Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie Review
Aviator is a relatively small company, but they've got some big products in the travel space. Here, we take a look at their 100% Merino Wool Hoodie.
Introduction To The Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie
Aviator, from all I can tell, is a pretty newish company that operates out of LA (their founder has lots of experience in the industry however). While their product certainly has its own characteristics that they are bringing to the table, their mission is something that you're seeing more and more within the travel space: wear more and pack less. I for one, support this kind of mission because frankly, there is room for more than one player in that space. What space is that? Put them in the same category as Outlier, Western Rise, and perhaps Duer. Though, they are much more hyper focused right now. They've also done some interesting things to their production and sales process, namely staying small and cutting out middle men where ever possible which helps keep the costs reasonable.
Aviator's specialty is travel jeans - but as you can see here they are also branching out into some other travel essentials - merino clothing. And today we're reviewing the Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie. A travel essential that they've made out of 100% Merino wool. Basically the industry fabric leader in magic. First of all, who doesn't love a hoodie? And second, should you consider this one?
Merino wool is all over the place now. Button downs. T-Shirts. Polos. You name it. So, I think that in order to stand out you need to be succeeding on the quality of the wool itself (look for 100%, and not cheap), and any differentiating features. Because if every product is high-quality and 100% Merino, it will perform the same scientifically speaking (Read: fighting odor and regulating temp). Let's dig in, shall we?
This is my review of the Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie. Aviator was nice enough to send me a review piece, but this is not a sponsored article and other than product questions being answered, they played no part in this review. The opinions are my own.
This page does include affiliate links. When used to make a purchase, we make a small commission which helps keep this site running, but this in no way affects the results of our reviews.
Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie Overview
Aviator is a company focusing on travel. Therefore, you should expect this hoodie to be geared towards that end. And it is.
The basics - it's 100% Merino and New Zealand sourced (i.e. sheep specialists). Doesn't get any easier to describe than that. This is great - because the more Merino in a product, the more odor resistance you have, and the better its ability to be comfortable in warmish or coldish temps. I say ish, because it's not going to be your sole jacket in really cold weather, that's just not what it's made for. And in really hot weather, it's doubtful you're going to want to wear a hoodie. Maybe debatable, but the material does have it's limits eventually. Back to the product.
In my wearing, and especially the first try on, the quality was wonderful. This hoodie's merino was wicked soft. I don't want to get over the top, but, while no scientific proof of this, I'd feel comfortable saying it was the softest merino I've ever used. Really, really comfy. It's got YKK zippers (I know all you travel fabric freaks love that) with metallic accents, two zippered hand pockets, and some draw strings. Oh and inside the left pocket, there's a headphone pass through. It retails for $145.00 and comes in Navy, Grey, and Black . Also comes in women's!
There are also some features that are really geared towards travel. I find them all to be in the "Good" category, so I'll save those for there. But, confirmed there are travel specifics on this product.
Aviator Air Dry Hoodie Fit
I've been on record (and I'm sure it won't be the last time) as saying that I really haven't come across a lot of merino products where I've enjoyed the fit. That's just my personal view, but it's true. The drape is always terrible, and the fit is usually wildly flowing or baggy. This is a bit different as it's a hoodie. But, none of that here. I loved the fit. Really great weight to it as well. Hard to describe that in writing, but it felt really satisfying. Maybe not for ounce counting, but I don't see this dragging you down as normally you're wearing it.
The Merino Hoodie from Aviator is close fitting on me, but not tight. It's short in length, but not too short. Sleeves were a great length too. For reference, I had the Men's Small, and I'm 5'6" with more of a broader, athletic build. Not the super slim type. I think it would be fine for those types, too. That's it, short and sweet. It's not too thick in a good way (good packability), and was perfect over a t-shirt or long sleeve tee. I'd say it's a little closer fit on me than the model on the website. But pictures here for your reference.
I've already described the fit, but I'll list that here in the Good section as well. When I"m traveling, it's not the same as laying on my couch watching football. I don't want an oversized bit of clothing that's going to possibly get in my way, or get into weird tangled patterns with a heavy backpack on, etc. The fit here keeps you pretty sleek in my case, so nothing bulging out or hanging down, etc.
The clever travel specific features on this thing are also in the "good" - all of them. Aviator really nailed it and I like to see when a company tries to do something of their own on their product, not just clone other things. I shouldn't be surprised however, based on the features in their jeans (future review coming, once tailors are back in business post-pandemic). All of the merino wool qualities are here: warm in cool weather, coolish in warmer weather, odor resistant (seriously, this stuff is amazing at this). It's also quick drying - which in travel terms for a hoodie, means you can get caught in a quick rain, get wet, and don't have to worry about waiting 72 hours for your thick, cotton hoodie to dry. Ok I made that number up, but you get my drift. It's a big improvement. As the name suggests, you can air dry this thing in a an hour or 2 for light rain, over night for a full drenching (or sink wash) and you should be more than good to go.
