This mid-layer is a beast. Not only is it perfectly designed, it keeps the warmth in and lets the sweat breathe through. It is hard to find a mid-weight layer that is warm and not bulky. Usually, I find myself feeling like the Michelin-man with my base, bulky fleece layers, and puffy jacket. This makes it difficult to maneuver steep inclines of slippery ice and rock. That is just one of the reasons I love the Franconia so much. It is incredibly warm for its weight and doesn’t feel bulky under (and over) other layers.
Another reason I love the Franconia is because of the perfectly placed chest pockets. Regularly placed hip pockets are super inconvenient under other jackets, and I feel like these pockets were built with the hiker in mind. It is super easy to unzip a jacket and slip your hand in the pocket that sits right there for your phone, a snack, whatever you want… which brings me to my next point. The pockets are actually big enough to fit stuff!
Arguably my favorite feature on the Franconia is the built-in balaclava in the hood. If you’re really cold and need both the hood and balaclava, you have that option. If you’re breathing heavy and want to pull down the part that covers your mouth, you have that option. If you just want the hood and no balaclava, you have that option (and it sits flat against the hood behind your head so you don’t even notice it is there!). And lastly, if you want nothing, you can take it all off too!
The Franconia has proven to be one of the most versatile and well-designed hiking layers I have ever owned. On top of that, it has outstanding comfort with its soft material, long torso fit so it doesn’t move around, and amazing fit! You won’t be disappointed in this layer!