No crinkly, crunchy fabric here. The 20-denier nylon is specially processed to feel pliable and soft, more like a windbreaker than a stiff hardshell. Cozy patches made with a blend of merino and Tencel (a wicking fiber made from eucalyptus trees) at the chin and back of the hood felt comfortable next-to-skin when the hood was deployed. Bonus: We dig the style.
An elastic strip at the back of the nonadjustable hood kept the short, wire-rimmed brim from flopping in our eyes. Two giant hand pockets (big enough to hold a water bottle or hat and gloves) lined with merino mesh are placed above a hipbelt and extend almost to the armpits. “Opening them let me dump heat, yet the bottoms of the pockets are slanted slightly down and in, so I didn’t have to worry about stuff falling out when the zippers were open,” a tester says.
The Civetta kept testers from swamping out during high-output trips into the 50s, and it was so comfortable to wear that they reached for it as a windshell even in dry weather.
Ortovox’s 2.5-layer Merino Hardshell Light fabric, which combines a nylon face fabric with a waterproof/breathable membrane, kept testers dry on soggy bike commutes and warm when winds gusted to 35 mph on Colorado’s Front Range.