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Klättermusen Balder Zip fleece jacket review: a high-quality and durable fleece jacket

With its sustainable, soft and durable wool-polyester fabric blend, the Klättermusen Balder Zip fleece jacket exudes style and class, giving it more appeal than most synthetic technical fleeces

Klättermusen Balder Zip
(Image: © Klättermusen)

Our Verdict

There’s lots to love about the Klättermusen Balder Zip fleece jacket, a high-quality and very classy mid layer, which has a luxurious feel and a superb fit. It also delivers all-round technical performance plus plenty of warmth in cold conditions.

For

  • Durable and well-made
  • Sound eco credentials
  • Very warm
  • Comfortable, with great fit

Against

  • Relatively heavy
  • Not the most breathable
  • Not as quick drying as pure synthetics
  • Expensive

First impressions

While the Klättermusen Balder Zip fleece jacket is undoubtedly a technical mid layer, whether it’s actually a fleece is debatable. That’s because, rather than being fully synthetic, the fabric is an unusual blend of recycled wool, polyester and nylon. This ensures softness yet also durability, as well as improved sustainability. The wool is sourced from an Italian supplier, which spins new yarn from off-cuts and old garments. It’s a typically considered and conscientious approach from the Swedish brand, which is known for its strong environmental stance as well as its high-performance technical gear.

This jacket is designed for cold weather use, so delivers high levels of warmth. To ensure it moves easily and works effortlessly under a shell, it has minimum detailing and low-profile, flatlock stitched seams. The inner fabric is very soft, with a little stretch for added flexibility. Other details include anatomical patterning to ensure minimal hem lift, even when you raise your arms, an overlapping ergonomic collar for comfort, a scooped rear hem for better coverage and long sleeves with integrated internal thumb loops. There are also two zipped hand pockets.

Specifications

RRP: $200 (US) / £133 (UK) / €180 (EU)
Fabric: Recycled Wool (46%),  Polyester (36%), Polyamide (16%), Other Fibres 3%
Sizes: Men’s: XS–XXL; Women's: XXS–XL
Weight (men’s size L): 380g/13.4oz
Colours: Men’s: Dark Moon, Dusty Green; Women’s: Charcoal, Sorrel Red

In the field

Maybe it’s the appeal of the natural wool in the fabric blend, but the Klättermusen Balder Zip fleece feels like a premium, high-quality jacket. It is cosy, luxurious and not at all itchy either, since the inner fabric is as soft as classic polar fleece. Yet the outer feels pleasingly tough, with a knitted face reminiscent of a classic wool pullover. So, we’d expect good durability, and certainly after a few weeks of testing, this jacket still looked like new. It also proved to be very warm – in fact, too warm on occasion, but then it is designed for full-on winter mountain pursuits. It still breathes better than you might expect for such a heavyweight layer but is certainly one to wear on the coldest days.

We particularly liked the overall cut, which is well tailored, with a trim fit, long arms and a scooped rear hem for good all-round coverage. The shaped cuffs cover the wrists and the backs of the hands well. The collar is snug and locks in heat very effectively, without feeling constrictive. The main zip and the hand pockets have chunky pull tabs that are easy to grip while wearing gloves. It’s a mid layer that offers good technical performance and which is tempting to wear as part of your everyday winter wardrobe too – providing you live in a cold climate. We’re not surprised that Scandinavians in particular love Klättermusen kit so much.