Recommended Price: £55
Weight: 410g (size 10)
This is a very warm and comfortable fleece from Alpkit. Most of the material is a high pile, fluffy fabric, with a much stretchier gridded fleece down the sides including armpits and around the cuffs. This combination seems to work well, with reasonably good wicking properties. A single chunky full-length front zip has a baffle behind it and there are two generous non-zipped hand warmer pockets. A smaller Napolean pocket at the chest will take a mobile phone or GPS but I don’t find this the most comfortable place to store these items, so apart from using it for keys it’s not the most useful pocket. The hem has a bulky drawcord and toggle system for tightening it, thought as the design is fairly fitted I haven’t found this necessary. The cuffs are comfortable, the thumb loops have alot of material which mean they’re not the most comfortable over long periods of time. The hood, with it’s fluffy interior, feels super cosy and with the front zip done up it’s a snug enough fit. I’d like the ability to tighten it around the face if I was going to use it instead of a hat in cold and windy conditions.
Weighing in at 410g for the size 10 version but it is very warm and packs up small so I think the warmth-to-weight ratio is good. The real bonus to my mind comes with the Polygiene treatment which does in my experience cut down on smelliness. A silver-chloride treatment, Polygiene prevents the growth of stinky bacteria and is supposed to last as long as the garment. In this case, I’ve worn this jacket both next to the skin and as a midlayer for numerous long day outings without washing it in between and still haven’t been able to make it smell. The fact that items treated with Polygiene need less washing is probably a good thing, as the durability of this fleece will be is my main concern with it. The fluffy material sheds some fibres when rubbed against rucksack straps, seat belts etc and some have also come off in the wash. Although it still looks fine after a few months use I’d be surprised if this fleece lasts as long as I’ve come to expect from much outdoor gear. However the ability to wear it both out on the hill and then for the evening in the pub or bothy without worrying too much about odours makes this an item worth considering. The price is comparable to other fleeces by Berghaus, Craghoppers and cheaper than many brands.
Available in two colours, forest green and font blue, and in sizes 8 – 16, made in China.
Pros: Comfortable, good warmth for weight, Polygiene odour control
Cons: Sheds fluff, lower pockets can’t be zipped shut