The newest addition to my ever expanding kit collection, the Mountain Equipment Eclipse Hooded Zip Tee (I’m gonna refer to it as the Eclipse, bit of a mouthful otherwise!) has now been used in anger whilst supervising this year’s batch of Portsmouth Uni freshers in the Peak District.
The weather was perfect for the weekend; lots of sunshine, a light fresh breeze and just dry enough for the Grit to be nice and sticky. I’d reckon the temperature didn’t creep any higher than 14C so was borderline for wearing a fleece. I donned a short sleeve base layer (MHW Wicked Lite Tee) and put the Eclipse on over that and was set for the weekend! Straight away I noticed how effective the top was at keeping out the sort of light, cold wafts of air that make you shudder – very common when stood at the bottom of Stanage whilst keeping an eye on a group.
Although I didn’t really get much climbing in I did get to test out the stretch of the fabrics whilst moving up to the tops of the crag and doing a little bouldering, the thumb loops kept the sleeves from riding up, and the longer cut of the Eclipse ensured that my torso wasn’t exposed, much to the disappointment of those around me!
Aside from looking like some sort of green/grey ninja at times, the hood with face covering was helpful and very comfortable when the temperature dropped a little. There was no trouble in breathing through the fabric and as the material wicked so well there was no noticeable moisture build up on the face mask. The hood was a good fit, if a little baggy around the forehead once I was fully zipped up but couldn’t feel any bunching up of fabric when wearing my helmet. Again, the fabric had plenty of stretch in it to give me a full range of head movement so was not a problem.
The fabric itself is manufactured by 60 years young Italian company Pontetorto, these guys know their fabrics! The Technopile grid patterned fleece is low weight, low bulk with high warmth qualities that make for a next-to-skin comfort with excellent wicking and durability properties.
As with all Mountain Equipment kit, the features are well thought out with the comfort of the end user always in mind. Simple things like the Flatlock stitching, low bulk cuffs, offset zipper and digital camera-sized Napoleon chest pocket all come together to make a great piece of it.
Where would it sit in your inventory? I’d recommend it as a warmer weather base layer, and a cooler weather mid layer. Perfect placed over a short sleeved base layer and under a Soft Shell (for me it’s the M.E Astron Hooded Jacket!) for this time of year when the leaves are starting to fall and you start planning your winter conquests.
It’s this season’s must have for the more active outdoorsy-type where warmth-to-weight is a consideration and anyone that might be out on the hills/crags/mountains not wanting to faff around with carrying a separate buff/neck gaiter/balaclava.
The only downside I can see thus far is that it may not be widely available from retailers yet as it is fairly costly to stock a size range that may not sell through quickly. But if you can find one then I suggest you try it on, fall in love with it and take it home with you!