The Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece Jacket weighs in at the top end of the Jack Wolfskin fleece range, offering considerable warmth and some weather resistance at a premium price point. With an UK RRP of £135, it's certainly not cheap.. but is it good enough to be counted amongst the best fleece jackets? Read on for our full Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly review.
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Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly fleece jacket review: design and quality
The Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece Jacket is a robust Polartec Classic 300 fleece jacket, weighing in at a solid 595g. At first glance it’s a traditional hoodless jacket design, but looking closer there’s plenty of unusual detail to be clocked.
A layer of windproof material (Stormlock Ecosphere Taffeta) covers the shoulders, adding a layer of extra weather armour. (Note, won't keep the rain out: for that, you'll need to consult our best waterproof jacket guide.) That material is carried over and echoed on the two exterior zippered hand pockets, adding a change in texture as well as a storm flap-style protection for the pockets. A layer of lighter-weight fleece lines the collar, adding a touch of comfort as well as warmth, although the sleeve cuffs are simply doubled over with no extra finishing details.
A large front chest pocket, secured with a stud closure closes out the storage complement. The main zip is a standard YKK model, but there’s miles of detailing and reinforcing here - an internal tape strengthens the rear seams, and a piping section on the front frames the visible side. A generous windproof storm flap runs inside top to bottom, adding extra weather-resistance and heat-trapping ability.
There’s also a robust density of ecologically sound elements, with the recycled fibres making an appearance across the board, in the hybrid grid ecosphere fabric as well as recycled polyester in the shoulders too.
One final design element that’s highly unusual to see on a fleece is the pair of pit-zips, which is either exciting or terrible, depending on your perspective.
Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly fleece jacket review: performance and comfort
The Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece is absolutely and undoubtedly one thing - warm. The heavyweight fleece would guarantee a fair level of warmth anyway, but the windproofing on shoulders and around the jacket really bumps the levels up. In addition, the high collar adds lots of protection from wind, as well as helping trap heat even more efficiently. All that heat is useful on very cold days, but will be a double-edged sword if you’re working hard - walking up a steep ascent for example. Although most of the Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece Jacket is relatively breathable fleece, also allowing any breeze to cool you down too, this is where the pit zips come in.
The pit zips do work, of course, creating a flow of fresh air to remove heat and moisture, and do a good job of making this fleece more flexible.
Comfort-wise, the Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece is easy to wear in most cool or cold conditions, the lined collar pleasant to zip right up and hide behind. The face lining on the hand pockets is also a nice touch, as is the finer fleece lining of those hand pockets. The only minor disappointment is the cuffs, which are simply doubled over rather than finished, which leads to quite a bulky cuff, and one that will wear relatively quickly.
Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly fleece jacket review: verdict
As mentioned, the Jack Wolfskin DNA Grizzly Fleece is really very warm indeed. So much so that it’s not really intended as anything other than an outer layer in it’s own right - something supported by the windproofing and pit zips. As an autumnal do-it-all warm layer for early morning walks and evenings round the fire, this is a versatile and robust fleece.
As a midlayer it’d be good for very, very cold conditions, and could be layered with a shell in UK winter scenarios. However, weighing in at over half a kilo, this isn’t a lightweight alpine layer, more low-level armour for when the temperature plummets. The build quality is excellent, so it’ll last the test of time, and the recycled materials throughout only add to the sense of inner warmth.