Product Review: Red Plaid Fuzzy Frontzip

by | December 14, 2012, 4:08pm 0

One of the more exciting developments in the world of ultimate gear is when some of the our often outlandish fashion sense spills over into products that enter the world of the real. Five Ultimate has often been the pioneers of lifestyle gear that celebrates ultimate culture in a unique, underground way. First it was the fuzzy hat, then the argyle sweater and the original plaid sidezip — all products that had that cultural twang which allowed us to impress the norms with the uniqueness of our sport without wearing a pair of neon green stretchy shorts.

The Red Plaid Fuzzy Frontzip follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, offering a combination of more conservative stylings and ultimate cultural functionality. I’ve been wearing this jacket all week. I took it to the gym, I took it skiing, I had tea in it and even launched a ballistic missile into North Korean subspace with it. Here’s what I came up with.

Comfort/Material (4/5)

Just look at this man's face. He LOVES it.

Having worked with a lot of Five products in the past, the Red Plaid Fuzzy Frontzip (Fuzzip) is one of the more well-constructed, quality items the Seattle-based company has produced. The first thing you’ll notice about the jacket is it’s wonderfully comfortable inner-lining made out of Five Ultimate’s patented fuzzy material found in their hoodie hoods, as well as Five’s old school fuzzy hats. Spread that fuzz with a butter knife along the sleeves and torso and you’ve got one comfortable jacket. It’s a lot like wearing a cozy blanket or ninja turtle snuggie by a warm fireplace on a cold winter day. It’s absolutely one of the more comfortable jackets I’ve worn.

Fashion aside, the outer plaid material is made of 50% polyester and 50% elastane which translates to a slightly stretch/durable and surprisingly soft layer.

The drawstrings are one of two minor knocks against the jackets. The drawstrings are uniquely long, which (fashion aside) translates to them sometimes getting in the way. More importantly, there’s already been a little bit of wear on one of the strings and I worry about it unraveling more over time.

The more major knock against the jacket is the zipper itself. The zipper itself zips great, like Zip making a great snag, as most zippers should (trying to fit “zip” as much as I can in this sentence). I’ve had some difficulty getting the zipper started and unfastened. It seems to have loosened a bit since starting to wear it, but it continues to be a noticeable issue with the jacket. Not one that hinders its wearability, but a slight hesitation in a otherwise excellent item.

Another quick note is that a medium seemed a pinch large for a dude that often wears medium jackets.

Usability (4/5)

The jacket itself makes for a warm lounge-wear, fall/winter item. I wore the jacket around 40 degree Seattle weather with a superman tank underneath and felt pretty comfy. I used it as a layer under my jacket going skiing up at Crystal mountain and was warm for the majority of the day. In retrospect, I could have probably used another layer even though I still shredded the snow like Jet Li’s flying kick.

The two places I found myself most comfortable in this jacket was keeping warm at the office/home, on a brisk walk around the block with a date and warming up at the gym. The latter would have been greatly enhance wear it not for the extra-long drawstrings which would often hit me in the face numerous times when trying to jump around at Crossfit (which isn’t that unusual at Crossfit).

The hoodie itself is like getting your face hugged by a panda right before it squeezes the love out of you.

Does this jacket have a pocket problem…yes…maybe…pocket problem? wtf? For shoving my hands inside of a [insert non-dirty metaphor here] the Fuzzip pockets are perfect. They’re soft, warm and fit my slender, yet manly hands quite well. As someone that likes my jackets to double as receptacles, I have some concern about stuffing my wallet, keys and crappy phone that I need to replace into the Fuzzip pockets. While they’re deep enough for my hands, I’m a little wary that should I jump in glee because I spotted a puppy kissing a baby that something might fall out. For those that aren’t big pocket people, the Fuzzip pockets accomplish all you’ll need. For me, I would have liked a pocket zipper or a deeper pocket to house my precious Elliott Bay Book Company stamp card.

Hat (2/5)

After extensive research, I determined that this jacket is not your run of the mil hat. However, the hoodie does go over your head and works well as a hat with cape combo.

Yes, I'm wearing this jackets.

Style (5/5)

Plaid is in. It’s not just a Vampire Weekend record or some other relic from a hipster graveyard (don’t know if that makes sense but I like that image). The Fuzzip takes a red plaid and smacks it into a realm of classic making the wearer feel not only like a bomb runway model lumberjack, but also as if they’re totally in touch with society (something us ulti-players often need).

The gray sleeve and bottom lining are an excellent aesthetic contrast in addition to the gray pairing of the fuzzy inner-lining. If only Five had a royal violet or dalmatian inner-lining version so that I could look as much like a king/pimp as a feel on a daily basis.

I knocked the long drawstrings above, but they’re a great balance for the entire jacket, and look dandy.

Wear this jacket over a dress shirt and bow tie on your way to a cocktail party, or just on a lazy Sunday. It’s versatile and delicious. The only thing I could ask for is a bigger (more iconic) Five patch so that I can point to it an tell all my non-ultimate playing fans, “na na na na boo boo, you can’t have this!” (Please don’t tell them they can. This is all I have.)

Price (5/5)

At $40, the Fuzzip might seems a tad more expensive than one would imagine for something you could get at H&M, but that’s like comparing apples to shitty apples. The unique stylings of the Fuzzip aren’t going to be found anywhere but at Five and the fuzzy lining alone is enough to warrant an extra $10 note featuring Sir John A. Macdonald, for our Canadian friends [also known as a Macdaddy note]. Quite frankly, for the quality of this product, I’m surprised it isn’t closer to $55. Bottom line: it’s worth the price.

Overall (4/5)

This jacket isn’t going to make your grandma get out of her wheelchair and backflip, but it is going to make her remark how sophisticated you dress and that her friend’s grandson and/or granddaughter is single. You’re going to look slick, like Daniel Craig on a Thursday, and you’re going to feel incredibly comfortable in Five’s fuzzy lining.

Aside from a couple minor issues in material and usability, the Five Ultimate Red Plaid Fuzzy Frontzip is a double solid item that would make the perfect Chrimbus gift for my brother Max…or one of your probably cool siblings.

Red Plaid Fuzzy Frontzip ($40)

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