Gear Review – The Squak Mountain Co Woolie

Cold weather layers need to perform exceptionally well for backcountry use – they need to keep you warm but not make you overheat; they have to be durable enough to wear all day but not so heavy that they are uncomfortable and conform sufficient to the body to wick sweat without being so tight as to be uncomfortable for extended wear.

My long-time choice for cold weather tops has been the Paradox baselayers available at Costco, among other places. They fit the bill for me quite well.

Well, it’s been a few years since I’ve bought one, and one shirt, in particular, is getting rather thin in the fabric.

Just in time, Squak Mountain Co. let Joan and I test out their new Woolie layer, and I think I found my new favorite cold weather layer after putting it through the test these past winter months.

In the Colorado National Monument. PCO Joan,

The Squak Woolie – The specs

The Woolie is a fifty-fifty blend of wool and poly; I find it combines wool’s breathability with the durability of polyester. A man’s medium weighs about 7.5 ounces / 210g, and a woman’s medium weighs 6.5 ounces / 185g.

Joan attested during her use that the women’s and men’s cuts fit the different genders well and aren’t simply so-called unisex sizes that are merely boxy-shaped fitting. The women’s and the men’s versions come in sizes up to 2XL.

From Joan.

The hood gives much versatility to the garment in that it retains heat and wicks sweat, and the generous half-length zipper (one of my favorite parts of this garment!) allows much ventilation.

You can batten down the hood for more warmth or open it up when you need to vent out heat. You can tell the ultra-running background from the company founders, which certainly helps when schlepping a pack or ski touring.

In the field

First, I’ll start with Joan’s experience. Joan wanted this garment to work so well for backpacking; she enjoyed the lack of odor from the half-wool garment vs. polyester, how well it fitted her, the warmth and breathability of the garment, and the aesthetics of it overall.

Her one complaint? She had hoped the wool content would not be as noticeable on her skin as in other garments with more wool. On overnight trips, especially, she has a noticeable sensitivity to wool. Alas, it made her itch a bit.

She loved it otherwise and used it for day hiking/car camping trips and her daily bike commute. By her admission, if it were not for a wool sensitivity, it would otherwise be in her backpacking rotation. Instead, it’s become a day-use favorite.

Me? I unconditionally love this garment for use in cold weather. The hood makes it so I can bring light head gear for day use and combine it with the Squak hoodie for a versatile, breathable, and functional cold-weather combo.

PCO Joan.


Again, I can not say enough good things about the half-zipper. One reason I find hoodies limiting is the lack of ventilation. A simple zipper, especially one that offers much ventilation, dramatically increases the temperature range.

PCO Joan

After about two months of regular use, I find that the garment is starting to pill on the shoulder and on the small of my back – where abrasion from the pack hits the most.

It does not appear to cause wear beyond that, but even a wool blend will show some wear beyond more durable polyester. Still, the breathability and versatility of the wool blend make it a reasonable trade, especially for use in colder weather. This past weekend, I think I reached the upper limit of my comfortable temperature range of the hoodie when it crept toward 50F / 10C.

The warmer temps and the greening of the license plates mean it’s time to shift to warmer weather gear. But the Squak Woolie has a permanent place in my cold weather rotation after this season of successful use.

From Joan

At $60 currently, it’s only moderately more expensive than the Paradox brand, but with the hood, more ventilation, versatility, and higher wool content. It’s not a cheap garment, but an excellent value for the money, in my opinion.

Overall view?

It is an excellent cold-weather layer that I plan to use for many seasons. Due to wool sensitivity, Joan also likes the layer but more for day use. Otherwise, she’s a fan, too (She’s over in the next room wearing it as I type!)    

The hood, generous zipper for ventilation, breathability, and good fit for both genders make another excellent piece of kit from this Utah-based company that continues to make reasonably priced, functional, and aesthetically pleasing garments that work well for the active outdoors person.

Joan and I both look forward to future products from this company as we continue to enjoy the products we already own and consider important parts of our kit.

From Joan

Disclosure – Squak provided the Woolies for our review.
I did sign up for an affiliate program where I’ll receive a small commission for any purchase you make with no additional cost. You can also use a coupon code to get 15% off your purchase.

Women’s Woolie Men’s Woolie   – 15% off coupon = PMAGS-SQUAK 

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3 months ago

I bought one at your recommendation (to your shame, you capitalist pig!) and I concur with your review. Great piece at a great price. I am 6’2″ 182 lbs with long arms and the large fits perfectly. Thanks, Paul. I appreciate your no nonsense ethic.