Stoic Hadron Down Cardigan

The Stoic Hadron Down Cardigan is my current insulating layer. I have it in size XXL, which fits my ample frame (6′, 260lbs) almost perfectly. The XXL weighs in at 8.7oz on my scale. The outer shell is Pertex Quantum, and the insulation is 850fp goose down.

The Hadron line of jackets comes in a few configurations (pullover, full zip, hood, no hood). The “Cardigan” version of this jacket is a pull-over style, with a quarter-snap closure (like 1/4 zip, except with snaps!). I’m guessing the snaps help create a weight savings over a zipper. They take a few seconds longer to close than a zipper, but they function pretty well. Once I have the jacket on and snapped, I have no real need to open and close it, so I appreciate the meager weight savings.

The Cardigan’s pocket is a single “kangaroo”-style pocket, much like a hoody. I never put anything in my coat pockets in camp anyway, so this style pocket makes a nice, cozy place to keep my hands warm, if I’m wearing this as my top layer.

My only real complaint about this jacket’s construction is the cuffs. They are a wide section of elastic, but they seem to be cut too small. Even in the XXL, it’s annoying to get my hands through the cuffs in either direction. On the bright side, they help seal in my body heat!

This jacket doesn’t have much loft, so don’t think you’ll be able to wear it alone at 0 degrees and stay warm. However, it does work very well with a well thought out layering system. When working together with my Capilene 2 base layer, my wind shirt, and my rain shell, it  keeps me very warm on a rainy, windy, 30-degree night. Remember, your layering system should allow you to wear all your clothes at once so they can work together!

All-in-all, this jacket is a great piece, IF you can find a good price. I found mine on clearance for $60 or $70. Full price is $159, but I don’t think it’s worth quite that much. At that price point, I’d suggest the Mont-bell UL Down Jacket instead.Image

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Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Zerna Beanie

I picked up a new warm hat this fall! The Mountain Hardwear Zerna Beanie uses 2 different weights of fleece to help wick away moisture and still keep you warm. I need to be honest with you, I sweat like a pig and have a huge head. Generally, if a hat wicks halfway decently and fits my head, I’ll give it my recommendation. This hat was a slam dunk on both counts.

I got this hat good and sweaty on a recent 9-mile predawn hike, and the moisture just steamed away. My usual microfleece beanie would eventually get soaked and drip down my face. There was none of that with the Zerna Beanie. The integrated fleece-lined ear band kept my ears toasty warm with temps in the mid-30’s, and I suspect this hat would perform adequately at least down into the teens.

This hat gets my endorsement based, in no small part, on the fact that the “large” size is actually large. Most hats I buy in “large” or “XL” are still too small. The Zerna fits like a glove. I highly recommend it for the cranially ample outdoorsman!

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