RailRiders Backcounty Micro Fleece
Historic Range: $74.00
I wear a lot of fleece. This is my current favorite, over the fleeces I own by Patagonia, L.L. Bean, Columbia, North Face, OR, and even the old RailRiders fleece.
- High quality fleece
- Great fit
- Nice looking
- Neck gusset
- Superior construction
- Don't really use the chest pocket
I had four different versions of the Old RailRiders micrefleece top. It was a great piece, so I was really sad when it got discontinued a few years ago. Luckily, they brought it back in a total redesign and the Backcountry Micro Fleece was the result. I got one, wore it for a week straight, and loved it so much I ordered a second one so I'd never have to take them off.
Fleece is my predominant form of layering and insulation. It has the best warmth/weight ratio, offers good wind protection, and is really soft and yummy on the skin. I have fleeces from companies like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, Columbia, North Face, OR, etc, and this has quickly replaced all of them as my go-to option.
This is why:
1. Superb fit. I have long arms and a thin torso. One of the reasons I love RailRiders products is that they make clothing that fits my body type. I get long enough arms without the torso being super baggy, which is uncomfortable when layering under a jacket.
2. Quarter zip with neck gusset. Some people might not understand why that piece of fabric is there between the open neck zippers, but I happen to love it. As a ski instructor, you spend a lot of time managing temperature in a cold mountain environment. Ventilation is important, but it is really hard to strike that balance between venting and exposing. The gusset allows you to fully unzip your fleece, getting it away from your neck, while still protecting the very sensitive areas of your throat that get cold quickly from the wind. Excellent for skiing, especially on a warmer day!
3. Style - I love the style of the contrast stitching. It adds a unique flair to the piece while allowing it to stay understated. I personally have no problem with loud clothing, and I love some of my crazy-patterned fleece, but I also like looking classy and this looks classy while still being unique.
4. Construction - Like everything RailRiders makes, there is double stitching and all weak points are reinforced to create a rugged product.
5. Fleece quality - I have washed both my fleeces 4-5 times now and they are still soft as ever, no pilling yet. This is a good sign because that is my one problem with some fleeces!! Supposedly these will always stay soft, and if the old RR fleece is any example, they will for at the least a long time. It's also a perfect middle weight, not too warm but also not a thin little layer.
Overall, this thing is killer. The one feature that I don't use, and never do on these types of layers, is the chest pocket. I don't like storing much in chest pockets save the rare occasion when I am spring skiing in just a fleece and store my ski pass in there. That said, it's not adding too much weight or creating any discomfort and it looks pretty cool, so it's not a big deal at all.
[Disclosure: I am a family member of RailRiders and have been wearing the product since before I could walk. I am a current RailRiders employee and a longtime RailRiders wearer.]
Source: received it as a personal gift