I love a good story, but it’s not every day you get to wear one. The Coalatree Evolution Hoodie lets you do just that. Made of plastics and coffee grounds, both recycled, this Coalatree hoodie is surprising, comfortable, durable, and a great conversation starter. Plus, the thoughtful design makes a lot of sense – I’ll come back to some of the well-planned features and unexpected benefits (like its odor resistance) below.
I wear sweatshirts and hoodies a lot, but since I got a hold of this hoodie it has become my go-to outer layer. And, given the rapidly changing weather we’ve had this spring, I have been able to try it out in snow, wind, rain, and even warm and sunny days. It has worked equally well as an outer shell in cool weather and as a layer under my jacket in the cold. I also found that the Coalatree hoodie paired well with the Georgetown Hooded Jacket. The Georgetown jacket broke the wind, and the Coalatree hoodie kept me warm.
In a light rain, the Coalatree hoodie kept me drier than I expected– even though it’s definitely not waterproof. It also dries off pretty quickly. It also does a better than average job of cutting a light breeze, and while it isn’t a windbreaker, the hoodie outperformed my expectations in that regard.
This hoodie is so comfortable that my wife has been stealing it from me! But I did have a moment right after I got it where I wasn’t sure. At first, I was surprised by how soft it was, but there were about 30 minutes I didn’t know if it would work for me – it felt just a little scratchy on my arms. I decided to wait it out, and after that initial brief discomfort- once the fabric got settled- the hoodie has been great and I haven’t felt any scratchiness again.
And now, for some of the features I mentioned:
- Thumbholes: The thumbholes at the end of the sleeves let me pull the fabric over my hand and also made it easier to put on an over-layer when it was bitterly cold.
- Hood: The hood lays flat enough to layer underneath another jacket, while also being big enough to use over a stocking cap or beanie. The pull strings work well and the hood provides a comfortable and reasonably effective windbreak.
- Handwarmer: The front pocket works great for warming your hands – especially when you use the thumbholes to bring the sleeves forward.
- Kangaroo pocket: The kangaroo pocket behind the hand-warming pocket surprised me. A discreet zipper lets you stow a surprisingly large amount of gear, and it’s perfect for passports and phones. The internal dividers within the kangaroo pocket help keep things organized, and the audio cable pouch lets you bring headphone cords through the interior of the jacket. I still have corded headphones so I like this feature a lot.
- Pillow mode: The kangaroo pocket can also be turned inside out to store the jacket inside itself – much like the Gregory Supply Duffel’s side pocket does. Besides being useful for packing (although, honestly, I’d probably rather wear it), the inside-out stuff sack configuration gives you a pretty comfortable pillow. I can definitely picture myself using it that way in an airport.
- Odor defeater: To be honest, I was skeptical about the claim that this hoodie would handle odor. The coffee grounds that make up part of the fabric trap odors, and only release them into the wash water, rather than back into the air. So, I tested this claim two ways. First, I wore the hoodie almost daily for about 6 weeks – even while working out and cooking (gross? sorry). At the end of six weeks, I finally had to wash it because I had gotten some food on it while cooking, but no odor had accumulated on the hoodie. So, I wore it while grilling. My charcoal was really smoky at first and it got all over the hoodies. Then came the steak smell. A few hours later, the smell on the hoodie was still potent (if delicious). What surprised me was that the next day, the smell had started to vanish. Two days after grilling I asked my wife to smell the hoodie and she was perplexed – “it doesn’t smell like anything.” That was the same result I had. I’ve never had an article of clothing rid itself of a smell like that so quickly without washing. It’s fantastic – even if I am a bit sad that I can’t smell the steak anymore.
Overall, I really like the Coalatree Evolution Hoodie. It looks good, feels good, and I have fun talking about it because it is so unexpected. There are even joggers made out of the same coffee and recycle plastic fleece. Maybe my wife would like a pair of those.