Lightweight fleece layers are excellent for cool weather running or as layering pieces for highly-aerobic activities. The North Face TKA 80 Full Zip fleece offers lightweight performance with superior moisture management.

The North Face TKA 80 Fleece Features:

  • Layered venting system
  • Lightweight micro-fleece/wicking mesh combo
  • Thumb loops
  • Zip pocket in upper arm
  • Reflective piping and logos
  • MSRP: $65

The North Face TKA 80 Fleece Jacket Review

Fleece has come a long way since 1995. Back then, it was pretty much just thick and bulky Polartec, but now there’s so many different varieties of fleece that make it warm, moisture-wicking and packable. The TKA 80 features lightweight fleece with ultra-wicking mesh material along the sides and underarms. This combination allows for the most warmth while breathing extremely well.

The full zip is a great feature of this jacket. I have other fleece pullovers, but this makes the on/off process (especially post-workout) much easier. I wore this in combination with my The North Face Hydrogen Vest on colder/windier runs and alone on cooler runs. The fleece on the TKA 80 offers deceptive warmth and stays comfortable up into the 50-degree range without feeling like I’ve stepped into the sauna.

One of the key fit areas is always the collar. When it comes to versatile, athletic jackets, you’ve got to have the collar right in both diameter and height. This one sits perfectly in both departments while fully-zipped or unzipped for ventilation. The small zippered pocket in the left upper-arm is just big enough for an iPhone and kept it in place well during my runs.

On long runs, I found the performance to be solid for the price, but there’s room for improvement. The majority of the non-stoke is due to the oversized nature of this jacket. My size Large sample wasn’t as snug-fitting as I’d like. A Medium may have been better, but I don’t know how the sleeve length would have fared in the smaller size. A more snug fit aids in moisture wicking and reduces bulk. On one long run in the rain/snow, mine got a little soggy and started feeling loose and floppy. On all my dry/cold runs, it didn’t suffer that same fate.

As always, thumb holes are great to have in case you need “half gloves” in a pinch — a great feature to have just in case. It also makes it easy to keep the sleeves down as you put on various outer layers that may cause the sleeves to bunch up.

Good TKA 80

  • Lightweight and versatile as outer or midlayer
  • Great price for what you’re getting
  • Arm pocket holds iPhone
  • Thumb loops are always great to have
  • Full zip makes getting on/off easier, but does add weight
  • Flatlock seams reduce bulk and improve next-to-skin comfort

Bad TKA 80

  • Could be a little more athletic cut (or I should have sized down)
  • Jackets like this can always use a small back pocket
  • Can’t pull the zipper one-handed

Bottom Line: The North Face TKA 80 Full Zip Fleece Jacket

The TKA 80 is a great lightweight layer for both insulation and outerwear. I used it primarily for running and hanging out on cool mornings. I’d just make sure to get the right size to avoid extra bunching or saggyness when soaked.

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About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

1 Comment

  1. Great review! I often have difficulties finding a fleece jacket that fits snugly and has a nice shape that follows the body. I wonder if the women’s version of the TK80 would be different..?

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