Slim, Soft, and Warm
I bought this thinking this would be a great and fashionable substitute for one or two of my fleeces that are starting to lose their warmth after years of use.
The jacket fits rather slim, so don't think of going down a size. At most, you can fit a shirt and sweater underneath, which is fine for how warm the jacket is.
The jacket is ultra soft and great for when you need to dress warmly and don't want to drown in layers of sweaters and overcoats. Despite the jacket's slim profile, it packs a warm punch and is easily the warmest fleece I've owned.
The green is a bit muted compared with the photo, but it is still quite stylish and fun without appearing overly in-the-moment and hipster-ish. A great outer layer option for a cold night/day out or simply running errands.
Pockets: Good and Bad
The lower side pockets are a bit small and quickly bulge whenever I put my hat and gloves in, though the pockets will hold them. Forget about stuffing a scarf in.
Nevertheless, the large breast pocket makes up for the smaller side pockets and can easily hold a wallet, keys, plus a granola bar or two. The one problem with the breast pocket is the vertical zipper. A horizontal zipper would enable the pocket to accommodate a map, directions, airline, or sports tickets.
As warm as the fleece is, however, it becomes too warm once you're inside and overheats if you're doing a lot of walking (eg. around NYC throughout the day, standing in an overcrowded subway with a backpack etc.) If you're planning to be inside, be ready to take off the jacket or else you'll overheat. Mountain Hardwear would be wise to add ventilation zippers. Though the jacket is fleece, I wear it as a jacket because it can get so warm.
If I were to ski with this fleece, I would wear it over a layer of long underwear, a tshirt, and then under a light weight outershell.
Despite the small pockets, the jacket is a fantastic, warm and cozy option for people who want to be warm without looking like the Michelin Man.
Great for layering
I want to start off by saying that the reason I got this jacket was to use while backpacking and hiking. I see alot of people around town wearing this jacket; people that obviously don't use it for outdoor activities like backpacking. It seems like a majority of the reviews did not address performance of the jacket under these sort of conditions.
The jacket is very warm, if worn under a shell. However, this jacket does not have any windproof abilities, except maybe in the mildest of winds. If any wind is present, and you want to remain warm, you cannot wear this as a stand-alone. The benefit of this is that the jacket is extremely breatheable.
I can attest to how quick drying this jacket is. A stream crossing was involved in a backpacking trip I was on, and the stream ended up having a spot which was deeper than expected. The lower 2/3rds of the jacket were submerged, yet the jacket was still dry (except around the polartec stretch cuffs) within 30 minutes.
The pocket layout is great without a pack, but waist and chest straps will interfere with the pockets.
I thought that this jacket might be too bulky underneath a shell, but I found that if the shell has an athletic cut it tends to compress the fur down on the jacket to that of a normal size. This compression did not seem to affect the warmth of the jacket.
This jacket is not really lightweight, but it does compress well enough to fit into a pack efficiently when you decide to take it off.
All in all, this jacket is a great layering piece for any cold weather outdoor activities. However, as a standalone jacket, I would not recommend it because of its complete lack of windproofing.
Have used for numerous backpacking trips in freezing weather and also casually around town for over a year.
It is so lofty / puffy that it makes the absolute perfect layer under goretex or breathable rain gear allowing a layer of air between you and your shell and increasing your shells performance in the rain.
It is actually very breathable and dries quickly. On numerous occasions I have become sweaty while hiking or jogging with it on and have literally dried out in minutes by unzipping the jacket and allowing some air in.
It feels great on with no shirt underneath, my only jacket that I can say that with which is great in the back country.
One of the best features is the high neck with a soft warm seal which is really warm when zipped the whole way up.
My only complaint is that this is my second one (first one stolen) and it is clearly made out of a different material. I had / have the cigar colored one, and instead of looking like inconsistent matted animal fur the new one looks like a perfectly groomed carpet. It's still very soft, but doesn't have as rustic of a look and the color is darker too. Clearly a different "monkey fur" material. Doesn't anyone know if this was done on purpose due to the old ones getting too matted down?
I found the sizing on this item unexpected. Several reviews indicated that it had a tighter than average fit. Nevertheless I found that I needed a smaller size than I usually wear. I am 6'1" and 185lb with a 42" chest and the medium had the best fit (I tried XL, L, M). I suppose that if this is worn over several other layers the large would be needed but I prefer to wear a fleece over just a Tee, polo shirt, or thermal base layer and the M fits much better there.
The sleeve length in the Medium is easily sufficient for my 6'1" span (the Large looks kind of silly on me), but the torso length is a little short. (I expected this from other reviews.) The Large adds less than half an inch to the length based on the length of the zipper and doesn't fit much differently in that regard.
Despite the sizing this is a warm and very nice feeling fleece, with comfortable, snug cuffs. If it lasts well I expect to be quite happy with it.
