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The North Face Tech Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece Review

The North Face Tech Glacier Quarter Zip Fleece Review

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.

The North Face Tech Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece

Ease of Care

Comfortable and Dependable

The Tech Glacier 1/4 zip is a 200 weight fleece pullover with a smooth interior and exterior. It feels warm when you out it on, but it's highly breathable and dries quickly like all fleece garments. Classic styling and a relaxed fit make it a pleasure to wear for work or play.

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Fleece 101

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.

My uniform - TNF Tech Glacier Quarter Zip in Blue Green
My uniform – TNF Tech Glacier Quarter Zip in Blue Green

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.

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  1. The item that I have used most often than any other for backpacking and running over the past 15 years is an old 100 weight fleece I received as a premium for giving some money to a radio station. All Philip’s positive comments apply, although after this many miles, it does not come out to dinner very often. Good review and observations.

  2. The Patagonia R1 seems to get the most attention as a light/mid-weight fleece, but the fit for me is weird. Too snug around the body, arms almost two inches too long. After some searching, i happened upon a North Face Summit L2 FuseForm Grid Fleece Jacket on an REI markdown rack. Love this thing.

    I’m 6’1″, about 185 lbs. 20.5 inch torso length, and the fit is about perfect. Form fitting, but not constricting with a mid-weight base layer underneath. Smooth outer facing, fuzzy gridded inner. Full-length zipper for maximum venting control. Generous size pockets. Seems well made. Bright red makes it easy to find.

    Wish they made the same thing in a hooded version, but it appears the nearest similar jacket with a hood is half-zip and lacks hand pockets. The Tech Glacier looks nice, but i like having at least a chest pocket for small items that benefit from body heat.

    • I’ve used gridded fleece, including several versions of the R1. I find it’s too cool for me, not warm enough. But different types of fleece have the same properties, so it doesn’t matter that much which style you get as long as you like using it. A chest pocket can indeed be handy.

  3. My favorite polyester fleece layer is an REI 100-weight full-button shirt. It allows me to open or close all the way for venting or retaining heat and the collar comes up around my neck if needed. All my heavier fleeces are full-zip. I get too hot hiking uphill and sweat too much for quarter-zip tops, which don’t allow me to dump heat fast enough. I find winter hiking to be more about managing body heat and sweat than about managing cold. A nice thing about polyester fleece in general is that inexpensive items from off-brands are generally of similar quality to expensive pieces from well-known brands, which is usually not the case with more technical clothes.

  4. Looks like a great fleece but for me thumb holes are a must

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