Honestly, I’m super excited about this Chrome Cobra hoodie review (can’t you tell by my face?). Before I even started Merino Wool Gear, I knew that Chrome Industries was one of the best brands in the game.
And this hoodie is definitely one of the best out there.
It’s soft, warm, and has a fantastic fit. But I know I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s take a broader look at the Chrome Industries Cobra Hoodie 3.0, from the engineered features to the rigorous three-day wear test & laundry test.
What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Transparency: We aren’t here to try to sell you on this hoodie; we just want to give you the facts. However, as an Affiliate member, we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
Alright, I’m pumped to get this review started. Typically, I try not to outline my initial thoughts to provide a more objective perspective during this section. So here it goes.
After receiving the Chrome Cobra Hoodie 3.0 (size: small), I wanted to tear open the package. The Cobra 2.0 was popular back when I started the site, and I wanted to see which improvements were made in the latest version.
Unfortunately, I had to wait about two weeks before opening the package due to a prior engagement. And while it took all my willpower to not test it out immediately, it was well worth the wait.
When I put it on, the first thing I noticed was the exceptional fit. It’s a solid slim-to-athletic style hoodie. It doesn’t restrict movement in the shoulder, and the fabric doesn’t bunch up. I couldn’t ask for more.
The next thing I noticed was the soft, brushed interior. The same brushed interior is on the inside of the hood (which felt comfy on my almost-bald head). There was zero itch, and it felt super soft against my skin. Moreover, it felt thick enough to keep me warm down to freezing temperatures (but I’ll get into that test later).
Finally, the last thing I wanted to check out before testing out was all the added features. There are the thumbholes, zippers, extra pockets, and more. While I’ll dive into my opinion about each component in a bit, I just wanted to note one potential issue that I caught: the back pocket zippers seem a bit delicate due to their placement. I haven’t had any problems with them; it’s just something I wanted to note.
Specs & Features
As previously mentioned, the Merino Wool Cobra 3.0 is packed with features meant for cycling. Although, I’m not the biggest cyclist.
So, I’ll do my best to communicate the quality & necessity of these features, but take each one with a grain of salt.
Editor’s Note: No Merino wool apparel is perfect, so don’t let one silly feature be an ultimate dealbreaker. If you like this hoodie (or any other Merino wool gear we review), but can’t get over a specific feature, reach out to us. We are always happy to help you find the perfect piece of Merino wool gear for you!
Merino Wool Composition
The Merino percentage was actually a contentious point in my initial research. This is because the Merino Wool Cobra 2.0 was 100% Merino wool; however, with the latest version, this percentage has dropped to 53%. Many diehard Chrome Industries fans have expressed their opposition to this change.
In my not-so-expert opinion, there are only a few significant downsides to using recycled polyester within the fabric. It won’t be as odor-resistant as pure Merino, but that shouldn’t be a significant issue since most people wear a tee underneath their hoodie.
I can definitely tell the difference between this blended hoodie and a pure wool one. Still, their next-to-skin feel is relatively similar. And I’d venture to say in a ‘blind wear test,’ the typical user could not tell the difference.
Fit & Cut
One of the main reasons I was excited to test out the Chrome Cobra 3.0 was the athletic fit. Just from my pre-order research, I noticed the form-fitting construction. When I tried the hoodie on, I saw the exact athletic fit as advertised. And, I don’t know if you know this, but that’s not always the case with some Merino Wool gear.
So, it’s safe to say that what you see is what you get with this hoodie. Well, at least in the fit department.
Two pockets in the front, one in the back. As you can see above, the rear-pass-through pocket is zipped on each side and offers plenty of room. I’m planning to test out the capacity a bit later, but I was able to get some solid measurements. The two front pockets are 9.5″ tall x 6.5″ wide. The rear pass-through pocket (what I call a ‘reverse kangaroo pocket’) is the same height but slightly over double the width (see below).
Hood & Collar
Editor’s Note: Okay, before I start fanboying, you should know that there was a minor defect in the hood panels when I received this hoodie. Some of the stitching was frayed. Yet after further inspection, I realized it was only cosmetic, so I snipped off the loose threads (because I’m a professional, kind of). However, contact Chrome Industries ASAP if you experience a similar issue with your hoodie. They have a 365 guarantee against manufacturer defects. Okay, continuing on…
Love it. Seriously, the hood design is top-notch on the Cobra 3.0. It has three panels that sit flat underneath a helmet and bungee drawcords with locks to achieve a cinch that won’t loosen up while riding. Moreover, the interior of the hood is lined with Merino wool. So, for those of you with little to no hair (like myself), your head will be draped in soft, silky wool whenever you wear your hood.
Also, the draft collar feels stable, like it won’t slide down too much with physical activity. It goes up to about the middle of my chin when fully zipped. It may sound like a silly detail, but it’s still good to know!
