Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gear Closet: Chrome Merino Cobra Pullover

Each year the outdoor industry invests millions of dollar chasing the Holy Grail of technical fabrics for use in a variety of gear. The top companies are constantly developing and refining lightweight, durable materials that are breathable, moisture wicking and odor fighting as they try to one up the competition in performance. It turns out however that nature has already provided us with the perfect material in the form of merino wool, which not only has all of those great qualities and more.

A number of great apparel companies already offer wonderful products made from merino wool and I've personally used plenty of them over the years. I am continually impressed with how well the material performs, particularly in active pursuits in cooler weather. Thats why I was eager to put the Merino Cobra Pullover from Chrome to the test. This great looking garment was created with cyclists in mind but it is so well designed that it can be used for a variety of outdoor sports, including trail running, hiking, mountain biking or even snow sports.

The Cobra Pullover is built to be form fitting without restricting motion in any way. It is clear that Chrome put a lot of thought into its design, making it a great option for outdoor athletes. For instance,  the high-quality neck zipper slides down far enough to allow you to pull on this extra layer without even needing to take off your helmet. It also comes with a high neck collar that can be flipped up to help ward off a cool wind. Thumb loops pull the extra long sleeves down over the hand, providing some much appreciated warmth when the temperature starts to drop, while a longer torso keeps warm air trapped close to the body.

As you would expect, the Cobra Pullover benefits greatly from Chrome's version of merino wool. The fabrics so an excellent job of wicking away moisture, helping to keep the wearer warm when out for a ride or a long run. But its ability to breathe allows heat to vent away from the body as well, keeping us cooler when we start to overheat. Temperature regulation is one of the benefits of merino and this pullover does a great job in that regard. The garment also happens to be odor resistant, which means you can go straight from the trail to a restaurant without fear of sending your friends running for the door. Travelers will love that feature as well, as it comes in incredibly handy on extended active trips.

Other nice touches include a large, zippered passthrough pocket along the back that provides ample storage and a smaller key pocket on the right arm just above the wrist. That pocket has an integrated fabric loop that you can attach your keys to, making it even more difficult to lose them.

The Cobra Pullover is one of those rare pieces of gear that looks as good as it performs. Chrome has put a lot of thought into the design and it shows. This is definitely an article of clothing that you won't mind wearing out and about around town, which isn't always the case with performance wear. This pullover has classic good looks going for it and when you put it on, you'll be right at home on the bike, trail, coffee shop or just about anywhere else you may go.

For a piece of clothing made from merino wool, the Cobra Pullover is actually priced quite affordably. Chrome sells it for $140, which is very competitive when compared to similar products from competitors. This is a warm, durable, well built active wear that is versatile enough to be used in a wide variety of activities. I really like what Chrome has brought to the table and think that it will be a favorite with cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts alike. With the holidays just around the corner, it would also make a great gift for the gear hound on your list.

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