Reviewing non-technical products is hard, as there's inevitably less to say about them. I mean, how do you review one cotton hoody versus the next? They're all the same aren't they? Cynicism aside, as far as hoodies go, few are as technical as the 3rd Rock Zoom. Made from organic cotton, this top has a quality feel, and features a cut quite unlike anything I've worn before.
"The high quality of materials and workmanship suggest that it's going to survive repeated scrapes"
Having met Jessica, the co-owner and chief designer of 3rd Rock, on a number of occasions, I know there is one thing in particular she prides herself on - the cut. Now I've never really thought about how you could improve of the design of a hoody before, they'd always seemed alright to me, but when you put on the Zoom Hoody it is obvious that there is indeed something different about it. Because it's been designed with an 'arms up' cut (see here), it has a greater freedom of movement that your average hoody and a lot less baggy material around your underarms.
The hood is of a particularly generous nature, doubled lined, and featuring a nice overlap at the front, but a fascinating absence of toggles. I say fascinating mostly because I was aware of their absence, but then realised that in all my years of wearing hoodies I hadn't once used the toggles for anything genuinely functional (this isn't exactly a gore-tex jacket after all!). If I were to name a downside to the overall design it would be the pockets, which are two separate hand pockets as opposed to a single pouch across the front. I've always preferred the latter whilst bouldering, as it allows you to join hands to keep them warm, or keep your rockboots in there so they don't get cold between goes (or am I getting soft). Ordinarily I wouldn't have minded too much, but the two individual pockets felt like they could have done with a little more depth - particularly with climbers' hands in mind.
The Zoom Hoody is made from a blend of 80% organic cotton to 20% polyester fleece. From the thread following our most recent 3rd Rock review I was aware there were some questions out there regarding the benefits of organic cotton vs. 'normal' cotton. Well one of the major benefits - aside from the softer feel that comes with high quality organic cotton - is the lack of chemical pesticides used in its production, helping to preserve soil and water systems. There's a fair trade angle too, so you can feel reassured that producers aren't being heavily exploited. Environmentally, organic is better for the planet; socially, it benefits local communities; and in use, well it's better because it just feels nice...
Colour-wise I obviously went for the high-vis yellow, which did attract a number of comments. You're unlikely to be missed whilst out at the crag wearing this, so much so that I received a text from Burbage West asking if I was at Burbage North when they saw someone wearing a bright jumper. There are also grey, black, and purple (aka. blackcurrant) options available for those of a more conservative, or furtive, disposition.
The Zoom is a high quality hoody made from ethically sourced and environmentally friendly materials. Its brilliant active cut does mean that it's nicer to climb in than your average baggy hoody, and the high quality of materials and workmanship suggest that it's going to survive repeated scrapes. The one big downside is the price; at £59 this will obviously put some people off. But hey, winter's here and Christmas is just around the corner, so if you're looking to treat yourself (or a loved one) to something a little different and just a bit special then the Zoom Hoody is an attractive option.
More from 3rd Rock:
Put your hands up in the air like you just don't care, the new generation of climbing hoodie has arrived. ZOOM in and get your ARMS UP hoodie, with maximum reach and warmth. Perfect to climb in or just hang around looking great.
- Big deep pockets on the front for those climbing hands.
- Arms Up Cut – extra fabric for maximum reach and movement without pulling it out of place.
- Snuggle Approved - fully lined thick hood with overlapping front to keep you warm.
- Panelled details, expert top-stitching, and ribbing at the hem and cuffs take this hoodie beyond awesome. We got a little excited.
- Printed with environmentally friendly inks.
- A fantastic gift for climbers, cool dudes or just people who like to groove.
FABRIC: 80% Organic Cotton / 20% Polyester Fleece
FIT: Regular hoodie fit, relaxed and loose with a supportive waistband.
COLOUR: BLACK, DARK GREY, BLACKBERRY OR LEMON