The North Face Tech Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece Sweater is one of the most popular fleece garments ever made. It’s been one of the North Face’s most popular items for years, but it’s also a very respectable fleece pullover than can be used year-round for serious hiking and backpacking.
I carry a 1/4 zip fleece sweater on every hike or backpacking trip I take and have done for the past 15+ years. While there are many types, weights, and textures of fleece pullovers you can buy, they all share a few properties that make them ideal as an insulating layer for hiking and backpacking.
First off, fleece is a great insulator and will remain warm even when it gets damp or wet. It’s highly breathable and wicking, making it an excellent mid-layer under a rain jacket in cool or wet weather. Fleece garments are durable and long-lasting. They are machine washable without needing any special care and can be dried in a clothes dryer without shrinking. Being synthetic, fleece is moth-proof and doesn’t require special storage when it’s not in use. I like wool sweaters as much as the next guy, but they’re not nearly as durable and easy to care for as fleece and don’t last nearly as long.
Tech Glacier 1/4 Zip
The Tech Glacier 1/4 zip is a 200 weight fleece pullover with a smooth interior and exterior. It feels warm when you put it on but it’s highly breathable and dries quickly like all fleece garments. It’s cut with a relaxed fit, but true to size and available in a wide range of colors. The least popular colors are often marked down, if you’re looking for a bargain, and don’t care what color you get.
The Tech Glacier has a collar that will cover the front and back of your neck when it’s fully zipped up. The zipper unzips down to sternum level and is a great way to vent extra heat if you’re feeling too warm. I wear mine year-round, on cool spring and autumn days as an outer layer, or as a mid-layer under a rain shell or synthetic vest in winter. I almost always wear a fleece under a rain jacket because it prevents the conduction of body heat through a wet jacket.
I bunch my fleece pullover up as a pillow when I’m camping or I’ll sleep with it on if I’m cold. In fact, I rarely travel anywhere without a fleece pullover because it’s such a lightweight and useful layer to carry. It even passes my 80-year-old mother’s inspection when I visit and need to dress up for a casual dinner.
I’ve owned many different fleece pullovers over the years, in different styles, textures, weights, but none have lasted as long or been used as much as my basic quarter-zip fleece pullovers. If you’re looking for a flexible mid-layer garment that can also be used for insulation during the warmer months, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than The North Face Tech Glacier 1/4 Fleece Pullover. I own two of them and use them all the time.
Disclosure: The author purchased this item.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.