Archive for January 23rd, 2011

January 23, 2011

The North Face 100 Khyber 1/4 Zip Fleece Top review

by backpackingbongos

Is there still a place for the humble fleece amongst all of the new hi-tec fabrics and garments that are available to liberate money from our wallets?  When Webtogs asked me to review a North Face fleece I secretly turned my nose up, even before I knew what I would be getting!  I asked if I could have the lightest fleece garment that they had in stock, this hopefully would make it suitable for backpacking.

Now let’s get one thing straight before I look at this fleece in more detail.  It has been in my possession for nearly a month now and it has been worn every single day since I got it!  It’s been worn on the hill, walking the dog in the woods, in the office and for lounging around the house.  Unfortunately I am pretty fussy in what I choose to wear, comfort being the major consideration.  It is the comfort factor that has sold it to me, but with the exception of its comfort, is it any good?

It is made from Polartec Classic Micro fleece which is light and very soft to the touch.  I would describe the cut as ‘relaxed’ a good fit without feeling restrictive.  It has got a deep quarter length zip for good ventilation which also makes it easier to put on and take off.  I have always had a preference for outdoor garments without full length zips as they can sometimes feel bulky under a backpacking sacks hip belt.  There are no pockets which is good as they would only provide bulk in my opinion.  The fabric itself only stretches one way which does mean that the sleeves and the back rides up a bit when reaching upwards.  The non stretchy flat seams also contribute to this.  The hem and the sleeve cuffs are not elasticated which adds to its general comfort but is not ideal on a cold and windy fell when you want to cinch everything in.  One drawback of microfleece is that it is definitely not windproof.  However I always carry a lightweight Rab windproof jacket with me, so that’s no problem as part of a layering system.

I popped it on my scales and it came in at 250 grammes which is fairly lightweight.  I think that it is a bit of kit that I will be taking on the TGO challenge.  I was going to take my Paramo jacket which I only find comfortable in cold conditions.  Because the weather in May could range from warm and sunny (hopefully) to wet, windy and possibly snowy I think that I am going to go for a lightweight layering system.  A merino wool base layer underneath this fleece and a windproof on top would be ideal for most conditions at that time of year.

A rare clothing hit with me.  It can be purchased directly from Webtogs here.