Gear Review: NW Alpine Women's Black Spider Hoody

How do you know when you've found the ideal layering piece for you? When you notice that it's in most of the recent photos taken of you, when you can't deal with it being in the laundry basket for more than a day, and when it's accompanied you on the majority of your adventures since its arrival at your doorstep.

The NW Alpine Women's Black Spider Hoody is that layering piece for me.

NW Alpine was founded in 2010, and the company's goal is to make "clothes for climbing that are simple, functional, light, and of the highest quality" all while "supporting domestic manufacturing." (Spoiler alert: mission accomplished.)

Founder Bill Amos believes apparel should fulfill the technical needs of adventurers without any extra frills or added features that don't belong. NW Alpine's apparel is designed for and by experienced climbers, field tested by experienced climbers, and manufactured in Oregon. Learn more here.

Whether you're an alpine climber or not, every outdoor adventurer can appreciate a well-designed, well-made, great fitting baselayer. When the Black Spider Hoody, (which is actually only available in charcoal and tomato red), arrived, I opened the package and prepared to try on yet another baselayer with sleeves that were too short and didn't fit my shoulders. I was floored when I pulled it over my head, threaded my arms through the sleeves, and realized the hoody felt as though it had been designed just for me.

The Black Spider Hoody is comfortable with or without a layer underneath. The Polartec high-efficiency grid fleece is soft, but not so soft that it can't take a beating. Dozens of washes and wears later, the Black Spider Hoody looks the same as it did when I pulled it out of the package. It was warm enough under a shell jacket on chilly autumn hikes, but it breathes well enough that I didn't sweat on uphill climbs. The collar zips up to my chin, which keeps me warmer than a traditional hoody would, and the hood just covers my hairline to keep body heat in.

I'm 5'9" tall with a 6-foot wingspan, which makes it hard
to find shirts with sleeves that are long enough. If you have
long arms and/or a long torso, you'll love this top.
The hoody also fits like a dream. It's tight enough that it doesn't feel baggy, but loose enough not to restrict movement - an important feature of any baselayer made for activities that involve moving your arms around. The sleeves are long enough for my long arms; I'm grateful for the chance to actually use the hoody's thumbholes without cutting off circulation. There's a small chest pocket that's perfect for lip balm and other small essentials I need quick access to. It's long enough that when I raise my arms above my head, my entire torso is still covered.

Bottom line? I'm completely and entirely in love with the Black Spider Hoody. I can't find a thing I'd change about the way it fits and feels. It's purposefully designed, and if I had my way, I'd have at least one in each color. At $110, it's not cheap, but when it comes to high-quality, long-lasting apparel, you get what you pay for. And the Black Spider Hoody is well worth the investment.

Are you familiar with NW Alpine? Think the Black Spider Hoody would work for you? What's your biggest challenge when it comes to finding baselayers that fit? I would love to hear from you!

Thanks to NW Alpine for providing me with a Women's Black Spider Hoody to test out! As always, the opinions expressed here are my own.

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