Mountain Hardwear Link Jacket
The Link Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best fleece jackets for 2023.
I was looking for a lightweight, warm, windproof fleece to wear hiking, biking, and around town. I originally bought the Mountain Hardwear Windstopper Tech, but returned it because it's cut ridiculously huge. So far, I've been really happy with the Mountain Hardwear Link. It's warm (similar to a sweatshirt) and the Power Stretch panels provide good ventilation. Though my jacket seems to be lacking the DWR, the Windstopper membrane makes this jacket essentially waterproof in rain and snow.
Hands-down the best cut jacket I've found. It has an athletic cut similar to a soft shell, but still has enough room in the chest and sleeves for long sleeve shirts. I'm not a huge fan of the Carbon (green) color, but the jacket still looks pretty darn cool.
I wore this jacket hiking in Utah in the dead of winter with only a long sleeve tee underneath and was happy. The jacket provided more than enough warmth when I was moving. Once my tee became damp and I stopped moving, it felt a bit chilly in the Power Stretch areas on the sides of the torso and arms.
Overall a really great jacket, especially for the price (I picked up a prior season closeout). Could be slightly warmer and more wind resistant without the Power Stretch panels, but then it's essentially a Mountain Hardwear Windstopper Tech.
Fabric: Gore Windstopper Fleece
Price Paid: $65
I grabbed the 06 model on sale from REI Outlet and combined it with a 20% offer. I was just looking for a basic fleece and couldn't have been more happily surprised. I'd never owned a fleece with Windstopper before and man is it great. This fleece is probably the most versatile garment I have and is great in fall/spring over a t-shirt, or in the winter over a flannel.
My only complaint is that the side pockets are a touch high, so it feels awkward walking with your hands in your pockets. Otherwise, the chest and internal pockets are a nice size and well placed.
The sizing runs true to list. I went with an XL even though the sizing chart puts me at a L. While the fleece fits fine when I'm using it alone, it doesn't zip into my L Mountain Hardwear Hardpack Parka very well. The fleece zipper is an inch longer and it bunches a little under the shell. I'm still glad I got the XL because it fits nicely over other layers, but if you are committed to using it as a zip-in layer, this is something to consider. An XL shell would absolutely swallow me.
At any rate, it is surprisingly warm for a low-volume fleece and I would get it again.
Price Paid: $80
Beautiful mid-layer fleece jacket! Depending on your needs...whether over your favorite base or under your favorite shell, you can't beat this jacket in this price range. Functional, comfortable and attractive (I have it in the color Carbon).
Fabric: Outer: Microfleece -- Inner: Poly Tricot Knit
Price Paid: $160
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