Into the Mountains
I recently took my FirstLite Klamath hoody with me while turkey hunting in the San Isabel National Forest. While that may seem like overkill at the end of May, when I arrived the temperatures were hovering around freezing, and during the heat of the day it was nearly 80 degrees. Having the hoody as a layering item helped immensely. It breathed well while I was hiking to the point where I didn’t need to take it off, merely unzip the quarter zip neckline in order to exhaust some heat.
The waffle knit pattern traps small pockets of heat against the body and is perhaps one of the most efficient ways of doing so outside of using natural down — which would definitely be overkill. Marine ECWCS (Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System) uses a similar waffle knit, as does the UnderArmour Base 3.0 using an inverted waffle to create a grid of trapped heat. I seek out these layers when I find them as they’re very efficient at trapping heat and keeping it, so long as the material is of good quality.
The Klamath features a tightly fitting hood that keeps out the breeze, and quarter zip zipper or hoody option for easy on and off without being a jacket. The Klamath unfortunately does not offer thumb holes which would put it over the top for layering purposes, but I’ve found since it’s cut for an athletic (i.e. somewhat tighter) fit it doesn’t ride up other than in the wrist and forearm area sometimes.
The Klamath is versatile but I’d suggest using it where you need warmth without wind resistance. It does provide enough to cut the wind a little, but it is by no means a windbreaker. It can get hot quickly while hiking in hotter temps, which is why I always suggest starting your hike or hunt cold, and backpacking layers. Layering up after you’ve chilled some sweat off and before you’re getting cold is ideal as you don’t sweat up your new layers and give your body a chance to throw the body heat into that waffle pattern.
The MSRP on the Klamath is $130 for a solid color and another ten dollars for a pattern like FirstLite Fusion. It’s technical apparel and the warmth to weight ratio helps the cost a little bit. Overall I’d recommend the Klamath to someone looking to fill a gap in their layering system who wants a midlayer with a hood or something useful in cutting a little wind while being the outer layer during an early winter or spring hunt when the weather is brisk but can heat up through the day.