I pulled this out of the packaging and straight away felt a small kick of glee. I freaking love yellow. Not only was it yellow but it was also soft and cosy and I had to put it straight on.
This is the Columbia Novelty Hoody, and as you can probably tell, my first impressions were good. It’s a mid-weight 100% polyester fleece with a front zip, hood and large spacious pockets. I’ve been wearing it pretty much non-stop – off the hill as well as on it. It’s smart enough that I’ve worn it to work under a gilet and into and around town while shopping. It’s come along on countryside ambles, my three-mile cross-country commute into work and up a few mountains.
So I now feel that I’ve worn it enough to be able to give a solid review.
The good side…
I’ve basically lived in this hoody since it arrived at my door, all nicely parcelled up and it doesn’t disappoint. It has been through the wash a fair few times and come out nicely, having kept its shape. I would describe this as a mid-weight layer – something to go over a base-layer to keep the chill off. I wear a size 10/12 normally and a size M fits me well. It’s not too snug so I can have layers underneath but it’s still fitted enough that I find it flattering on me.
Two spacious hand pockets are closed with zips, and fit a large mobile phone comfortably. There’s also a small arm pocket, which could be used to store odd little items such as GoPro batteries or a ski pass. A little chin guard at the top of the zip protects your face and neck from getting scratched up by the zip if you have it done all the way up – a nice little detail that I always love. Another small detail that I love, and feel is always so underrated, is a loop on the back of the neck to be able to hang it up. I’m not a fan of folding jumpers when they have hoods on – they’re bulky and take up space I don’t have in my wardrobe. I use this hoody often enough that I like to hang it up on the back of the door so I can grab it again quickly without messing up neat piles of clothing (slash scattering them all over in my search for the exact piece I want aka. Hannah the hurricane).
I wore it in this short video when we tried to catch sunrise on Pen Y Fan, in the Brecon Beacons.
The potentially not so good side…
I feel that the negative points of this hoody are no big thing but I want to mention them because although I can happily over look them you may not. So here goes…
- If you’re in serious wind, it won’t give the strongest protection and I’ve found that I’ve needed to put a specific wind proof jacket on over. That’s okay though as it was never marketed as a windproof top.
- It’s also slightly bulky if you want to store it in your pack – so if you’re setting out wearing it then make sure you have enough space in your rucksack to store it if you need to de-layer.
- The cuffs have minimal elasticity so pulling them up over your elbows can be a bit tight, and equally it doesn’t seal against the cold. There are no thumb loops, which I have started to always look for. However, this isn’t the be-all end-all for me. It’s still super comfy to wear.
- A lot of people don’t like hoods, and I must admit that I’m one of them. I have found that it’s not been too bad though, quite honestly, which I’ve been surprised about. There have been a few walks I’ve been on where I’ve needed to put my waterproof’s hood up, and it didn’t get in the way as much as I thought it would. Equally, it’s given a nice little bit of non-rustle protection against the cold and wind, when I’ve had no hat. If it’s still a no-go for you though, they do a non-hooded version, which is £10 cheaper at £70.
I think that £80 is a lot of money for a fleece but I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for and when I actually clock up how much I have been using it the price per wear is really not that bad. I think it’s a flattering piece of clothing, which makes me inclined to wear it a lot and especially as it’s comfortable.
The older I get the more I’m rating comfort over fashion – although I still love getting dressed up or the odd day at the office where I’ll sling on a dress and pair of heels, I will still more often than not go for feeling comfortable.
I thoroughly rate this piece of kit and would score it a good 8/10, only loosing points because of small details like rucksack hip-straps over the pockets and there are no thumb loops. Otherwise, I am pretty much in love with this – thinking ‘YES, A DAMN GOOD PIECE OF WOMENS KIT’ – and will keep on wearing it on my outdoor adventures.
Keep an eye out for my next review on the Columbia OutDry Ex Eco Insulated Shell jacket.