[REVIEW] L.L. Bean Primaloft Mountain Pro Hoodie

I’ve been gearing up for a cold Minnesota winter, and decided it was time to update my everyday-wear hoodie. I did a couple weeks of research – scouring blogs and online stores for good reviews, good deals, and high quality hoodies. I ended up being overwhelmed by everything out there (and some crazy prices, too). My past experiences led me back to L.L. Bean. The outerwear I have had from them fits well and is consistently made with high quality materials. Here is my review of their new Primaloft Mountain Pro Hoodie:


Fit: After taking a few measurements, I went with the small (I am usually a small or medium, depending on the cut and style.) Upon receiving it, I am thankful I went with small, it fits my 5’11” frame about as nicely as I could hope. It even has a bit of slack so that I could still wear a baselayer or long sleeve shirt underneath it – but not too much slack that it is baggy.

Warmth: I chose the Primaloft hoodie because I knew it would give extra warmth without being heavy or bulky. It does exactly that – I can confidently wear this hoodie in the mid 40s and still be warm. If there is a sharp or cold wind, however, you’ll want to bundle up a bit more. The prima loft is in the front and back of the jacket, as well as the hood. This leaves the sleeves and the section down the sides of your body. with just a fleece lining. This means it will provide a bit of ventilation, but also lets in wind and cold if you aren’t dressed for the weather.

Style: I am a big fan of the way this hoodie looks. I chose the Gray Heather/Chartreuse because it looks outdoorsy, yet also appropriate to wear at work in a casual setting. It’s “slightly fitted” (according to L.L. Bean), which means it conforms nicely to the body and moves with you, making this great for being outside and being active. A great part of this jacket is the amazingly fitted hood. It hugs the head, and the primaloft inside in it will keep you warm and cozy.


Quality: I am not totally blown away by the quality of this. I have had far more frayed ends of stitching than I would expect, and have also been having some light pilling on the forearms (easily removable, though). This hoodie is definitely not a “buy it for life” hoodie, but I also realize it’s not priced as such.


I have no regrets on this purchase, and am sure I will get many years’ use out of this. I give it five out of five stars. It’s currently $129.00 and can be purchased directly from L.L. Bean HERE.

[Review] Columbia Stratus Hooded Softshell Jacket

Stratus Hooded Softshell

Stratus Hooded Softshell

I recently reviewed the Key Three II Softshell Jacket by Columbia. My overall review of it was that it was nearly a perfect jacket — just missing a hood! And then I found this hooded gem by Columbia: the ‘Stratus Hooded Softshell”. But I couldn’t really find any reviews on it or any stores selling it online. It was a good deal, so I went ahead and ordered it, hoping for the best.

So how is the Stratus Hooded Softshell?

Well, this jacket has a light interior fleece-style lining. It doesn’t have any of the fancy technology that the Key Three II softshell had, so I wouldn’t say this one is quite as versatile or could replace a winter jacket in a pinch. But the combination of the fleece lining and the hood means that this jacket will cover just about any weather you’ll find in spring or fall. (I’ve found the lining to be water repellent, to a certain degree. Definitely not waterproof, though!) The ‘medium’ size of this jacket fits a bit looser than the ‘medium’ size of the Key Three II jacket, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you like your jackets to fit. Personally, I’d prefer if it fit a bit tighter, because I don’t like to layer too much underneath a jacket, so I don’t always need or want room for a sweatshirt underneath it.


The jacket has nice cinches to adjust the hood, and there are two more cinches to adjust the waistline.

What could be improved on the Stratus Hooded Softshell?

Adding a zippered chest pocket (like the one on the Key Three II!) would add some more user-friendliness to this jacket. Other than that, the jacket is well-constructed. It’s a quality, brand name jacket that will do exactly what it’s made for — to keep you warm and comfortable. If you’re looking for more features than this one offers, I’d suggest you look at some higher-end brand names. You’ll probably be able to score a lighter weight hooded softshell that can do everything this one does and more — but at a much higher price. 

I rate the Stratus Hooded Softshell 3 out of 5 stars. It’s nice. I’m happy with it, and it serves its purpose well.