I’ve owned the Monkey Man Jacket by Mountain Hardwear for a little over 2 years now and I decided a review was long overdue.
I wear this jacket alone when I’m tooling around town, hiking, camping, playing in the snow, or I am just a little chilled at night, sitting in front of the computer. Basically, I live in this fleece jacket, and that says a lot since I own no less than 6 fleece jackets made by different manufacturers. If it’s chilly inside or out, this is my go to piece.
One word to describe it…
When it gets cold and snowy, I wear it under a wind & waterproof shell for extra added warmth.
Extremely soft and comfortable
The Polartec Monkey Phur fleece is so soft and very breathable. It allows any perspiration to evaporate quickly. I love the feel of the Monkey Phur around my neck when it’s zipped all the way up. It feels like I’m wearing a super soft neck gaiter. It really keeps my neck warm and keeps cold air from going down my back. When zipped up completely, it isn’t too tight and the way the top o f the collar is sort of rolled down creates a great soft seal. Even though the fleece is thick and appears heavy, it is really quite light. When the collar is unzipped, it lays flat because of the different fabric used on the outside. The top of the zipper is finished and not exposed so you don’t have to worry about a cold zipper touching your skin.
I do not wash it often enough according to my wife, but when I do, I don’t use liquid detergent and as the directions state, I wash it in cold water…and I always hang dry it. The Polartec fleece has remained soft and does not pill or shed. It also keeps its “fluffy” appearance.
Micro Climate Zoning Construction
Whaaaaaat? Yea, that’s what they call it. There are specific regions of the jacket where they change the material from the thick Monkey Phur to a much thinner fleece material. They use this second fleece material to finish the bottom of the jacket, at both sides near the pockets, at the ends of the sleeves, on the exterior of the collar and around the breast pocket. The selected locations to use the different material gives the jacket a unique technical appearance but the pieces are there for completely functional reasons rather than simply stylistic decorations. The lighter weight fleece is located in ares on the jacket where the Monkey Phur is most likely to come into contact with other objects or textures for increased wear, but I also believe this fleece is less likely to snag or catch so is located accordingly.
The YKK zippers are heavy duty and smooth acting. Even though the Monkey Phur is kind of long, it does not get stuck inside and jam the zipper when zipping it up. If the fleece does manage to get in the way, the zipper just glides over the fleece and it does not get caught in the zipper’s teeth.
Packable / Compressable
I have not seen this listed as a feature anywhere but I’m sure this isn’t just an accident. If you look at the inside lining of the jacket the pocket goes up nearly to the shoulder, and if you turn the pocket inside out, you can completely stuff the jacket into the pocket. Once it’s stuffed the size of the packed jacket is about 6″ X 11″ X 4″ thick, which easily fits into a backpack or works great as a very small, very soft pillow.
Well, as soft and warm as the Monkey Phur is, it allows even a fairly light wind to blow directly through it. Luckily though, the jacket is light, so warm and comfortable, I just throw a windproof shell over it and it makes the perfect under layer.
But if it’s cold and wet or snowy, the jacket is so comfy and warm, I just cover it with a waterproof shell.
Sleeves are Long
I have pretty long arms for my size and these sleeves are still a little long. They tend to fall down and bunch up above the wrist. The extra length really doesn’t create issues though thanks to the finishing of the sleeve with the different, lightweight fleece.
This could go in either the pro or the con section. I placed it as a con just because of my personal preference. I don’t typically use chest pockets to hold anything and I can’t remember a single time where I used this one. To me the chest pocket is unnecessary and the change of fleece around it seems to really draw attention to it…add the large embroidered Mountain Hardwear logo and the combo seems just a little over the top.
I know this seems like I’m nit-picking but this is a small detail that could easily be fixed. Remember I told you how I like the jackets ability to pack and compress into the pocket? Well, once it’s in there and you go to zip the pocket, you realize the zipper is only a one sided zipper. What I mean is the zipper pull is stuck to the exterior of the zipper- which is now inside the pocket, and it does not have the ability to rotate to the out side. This isn’t a huge issue but I certainly makes zipping but more importantly, unzipping the pocket to get the jacket out, somewhat of a nuisance.
Well, there you have it, the pros and cons I have found after practically living in my Monkey Man jacket for more than two years now. In my opinion this could be one of the greatest jackets on planet Earth if Mountain Hardwear would create a windproof version. Until then, I will keep a light weight windproof shell in my bag and just enjoy the soft texture and extreme warmth that this jacket provides.
Disclosure: I own this product and purchased it using my own funds.