BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Loki Midi Micro Fleece > Test Report by Kevin O Connell

LOKI MIDI MICRO FLEECE
TEST SERIES BY KEVIN O'CONNELL
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 02, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kevin O'Connell
EMAIL: kocon49@earthlink.net
AGE: 19
LOCATION: Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I started backpacking about 7 years ago, mostly taking weekend trips and occasionally going out for a week. I am a minimalist, and will pretty much do anything to shave off some weight. My trip settings are usually local, so a forest setting, very rainy and pretty hilly, although I do go on snow trips. I am trained in wilderness survival and first aid. I am also an avid rock climber, mountaineer, snowboarder, and yoga practitioner. I typically spend my entire summer on a single trip, so I usually have plenty of opportunities to test gear.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Loki
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.lokigear.com
MSRP: US$ 89.00
Listed Weight: 9oz (255g)
Measured Weight: 11oz (312 g)
Size: Men's Medium
Material: Hollow Fiber Polyester Knit
Color: Goat

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Midi Micro Fleece (MMF) arrived in a nondescript envelope. The package contained the MMF, a catalog of Loki products (the MMF was tagged with a sticky note), and four stickers with the Loki logo.

My first thought when I picked up the envelope? To be honest, I was not sure if they actually sent the fleece to me. I thought the package was way too light... Without a doubt, the Loki MMF is the lightest fleece I've ever handled. And that's saying a lot.

IMAGE 1
The MMF fleece has several unique features. The most interesting, and the most interesting, is without a doubt the Loki Mitts. It is a concept so simple and innovative, I couldn't help but slap my forehead in a... well, a somewhat comical manner. The forearm has a built in thumb roughly 6 inches (15 cm) above the normal wrist opening. Also, there is elastic material sewn around the sleeve in a pocket shape. To engage the Loki Mitts, just insert the thumb in the thumb slot, and flip the elastic material around your hand.
IMAGE 2
IMAGE 3
IMAGE 4

The MMF also contains several other features: a sewn-in facemask on the hood, a adjustable hood, and a 3/4ths zipper.

TRYING IT OUT

When I first put on the Loki Mitts, I was amazed. It is a simple concept, and I was surprised that I had never heard of it before. I immediately put it on to test it out on a walk. It was a cold and windy day, and I expected the MMF to perform as my other fleeces do. When the wind came, I did my usual pre-hunch to retain as much heat as I could. But, surprisingly, I felt as warm as ever.

Just off the bat, I'd have to say this is a nice fleece. It is light, comfortable, and overall, it is very convenient. I have noticed that when I wear other jackets, my thumbs instinctively scratch at the side of the arms, searching for the nonexistent mittens. That being said, I also find I reach for nonexistent pockets. There's no question the MMF could be improved, the trick is just finding out where. Also, I have not worn the MMF in the field, so it will be interesting to see how it performs in a more stressful environment.

TESTING

I expect to be able to put the MMF through all of its paces. The MMF has performed admirably for day to day use, but how will it hold up in the field? I want to pay close attention to the breathability as well as the quick dry function. I noticed some possible problems during my around-town jaunts, such as the built in facemask irritating my ears, or the weight of the unused mittens causing the arms of the MMF to twist.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

City of Rocks, Idaho (3 Days)
Saw freezing temperatures in the day and frequent snow at night, as well as rain and extreme wind.

Mt. Hood, Oregon (2 Days)
Freezing Temperatures, Snow on one day.

Mt. Hood, Oregon (2 Days)
Temperatures were slightly above freezing.

Mt. Hood, Oregon (4 Days)
Temperatures were in the mid 50's (10 C).

Mt. Hood, Oregon (3 Days)
Again, mid 50's (10 C) with rain on all three days.

Mt. Hood, Oregon(1 Day)
Bluebird conditions with temperatures in the upper 20's (-6 C)

Ozone Craig (3 Days)
Very overcast and humid, temperatures were in the 40's (4 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I am very impressed with the performance of this fleece. Even though I own heavier fleeces, I constantly find myself reaching for this one. This fleece is extremely lightweight and breathable, conveniently folds up to a small size, and is relatively waterproof and windproof. The fleece also has a hood, which is surprisingly hard to find on most fleeces. Of course, the facemask and the mittens are welcome additions as well. I have been using the MMF as my main layer, usually without an outer shell. On my way back from City of Rocks Idaho, I encountered a massive windstorm and rainstorm. Although I'm not sure just how fast the winds were, they were enough to roll a 4 person tent loaded with gear. Being the only one lucid enough to make the necessary repairs throughout the night (although I might have been bribed with a cheeseburger or two) the task of fixing the rain fly was given to me. The only layer I wore was the MMF. Although the rain was coming down, I stayed dry for a surprising amount of time, especially considering the light weight of this fleece. I did find that the fleece becomes almost suffocating when it absorbs water - the gloves on my wrist caused the sleeves to weight down and stretch, and the hood began to irritate my throat.

SUMMARY

So far I am very impressed with the performance of this jacket. Such a simple design has completely altered the traditional role that fleeces have occupied (at least in my mind). The gloves, hood, and facemask have all seen heavy use, and except for the reduced functionality when wet, the MMF has been issue free.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Frenches Dome, (2 Days)
Overcast, but no rain.

Carver, Washington( 2 Days)
Sunny, but cold.

Eastern Oregon (Late June to mid August)
The long time period emcompasses a multitutde of conditions from freezing temperatures to hotter then 100 F (37 C).

I have used the MMF a total of 73 days over 10 seperate trips.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The MMF has proven itself a valuable addition to my gear closet, and has seen conditions ranging from 20 F (-6 C) to raging wind storms. One of the amazing things about this pullover is the durability -- It shows little to no signs of use after being seriously abused. The only issues I have with the MMF come inherent with its features- the bulge from the gloves, and the feeling of the facemask rubbing against my ears. After wearing the MMF in rain conditions, I found that the mittens absorb water until they weight down the sleeves of the jacket, seriously reducing functionality. The facemask also has a similar problem when wet. I wore the MMF while working as a Wrangler for a dude ranch (imagine riding through the dust that 45 odd horses kick up for several hours every day). This jacket washed completely clean and is now dust free, something not even my jeans could do.
IMAGE 1

SUMMARY

I do plan to use the MMF in the future. The convient light weight, extreme breathability, and overall insulation. The fact that the fleece can be used in such a multitude of conditions alone has made it a favorite to use. I am very impressed with the durability of this jacket, and look forward to playing around with other products the Loki company makes.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Loki gear
Read more gear reviews by Kevin O Connell

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Loki Midi Micro Fleece > Test Report by Kevin O Connell



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson