Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Butter Hooded Topper

A short sleeve shirt fits under and over
the Butter Hooded Topper. (D. Herscovitch)
I'm picky when it comes to layering pieces. I bought the Mountain Hardwear Butter Topper Hooded Shirt in brown two years ago and it's been a layering staple in my outdoor wardrobe since then.

In an effort to add more color to my gear stash, I looked for the Butter Topper in a brighter shade. A recent search yielded a similarly named piece - the Butter Hooded Topper. Given the luck I've had with with Mountain Hardwear in general, I decided to try the Hooded Topper. And this time, my new layering piece would be a bright, happy jewel blue.

Since buying the top, I've taken it on a backpacking trip, hiking, even to CrossFit workouts. The jewel blue is stunning, and despite my general fear of standing out, I love how bright it is. There's definitely something to be said for wearing bold colors proudly. The Butter Hooded Topper comes in "pine tree," "iris glow" and "bonfire," among other colors. I've already considered getting a second one, but that might be overkill.

The medium is tight enough to layer over, but loose enough to layer under as well. Both a tank top and short sleeved wicking shirt fit well underneath without bunching in the sleeves, which is always an issue for me. The material stretches, which means whether I'm practicing double unders at CrossFit Love or shouldering a heavy pack, it moves with me. The fabric is a bit thinner than the Butter Topper Hoodie, but still warm and as soft as soft can be. The feel of the fabric is the top's best feature.

Everything about the Butter Hooded Topper is long, which is great. As I've said in other gear reviews, I have long limbs and generally have trouble with sleeve length. The sleeves on the Butter Hooded Topper are long, almost too long even for me, but it's a feature I love. My original piece, the Butter Topper Hooded Shirt, has shorter sleeves and shorter overall length, but I don't mind the added length one bit. However, shorter limbed ladies might.

Making faces at Patrick on the Pinchot Trail. (P. Gensel)
Overall, the Butter Hooded Topper is a beautiful, flattering, functional layering piece I would definitely recommend. The one thing missing from the top is thumbholes, which my original layering piece, the Butter Topper Hooded Shirt, has. Thumbholes aren't an essential feature for me, but if you're looking for them, the Butter Topper might be better for you.