From their humble beginning as simple recycled water bottles, the ubiquitous fleece jacket is now available in many shapes and sizes. The North Face has taken that to another level by injecting FuseForm into the mix with the Progressor Fleece Hoodie.
The North Face FuseForm Progressor Hoodie Features:
- Warm, lightweight fleece climbing hoodie with body-mapping
- The Progressor Collection is an alpine-layering system that’s designed for climbing
- Alpine Fit designed for vertical movement
- 200-weight fleece with stretch and an engineered, patterned back
- Two different FuseForm™ loft zones provide added comfort where needed
- Durable, lightweight VISLON® front zipper with auto-lock slider
- Low-profile zippers with pulls
- Abrasion-resistant print on elbows
- Media compatible chest pocket
- Weight: 445 grams (medium, actual)
- MSRP: $179
FuseForm makes progress in fleece form
Again, fleece jackets are everywhere, but good ones are tougher to find. Just roll the aisles of your local super store and you’ll find all kinds of standard-pile fleece jackets coming in at lowball prices. Quality aside, the makeup of cheap fleece makes them perform as well as fleece jackets introduced in the 1980’s. While some people are reveling in 1980’s fashion, your fleece jacket should not be part of that flashback.
The North Face’s FuseForm technology allows fabrics to be strategically-woven to deliver breathability, warmth, abrasion-resistance, etc. from a single piece of fabric. This differs from regular construction methods where different fabrics are stitched together, thus causing added bulk and assembly time.
In outerwear, FuseForm can be easily-felt, but it’s admittedly difficult to differentiate between the different weaves used here. That said, the entire jacket has one of the most comfortable fits I’ve found.
As a midweight fleece, the Progressor delivers as a high-quality outer layer when activity is high or temps are moderate and a good layering piece for colder conditions. The North Face says the Progressor Hoodie features an “Alpine Fit” for freedom-of-movement. When worn, it has an efficient fit that’s neither wicked tight nor loose.
With a Goldilocks fit, the Progressor has become a comfortable jacket to not only wear in the backcountry, but around town too. Long-sleeve base layers or button-up shirts slide easily into the sleeves (which is not usually the case with athletic-cut fleece jackets). I’ve loved being able to put it on without finagling with the sleeves.
Speaking of sleeves, the length is generous (hallelujah!). That critical cuff/glove interface keeps you covered and the angle-cut cuffs keep a gap from forming — even during high activity.
The hood isn’t helmet-friendly and that’s just fine by me. If you are climbing with the Progressor, you’ll just need to make sure your lid is adjustable enough to fit it underneath. I’m really digging the hood and the height of the collar from a coverage and warmth perspective. It really is just right.
Run Progressor, Run.
I’ve found the waffled pattern of the interior to wick moisture well, but it’s honestly not that soft next-to-skin. When worn with short-sleeve shirts, the inside of the sleeves can feel a little scratchy (especially compared to the comfort of the Patagonia R1).
I’ve been using the Progressor for early-morning trail running. With temperatures in the upper-30’s it provides excellent warmth while breathing like a champ. The face fabric is neither water nor wind-proof, but does block enough wind to take the edge off of a cold breeze. Pockets are generous and the upper chest pocket can even carry a phone while running (though it’s not ideal).
Also, while running, the zipper lacks a garage at the top, so the zipper and pull tend to flap around with every stride. Yeah, it got a little annoying. A garage would remedy that — hopefully The North Face gets that with the next rev.
I’ll end with the awesome zipper pulls. I’m a fan of these and found them to be super-easy to pull up/down with or without gloves. Nice design.
NOTE: I’m 5’11” and 170 lbs. The size Medium fit me perfectly.
- FuseForm fabric is really innovative
- Cut and fit is great
- Sleeves don’t cause base layers to bunch up
- Takes the edge off wind
- Breathes well for high-output activities
- Sizable front hand pockets
- Interior is a little scratchy on bare skin
- Needs a zipper garage at the top
The Bottom Line: The North Face FuseForm Progressor
The FuseForm Progressor is a great midweight fleece for a variety of activities. I’ve particularly liked using it for early-morning trail running, but it’s equally adept at around-town duty. The sleeves are cut with enough room as to not bunch up base layers too.
Buy Now: Available at TheNorthFace.com