A very practical solution for hillwalkers who like to wear fleece as an outer layer, not just as a midlayer, the Alpkit Yakutian fleece is warm, wind-resistant and comfortable, as well as durable and hardwearing.
- Not as breathable as some fleece fabrics
- No hand pockets
- Cuffs and hem not elasticated
While fleece makes a superb mid layer, its main drawbacks when used as an outer layer are its lack of resistance to both wind and rain. Although it’s difficult to do much about the latter, the Alpkit Yakutian fleece addresses the first shortcoming by using a dense-knit hardface fabric, which is much more wind resistant than standard fleece.
- Explore all the best fleece jackets in our buying guide
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It also adds durability, making the Alpkit Yakutian fleece less susceptible to pilling, as well as abrasion in the field – whether from clumsy encounters with rock or struggling on for many miles with a heavy pack on your back. But that tough exterior doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort, since the fabric is double-sided, retaining a brushed inner that offers warmth and good wicking abilities. You also get a deep half zip for venting, a zipped chest pocket and thumb loops at the cuffs.
• RRP: £50 (UK)
• Fabric: 225-weight hardface stretch fleece (92% polyester, 8% elastane)
• Sizes: Men’s: S–XXL; Women's: UK 8–18
• Weight (men’s size L): 380g/13.4oz
• Colours: Reef blue / Charcoal grey
In the field
Like many walkers, we tend to head for the hills wearing a base layer and a fleece, with a waterproof jacket and a puffer stashed in our pack in case the weather takes a turn for the worse or the temperature drops. That means we often end up walking in a fleece, which is great until the wind picks up. The Alpkit Yakutian fleece does a good job of mitigating that problem – though it isn’t windproof, it is far more wind-resistant than most fleeces. It’s also warm, soft and comfortable, thanks to elastane in the fabric that gives it plenty of stretch and flatlock seams that don’t rub.
We also appreciated the cosy brushed inner and good articulation, with generous length and coverage. It all made for a great day out scrambling and summit-bagging when we put our Alpkit Yakutian fleece to the test in central Snowdonia. Our only real quibble was that on a few particularly testing uphill stretches, this fleece proved a bit too warm. That dense hardface construction seems to limit breathability a little, and even unzipping the neck wasn’t enough to stop us starting to overheat. So, we’d say it’s one to take off when faced with a tough ascent.
We also weren’t too sure about the choice of a chest pocket and the absence of hand pockets – we consider the latter more useful, especially if worn as an outer layer. But those minor niggles aside, this is still a great fleece for cold and breezy conditions.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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