Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: April, 2012
Photo Album – JanSport Hooded Fleece Jacket
Background: I successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007. I successfully thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010. I’ve also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to the snow-packed mountains. I carried this JanSport Hooded fleece with me for both thru-hikes.
Item: Hooded Fleece Jacket
This is a hooded fleece jacket. It is made of a heavy polyester fleece material. The inside section of the hood is made of 100% Nylon. The hood has drawstring around the face. The front main zipper features a larger zipper pull. There is a vertical chest pocket on the left side. Two hand pockets on either side of the jacket. There is also a drawstring around the bottom of the jacket which falls around the waist. The jacket is two-tone black and gray in color.
I specifically used this jacket for my 2007 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike. It became a noticeable piece of gear in many of my photos. I became attached to this jacket and also carried it on my 2010 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. Its been an important piece of gear for me and continues to work well for my hiking style.
I really have no idea when I actually purchased, where I purchased it or how I even came to own this jacket. It was part of my original gear selection back in 2007. Since I’m just getting around to the review now in 2012 any history escapes me now. If anyone out there has any idea of the model or when it was produced I’d wouldn’t mind hearing from you.
I don’t really consider myself an “ultra-light” hiker. A fleece jacket is heavier than other jackets that may offer the same warmth. However, I not only use it as a Jacket. At night it also doubles as my pillow. The softer fleece material and bulkiness of the jacket are excellent for use a pillow. I’ve heard of ultra-light hikers who don’t carry pillows or use their actual packs as pillows. I’ve tried this and it’s just not as comfortable as my fleece. So this is another big reason I carry a fleece when I hike.
The second reason I carry a fleece is for the additional warmth when wet. When I was initially doing my research I learned for instance that down sweaters or down jackets lose their warming capabilities when they get wet. One attribute of fleece is that it does not lose its warming capabilities in the event it gets wet. This is an important factor in my decision to carry the fleece. Over all I’m really glad I carried a fleece jacket for both long distance hikes. I continue to use it for shorter trips.
The third reason I really like this particular jacket is for the front chest pocket. I carry a small point and shoot camera whenever I hike. When I was hiking the AT and PCT the front pocket became a really handy place to store my camera. It was extremely convenient whenever I wanted to take a picture to reach right in the front pocket. Since the camera I carried was waterproof, shock proof and freeze proof it did not need a separate case or bag making the front pocket the idea place to carry it. The other benefit of carrying my camera on me rather than on my pack its that whenever, I took my pack off and wondered off, I always had my camera on me. Having the front pocket on my jacket was definitely a benefit and allowed me quick access to my camera.
The only drawback I can come up with is that it is heavier than other jackets with the same warmth ratings. However, since I also use it as a pillow this does not affect my hiking style.
The other minor issue I have is the larger hood. Since it is not adjustable it often covers my forehead and eyes. I’ve grown used to this so its really not a big deal for me. Every once in a while I’ll get irritated that it keeps obstructing my view but I’ve learned to tuck the neck part underneath and this helps to elevate the problem.
Overall this its a great piece of equipment and worked well for my particular hikes and for my particular hiking style. Its keeps me warm even if it gets wet. The soft, bulky fleece material makes for a great pillow. The font pocket is idea for carrying a small point and shoot camera.
Fuzzy Monkey likes:
- Doubles as my pillow
- Front vertical pocket
- Warmth when wet
Fuzzy Monkey dislikes:
- Hooded too large
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: Yes