Two other big travel related features. Both on the cuffs. There are thumb holes so you can pull them down and they stay put. Billed as a fingerless glove mode. Whatever you want to call it, it adds some protection when it's chilly and you still need your fingers (like trying to find your way using Google Maps), or just added comfort when getting some shut eye on a bus/train/plane while on the move. The second, is that the cuffs have an additional flap you can fold down, over your fingers, and it creates a mitten effect. This is fantastic. Before you laugh at this - think about getting stuck in a colder than expected day. Now, think about having to carry some luggage on said day when you don't have gloves. Pulling a roller down cobblestones in Bremen in a cold rain. Not great, eh Sparky? Or again, getting as cozy as possible when trying to sleep. It's kind of awesome and supremely clever. When not in use, you can't even see this feature. I chatted with the owner over email and he gave a fair point - it's also good for not touching door knobs and elevator buttons, etc. Depending on the times you live in and where you're visiting.
Lastly, the hood itself might be slightly different than you're used to. But, it's purpose built. "But AW, aren't all hoods purpose built?" Yes, I know all hoods are purpose built. Stay with me here. This one is different. It's wider than you would expect, and while it does have draw strings, it's not really meant to be a close fitting hood. The reason for that, is that it's designed to come down over your head for sleeping. Really great feature. You're on a plane. You need shut eye. But they keep turning the lights on and off. Well, you can ignore them now because this plops down over your face and your set. More, you don't need to bring another "thing" that can do this. It's already on you. Or, while I'm too old now for hostels, think about in a shared room when people get up early and turn the lights on, you're all set. Of course it can be used in a traditional way too, but it's very well performing in this trick function which seems to be more of what it was designed for, to me.
I hate for a lot of my reviews to be too positive, but frankly sometimes you just are reviewing a great product. That fact is, before most things even make it to my site for you to read about, I've already spent hours identifying brands I think add value, or are popular and people want to read about. So I tend to have done all the narrowing down for you already. I'm not going to go and write a review about a product I know is shitty, HAHA. Would waste all of our time!
So on this one, this was hard because it's just a great hoodie that does what a hoodie should. I'll say that the zipper designs might be a bit too aggressive in their contrast color. I had the Navy, and the zippers did look a bit flashy. For me personally, come on, it's not the end of the world. But, maybe make them the same color as the sweatshirt, or less metallic and reflective (granted, they could be made to reflect on purpose, but I don't think so). For what it's worth, my GF who happens to be a designer, agreed on this point.
That's all I got.
The Performance of the Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie
Here we go - the How Much Did I Smell results. Frankly, not at all. Upset of the decade! Sorry to disappoint you. This is an item of clothing you wear over other layers, so it's going to not really come into the smell test often, unless you're wearing it in some really long and trying conditions with higher than usual temps, I'd say. Or, higher exertion levels (like a hard hike).
I wore mine every day for five days straight. And while I couldn't go out and about or travel (this review was written during the height of the COVID-19 quarantines in NYC) - I did get to experience typical March weather in the North Eastern US. Cold one day, warm the next. Rainy another. Rainy AND cold another. The works. I wore it in my apartment when the apartment was heating up from the sun (I'd estimate upwards of 22C /73F) and doing chores, to times where I wore it in 10C/50F outside going to the supermarket and a walk around the block. I was never too hot, nor was I too cold at those thresholds. I think any colder, and you'd want to layer more. But since this isn't bulky, you can layer an ultralight down jacket over this with no problem whatsoever and have an awesome kit. On each wear, I had regular t-shirt underneath (the Bluffworks Threshold t-shirt in some cases, which I reviewed).
So, I still had it in varying conditions, and at no point did it pick up any smell over the course of the week. I wore it not only during the day, but til bedtime each night. I also didn't notice any pilling, or anything like that. Time will tell how it performs there, but you should expect SOME of that over time. It's wool. It's also your responsibility to take care of your wool clothing properly, especially with washing. This will help it last a lot longer and keep you wandering smarter around the globe. Note: In some of the pictures, it might look like pilling. I can assure you there is none. This is an effect of the "new sweater" fuzz, and a super sharp lens. Most of this fuzz will come off in the wash or with wear. But again, no pilling after 5 days straight wear.
The Improvement Requests
This one will be short like the criticisms. Consider making the zippers a little more subtle. But, that's just a personal thing. Others out there, might dig it. It's not garish or anything, just a bit too noticeable for me on the Navy one.
Final Thoughts On My Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie Review
There it is. While I tend to have not been too impressed with full-on merino clothing in the past, I have to also confess that I've had my eyes on some hoodies for my travel kit for a long time. It was always an article of clothing that I felt would be valuable, and I also felt it was one that brands could get right because it didn't need too much perfection from a fit/pattern perspective. T-shirts and polo's are very different.
With the flexibility of the Air Dry Hoodie in going from slightly warmer to colder scenarios, plus the ability to pack it down pretty small when you don't need it - I'd say this is a pretty clearly something you should consider as a packing essential. Hoodies might not be your thing, and that's OK (I don't know is it? Should we trust people that don't like hoodies? Jokes, jokes) and maybe don't fit your particular style. But if they do, then this is as versatile as a hoodie can get, I think. It's also perfect for those transit tasks - airports and airplanes, etc.
Beyond the versatility of the features, it's just a well made, nice sweatshirt made by a small US brand that is trying to do something different and bring it's own ideas to the table. That is always a reason for me to consider a brand. In this case, I think you should consider them, too, for your merino hoodie needs. The Aviator Air Dry Travel Hoodie is fantastic. And in fact - I'm wearing it right now.
They sell directly from their website, so hop on over and consider giving these guys your business:
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