Outdoor Fabric Guide 4: Technical Fleeces
Posted by Neil | April 13, 2011
Continuing our regular look at high-performance outdoor clothing, and the overwhelming choice we face in the shops and on-line, here we focus on Technical Fleeces and their place in today’s ever-burgeoning market.
Fabric Guide: Technical Fleeces
Technical Fleeces are ideal for outdoor activities in cool, windy conditions, or fairly aerobic pursuits in cold conditions - like mountain walking and climbing.
They are usually windproof or offer high levels of wind-resistance, and involve less bulk than normal fleeces. Often designed to serve as an outer layer, they can quite happily be used in a layering system in extremely foul weather.
Usually with a close fit cut, technical fleeces have anatomically-designed shoulders and elbows to allow for upper body movement, and are also longer in the arms.
Often with reinforced panels for wearing with rucksacks and harnesses to prevent wear, they are ideal for climbing and mountaineering. A standard fleece, by comparison, will have a much more relaxed cut, low pockets and generally no reinforcement.
Equally suitable for a wide range of active pursuits, the technical fleece is highly-breathable, more wind-resistant and lighter than a normal fleece.
The cut of a technical fleece jacket should always be snug to minimise billowing, waist and hips are often elasticated, and pockets should be easily accessible when you’re wearing a rucksack or climbing harness.
Hoods are a matter of personal choice; if fitted, they must go under a climbing helmet without restriction, be easily adjustable, and all drawcords and tabs should be anchored to avoid whipping around in windy conditions.
Zip pulls should be large enough for easy use with gloved hands.
Major brands to look out for include The North Face, Mammut and Montane.