Gear Review: tasc Performance Men’s Elevation Hoodie
Disclosure: the following product was donated for the purpose of review.
My last couple weeks have been a mixture of skiing, hiking, and… working late into the night, outside, in below freezing temperatures! I wanted to test out the tasc Performance Men’s Elevation Hoodie, and did I ever.
I wore it in dry/humid air, in the sun and in the dark, in 20-60 degrees-F, and over/under other clothing layers.
Fabric: Thin, ultra-fine MOSOmerino: 46% viscose from bamboo/45% merino wool/9% lycra spandex
Texture: Very soft 18.5 micron merino wool blended with bamboo
Features: Fitted hood, thumbholes, no top shoulder seams, odor-resistant
Moisture Wicking: Absorbs and releases sweat fast, quick dry
Ultraviolet protection factor (UPF): 50+
Available Sizes: S-XXL
The Elevation Hoodie is thin and soft. Wool and bamboo don’t always inspire the words “soft” or “comfortable on the skin,” but this hoodie’s high-tech fabric is both of those. Merino wool comes from a specific breed of sheep, and bamboo has a soft inner pulp which is removed and processed into a fiber.
Sustainable Materials and Practices
Many industries (paper, cardboard, etc.) use pulp from traditional slow-growth trees. tasc Performance uses responsibly managed, certified organic bamboo that requires no agricultural chemicals and is ready to be harvested after 1-5 years. When it is harvested, new shoots grow from the existing root network.
tasc Performance’s BamCo® process converts raw bamboo pulp into a cellulose level using a closed loop system. This ensures that 99% of the solution is recovered and reused. The cellulose fibers and merino wool are spun into a yarn and made into a fabric.
It keeps your head and neck warm. After all, that is the purpose of a hood. I’d like to focus on the “fitted” part. Peripheral vision is so important to hikers and runners, and the fitted hood doesn’t take it away. Until now, if I wanted to look left or right while wearing a hood, I conceded and turned my entire body. This is no longer a problem with the Elevation Hoodie. I was delighted by the full range of vision, which came in especially handy while working in the dark and also while trying to avoid other skiers.
Our hands are often exposed and in a fixed position while using hiking poles. Thumb holes make it possible to cover your hands as far up as your knuckles. Gloves were crucial on my thru-hike in the early weeks, but I wish I had thumb holes too. Not only while hiking, but also while cooking food, setting up my tent, and even while sleeping on a chilly night.
Merino wool fibers resist bacteria that eventually causes us to stink. My coworkers became unknowing participants in my hoodie smell test. I ended up wearing the hoodie ten days in a row under multiple other layers. I alternated between being sweaty and cold. I kept wearing the hoodie without washing it even after I moved inside a trailer for the rest of my work trip. I paid close attention to whether I’d start smelling, but never did. My coworkers never mentioned anything (at least not to me). My smell test ended before I ever started smelling.
Aside from thumb holes, one more advantage while sleeping would be to wear the hood. A layer of soft fabric between your face and the unbreathable dry-bag pillow can be a source of luxury.
My only complaint was that if I zipped it all the way up, the zipper stuck slightly high into my neck. This would be handy if I was out for a run, got chilly, and had no other layers to add. As a hiker, if it ever got chilly enough to warrant zipping all the way up, I would probably just add another layer. In the grand scheme of things, this is a fairly minor complaint. I prevented it by just not zipping up all the way.
There are a lot of base layers to choose from. The Elevation Hoodie differentiates itself with its hood. I’ll admit I never thought of using a base layer with a hood. A balaclava and hooded rain jacket kept my neck warm on cold days. I would have worn this hood up many days and nights on the AT. I believe this would work well as a primary base layer for the AT and I could have carried it from start to finish. The thin fabric would require appropriate outer layers to stay warm through cold nights, as would any base layer. The benefits of the hood (warmth on cold days, sleeping against dry-bag on all days) would easily outweigh the added weight of the hood.
Price is slightly on the high end, but that price also includes the hoodie’s sustainable, renewable materials and production.
Overall, this is an excellent light-weight base layer.
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