Incidentally the Large is zipper compatible with the M.H. Eturnia Trifecta jacket also in size large, but the sleeves are much longer than the jacket's or the fleece that came with it.
Great versitile fleece
I received this last year as a gift, and love it. It can be difficult to wear with some long sleeve shirts (loose, dress shirts, etc), but otherwise it's great.
As others have noted, the 'fur' can mat down easily, whether from being under a seatbelt, pack, or similar use. Wearing a light rain shell over it seems to keep this from happening, but of course that's not how most people will wear this during normal use.
I use mine for general wear and hiking, but have put it under a down sweater for sub-zero overnight sleeping, and also under various shells.
With a soft shell, the Monkey Man will take up some volume, which may be uncomfortable to some, depending on the cut of your shell. But with parkas and ultralight rain shells, it feels very comfortable.
This jacket tends to wear very close, so there's not a lot of room under it (hence the note about sleeves above). But it's warm enough that your base could be short-sleeve quite easily. Wind only gets through a little when moving around or changing direction. Even the seams appear to have a lot of integrity against wind.
This a great warm and light jacket that is also somewhat stylish to wear regularly. I was shopping for a new fleece that was fairly warm for cold winter days, but also windproof/resistant. I found it difficult to find a jacket like that because they are either thinner and windproof or thicker and not. I came across this jacket with the cool fur-like texture and surprisingly found it more wind blocking than I thought. I think the furry outside helps to dissipate the wind. It is still not perfect, especially for the colder days, but is perfect with a thin waterproof or windblocker-type layer. I also like the trim fit so there is not that extra material flapping and hanging down like some other fleece jackets. The sleeves are little too long, but I don't really mind it. Also, because of the furry inside, it can be a little difficult to get your arms through while wearing a long-sleeve layer like a sweater. Regardless, I highly recommend taking a look at this jacket if you are looking for a nice fleece.
Best fleece jacket!
I love this jacket. I picked up the Zip T version and liked it except for the neck-its not right. Well when I found one of these on closeout (love those REI sale racks!) I added the jacket. My new fav winter wear!
The neck is perfect on this. Fit is great too. Pockets are useful. It layers well. Its warm.
Really warm! This is the warmest fleece I have had. Perfect in the house in the winter. Also really nice under a shell outside(not windproff-just like any other fleece). Layered it under a Gore-Tex shell and over an OXT hoody during days ay Grand Canyon NP in February. Temps were 15-30 and this was great when I was standing around with camera. Note its too hot to hike in though. At least when it is 25+ I was in the OXT and a Cap2 Tneck and added the GoreTex at breaks when hiking, saving the fleece for longer photo stops.
Soft, fuzzy, warm, stylish -in a muppet sort of way :-) Very awesome jacket!!
I've had mine for a couple of years now and it's one of my favorite jackets for mid or outerwear. I often wear this with my Arcteryx Theta for skiing. Around town I'll leave the shell at home and wear this jacket. This last winter was the coldest and most brutal I've experienced. On one or two occasions I threw on my MontBell Ultralight down jacket underneath this jacket so I could endure the cold longer than anyone else. I kept skiing untouched powder lines in the afternoon because everyone had already headed home. I was comfortable and not complaining.
The jacket does fit weird. In the pictures it looks like an athletic-cut fleece. My medium (which is what almost all of my jackets are) makes me look like I have a generous spare tire when I'm sitting down. This model is also not wind resistant. Put it under a Gore-Tex shell if you need the windproofing.
Bottom line: my brother and I both have one and we both love them. Props to MHW for the great jacket.
Amazing breathable insulation
I would buy this jacket again if I ever needed to replace it. I have had this for a year now and absolutely love it. I wear it around town, walking the dog, shoveling snow, and bicycle commuting. As the weather has cooled off here (33 degree mornings) this has been an amazing layer on my morning bicycle commutes.
The sleeves are long enough that my wrist are covered while reaching for the handlebars. It also offers enough insulation to keep me warm when I start riding but is breathable enough so I don't overheat during my ride. It is not windproof but as the temperature drops more I will just add a lightweight shell.
As amazingly warm as it is, I hardly ever take it off inside which is a testament to its breathability. This isn't the only fleece jacket in my gear closet but it is the one I choose to wear more than any other.
Get Your Own!
I gave this to my husband for Christmas. He has been eyeballing it for a very long time and it's something he wouldn't get for himself. So I thought it's the perfect gift. He loves it and that's an understatement! He constantly says it's the warmest and softest jacket he's ever worn. Even in 20-degree weather, he was toasty. The wrists are made of stretchy material that helps keep heat inside the jacket. The convenient chest pocket a roomy, fitting all sorts of things. It's a catch-all pocket! It would be awesome if it featured a detachable hood. Our cats are always following him around when he's wearing the jacket because they think it's a blanket. Really, it's big enough for me to consider as a robe. Soooo comfy. Had to get one for myself. Now I see why he loves it so much! It's his favorite garment to date.