The Decathlon Quechua MH100 Hiking Fleece is an inexpensive lightweight quarter-zip polyester fleece pullover (hoodless) that can be worn by itself for warmth or layered under a wind-resistant garment like a wind shirt or a waterproof garment like a rain jacket/shell. While fleece pullovers and hoodies are widely available, its become increasingly difficult in recent years to find plain old fleece pullovers that haven’t been augmented with some sort of “value-add” to make them more expensive and profitable for manufacturers to sell. Priced under $15, you’ll have a hard time beating the value provided by this simple Decathlon lightweight fleece top.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Men’s and Women’s models available
- Garment Weight: 10.2 oz in a men’s size XL (7.5 oz in men’s size M)
- Material: 100% recycled polyester yarn
- Fabric Weight: 201g/m2 (7.1 oz/m2)
- Zipper: quarter-length, YKK (specs say it’s half-length, but it’s really quarter-length)
- Fit: Runs about a 1/2 size small
The Decathlon MH100 Hiking Fleece is really a quite simple pullover with a front zip for ventilation and a stand-up collar. There are no thumb loops, no elastic cuffs, no pockets, no drop-tail, and it’s hoodless. In terms of warmth, it’s a lightweight brushed fleece good for hiking and backpacking in cooler weather, starting at about 50 degrees down to about freezing, and much lower when layered under a wind shirt or rain jacket/winter shell. It would have been called a 100 weight fleece 10 years ago before Polartec flooded the market with hundreds of varieties of fleece in all kinds of different weights and textures.
Despite its lack of features, the MH100 Hiking Fleece is a really versatile mid-layer garment that complements the other layers in a hiker’s clothing system because it:
- Insulates by trapping air warmed by your body heat
- Stays warm when it gets damp or wet
- Wicks perspiration away from your baselayer keeping you drier and warmer
- Dries while you wear it
If you’ve never hiked with a simple fleece pullover, I’d encourage you to experiment with one. As far I’m concerned, it beats the pants off any down on synthetic insulated mid-layer jacket in terms of wicking, breathability, and air permeability when you’re in motion and hiking. I carry a fleece sweater on every hike and backpacking trip I take, year-round. I can’t remember a hike or trip I’ve taken in the past 20 years where that’s not true. I also prefer a quarter-zip pullover over a fleece jacket, but that’s just my personal preference.
You may well wonder how Decathlon can sell a fleece pullover for $15 when Patagonia charges anywhere from 4 times to 10 times as much for theirs. Basic fleece is inexpensive because Polartec decided to NOT patent it when it was first introduced in order to speed widespread adoption as quickly as possible. This was a brilliant, if unorthodox business strategy, that buried all of their competitors while creating demand for the hundreds of specialized and sports-specific forms of fleece that Polartec charges a premium for today. But it also means that Decathlon doesn’t have to buy their fleece from Polartec or pay a premium for a special grade of fabric, allowing them to pass the savings on to the consumer.
The Decathlon Quechua MH100 Hiking Fleece is an inexpensive ($15) and no-frills lightweight fleece pullover with a quarter-length zipper. It’s well made and the sewing is impeccable. It’s doesn’t require any special care to wash or dry. The sizing is about a half-size small, so you might want to size up or order two in different sizes since Decathlon offers free returns. I expect to wear this fleece pullover at home and on hikes for the foreseeable future and expect you’ll feel the same once you get one.
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