We had niggles with the overall cut of the Mountain Equipment Concordia fleece jacket, which will be too short if you’re particularly tall or long-limbed. Even so, there’s no denying that otherwise this jacket delivers superb performance in terms of warmth for weight and packability.
- Excellent warmth for weight
- Very packable
- Short in arms and body
- No thumb loops
Fluffy high-loft fleece offers just about the best warmth for weight of any fleece fabric, trapping plenty of air between its fur-like fibres to deliver maximum thermal efficiency. The Mountain Equipment Concordia fleece jacket employs a double-sided Polartec Thermal Pro high loft fabric and is clearly designed for cold-weather mountain missions, ski tours and other sub-zero adventures.
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The other benefit of high-loft is its soft feel, and together with the jacket’s flatlocked, coverstitched seams, this gives a high level of comfort. The 100% polyester construction has no natural stretch, but the close fit ensures there is no dead space inside the jacket. There’s also a full-length baffle behind the reverse-coil main zip, again optimising wearing comfort, as well as helping to block draughts and any moisture that does make its way through the zip.
• RRP: £125 (UK)
• Fabric: Polartec Thermal Pro High-Loft Grid Fleece (100% polyester)
• Sizes: Men’s: S–XXL; Women's: UK 8–16
• Weight (men’s size L): 440g/15.5oz
• Colours: Cosmos blue / Moorland slate; Women’s Legion blue / Cosmos blue / Moorland slate
In the field
The Mountain Equipment Concordia fleece jacket’s body-skimming cut means it layers well under an insulated jacket or shell. However, for this tester at least (admittedly, a six-footer plus in height), it is frustratingly short in both the arms and body, with a resulting tendency to ride up and expose kidneys and wrists, robbing you of all the vital warmth generated by the high-loft fabric. The elasticated hem helps it to stay put some of the time, but the cuffs are not elastic bound, and nor do they have thumb loops, which makes it tricky to keep your forearms fully covered, especially when reaching upwards.
The top of the jacket, at least, doesn’t leak heat, thanks to the double-sided, close-fitting collar that tucks in nicely under the chin. The two zipped hand pockets are also placed high enough to avoid getting in the way of a rucksack hipbelt or a climbing harness, though they are mesh-lined, which saves weight but again, can leak heat if you leave the pockets unzipped – good for venting, at least. It’s a little disappointing to see that this jacket uses virgin polyester too, with no recycled content. Having said all that, if you get on with the fit and need a fleece layer that offers maximum warmth for weight, you can’t do better than this.
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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