Esoteric

Esoteric

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on February 1, 2012

5 5

Size: 5'10, 160lbs. Small fits tight around armpits but everything else fine.

I switch this around with my "Arc'teryx Firee Softshell Jacket". Both are similar. Water resistant shell with high loft fleece on the inside. Warmth wise both jackets are similar, with TNF coming in at almost $200 cheaper than the Arcteryx.

Back to this jacket... Tapered wrists and forearms for a nice close fit. It fits snug all around. Does not have seamless shoulders like the Arc Firee. No internal pocket. No wrist gaiters. Collar fits close to neck, may chaff your chin/neck in dry/cold conditions. Quite snug around the armholes. Jacket length is longer than other jackets. Cinch cord pulls from inside handwarmers. This jacket is extremely warm yet breathable. Fairly stretchable. The handwarmer pockets flair out when open. Roomy in the gut area makes you look pudgy when sitting down. However, I find my self wearing this a lot. Looks great too.

Highly recommended especially at this price.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on January 26, 2011

5 5

My wife loves to steal this from me. I love wearing my Patty R1 hoodies, but when I found this polartec hoody I had to try it out. It layers very well under jackets, weighs nothing, and the hood is generous and functional. This one has media hole inside the marsupial pouch.
A great alternative to the standard hoodies, or technical hoodies like the R1 when you feel like looking "baggy" for a change.

I usually wear small in TNF for a fitted look, but as far as hoodies go I size up. Medium is a bit baggy but very comfortable (5'9 155lbs).

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on November 10, 2010

5 5

Extremely warm jacket, I wear this over a t-shirt, which is exactly what I wanted.
Anything over 40F and you will overheat with minimal activity.

This is a pretty minimalistic stylish jacket, so I can also wear it casually around town.

Pros:
Comfortable, semi-casual fit
Vampire collar doubles as neck gaiter if you duck into it
Wrist liners seal the cuffs completely (same cuff style as kappa series)
Pockets are lined with solid fleecy material, not mesh
Inside chest pocket
Powershield is soft and malleable
Hem cinch cords have been relocated to the hips (not inside the pockets like Hyllus)
VERY warm, just grab and go (think Patagonia R4 caliber with added water resistance)

Cons:
Too warm for heavy activity when above 40F
Too warm to wear indoors

Sizing: 5'9 165lbs, Small fits perfectly like it was tailor made

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on October 21, 2010

3 5

Starting on a positive note, this new version (SP10) of R4 looks better in appearance, and has functional handwarmer pockets.

However...
The mighty R4 has unfortunately lost it's phenomenal ability to "trap/contain heat". No cinch on hem (waist), and no wrist elastic bands.

I have to be fair in this review and rate this jacket against all other similar windproof jackets for men (there aren't many), but if I were rating this purely against last season's version (which was 5 stars all the way), it'd be much lower.

In my opinion, the R4 used to be great due to the combination of thicker fabric, windproofness, and cinch cords that allowed maximum heat trapping. Without cinching and open wrists, the new R4 is no warmer than say a lighter/less bulky jacket that is cinched and tight on wrists. So why go up in weight and bulk for no gain in warmth.

Although, you may get lucky and fit perfectly into one of their sizes, nice and tight around the waist line. If so, I say keep the jacket! There aren't many other options for a windproof fleece of this caliber.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on October 20, 2010

5 5

Wanted something different from the usual cotton/poly hoodies I have.
The Apex Aerobic is really soft, not a bit of stiffness like the regular Apex Bionic material.
Fleece is lined throughout the jacket. There is a hidden zippered inside chest pocket, which was a pleasant surprise.

Lastly, this thing weighs practically nothing compared to cotton hoodies.

5'9 165lbs, I usually wear small, but went Medium for a loose comfy fit.
It is wind/water resistant.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on October 18, 2010

5 5

5'9 ~165lbs, slim build. The small was a little tight in the chest, but length was fine all around.. arms.. torso.. all good. The medium was very roomy, especially in mid-section.

Feels extremely durable, I compared this side by side w/ the Sentinel Windstopper (similar to this jacket but with Gore windstopper), and the Apex has a thicker outer shell.

If you're new to the Apex series, this is a cross between an affordable durable outdoor activity shell, as well as a really warm water resistant casual jacket (when layered w/ midlayer). Unlike some comparable technical Gore-tex / Gore windstopper softshells, the hand warming pockets on the Apex are placed at casual locations.

Great beat around jacket, or a nice gift as casual wear for those still in high-school or college.

Here are some warmer versions from TNF: Apex Bionic Thermal, Sentinel Thermal, Chromium Thermal

And some similar but more technical softshells you may consider for more money: Patagonia Windproof Talus, Marmot Sharp point, MHW Alchemy, Arcteryx Venta AR

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on October 17, 2010

5 5

Maybe not as tough and durable as the apex, but clearly more comfy and warmer with the rachel fleece backer. the pocket angle is an improvement over last seasons, doesnt flair out when open. Fit is pretty much identical to last seasons, it's a trim fit.
My only gripe would be the unlined handwarmer pockets, they deserve fleece lining. Also, the pockets are not mesh like many softshells, the softshell material continues throughout the pocket. Windstopper is awesome material as usual.

It's hard to explain the texture of the outer surface, I'll just say that the Apex feels like a hardshell compared to this. Elastic cuffs, and cinch cords pull from inside the pocket simlar to many arcteryx jackets.

Lastly, fit: im 5'9, 165lbs, slim build. this being a summit series, I fall right between SM and MD. Medium was a loose fit, but length was great all around. Small fit nice and close, but was too short in length. I love the jacket, but due to sizing I went with the Arcteryx Firee jacket.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on October 17, 2010

4 5

My wife tried this on at the store the other day. It fits better than last season's version (which is getting a bit matted now).

If you are looking at this jacket, you probably know it's reputation as the warmest windproof fleece you can get.

With the redesign: 1) no cinch cord on hem, the waist line is very "drafty". 2) no elastic on cuffs, also drafty. 3) overall she feels the jacket seems thinner than last season, less loft.

Not as functional as last seasons, but she mentioned it looks much better than before and I thought so too. Loses stars on warmth, but gained a few in the looks department.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a review of on October 9, 2010

4 5

I have the last version of windwall 2, checked this new version at local REI.
It is thicker, and much warmer. The grid pattern fleece on the inside is similar to patagonia R1/R2 grids.

Only reason I don't give this version 5 stars is because it is stiffer.
Excellent casual jacket, much warmer than Apex.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote an answer about on October 9, 2010

kris, thanks for your answer. I confirmed the lack of cinch cord on hem and lack of elastic bands on wrist with Patagonia rep. I don't see how this new version of R4 can trap any heat. Thought this purchase would be a no brainer, but guess I'll have to check it out at the local store when they stock it.

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Esoteric

Esoteric wrote a question about on September 28, 2010

I was excited about the improved pocket placement on this new R4, until I discovered there is NO waist adjustment cord on this version...
Can someone who has actually worn this version explain why they got rid of the clinch cord on a windproof fleece? Does it have a slim waist fit design?

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