The spot this fills for a hiker is a mid-weight middle layer that isn’t made of cotton. It also works great in a casual setting but it’s slightly loose around the bottom so you’re probably best served trying it on first if you can. It’s been durable and functional for me over the last three seasons and I would recommend it if you’re in the market. My only complaint about it is that it’s somewhat baggy at the bottom and there isn’t a way to tighten it.
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As with every item sold by EB, wait for a sale, if you pay full price you’re not actually getting anything resembling a good deal for what you’re getting. Don’t buy this for less than 40% off the normal price tag. As a note, when items go on sale at EB.com, they also go on sale at Amazon.com. I don't really know if they ship faster through Amazon, but they aren't Prime eligible.
The weight and the warmth of this item make for a versatile layer. I try to use multiple lightweight layers that can be removed and packed easily. I’ve used it as an outer layer more often than not and generally keep a rain jacket in my pack in case of a downpour. It resists soaking in light rain and works very well against snow.
This item does well as a mid weight second or third layer. In the winter I used a tight fitting thermal, thicker long sleeve shirt and this on top. The lowest I went out in was around 20 degrees and I was fine as long as I was moving, had it gotten any colder I would have needed either to replace this or add a shell on top. In the fall and early spring this has worked well with just a long sleeve shirt underneath.
The hood on this is one of its most functional features. It pulls in pretty tight if you have it zipped up all the way and the collar on the this thing is snug on my neck but not uncomfortably so since the material has a lot of give. With as snug as it fits I don’t mind the fact that there is no drawstring on it. It’s also big enough that it fits just fine over the top of a beanie.
The material on this is soft, stretchy and breathable, very much your typical “tech” fabric. It does shed light rain pretty well and works well in snow. I have used it sledding multiple times and the fabric itself performed very well. It’s synthetic so you can expect it to dry quickly.
The fit on these is supposed to be athletic and I would agree with that except for the bottom. It’s somewhat loose and I didn’t expect that for something considered technical gear. I wouldn’t go running in this but would use it for anything where the extra fabric wouldn’t bug me. Also, since it’s loose the layer underneath it likely to be more exposed to the elements, especially problematic for me when playing in the snow with my 3 year old!
Through 3 seasons of regular use I’ve had no quality complaints with this jacket at all. There haven’t been any problems with threads pulling or poor stitching. Seems to be very solid construction. Overall the First Ascent line ot pretty solid and well built. I also use the Guide Pro Pants and the quality seems pretty high throughout the rest of the line as well.