I recently returned from a trip to Ukraine that has become an annual event.  Each year that I have been, Woolrich has sent me a piece of gear to take on the trip for review.  This year, they sent their Elite Series Fleece Jacket.

I need to start by saying that this  is my favorite piece of Woolrich gear that I own.  I have been privileged to own many pieces of their gear in years past, and for the last 2 years I have reviewed their products.  Many of you are already familiar with Woolrich’s quality and their functionality.  This jacket extends both of those characteristics.

I wore the jacket as a stand alone piece and as a layering piece under the Water Proof Parka.  This combination served me very well in the cold and damp that comes with the Ukrainian winter.

This fleece is heavier than many of my Columbia fleeces.  The material is 8.25oz in weight, and will not pill even after washing and drying many times.  I have worn in it in conditions that were dry, wet, and drizzly without any problems to report.

The fleece has two pockets that contain elastic loops for gear.  Generally I have carried a 1911 mag and flashlight on the left side, while the right side was used for my blackberry and keys.

I honestly have no complaints about this fleece, but there was one feature that took some adjusting.  The vest has large zippers running up the sides for ventilation.  This was very helpful hiking so I could regulate temperature.  However, in short sleeves they bothered me in the beginning.  In long sleeves they are no problem, and after a few wears, they feel normal.

As I said in the beginning, this is the best piece of Woolrich gear in my closet.  MSRP is $99, but a check of the internet this morning showed a street price of about $75.  A great value that doesn’t scream, “I wish I was in Special Forces!”

p.s. check out the vest version below.  Same concept, for warmer weather.