Mountain Equipment Eclipse Hooded Zip Tee
Size Tested: Large
Weight: 11.8 oz
- Pontetorto Technostretch fleece
- Polygiene anti-microbial technology
- Lycra-bound hood with face protection and offset closure
- Flatlocked seams for next-to-skin comfort
- Napoleon chest pocket with mesh back
- Seam-free hips
- Low-bulk cuffs with integrated thumb loops
Reviewer Info: 5’10”, 185 lbs.
Days Tested: 14
Locations Tested: Canterbury Club Fields, New Zealand
Since its founding in 1961, expeditions have always been a focus of the Mountain Equipment brand. They’ve been part of more than 175 Everest summits, and participated in trips to both poles. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that their Eclipse Hooded Zip Tee is a refined and functional technical layering piece.
The Eclipse is made from a Pontetorto Technostretch fabric made in Italy that combines smooth-faced fleece on the outside with a gridded, brushed fleece on the inside. Anyone who’s worn a Patagonia R1 mid-layer in the past few years should be familiar with this interior gridded pattern; it works well, effectively trapping pockets of warm, insulating air against your body. There’s also Spandex woven into the fiber to give the tee an elastic stretch.
Mountain Equipment used different fabric thicknesses throughout the Eclipse to help regulate body temperature. There’s thinner fleece under the arms, in the part of the hood that covers your mouth, and around your waist where a harness or backpack hip belt would sit.
Finally, this hooded tee also has Polygiene—a silver salt impregnated into the fabric. The salt is supposed to eliminate odor-causing bacteria, and in my experience, it does help to reduce the smell.
I don’t normally wear a mid-layer this thick, since I tend to run hot and sweat a lot. But during two weeks in New Zealand and dozens of bootpacks around the Canterbury club fields, I wore the Eclipse over a light T-shirt and under a shell, and never felt like I was overheating. If I did start to get hot, I could unzip the front zipper, which extends all the way down to mid-sternum.
Sizing / Fit
For me, the size large Eclipse is snug, but it isn’t restrictive. It’s not trying to be a casual, hang-around-the-bar-type hoodie, and the snug fit maximizes sweat-wicking potential, while the interior facing of the fabric is comfortable on your skin.
I really appreciate the Eclipse’s long length. Measuring 27.5” from shoulder to the front bottom hem (with an additional 2.5” drop hem in back), the Eclipse easily tucks deep into my ski pants. Since I almost always ski with a photo pack and I’m constantly bending over and putting my pack down and picking it back up, I like it when my base layers don’t pull out of my pants and leave me with frozen plumber’s crack. The Eclipse never did this, something I can’t say for a similar Patagonia Merino 3 hoody that was cut much shorter.
The Eclipse’s sleeves are long and tapered and, since the cuffs are made from the same thin fleece found under the arms, there was never too much material bunched up under my jacket cuffs. The Eclipse’s cuffs also each have a built-in thumb loop, which kept the sleeves from sliding up my arms.
The Eclipse features an offset zipper to close the hood. I personally don’t use hoods much while skiing, but it’s a nice, functional option for those who do, and for climbers who want to layer it underneath a helmet.
I’m mostly looking for the collar of my mid-layer to keep out cold air, and I found the configuration of the hood and zipper on the Eclipse, along with the extra fabric, to be too bulky to comfortably fit around my neck when it was zipped up. Since it would bind up underneath the collar of my jacket, I usually left the hooded tee partially unzipped, and tried to keep the fabric flat on my shoulders.
While this eliminated the binding problem, it did let some cool breezes blow down my coat. So if you don’t imagine that you’ll use the hood much, you might consider Mountain Equipment’s non-hooded version of the Eclipse, and that would be my personal go-to choice. As Paul Forward writes about in his review of the Patagonia Merino 3 Hoody, having a hooded base layer comes with some pros and cons, so it’s good to be clear on how you’ll actually use the piece.
The Eclipse is definitely geared toward “light-is-right” alpinists, so Mountain Equipment hasn’t tacked on a ton of extra features. It has one Napoleon pocket which is roughly fist-sized, thumb loops to keep your sleeves in place, and a hood that also serves as a balaclava. As part of a minimal layer, these features suit me just fine. I don’t need a lot of pockets on my mid-layer.
If you’re looking for a mid-layer and want something that is both functional and refined, the Eclipse should definitely be on your list.
As I mentioned at the top, the Patagonia R1 Hoody is a close comparison to the Eclipse, and I have used the R1 Pullover for four years. It’s a great layering piece, but I’ve found the Eclipse to fit better, and I appreciate the Eclipse’s incorporation of thin fleece where you want it.
The R1, however, isn’t as form-fitting as the Eclipse, so if you’re looking for a looser fit, the Patagonia series might be a better option for you.
If function is your primary concern, then the Eclipse deserves your attention. It has well-designed features, fits well, and will layer easily with anything you put over it.