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The Brooks-Range Cirro Hoody is what the weather ordered.
Lightweight, packable, strong and functional, the Cirro Hoody is a versatile piece of outerwear -- designed more for function than for looks. As it should be.
The jacket consists of a strong, thin nylon shell filled with PrimaLoft One synthetic material, which its maker calls the "highest performing insulation on the market for warmth, water resistance, softness and compressibility."
One of the features of PrimaLoft One is its ability to retain heat when wet, a characteristic you may not value until you need it.
On windy, brisk days, the PrimaLoft-packed Cirro Hoody slides on with ease, and within a few minutes of vigorous activity, the warmth kicks in.
It's a simple layer, without many unnecessary add-ons. There's no hole for iPod earphone cords, for example, and no hidden pocket for a Smartphone.
But there are a few notable design touches. Among the most thoughtful is the attachment point for the hood.
It is sewn on at a point that starts about three inches below the top of the front zipper, along the neck line. That's different from most hoods, which tend to be extended from the collar.
This means that when the jacket is zipped, the wearer can benefit from some face warmth and wind protection from the collar area, without the hood itself. The hood can hang from the back inconspicuously, if so desired.
The zippers themselves, however, are a design feature that Brooks-Range can improve.
Although the ends are covered with a flap of the same nylon fabric as the jacket -- a thoughtful feature that offers protection from ice and snow jamming - the use of metal for the pulls was puzzling. Metal gets cold and hard, and can rap knuckles and dig into flesh in extreme conditions. Why not some resin or polymer instead?
The connecting point at the bottom of the front zipper was balky and sticky. It’s irritating when a zipper jams or doesn't glide easily on the first pull. That happened more than once with the Cirro Hoody.
Brooks-Range designers may want to reconsider the Cirro Hoody's pockets. They're lined with the same nylon as the shell, which just doesn't feel as comfortable to cold digits as, say, a light fleece would be.
Still, the Cirro hoody shares many characteristics of the best outdoor gear. Less is more: less weight, less bulk, fewer moving parts. The emphasis is on you and your movements.
Brooks-Range Cirro Hoody. They might say you look like you're wearing a sleeping bag. Or a trash bag.Your less outdoorsy friends might poke fun at you when you pull on a
But while they shiver beneath less technical coverings, you'll laugh last, warm and dry.
David Nitkin looks to the outdoors for his endorphin fixes, and has spent his adulthood extending city roots into mountains and valleys.
A native of Boston, David's love of outdoor activities blossomed at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where the school's unique Outing Club encourages students to leave their dorm rooms in all seasons. The college requires incoming freshmen to strap on a backpack and head into the wilderness as a bonding experience that culminates with a breakfast of green eggs and ham at the Mount Moosilauke lodge to honor renowned alumnus Ted Geisel. If that doesn't make you go green, nothing will.
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