I’ve had Merino wool hoodies before where the cuff and thumbholes make (and break) the gear. This is because cuffs, in general, have a considerable durability concern. The wrist area has a lot of stitching, which I’ve found to usually be the origin point of wear and tear.
In other words, the thumbholes and cuff tend to have the highest rate of failure.
But Chrome Industries knows this. They know you’ll be pressing firmly against the handlebars. Chrome understands that bikes can poke, puncture, scrape, and tear your clothing. So, for the Cobra hoodie 3.0, they made sure to add reinforced stitching and fabric throughout the cuff.
Initially, I really liked how they felt on my hands. Even while the cuffs are on, my fingers didn’t feel restrictive. In fact, their level of dexterity is high enough that I’m able to type this sentence while wearing these cuffs!
But we’ll get more into that in the analysis sections.
Editor’s Note: Many people tend to find cuffs and thumbholes cumbersome, especially since it makes the sleeves longer. If you’re one of those people, just fold the cuff underneath itself, and adjust it to your desired arm length.
At first, I thought: “Really? Is a two-way zipper necessary?” The answer is: it depends.
You may not need it if you’re like me and are just a casual wearer (even though it makes it much more convenient to reach your pants pockets).
However, if you’re an avid cyclist, the two-way zipper helps the hoodie lay more relaxed around your torso while riding. You won’t get the uncomfortable bunching and discomfort that you may receive from traditional hoodies.
When I actually tested these zippers, I had trouble at first. The last tooth on the zipper that you insert into the actual retainer box is slightly curved, not straight. This is not a design flaw but necessary for the two-way zip locking mechanism.
Still, my fat fingers took a few tries to zip it up correctly.
Three-Day Wear Test
If you are unfamiliar with our full-length reviews, we like to do a three-day wear test on each piece of gear. We want you to better understand how these high-performance clothes perform in real-world situations. Moreover, we like to fact-check some of the ambiguous marketing claims to ensure you’re getting the best value out of your favorite Merino Wool gear.
As you’re reading, understand that I’m writing each entry at the end of each day. If I go back to correct something after the fact, I’ll mark it as an ‘update.’
Day One: Casual Friday
I started testing the Merino Wool Cobra 3.0 on a Friday since I wanted to focus on it the entire weekend. But first, I wanted to see how well it would perform in everyday life. So, since the office has a loose dress code, I threw on the hoodie (with a Smartwool Merino Sport 150 tee underneath) and went to work!
In the office setting, I saw no significant issues with comfort. The fabric kept my body temperature regulated, and I felt hot only once (after eating a big lunch). The only minor inconvenience that I noticed was that I experienced fabric bunching after sitting down at my desk with the hoodie zipped up. Basically, a small pouch would form near my stomach. To fix it, I would adjust the drape or unzip the hoodie. I was expecting this because I’m only 5’6″, and the hem length was slightly long on me initially.
After work, I went to the grocery store, walked the dogs, and even ate dinner in the hoodie. The temperature was about 55°F, so I did sweat a tiny bit on the walk, but nothing major.
Now, as the day winds down, I type this while my thumbs are still in the monkey holes, I can say the Cobra 3.0 Hoodie suits my need for an everyday hoodie.
Day Two: Lazy Saturday
Well, today was unproductive, sort of. The weather that was supposed to be decent turned into a near-freezing rainstorm (that’s Upstate NY for you). So, I spent the morning bumming around the house, seeing how much stuff I could stuff into the three pockets. I fit a Nalgene bottle, A4 notebook, pen, and rain shell into the back pocket. And in the front two, I put my wallet, keys, phone, and a bunch of things from the junk drawer in my kitchen.
Needless to say, there was plenty of room.
It started to clear up in the afternoon, so I decided to go for a short bike ride around the neighborhood (after I put air in the tires). I’m a casual rider, so I won’t get too technical because cycling lingo is not my strength. All I can say is the hoodie worked well on the bike. I adjusted the two-way zip a little, but otherwise, the fabric sat flat. Moreover, the reinforced cuffs felt good on the handlebars until my hands got cold because I forgot gloves.
When I got home, I decided to go shirtless underneath the Chrome Cobra 3.0 hoodie the rest of the day. Why? Because I reeked. Yes, I am trying to test the odor resistance because the updated Chrome Cobra hoodie is the near-50-50 blend of Merino and synthetic. While this helps with durability, it can be an issue in the stench department.
And now, I’m going to sleep – in the hoodie, of course.
Day Three: Sunday Funday
I don’t know if it was because of the hoodie or not, but I slept great. There were no issues with rubbing, irritation, or scratching at night, which is always a plus. Then, I took off the hoodie and hung it up near a fan to air out while prepping for the day ahead.
After a much-needed shower and breakfast, it was time for the moment of truth: the sniff test. I started with the fabric around the armpits, which surprisingly smelled fresh. The rest of the fabric didn’t stink, except for the synthetic mesh pockets, which had a barely noticeable body odor smell. This was expected since I did go shirtless under the hoodie all night.
