PhD Smartloft Divide Hoody Sport for Women
www.smartwool.com, $260, ★★★★
The new women’s version of the PhD Smartloft Divide Hoody Sport jacket, a performance midlayer, is a light puffy with all-wool insulation.
Wool, of course, remains warm when wet. But aside from that, this jacket is designed around sweat.
It is formed of a three-part layer: wind-resistant nylon on the outside, with wool insulation and an inner merino lining, all breathable. The strategy lies in the placement of thin, uninsulated sections of a stretchy wool blend. The main ventilating panel extends down the middle of the back, where sweat drops roll and a pack sits. Panels on the side extend from the armpits to the waist, with others set along the undersides of the arms to the wrists, where insulation crosses back in to bridge the gap between cuff and gloves. The stretch fabric re-emerges in a snug layer inside the cuff. The inside cuffs and interior—the parts that touch your skin—are merino-lined.
I used a sample garment last winter for lift skiing, some ski mountaineering, and winter cragging; and the other day wore it on multipitch granite routes in dodgy mountain weather, while my partner had to clip a rain jacket in a stuff sack to his harness.
I’ve found the Hoody Sport to be a huge go-to. It wicked and ventilated sweat during many a snow-covered uphill approach to our local winter crag, and on arrival was sufficiently dry and also stretchy enough that I wore it on pitches. I especially like the give of the thin panel over the elbow hinge, and that the sleeves are extra long. The cut extends to below the waist, adding warmth, while the pockets are high enough to be reachable under a harness. The slim hood works under a helmet and, when down, is another layer over the back ventilating panel in case of rain.
According to Smartwool’s “thermal body-mapping research,” men and women both sweat most on their backs, but in different patterns. The women’s jacket has a wider, diamond-shaped back ventilation panel, while for men the panel is narrow and extends farther below the shoulders.
The women’s jacket has also been given a wider area of insulation versus wind-resistant nylon across the back, while the men’s back is more ventilated, and with more uninsulated nylon.
The only thing I don’t like is this, though I feel like a tool saying it. These days I usually carry a phone, even outdoors: for the camera, GPS, whatever. I like to be able to drop it quickly into a high, vertical inside pocket. This jacket’s pocket is set low, with an ungenerous horizontal zipper.
Wool is always spendy. The jacket is $260, fair enough considering its utility.
ABOUT THE RATING: Stellar multi-use jacket. I deducted half a star because with almost every use I notice the difficulty in stowing a phone.
• SmartLoft insulation of 75 percent wool, 25 percent polyester.
• Knit panels are 45 percent nylon, 39 percent merino wool, 16 percent Elastane.
• Wind-resistant, durable water-repellant (DWR), 100 percent nylon finish.
• 100 percent merino lining.
• Gender-specific placement of knit ventilation panels.