Jan 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm #1298062
Hi, i was wondering if anyone here has tried the Polartec AirCore fleece jackets, pullovers, etc? They claim to have 20% more warmth and be a lighter weight because they use hollow core fibers. I would think they would probably dry a bit faster then too?
Some of these are on sale at Land's End and i was thinking of purchasing some of these Aircore type clothing (they also have gloves, neck gaitors, etc).
Would this fabric probably be a bit less durable than the traditional Polartec fleeces? If this kind of fabric is fairly durable, i'm surprised more companies aren't making hollow fiber fleeces. The only other one that i know of, is Loki, and while the Midi looks really nice it's a wee bit expensive for a fleece jacket at 99 (though really cool and versatile).Jan 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm #1944211
Max DiltheyBPL Member
The air-filled fibers in Sea to Summit's Reactor sleeping bag liner are Thermolite, and I was disappointed in two things:
1. Wind sucks right through it. It's useless on it's own.
2. It's not astoundingly lightweight, though I suppose it's lighter than conventional fleece. It felt a lot less warm than expected or advertised.
That's all I know!Jan 16, 2013 at 10:10 am #1944356
This garment actually got me pretty interested too. After reading a lot of the user reviews, the 2 largest complains I read were 1) lighter than expected ( Awesome for us BPL'ers) and 2) horrible fit.
I can attest to Lands' End have some pretty wonky fits, but for $20 + another 30% off coupon code that they had going at the time, I had to check it out myself. Lands' End also has one of those iron clad return everything anytime policies. I'm also actually a huge fan of their Lands' End Canvas line for everyday wear because I find it such a great value in terms of quality/fit/price. I'll let you know my first impressions when it arrives.Jan 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm #1946594
Hi Konrad et all,
I decided to just go ahead and get some soon after since no one replied with any experience–like you said, the on sale prices plus the 30% coupon and free shipping over 75 dollars made for some pretty nice prices, and wonky fits or not, Polartec usually makes some pretty nice fabric.
I am a bit skeptical though of the claim of 20% more warmth than their previous best fleeces because i read a study recently which compared some solid and semi hollow fibers and found that the solid ones where actually warmer, but the caveat was this–in this study, the solid fibers were significantly smaller diameter and this trapped more air in the actual weave, which offset the air trapping of the larger diameter, but semi-hollow fibers. Quite interesting! Also, they found that it was the tri-lobal (triangular), solid fibers weaved in a twill pattern that was the warmest of the bunch. I can look for the link if anyone is interested in reading the study. I wish the study had listed the fiber sizes.
This contradicts my experience with say, Alpaca, or Angora rabbit infused Lambswool vs Merino wherein the Alpaca or Lambswool infused with Angora Rabbit is noticeably warmer, because of the semi-hollow fibers, but in this case, the fibers are usually around the same size for what's considered good quality for both (say, baby alpaca vs super fine merino–Angora rabbit on the other hand is almost always finer, and more hollow than Alpaca, but is unfortunately not very durable or strong).
Anyways, back to Land's End Polartec Aircore fleece stuff. This is what i bought. A men's large 100 weight fleece partial zip jacket, a boys X Large 200 weight fleece jacket with hood, a boys large balaclava, 1 pair of men's medium gloves, and 2 pairs of socks–one medium and one small. With the sale, coupon, and free shipping, came out to about 56 dollars–not bad for all that!
Before i review some of the 'gear', i will say that i'm a shade under 5' 7" and about 153 lbs, with a short torso and medium build (naturally muscular and athletic, but don't lift, nor work out that much in general beyond regular walking and semi-regular hiking or jogging). The men's large 100 fleece is QUITE light, and surprisingly warm. I wore it on a half hour walk (not hike) in the park, with a thin, long sleeve baselayer type shirt underneath, and was fine in the temps that were about 37 f or so, and very light wind. The fit is slightly smallish, but worked for me since i wear a medium normally, but wanted just slight extra space for layers.
The Boys X large hoodie 200 weight fleece jacket was actually large enough to layer at least a baselayer, and maybe a thinner/lighter mid layer under. However, the fit was a bit "wonky", in that it was somewhat reminiscent of a female fit. So, i gave it to my wife who is a shade under 5' 10", a "few" more lbs than myself, quite busty, and it fit her great with enough room for a baselayer underneath. This also mollified her somewhat since i was yet again buying more gear (i guess it didn't matter that it was close to my b-day, and all she had gotten for me was a book..). I haven't tested this piece out, but it's finally nice and cold outside and so i might give it a go tonight.
The boys large balaclava fit surprisingly well since i have a large head for my height and weight. It's a bit tight, but since the fabric is a bit stretchy it works fine. Pretty light and warm. It's a bit warmer and lighter than my micro fleece men's balaclava, which is a similar thickness and size.
The men's medium gloves fit well (i have small hands) and is quite warm for a solely fleece type glove. We have had some recent 20 to 35 days and 14 to 25 nights in which i've worm them and was quite warm. The fingers seem to have doubled fabric so it's toasty, but a bit thick and awkward.
The socks are weird fitting, as the other reviews have said. Not sure why i bought them, but if i do wear them, it would be over my thin/light Linen-Polyester socks, or my thinner/lighter wool socks as impromptu slippers or for sleeping on cold nights. I doubt they would be good for hiking, but i will try them out at least once.
If folks are interested, i can get the weights of these items as well, since i very recently bought a scale. If people have weights of other fleece garments, it would be interesting to compare and see if there is any significant differences.Jan 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm #1946598
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Of course I would be interested in weights.
