Review: FS Technical Woobie

Review: FS Technical Woobie

As a long-time user of the original FS Woobie I might be a bit biased reviewing the newest Woobie variant, called a Technical Woobie.

But apart from similar name and material these two are very different pieces, with different intended use. Sure, there’s some overlap, but even if you know or own the original Woobie, just take your time and check what this one is all about and… why you actually may need it too.

The Technical Woobie is based on the same merino blend as the original one – ACM 600 Merino Wool, which is a US made 50/50 merino & polyester blend. And yes, together with the US manufacturing it means Technical Woobie is fully US-made and also meets the federal regulations of Berry Compliance, just as all First Spear gear.

ACM 600 blend is lighter weight than pure wool, it dries way faster, wicks better but is just as warm and even softer to skin than pure wool. And still keeps anti-odour properties of merino, which is an awesome feature for multi-day hikes, bushcrafting trips and adventure outings.

But unlike the classic Woobie there’s also nylon Cordura fabric in strategic areas, where most wear occurs under hard use: shoulders, chest, upper back and elbows. And that’s exactly where you can expect high-wear contact with a backpack plus yeah, elbows area, which always tend to wear first for some reasons.

So technically speaking, the Technical Woobie really is a darn tough piece of gear! Another obvious difference is that spacious hood… plus some extra features, which I’ll cover later.

The fit of First Spear gear is usually soldier oriented, so a bit bigger in chest and arms vs regular sizing. But the Technical Woobie is actually quite true to size and should fit fine even when worn over a light midlayer.

I’m a classic Large (186cm tall and about 92kg) and it fits me great – not too trim, but also not oversized. So if you prefer a really loose oversized feel in your outer layer you may need to size up.

The biggest difference in fit verses the classic Woobie comes from the Cordura panels – it’s a bit more stiff in chest area and not so expanding in the elbows, but it’s not a regular mid-layer layer after all. It’s mainly an outer piece, worn just over a base layer in high output activities on chilly winter days, or as an active insulation on colder days or nights, any season actually.

I’m not talking about summer in sunny California of course, but believe me, August nights in central Europe (or even in Montana in the US) can be really cold sometimes. Plus the Cordura panels make it way more wind resistant than the classic Woobie.

Another aspect is full compatibility with rain jackets. In really severe weather adding a protective hardshell is always a good idea, and I can confirm it fits perfectly under true mountaineering shells like the Arcteryx Alpha SV or ThruDark SF Raid jacket.
The Technical Woobie is just packed with features! First of all the hood: spacious, cozy and super useful in light snow and wind. It also gives some extra warmth during stops on a winter hike.

Any pockets? Sure, two big hand-warmer pockets and a really spacious chest one for a mobile phone and extra valuables. This jacket also features cable pass through loops for easy headphones cord management, which can be connected to a smartphone located in one of the hand pockets.

And last but not least – two big internal side pockets for gloves, a beanie or other stuff like that. Synch cords in the hood, thumb loops, and a full zip of course… all that means comfort and perfect adjustment to the weather conditions.
I’ve been using my Technical Woobie for about 4 months before starting this review. Mostly in winter, but also in March and April. It’s clearly an ‘extended 3-season’ piece for me, which shines the most in the winter, but also during chilly spring mornings and should be great in autumn of course.

Exploring backcountry, bushcrafting, some light mountaineering, walking through the forest with kids, or simply walking a dog around my country cabin. It’s a piece that I simply put on when I want to feel warm, but without a risk of overheating. And as I said I’m also going to use it during coldish August nights when sailing on lakes in northern Poland.

It also shines as a hiking or backpacking outer layer, with Cordura panels protecting wool from damage under a pack’s weight. But additionally that soft wool under the shoulder straps makes pack carrying even more comfortable. Actually the feeling of a cozy merino blend worn just over a t-shirt might make it the most satisfying of all the garments I own.

I’ve been using my classic quarter-zip Woobie for a couple of years now and never had a serious problem with durability. But I also tried to avoid lugging a heavy pack directly on it, and usually used a Wind Cheater or other thin breathable outer layer when heavy hauling.

Now, with the Cordura reinforcement, the problem is gone. That plus a generous hood makes it the perfect companion, not only for cold seasons, but also for coldish nights, even during summer in the northern territories of Europe and North America. Considering how much I adore my classic Woobie, this new one will most likely see a lot of hard use in coming seasons! It’s a stellar piece.

By Piotr Ma

Senior Contributor & Edge Specialist, more posts.


May 21, 2021