Monday, April 21, 2008

Montbell Thermawrap first thoughts

Yeah, it does look like a techno marshmallow. But hey, it's warm and the hood is amazing.

That said, I love everything about it save one. The draw cords on the hood suck. I was hoping for anchored cordlocks and a thin elastic. What I got was approximately 1/8 inch cords that run through a non-flexible piece of foam. There are two too-small holes through each little piece of foam. Looking at the foam brick from the side (staring at its height), the cord goes up through one hole and down through the other.

To adjust it, you need to use one hand to hold the brick and one hand to pull a loop of cord through. And since the cord is anchored at the lower end (into the fabric), you need to then adjust that loop you just made to tighten the hood. Dumb.

Here's what we need on a hood. An anchored cord lock with a piece of elastic going through. The cord's free end is not attached to anything. Just pull, and you have a tighter hood. You can do it with one hand. When you need to release it, squeeze the cord lock, again with just one hand. If you then tilt your head back, the hood will expand and you will then release the cord. Simple. You made need to made the fabric around the cordlock a little stronger, but hey, it'll work better. The cordlock can be anchored by a small piece of gross grain ribbon. Something.

Mont-Bell's motto is "Function is Beauty. " And the U.L. Thermawrap Parka is functional with the lone exception of its hood draw cords.

That said, I might just fix it myself. Then I'll take a photo and send it to the folks at Mont-bell.


Enough ranting - the jacket is great. The hood is huge. The jacket itself, a men's European medium, Japanese large, allows for layering. I put on my TNF Denali fleece and was still able to layer the Thermawrap over it. Great, absolutely great.

I just might have replaced most fleece garments I own. I also may have replaced my bigger down jacket. Woot.

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