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Is there a concensus on which fleeces offer the most for the money?

otacon

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I've been looking for a friend of mine for her birthday. (I feel rather confident in asking on a men's forum because I can't imagine a world of difference in quality or price between the female and male lines.) She grew up with North Face and Columbia but doesn't care so much about the label. She's more concerned with it keeping her warm. Because of the qualms often associated with clothes that people buy particularly for the label, either economic or quality wise, I've been hesitant to buy her one. Is there any concensus out there in regards to who makes a better one? What about a comparable quality for a less expensive label?

Thanks ahead of time guys.
 

ManofKent

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Originally Posted by otacon
I've been looking for a friend of mine for her birthday. (I feel rather confident in asking on a men's forum because I can't imagine a world of difference in quality or price between the female and male lines.) She grew up with North Face and Columbia but doesn't care so much about the label. She's more concerned with it keeping her warm. Because of the qualms often associated with clothes that people buy particularly for the label, either economic or quality wise, I've been hesitant to buy her one. Is there any concensus out there in regards to who makes a better one? What about a comparable quality for a less expensive label?

Thanks ahead of time guys.


Patagonia?
 

otacon

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Thank you. I read elsewhere that Patagonia is probably superior in quality to Mt. Hardwear. I'm going to compare them cosmetically. Backcountry.com seems to be the place to get a deal right now.
 

dub_c

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Patagonia is top-notch quality, though I find their fit to be somewhat baggy, at least for men's stuff. If you're looking for a fleece from them, you should know that they have their technical line of stuff (R1, R2, etc.) and their more casual line (most everything else). The technical clothing will probably be warmer for a given weight, and will last a lifetime.

There's also, Arc'teryx, which probably on par or better quality than Patagonia, and they have extremely precise construction and pay more attention to aesthetics.

In terms of build quality, almost all the major outdoor brands that you'd find in a store like REI are very well built and very durable. A step down from the two brands above are Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and the REI and EMS house brands. They all make really good clothes, and I believe most of them have a lifetime guarantee. North Face also makes some good stuff, but they also make some not-as-good stuff, and it's generally overpriced for the quality, in my opinion. It's probably because NF is well-enough known to be a fashion brand, sort of like Nike.

All of the companies above use generally the same set of technical fabrics from companies like Polartec
You could wear fleeces from any of these brands every day for years without them falling apart. And if they did, you could generally just take them back and get them replaced.

There's also lower-end brands like Columbia and generic. They don't use the same quality fabrics, but a fleece from Columbia will still work fine and hold up well, and it'll be inexpensive.


Personally, I'd say that Marmot and the REI + EMS house brands offer the best value if you want something that's functional and durable.
 

Gus

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I like Patagonia's trimmer fit. Every piece I have ever owned lasted forever so choose wisely!
 

ManofKent

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I haven't bought technical wear in several years, but Lowe Alpine might be worth a look too - their stuff used to be good bang for the buck.
 

gettoasty

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I've been looking for the same outerwear in mens but want something in blue, all the above listed are nice though I have been looking at Patagonia
 

Peter1

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IMO warmth is also a function of fit/engineering. I swear by Patagonia R2...trim fit with bias-cut panels, wears like iron, groovy colors...but costly. However, I have just retired an R2 jacket that lasted for 8 years of hard wear -- probably 100 days a year -- including being worn by my wife through 2 pregnancies (don't ask...). And all the seams are still pristine, the fleece hasn't pilled, and the elastic on cuffs and waist is still pretty stretchy. You can often find the R series fleece on sale online.

If you really just want cheap and pretty good, go for llbean or EMS/REI house brands.
 

dub_c

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I mentioned above that I thought Patagonia was kind of baggy... Other people have said that Patagonia is slim, so I should mention that the last time I bought tops from them was probably at least 6 years ago, so they may have changed the fit since then.
 

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