For years I have been without a warm, but light mid-layer to throw on when the weather turned chilly during hikes or while camping. I postponed getting my own fleece jacket, as I just stole my boyfriend’s extra, which he dutifully packed for our outdoor adventures together. When the French mountaineering brand CimAlp offered me to test one of their fleece jackets in return for an unbiased review, I was, however, happy to finally get my own fleece jacket. I chose the Freeze jacket, which I have worn for various outdoor activities whenever the weather got nippy the past months. The CimAlp Freeze fleece jacket is suitable for:
- Everyday life
The CimAlp Freeze jacket is made of the brand’s very own ThermoPolar fleece fabric. CimAlp makes ThermoPolar in two densities – 200 g/m2 and 300 g/m2 (also comes in a wool look version). The ThermoPolar 200 g/m2 is used for the women’s Freeze jacket as well as it’s half-zip sister Alaska (both available in black, grey and pink). For men, the ThermoPolar 200 g/m2 is used for the Arctic and Adelie fleece jackets (both available in black, grey, blue and red). The ThermoPolar consists of hollow fibres which provide both excellent insulation as the body-warmed air stays gets trapped in, and also dry faster. The material is also bluesign-certified, which means that the entire production process is carried out with the lowest possible impact on both people and the environment.
Features and Functionality
The CimAlp Freeze is a no-frills fleece jacket, meaning that it comes without ‘extra’ features like pockets, thumb holes, draw cords etc. It does, however, have elastic cuffs to keep the body-warmed air inside the sleeves and a loop in the frontal YKK-zipper for easy opening and closing – even while wearing gloves. There is also a storm flap along the opening to block cold air from entering through the zipper, and a chin guard to protect the thin skin on your neck and chin from being pinched from a quick zip-up.
As mentioned above, CimAlp also offers a half-zip fleece jacket in the same fabric density, but I prefer the Freeze jacket over the Alaska as the full zipper provides better ventilation and more versatility. It is also practical as I’m still breastfeeding. The zipper itself is a separating invisible coil zipper as the teeth are hidden when it is closed, which gives the fleece jacket quite a sleek look compared to those with more crude molded plastic zippers. A detail which both adds to a sleeker impression and functionality, is the side pieces underneath the sleeves as they provide better freedom of movement and a more tailored look. The shoulder seams are slightly off-set so they don’t cause any chafing if you are carrying a heavy backpack. The CimAlp fleece jacket is generally made with normal seams; there are only flatlock seams where the sleeves are connected to the body to make sure there is as little bulk as possible around the armhole.
Besides these small, but well thought out details, the functionality of the Freeze jacket of course stands and falls with the performance of the ThermoPolar fabric – which I really like. It is soft, doesn’t feel plastic-y and provides just the right amount of warmth for me. It is a huge benefit that it is so light (only 235 g/8.3 oz.) because you kind of forget that you’re wearing it. The ThermoPolar fabric is treated with anti-bacterial IONIC technology that impedes the development of odor, and while I can’t say that I have been properly sweating in it (also due to the great ventilation option with the zipper), I have been wearing it over sleeveless tops where my armpits have been in direct contact with the fabric. Still, there is no sign of bad odor on the CimAlp fleece jacket, and I have yet to wash it again after the initial wash upon receiving it.
Comfort, Fit and Sizing
Like the CimAlp Cedera soft shell jacket, I asked for the Freeze in a size Large. Unlike the Cedera, which is rather petite for the size, the CimAlp Freeze is much roomier. It is, nevertheless, still quite a small Large and the advice from the manufacturer is indeed to size up, especially if you are between sizes. For upper body apparel, CimAlp only ascribes sizing on the basis of chest circumference, and after (a lot of) breastfeeding I’m down to 92 cm (36’’) in that department which actually corresponds to a size M. Nevertheless, the Large is quite good on me; it is very comfortable without being so loose that cold air gets in through gaping openings. Length-wise, it is perfect both in the torso and sleeves. The back has bit of a drop-tail hem, being around one inch (2.54 cm) longer than the front side when laid out flat. From the bottom of the collar (which itself is 6 cm high) to the bottom hem, the back length is 64 cm (25’’).
Washing and drying
The CimAlp fleece jacket can be washed at 30 ⁰C (cold cycle), and dries very fast due to the hollow structure of the fibers. There is thus no need to tumble-dry it, but you can iron it if you are the meticulous type.
The CimAlp Freeze is a terrific no-frills fleece jacket due to the high-performing fabric and the small functional details. It would have been great with just one small pocket for keys or similar, but overall it is a great bargain.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.