Kit review: 2013 Jack Wolfskin Performance fleece
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know how much I love the Jack Wolfskin paw print logo. It’s a strange love, but I have always hankered after a few items of the Jack Wolfskin kit. Until recently, however, I have never found the right item of clothing to suit my activities. However, things have been changing – and also Jack Wolfskin have been kind enough to send me a few items for review. Check out my Jack Wolfskin waterproof jacket review.
This summer I will be testing some of Jack Wolfskin’s new jackets and fleeces for 2013. These include a redesigned 100 microfleece performance half-zip. This is billed as a “lightweight, breathable fleece for sporty outdoor activities”.
The Jack Wolfskin Performance half-zip fleece
It’s a revised, sporty version of Jack Wolfskin’s iconic lightweight fleece, the GECKO. The new fleece is a pullover style and very light and stretchy It’s made of NANUK ATHLETIC QMC, a microfleece whose reverse side has baselayer characteristics. It is claimed that the fleece helps to transport sweat quickly away from the skin to the outside where it’s spread over a wider surface area to evaporate.
So what do I think of the new performance half-zip fleece?
I was immediately impressed with its weight. Picking up the fleece was like picking up a piece of soft tissue paper, it felt so light. And I knew before I put it on that it would feel lovely against my skin. I wasn’t wrong. The baselayer inner isn’t made of fleece material but is a very soft and comfortable fabric that makes you feel as though you’re hardly wearing anything. The outside fleece is also very soft to the touch, but it’s the inside layer that I have been really impressed with.
And it does feel oh-so-light to wear. It’s more like wearing a soft t-shirt or long-sleeved top than a fleece.
The fit is also superb. There is a men’s and women’s version and my small women’s fleece fits like a glove. I am usually a size 10 and I was sent the small. The look is also very flattering. Quite often a fleece can make everyone look sort of bulky, but the Jack Wolfskin hugs the skins beautifully.
I have long arms and a long-ish body but the Small is long enough on both counts. All to often, my tops come up short on the arms.
How does the performance fleece perform?
There is more to an outdoors top than looks! I wore the fleece on several different occasions. During two two-Munro days, during a camping weekend and to the pub!
The big walking days were dry-ish and not too cold, but they still required a few layers. I wore a wick-away t-shirt, followed by the Jack Wolfskin performance fleece. When the rain came on I popped my Jack Wolfskin waterproof jacket on the top. (All very Jack Wolfskin co-ordinated!)
Climbing Munros is a sweaty business and it’s important for the sweat to evaporate from the skin. It’s always when you stop half way up or at the top that you notice how much sweat is against your skin, because this can make you feel suddenly very chilly. Brilliantly I felt quite dry. I would often have to change my baselayer to prevent the chills coming on but during both Munro outings I stayed in the same layers for the whole walk. Going downhill can become cooler, especially as I ended up walking into a headwind but with the jacket on top I stayed at a good temperature. Not too hot and not too cold.
The half-zip was useful because I could allow more air into my body when required and zip it up to my chin when the temperatures dropped higher up the mountains. So, the fleece offered good results while out walking.
While camping, the fleece was ideal for popping on in the morning while sorting breakfast and pottering about outdoors. Equally, it offered a great base/mid-layer for evenings outside. I added another thicker fleece over the top and my waterproof jacket and remained nice and cosy until late into the evening.
After all this, the fleece obviously needed a wash! It washed out as good as new and has now been my fleece of choice for a number of outings to the pub. It looks smart enough for a casual outing, and isn’t too bulky to be worn under a waterproof jacket when (yet more) rain descends.
And the fleece was so good my daughter borrowed it
When you have a teenage daughter who is almost as big as you, you have to expect a few items of clothing to go missing. It doesn’t happen too often because she’s not so impressed by my dress style. But I spotted her pulling the fleece out of the washing and feeling how soft it was. She then decided it would be the ideal item for wearing while she lounged around on the sofa all day and once or twice popped out to walk the dog. Hmmmm….I can see a few arguments over who will next wear the Jack Wolfskin fleece.
In conclusion: This is a lovely lightweight and very comfortable fleece to wear. it does a good job of allowing sweat to evaporate while still keeping the body dry. It’s perfect as a base or mid-layer. It also looks good, and fits this tall and thin test reviewer extremely well. Priced at £45 it’s pretty competitive for good quality fleeces. You’ll need to keep an eye out for the new Jack Wolfskin range, including their fleece, in shops and on the Jack Wolfskin website.