Posted: 17 January 2011
Overall: Having considered and rejected the Patagonia R1 Hoody as being just far too expensive, the Smoulder which was undoubtedly inspired by the R1 makes an idea alternative. At under half the price its pretty good value and is a similar weight and fabric (though the R1's powerdry felt a little 'fluffier').
I've used it whilst skiing and cycling so far, and its done the job pretty well. In both cases it has provided enough warmth at low temperatures that I've just used a windshell on top and been fine when working hard, but it is easy enough to throw a fleece over the top or wear a base layer underneath for when it gets properly cold.
I'll definitely be getting another of these, though next time I might just skip the hood... seems like that is a feature that I just won't be using very often, though it may well be appreciated much more by climbers on chillier days. For my needs, I think I prefer a hooded windshell and a beanie instead of a hooded fleece.