Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review TL;DR: Does what it says in the box, this cosy fleece jacket is a statement piece that will keep you warm and help you get noticed.
In an industry full of sustainable, B-Corp-certified companies, Cotopaxi stands out with its signature bold garments and cool attitude. I'd been pretty much obsessed with all things Cotopaxi way before I started working for T3, so when I stumbled upon some of the Utah-based brand's goods (so to say), I jumped on the opportunity to introduce them to the good readers of T3.
In this Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review, I'll do my best to explain why everyone interested in outdoor pursuits should at least consider getting one, even though it might not be the best fleece jacket for those needing a technical garment/mid-layer. Read on if you're often cold and like to wear something different from others.
Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review: Price and availability
The Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket is available now at Cotopaxi US, Cotopaxi UK and Cotopaxi AU for a recommended retail price of $120/£95/AU$200. It's not a cheap fleece, although it's not more expensive than sustainably-made fleeces from similar B-Corp companies like Patagonia. The Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket is available in six colourways and sizes XS-XXXL.
Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review: Design and features
The Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket takes after Cotopaxi's most well-known product, the Allpa 35L Travel Pack. It features bright, contrasty colours that help the garment look different from your beige, boring fleece jackets. The tested Sea Glass/Oak colourway has a pale blue neck/shoulders, brown torso and forearms, and a green pocket.
The stitching quality is brilliant; I only found one loose thread in the jacket. If you pay the workers a fair wage and allow enough time to assemble products, the quality will be higher. Who would've thought? The jacket is made with 100% recycled fleece and assembled in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. You can find more info on the factory here.
Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review: Performance and comfort
I was a little surprised at how lightweight the Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket was. At 393g/13.9oz (men's medium), it's much lighter than The North Face Alpine Polartec Fleece 200 Jacket (518g/18.2oz, men's medium), which I wore when I ran the Mongol 100 recently. The half-zip construction and the kangaroo pocket help keep the weight to the minimum – fewer zips equal less heft, after all.
Sadly, there aren't any cuff or hem drawcords for adjustability; not a massive issue, but I wouldn't take the Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket on a technical hike. The same goes for the shoulders: they aren't reinforced, meaning the straps of hiking backpacks would rub them thin eventually. I enjoyed the warmth the jacket provided, though, and I was fond of the kangaroo pocket, which, somehow, didn't make the jacket too baggy but kept my hands warm. Excellent.
Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review: Verdict
The Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket is a straightforward garment that'll keep you warm without weighing you down. It looks cool and will help liven up any gorp-core outfit, thanks to its vibrant colours and contrast zippers. Cotopaxi's Abrazo Half-Zip Jacket is a brilliant option if you need a cosy, lightweight fleece with excellent sustainability credentials.
Cotopaxi Abrazo Half-Zip Fleece Jacket review: Also consider
The Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece Jacket is very warm and makes an excellent outer jacket for cold, still weather, or breezier three-season situations. The recycled materials also give it a boost – warming up your heart, not just your arms/torso. Read Mark's full Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Jacket review.
Columbia's Basin Butte Fleece is an interesting and useful twist on a standard fleece and delivers much more flexibility than a stock item. As an outer layer, it’s a good multi-purpose workhorse, but as a mid-layer, it’s almost too warm for anything short of proper big mountain adventures and winter snow sports. Read the full Columbia Basin Butte Fleece review, also from Mark.