ProView – VOORMI Men’s High-E Hoodie

I tested the VOORMI High-E hoodie for 45 days, and I mean straight.  I wore this hoodie every single day at some point, or sometimes for all 24 hours.  Climbing in Yosemite Valley, exploring slot canyons in Utah, ski touring on Mt Rainier, traveling through airports, days in the office, and many nights in a cold van.  This hoodie was my second skin for 6 weeks, and I’m sure it will continue to be till the spring.

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VOORMI® Men's High-E Hoodie
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Product Description: Serving as the jumping off point for the VOORMI® brand, the HIGH-E hoodie stands as the center-point of the entire collection. Dialed thermal performance in combination with a re-enforced, water repellent outer surface make it our go-to companion for just about any day in the Southern Colorado high-country.

Price: $229 MSRP

  • Quality
    (4.5)
  • Performance
    (4)
  • Fit
    (4.5)
  • Durability
    (4.7)

Summary

Overall I’ve been really happy with the High-E Hoodie.  The $229 price tag is a bit hard to swallow, but you are truly getting what you pay for.  A durable and high performing hoodie, made in the USA of unique natural fibers to clearly incredibly high standards.  And forget about the “made in the USA” bit, and the small batch wool bit. The price increase over the competitors’ full synthetic fleece offering is nothing, knowing that this piece will easily last twice as long. 

Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Durable
  • Warm
  • Cut long in the right places

Cons

  • Price
  • Hood zips a little too far
  • Wool fabric is a bit stiffer than comparable synthetic fleece

 

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The VOORMI High-E hoodie is made with Rocky Mountain Highcountry Merino™ wool and the fabric is uniquely designed by VOORMI.  They call the fabric Surface Hardened Thermal Wool. This interesting fabric has a grid style fleece on the inside and a tight woven nylon/wool mix on the outside.  It’s also treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish to create a mid layer that could be worn on its own in many conditions. The Rocky Mountain Highcountry Merino™ means that the wool, with it’s high crimp fibers, will be much better at both insulating and breathing, than your standard merino wool.

VOORMI-Mens-high-e-hoodie-review-dirtbagdreams.com Fit

Enough of the tech talk.  Right off the shelf, the hoodie felt a bit stiff and the fit was very snug.  But the fabric definitely broke in, loosening up a little bit and now fits quite nicely.  The sleeves and torso are cut extra long for better coverage of sensitive, often accidentally exposed, sections of skin.  The sleeves also feature thumb loops to aid in the transition from no gloves to gloves weather. The thumb hole is actually formed by overlapping pieces of fabric that are nicely hemmed and reinforced.  This design keeps unwanted cold air from getting in, and looks super durable, but felt a little awkward compared to other thumbies that I’ve used. Specifically, when using the thumb loops, the opening of the sleeve doesn’t sit quite right on your hand and lets in cold air, so I tended not to actually use them.

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VOORMI-Mens-high-e-hoodie-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Features

Some other unique features of the hoodie is a super snorkel ¾ zip hoodie and a double zippered kangaroo pocket.  The ¾ length zip made it easy to pull on and off over helmets, and to dump extra heat when needed. The snorkel hoodie, is probably the most aggressive snorkel I’ve ever seen.  The top of the zipper goes above my nose and the top of the opening is just above my eyes. The opening is so tight if you’re wearing sunglasses they will most likely fog up.

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I found that I didn’t like having it zipped all the way, but when unzipped to my chin, the top part still offered protection to my face, which I really enjoyed.  The kangaroo pocket was an interesting change over the other pocketless second skin mid layer hoodies out there. It felt cold to have just one hand in there, but it was nice when I could have both inside to rub together. It was really great for stashing and grabbing larger items, such as camera lenses, belay snacks and sunnies. Overall, I think that the extra features need a few tweaks to be perfect, but they’re pretty close and it’s nice to see a slightly different take on this style of hoodie.

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Now let’s get to where this hoodie really shines: durability and warmth.  The durability of the fabric and the seams is significantly better than the similar synthetic fleece hoodies on the market.  I put this hoodie through the ringer squeezing through countless sandstone slot canyons, and squirming my way up granite offwidths.  The fabric pilled up pretty quickly, but didn’t tear, which is quite an accomplishment.

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The snorkle hood was great to wear under my helmet on a mid-November climb of the classic Cathedral Peak.  And when the wind picked up at the summit, I was able to zip it up to my eyeballs, to protect my face, since I had opted to leave my Buff behind.  The wool’s ability to stay warm, even if I was a little sweaty, was also perfect for leading in the sunny, but cold mountains.

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Back in the Valley, I was able to put the hoodie to its harshest test yet: granite offwidths.  The hoodie performed much better than I did, squirming and thrutching my way up wide granite cracks. The only tear was a tiny one right at the embroidered “V” on the forearm, but the shoulders, back, and the rest of the forearms didn’t even show a scratch.  This is significantly better than a standard synthetic fleece hoodie, that I’ve learned to never wear climbing in Yosemite.

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As for warmth, the self-regulating nature of the fabric is pretty spectacular.  The combination of the high crimp wool (which creates large pockets for air to warm and move as needed) and the ability of wool to stay warm when soaked with sweat, made this a piece that I never had to take off.  It might be a bit too warm for summer adventures, but it’s perfect from fall to spring.

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Work had me heading to Seattle in late November, just in time for a couple of classic early winter storm cycles.  During the couple of days that I spent around sea level, the hoodie was super warm and comfortable, even when wandering around in the persistent misty rain of Seattle.  The DWR coating kept most of the moisture at bay, but even when some soaked in, I never noticed it.

Before heading home, I ran up to Mt Rainier to do a little ski touring with friends.  The temps hovered right around freezing with bluebird skies in the morning, followed by the standard socked in semi-snowing weather. The hoodie was perfect for skinning. If I got a little hot, the ¾ length zipper allowed me to dump heat, and when I stopped for a break I could just pop on the hood and zip up, stuffing my hands in the kangaroo pocket up front.  The longer cut of the sleeves and torso was great for protecting those often exposed and sensitive bits of skin and to keep snow out during the occasional tumble. I mean, it was my first day on skis for the season.

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Overall I’ve been really happy with the High-E Hoodie.  The $229 price tag is a bit hard to swallow, but you are truly getting what you pay for.  A durable and high performing hoodie, made in the USA of unique natural fibers to clearly incredibly high standards.  And forget about the “made in the USA” bit, and the small batch wool bit. The price increase over the competitors’ full synthetic fleece offering is nothing, knowing that this piece will easily last twice as long.

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Tyler Gates spent a decade in the outdoor retail world before escaping to work in the outdoors.  He has worked as a backpacking, hiking, and cycling guide and instructor for seven years, showing people the best of the outdoors from the deserts of the Southwest, to the High Sierra, and up to the forests of the Pacific Northwest.  He’s currently spending the winter in a 100 year old residence in Yosemite Valley.

 

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