Fleece: Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man
Without a doubt the most comfortable fleece I have ever owned, or even borrowed for that matter. The old style Javelin jacket 'fleece on the outside' (Polartec Thermal Pro 'Monkey Phur') look doesn't appeal to some, but I don't mind it in the slightest. It's presumably what gives it it's name, the fleece looking a little like a monkey's skin. Cartoon monkeys at any rate.
So what's the secret to its success and why does my wife keep pinching it (I know she does because I keep finding it with the sleeves rolled up!)? It's all in the fit. Most fleeces I have previously worn have been fairly drab affairs without much tailoring. The Monkey jacket tapers in the right places, around the midriff, under the shoulders and at the sleeves, making it feel like a second skin. The Powerstretch panel on the chest is the crux bit of tailoring, fitting quite literally like a glove, but without feeling constricting. It's also pretty breathable.
It weighs 410g, not much for a very warm fleece. On a recent day at the Plantation boulders in the Peak I wore my jacket to climb and spot in whilst others were all in and out of their down jackets.
It has 3 usefully sized pockets in useful locations - i.e. two low enough to use to keep your hands warm, and 1 up high to keep your phone and keys in. All have zips.
Price £99.99. Reasonable value for money, especially given that it has a lifetime warranty.
My current favourite bit of kit.
Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear