Start monkeying around.
Find the softest, furriest angora sweater you can, and it still won't be as soft as the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Grid II Men's Hooded Fleece Jacket. The Monkey Man's Monkey Phur polyester has become famous for its incredible loft and softness, and this version of the Monkey Man also features hardface fleece panels at the sides, underarms, and hood, to increase mobility and breathability. It also sports zippered hand pockets, a hem drawcord, and low-profile thumbholes to keep your small items handy and drafts at bay, respectively.
- Monkey Phur polyester fleece
- Hardface fleece side, underarm, and hood panels
- Zippered hand pockets
- Hem drawcord
- Item #MHW00IK
- Q & A
Great Midlayer Fleece for Climbing
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: Medium
This review is climbing orientated.
I am 5'8" 150lbs., and a medium fits great as a midlayer over a base layer. It is highly breathable, super stretchy, super warm jacket. When walking, you can feel air move through the jacket. The actual hard face fleece is less breathable than the grid fleece. This is not a stand alone piece, as a shell is needed when wind picks up.
The hem length is long so that it stays tucked in under a harness. When wearing a harness/backpack with a waste belt, the hand pockets will be covered. The right hand pocket extends up to the shoulder, and is roomy enough for things like ski skins or gloves.
The sleeve length is longer, but is great if you are constantly reaching above yourself, like in climbing. Thumb loops help you put on layers as well as add insulation in a glove. It is a little roomy in the arms, but I have scrawny arms, YMMV. The torso is more form fitting than the arms.
Next, the hood is helmet compatible. While it is snug enough to fit around your head, it can stretch over a medium-sized helmet (Mammut El Cap for reference.)
Finally, the zippers move smoothly and do not catch the fleece pile. There is an elastic hem, and while others have said it is cumbersome, I have not had a problem with it.
As for long term durability, it holds up about as much as you expect it to. I climb on sandstone, and that rock type is not forgiving on this jacket. While it is susceptible to high abrasion, notably in the elbow and cuff region, it has held up better than expected.
With about a year of moderate climbing in this jacket, I would say it is a great midlayer fleece jacket.