Review: Backcountry Pentapitch Hooded Pullover

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ILPenta

Two weeks ago, in a state of despair over my perpetually cluttered gear closet, I went on a purge: Any gear I hadn’t used in the past year or two was getting donated or sold. It had reached such a state that I could barely find my rock shoes or rack amidst the tangle of draws, slings, biners, jackets, chalk, chalk bags, etc. that filled various bins and milk crates on the floor. Or, if I did find what I was looking for, pulling it out would dislodge a minor avalanche of other gear. It was time to go “full Marie Kondo.”

But I must confess, one category I pretty much held on to every item for was hoodies—I love hoodies and wear them year-round, whether at the office, chillin’ in the basement (Netflix + Xbox—the double crown of “overachievement”), and of course at the cliffs. In fact, I gladly made room for the newest addition to the collection, the Backcountry Pentapitch, a 64 percent Cordura, 25 percent polyester, and 11 percent Spandex blend with four-way stretch that has become a trusted addition to the collection.

The Pentapitch a climbing-focused piece, with a light, clingy feel that has made it ideal as a base layer at the cliffs—it’s not bunchy or baggy like a skate-style hoody, and is thin enough to fit well under a harness, with an adjustable hem that snugs up quickly and tightly with a single shock-cord toggle. It also packs up tightly in the cragging pack, taking up the space of a 1-liter water bottle when rolled up. I’ve used it while warming up in the gym, bolting (it makes a nice, hard-wearing protective layer against the inevitable rock shrapnel and tools hanging off your shoulders and harness), and redpointing at my limit on a stormy, cool, monsoonal afternoon. In all cases the piece moved well with me, with the four-way stretch ensuring that mobility was not an issue: On the crux reaches to distant crimps on my project, I was not hindered, even in the shoulders and armpits, which with lesser hoodies tend to bind on overdeveloped climber torsos.

The author, with his partner-in-crime Cody, testing the Backcountry Pentapitch hoody in the Colorado high country.

The author, with his partner-in-crime Cody, testing the Backcountry Pentapitch hoody in the Colorado high country.

On the bells-and-whistles front, the quarter-length chest zip was a nice touch for letting out heat, the ample hood is helmet compatible, and I dug the kangaroo pocket for keeping the hands warm between burns. The Pentapitch also offers UV protection, which I can certainly vouch for, having used it on early-morning approaches into the Flatirons under clear August sunshine and which makes it attractive for sunny winter cragging. The only thing to consider for future iterations might be a small, zippered pocket somewhere on the front, which would be useful for carrying micro-sundries on multi-pitch climbs.

All told, the Pentapitch is a great, bomber, well-crafted climber hoody, with just the right blend of tech and style (it comes in Sedona Sage or Paprika Red) to cross over from the crags, to work, to the gym, to, well, the basement and beyond….

$89.95, backcountry.com (for a similar option for women, check out the Liquid Oxygen Hooded Pullover)