Great mid layer with a couple flaws
I have two Black Spyder hoodies - an XL from 2011 and a newer XL I purchased autumn of 2017. I've wore both a lot for ice climbing, snowshoeing, and cool-weather backpacking trips because with a base layer shirt underneath, a Black Spyder hoody is just about the optimal midlayer piece for me. Warm enough, sometimes just, on even the cold days. I do sometimes layer a Powerstretch vest over the hoody, but mostly I find the Black Spyder to be the ideal layer for a winter day out. A few comments: 1. Very grabby fabric. Pulling on a Black Spyder over a base layer top requires a fair amount of wriggling around to get comfortable in the top. Once there, the combo is very comfortable. Also, the fabric is a good weight for high-output activities, a bit more action-oriented than some heavier hoodies, at least for me. The fabric is fast drying, whether under a puffy parka at the belay or hung up in the cabin after a day out. 2. Body length and sleeve length good on both shirts. The newer one is longer for both, almost too long for body length. Workable, but I Prefer the fit of my old Black Spyder. Fits closer than the new one, which is very long and rather baggy, though both are labeled XL. The pattern seems to have changed at some point. In current sizing I might be better off with a Large. I rather like the closer fit of my old shirt. For the record, I'm 6'1", 44" chest, 35 - 36" arm length. An XL if you believe the size chart. 3. The hood fit is better on the old Black Spyder. The newer one’s hood is loose and floppy, and even a climbing helmet didn’t stop it from twisting and partially blocking my vision (that was fun on an ice lead!). The zipper always seemed to end up under a chin strap, which got uncomfortable after a while. Overall, a more balaclava-like hood would be a big improvement. I've tried on the Patagonia R1 hoody; their hood gives better coverage to my face and chin. I know it’s tough to get hood cut right for everybody, but chin and face coverage please! 4. I know it's a small thing, but I love the chest pocket on the right side. Every other garment I have layered in winter - fleece, shell, puffy parka - has a left side chest pocket. Eventually they become unusable because too much stuff is piled in the pocket below. A pocket on the right chest is undiscovered real estate. Apart from the hood issues, the Black Spyder is my favorite cold weather layering top. It's generally warm enough, the fit works well for winter activities, the fabric is good. With a better hood this would be the perfect layering piece.
excellent fit and a versatile layer
Excellent breathable microgrid fleece fabric that I've used for trail running in winter and will use as a lightweight layer for shoulder season season backpacking. Haven't used enough to comment on durability but no issues with smell or face fabric piling yet. Highly recommend this well-constructed and versatile layer.
No need for others hoodies
I own other goodies from Patagonia and TNF that I'm going to give away. NWAlpine black spider is all I need as base layer for ice climbing to main piece of gear for rock climbing. And it's really well made.