I have a old lands end balaclava that I sill use (1.15oz) and occasionally still use some old lands end gloves (.85oz) and beanie (.90oz).Jan 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm #1946631
Weights of respective items:
Men's large 100 weight 1/4 zip fleece jacket/pullover weighs 9.1 oz
Boy's X Large 200 weight full zip jacket with hood weighs 16.6 oz (it's akin to a size medium, slimmish fit in men's)
Boys large 200 weight Balaclava weighs 1.9 oz
Men's 200 weight medium gloves weighs 3 oz (a bit big on me, but i wanted that so i could put some thinner Merino or Alpaca gloves underneath)
Haven't weighed the socks, and probably won't unless someone specifically wants those weights.
Earlier this night, i went out for a leisurely 10 min minute stroll with the Boy's X large 200 weight jacket over a light/thin T-shirt and i wore the L.E.'s 200 Polartec aircore gloves. It was approx. 29/28 degrees F, with light snow falling and very light wind. After i came back, i stood still for 5 mins or so outside. During the walking and standing still, my arms were slightly chilly, but not uncomfortably so–core was quite comfortable. Tips of fingers were slightly chilly, but also not uncomfortably so. Previous to the walking, i was sitting still for a couple hours so my core temp had dropped a bit.
Bradford, those fleece items you listed, are they 100 or 200 weight type fleece?Jan 24, 2013 at 5:59 am #1946688
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
They are 100wt fleece, the older "thermacheck" fleece.
I also have a pair of older 200wt Polartec LL Bean gloves that go with me on some trips. They are 1.7oz.Jan 24, 2013 at 11:26 am #1946788
I got my fleece items in the mail yesterday and agree with Justin's comments. A couple observations/comments on my part
1) The boy's size large beanie fits like a regular adult fleece beanie. The best part, it's 200wt fleece, feels apparently twice as thick as my 100wt USMC polartec fleece beanie, and only weighs 1.3oz (compared to 1.2oz USMC beanie).
2) The aircore fleece is buttery soft…I've never felt anything this soft…even softer than polartec powerstretch. It is also extremely stretchy and form fitting and very light.
3) We also got a women's 100wt aircore fleece beanie…a great deal for $4
4) Picked up a 100wt aircore fleece in size small…fit is average boxy, and definitely not what I would consider athletic…especially in the waist area. Length of the torso is good, and sleeve length is excellent! Covers my long monkey arms and wrists even when I hold them out in a reaching position.
5) 200wt fleece gloves were true to fit…I wear medium in OR gloves, and these Lands' End one's fit just as well in a size medium
If I can muster up the courage, I'll test the fleece beanie on a jog today (current real feel of 7 degrees)
If it warms up to the 30's I would like to compare the 100wt aircore fleece with a regular 100wt fleece.Jan 24, 2013 at 11:47 am #1946793
I've been looking into fleece lately myself.
I am giving up on rain jackets. I'm thinking: new Pati Cap2 hoody, wind jacket ~3oz and a quick drying insulating layer. I'm thinking of getting a lightweight fleece vest, a 200wt merino shirt, or possibly a WM Flash Vest that I'll just wear inside my DuoMid if its raining. If heavy rain is in the forecast, I can throw in either an emergency poncho (a few ounces) or my GoLite umbrella (7 oz).
My girlfriend tried on a North Face fleece pullover at Adventure 16 and it seemed very lightweight. I can't remember what kind it was though. :(
I think this may be it:
listed as 7.75oz for men'sJan 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm #1946888
Well, sorry to say, I wussed out when the RealFeel Temperature dipped to -15 degrees :/
That said, I did walk my dog with the beanie when the RealFeel Temp was 0. It felt tolerable, but I suspect that this fleece is more airy than traditional polartec fleece. Felt a bid more breathable and as a result, a bit more chilly during windgusts. I'll have to wear both tomorrow to compare.
I did some more weight. My quarter zip 100 wt aircore fleece weighs 8oz. My other quarter zip fleece in traditional polartec 100wt weighs 9oz. So this polartec aircore stuff is definitely lighter. Hopefully I can get some more decent anecdotal data for you guys soon.
Also, more comments on fit. I would size down if you want an athletic fit. Wearing the small, I can definitely say that this would be nice and form fitting for someone who normally wears a medium (e.g. 38"-40" chest)Jan 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm #1949146
Thank you for the further feedback Konrad and Bradford. Btw, someone recently asked about 100wt fleece on another thread in the Gear section. I don't know if Land's End is still doing sales or not on it, but if they are, the 100 wt mens partial zip fleece pullover (they call it a "jacket", i disagree) was 19.99 in some colors and sizes. I would say it's a pretty good deal, especially since they often do other coupons or deals at the same time. Great warmth to weight ratio i would say.Dec 5, 2013 at 11:27 am #2051133
@charleywhiteLocale: Petaluma, CA
Current thread on lofty fleece had me search BPL "aircore." Nothing. Courtesy Google, here it is. ;) I got the 100 half-zip, and it is WAY lighter and squishier (i.e. packable) than my Sahalie butterfleece. Had one >yr and pill rate seems low. Agree, as a more durable, wind resisting outer layer–200wt–it wouldn't work so well. Definitely an underlayer. Goes in my pack this winter and Sahalie stays home.
Don't know how "wonky" (brainy?) applies to fit, but Lands End continues to fit tall well. I'm a stickman with narrow torso and 37-38 sleeves. Their Large tall is perfect. Slim ample torso, long body, sleeves skosh long even for me. There is a seam in the forearm…obviously a separate piece of fabric gains sleeve length. Meh. Vastly better than dropping the shoulder seam down to the bicep.
LE can't last forever, the way they're discounting. Sears bought them, then spun them. I fear someone's going to just cash in the brand. But the getting is good.
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