for it on my morning commute and cross country skiing, to hanging around in town at night. A light base layer was all I needed to wear this as outerwear in temps to about 30 degrees. It functioned well as a mid-layer under a shell jacket when it got cold. I would recommend the Kodiak Hoody to anyone looking for a mulit-functional, go-to hoody sweatshirt that is built well and looks stylish. Minus33 also makes the same hoody in a mid-weight for warmer temps.
–Full details on Minus33 product page.