Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody Review
|Autumn Hiking in the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody|
The Fortrez Hoody from Arc'teryx has been a piece I've wanted to test for many years. The idea of a fleece having a hardface with DWR is a concept that many manufactures haven't done. I'm not talking about hardfleeces that resemble softshells like the Gamma MX or an Epsilon LT, I'm referring to highly air permeable fleeces like the Patagonia R1 and Black Diamond CoEfficient jackets. For many years I thought fleeces were dead - heavier than synthetic or down jackets and provide less warmth. Perhaps I've been simply using fleeces the wrong way or not in the right context?
The Fortrez Hoody uses Polartec Power Stretch with Hardface Technology (88% polyester, 12% elastane) with an area mass density of 230 g/m². The Fortrez Hoody is a medium-thin thickness fleece, just slightly thicker than an R1 but less thick than most Polertec Power stretch Fleeces, Patagonia R3, or Denali Fleece. Total weight about 13oz, average for a standard fleece - not heavy but also not lightweight either
The inside is a the standard brush fleece while the exterior is very smooth due to the hardfleece design which makes layering over it easy and allows the fleece to shed light moisture like snow and rain drops.
How it Fits:
The Fortrez Hoody has a trim fit which means don't expect to layer anything underneath it besides a standard base-layer or a thin wind-shell/softshell. The zipper doesn't have a fabric backer to it so it may not be the most comfortable piece if you plan to use it as a heavy weight base-layer. The length in the arms is perfect for a size medium, and the cut around the waist and underarms are extremely well done. No excess material but articulated so it doesn't bunch up under the arms when trying to climb or in normal camp life activities like melting snow for water.
|Fortrez Hoody on Mt. Rainier|
The Fortrez Hoody is a mid-layer I never expected to find so much versatility from. For a long time I have overlooked fleeces, maybe it was the simplicity of them or perhaps the poor warmth to weight ratio that they have to their synthetic and especially down cousins. Perhaps a lot of these have to do with how one uses or layers with fleeces.
|Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody on an unusually cold June on the Muir Snow field|
Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody show casing the hardfleece exterior with DWR
Is the Fortrez Hoody revolutionary? Certainly not, but Arc'teryx took a fleece and refined it down to a highly functional and streamline garment. Everything from the hard-fleece exterior to the large elastic chest pocket makes you appreciate the detail and care that went into this seemingly simple fleece.
|Fortez Hoody out on an alpine climb in Snoqualmie Pass, WA.|
No design feature was overlooked or too small for Arc'teryx in making the Fortrez hoody. If price is no obligation, the Fortrez is one of the best fleeces for high output pursuits in cold/cooler weather.
- Highly Breathable Fleece
- Fantastic DWR on the exterior face fabric
- The best built in balaclava (face mask) I've used
- Phenomenal cut on the jacket
- Why no Monkey thumbs?
- 200$ for a fleece