Honestly, I used to believe super technical base/mid-layers (and outerwear, for that matter) were bollocks and a bit of a waste of money. Just put enough layers of fabric between yourself and the weather and you’ll be fine, right?
Nope. Quality does matter, and just like high-end outerwear convinced me a while back, Mons made me an absolute believer when it comes to merino wool products. Not only have they been able to bring some much-needed style to underwear and layering, their stuff simply performs at a high level.
For Downdays’ second Mons Royale product review this season (find the review of the WMS Cornice Rollover here), I wore the brand new Yotei Powder Hood for a couple of days in the mountains around Innsbruck. It’s still early in the season and we’re not looking at the most epic conditions, but that’s kind of the point when it comes to functional 1st layers; they need to work always, no matter what. And since we did get a bit early-season snow this year, I was actually able to see if this long sleeve would live up to its name.
Before getting into the details of the Yotei, which by the way will easily carry you through an entire season of exploring the outdoors, here’s a look at the underlying technology of merino products:
The secret lies in the unique structure of the fibers in merino wool. They are finer than other wools, making merino extremely soft and comfortable to wear on your skin. The natural waves in the fibers guarantee superior insulation while providing great breathability, turning merino into the perfect choice on a cold day in the city or a heavy hike up the mountains. The fabric is also extremely moist-wicking and dries super fast – literally within minutes after having reached the peak – something you otherwise only know from synthetically manufactured materials. The kicker? Merino wool simply won’t smell bad. The fiber’s anti-bacterial properties and chemical structure lock in odors and allow you to wear the same garment for days. And that’s pretty neat no matter what you do.
The Yotei Powder Hood is specially designed to keep your head warm and dry on cold days. The slim funnel hood closes off perfectly to the sides of your face and dons as a perfect extra neck-warmer when not worn on the head. Add a beanie / balaclava / helmet and your goggles, and your face is shielded from anything that may come, from freezing temperatures on the glacier to well deserved face-shots in the backcountry. It comes with the mandatory thumb-loops for deep conditions, and its easy and comfortable fit makes it a go-to garment for the entire day.
I’ve been wearing the Yotei during all my ski-tours so far this season and wouldn’t want to miss it. I actually use it as my designated mid-layer, and all I need on top is a vest (I highly recommend Mons Rayale’s Hero Vest at this point) or a thin shell for the hikes up. If you can let it dry for a little bit on the top, you don’t even have to bring a new layer for the colder way down.
Call me disgusting, but since I wanted to test the material’s functionality, I haven’t washed it yet (four tours in). So far, so good, no smell no nothing…
The Yotei Powder Hood comes in two different colorways and you can order yours right here.