Next, it was off to Ithaca, NY, for Sunday Funday. My family and I did some short waterfall hikes and walked around the city. The weather, however, was not kind. It was just above freezing with light snow and rain. I could only go about thirty minutes outside without throwing on my puffy jacket. Although, the Cobra 3.0 didn’t bunch up under my coat, so it’s definitely suitable for layering.
And that’s that; Three days of testing in real-world situations. I hope you got a better idea of how you could use this hoodie in your life. Now, it’s time to throw it in the washer.
After three days of use and three more minutes of rolling around in the dirt, it’s time for the laundry test!
According to the tag on the Chrome Cobra 3.0, the care instructions are as follows:
- Machine Wash Cold
- Do Not Bleach
- Tumble Dry Low (see ‘Editor’s Note’ below)
- Do Not Bleach
- Do Not Dry Clean
Editor’s Note: While I always hang dry or flat dry my own Merino wool gear, I followed Chrome’s recommendations precisely for the purpose of this test.
As you can see, the Chrome Cobra 3.0 hoodie performed exceptionally well in the laundry. You may not be able to see it from the image, but the color held true. There wasn’t any pilling or shrinkage (that I noticed). So, overall, I’d say it passed!
In the future, though, I will avoid the dryer like the plague with this hoodie. I don’t trust Merino wool as a fabric enough to subject it to a tumble dry cycle in my old dryer. If you’d like to learn more about how to care for all sorts of Merino wool gear, check out our comprehensive care guide.
Chrome Cobra Hoodie Review: What I Like
So, after a lengthy initial review, three consecutive days of wear, and one successful laundry test, I feel like I’ve done everything I can to test every aspect of the Chrome Cobra 3.0. Now, it’s time to summarize some of my favorite features.
Style & Versatility
Whether I wore this hoodie to the office or out on the trail, it always felt appropriate and presentable. The sleek, athletic cut is fitting for nearly every situation. Moreover, what I really like is the snugness-to-flow ratio.
This hoodie is stylish, versatile, and perfect for my everyday life. And since my life can sometimes be painfully unpredictable, I might as well feel comfortable in this hoodie while pushing through it.
Great Temperature Regulation
As you may already know, Merino wool has excellent thermal regulation properties. Yet I was honestly surprised at how well the Chrome Cobra Hoodie performed in various environments. I stayed warm in near-freezing rain, cool in a 70-degree office, and just right when underneath the covers at night.
For one reason or another, I just can’t seem to find a hoodie with a hood that fits my head. Now, I’m not saying the Chrome Cobra 3.0 is the perfect hood shape, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. The Merino interior feels super soft on my bare head, while the paneling creates a solid shape. And, in windy conditions, the elastic drawstrings provide the extra hold necessary to keep the hood in place.
In other words, I wish all Merino wool hoodies would have this same hood design.
In the past, I’ve had issues with cuffs and thumbholes wearing down before the rest of the fabric. So, I was super pumped when these reinforced cuffs lived up to their name. The cross-stitching on either side of the thumbholes prevent them from ripping and maintains their overall shape. I can really tell they were designed to deal with the scrapes, friction, and rubbing from handlebars. Definitely a solid feature!
Chrome Cobra Hoodie Review: Areas To Improve
As with all my Merino wool gear reviews, it’s important to highlight areas and features that I would improve. That’s not to say these are downsides per se, but aspects I noticed in the testing process that gave me a little trouble. Perhaps Chrome Industries will keep these minor issues in mind for the Cobra 4.0?
Most of the time, when I think brands need more Merino wool in their collections, it’s a far-reaching dream. However, as the Cobra hoodie 2.0 was 100% Merino wool, I know that Chrome Industries has the capability to increase the Merino wool percentage. So, why not add more wool in the next version?
As I mentioned in my initial thoughts, I had some reluctance about the long-term durability of the pocket zippers. While testing the hoodie, I didn’t have any issues, but they didn’t perform well enough to ease my initial worries. Still, this is just a personal preference.
However, the main zipper was still tricky at times. I was in a rush to leave the house, and it took me three minutes to get the two-way zipper to slide into place. Perhaps I just don’t have the right touch. Although, once the zipper was actually secured, I enjoyed the two-way zip functionality, especially when wearing a backpack.
While I think the price tag is justified for all the enhanced features, it may be best for Chrome Industries to lower it just a bit. I know that a big chunk of that price is material cost. And, since this hoodie uses less expensive polyester, I think the price should reflect this.
Still, I’m no clothing business expert.
And there you have it, folks, the complete Chrome Cobra Hoodie Review. I had a blast testing it out as I do with all my Merino Wool Gear, but this one felt special. It’s an awesome hoodie for cycling, traveling, hiking, and everyday use.
So, if you want to grab one of these hoodies for yourself, you can click on the link below. Or, if you’re going to see all the gear that Chrome Industries has to offer (Merino wool or not), head on over to their site.
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