REI's --.83 cent sale went live at stores today - I was there at the Roseville store around opening time to a crowd of about 30 people outside. Maybe I'm picky, maybe it was slim, but I only walked out with one item - a Monkey Man Fleece pullover (they call it a T-shirt with long sleeves) from Mountain Hardwear. At first impression, the fleece has a tremendous amount of loft and fits well. The thumbholes on the sleeves are a little tight but work well under my liner gloves. There are no hand pockets, just a simple Napoloeon pocket. More REI - I failed to get a 6-month jumpstart on birthday shopping for my girlfriend.
I have also been pretty infatuated by the BPL merino wool hoody and its comparison pieces, the Patagonia R1 Hoody. I tried an R1 hoody on today at Midwest Mountaineering, more for size than anything else. The balaclava-style hood is nice and the off-set zipper is an smart design but initially awkward. The R1 is surprisingly long and I could put the bottom hem past the bottom of my fly. One day I will pull the trigger on one of these pieces.
Also, two things are coming soon. First, a gear review of the toys I took with me to the Superior Hiking Trail. I have been thinking about this since I first set foot on the trail, but have yet to sit down and type out my thoughts. Second, I have received some pieces of gear from Sierra Designs to test and blog about: BTU Jacket, Frenzy Jacket, and Drizone Primaloft Packable mitts. I have done a little testing on the pieces, but expect a final report somewhere around April or (heaven forbid) early May - such a period is necessary to use the remaining winter period to test these cold weather-specific pieces. My current plan is to test the pieces in urban and outdoor scenarios