Marmot Microfleece WindStopper Jacket
The Microfleece WindStopper Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best fleece jackets for 2023.
This is a great lightweight fleece "jacket" that has an excellent design and lots of functionality. My favorite perk is the ability to cinch the collar tight around your neck which prevents wind from drifting in and warmth from rising out. This makes a surprisingly big difference in keeping you warm. In a strong cold wind the fleece prevents most convective heat loss, although the strips below the arm pits DO allow a draft in... and this one feature, although it allows better ventilation, makes it a little iffy in conditions where you're not moving and the wind is strong. If you are moving, then it's great and if you start to build up a sweat you can use the pit-zips and/or the 2 front pockets for ventilation. Either way I would suggest a good base layer underneath to transport moisture and to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of metal zippers on your skin.
The design is very stylish and doesn't look "outdoorsy", which makes it possible to wear it around casually. But, this doesn't detract from its usefullness in hiking and climibing situations. The arms are longer than usual to allow for almost zero retraction when reaching and the elbows are sewn as to allow maximum articulation without binding. I've climbed a few times in it and have found it to be excellent.
Finally, it's got a good water repellency due to the tight fleece but don't count on it when the rain comes down.
Overall, if you're looking for a wind barrier that you'll use when you're on the move in or out of the city, this jacket is great. In spring or fall, If you're looking for something to wear at a belay station for 1/2 hour hour while your buddy is leading, I would suggest you bring an extra layer (I use a Patagonia puffball vest) to put over or under it. It does NOT have a tight fit (although I am pretty thin) but does have a trim fit. However there is be plenty of room underneath it for a 100 or 200 fleece. Once the temp gets up though you'll find you're using all the ventilation features. This makes it great for year round use.
Fabric: fleece with Gore windstopper lining
Price Paid: $200 Cdn.