Recommended price: £64.99
Weight: 430g (women’s size 8)
Once ubiquitous, fleece jackets have fallen from favour somewhat in recent years, with many walkers switching to synthetic insulation that offers more warmth to weight. They are, however, usually more breathable which makes them still a great choice when it’s slightly less cold or when your sweating heading uphill. This fleece jacket from Kathmandu is made from Polartec Thermal Pro, a high performance fleece.
In addition to the usual soft fleece inner, the outer surface is a knitted structure giving the garment a distinctive look. The surface has proved robust with no piling or rubbing at the shoulders and back after prolonged rucksack wears, a problem with many cheaper fleeces. I’ve actually found it very comfortable and warm for its weight. It lacks any wind resistance, letting cold wind straight through, but this does mean it’s exceptionally breathable. Its slim fit means it works well under a wind shirt or waterproof hard shell when needed.
The fabric is polyester, of which 77% comes from recycled plastic bottles, and there is a soft trim lining the stand up collar. The fabric is stretchy and although the design is slim and fitted – there is plenty of movement in the arms and it is true to size. The collar provides some warmth but there is a no hooded version. Two front pockets are zipped (YKK) and just big enough to work as hand warmers. The main front zip is backed by a generous baffle to keep warmth in and there’s a comfy chin guard at the top. Flat seams – except down the sides – keep fabric bulk at a minimum and provide a comfortable fit. There are no thumb loops or ways to adjust the hem or cuffs.
Available in women’s UK sizes 6 – 16 and men’s in XS – XXL, in black marle colour only. Made in Vietnam. In general a warm and stylish fleece that is well made and robust, just don’t expect it to keep those cold winds out – you’ll need a separate windproof or to wear your hardshell for that.