mountain hardwear microchill fleece

Mountain Hardwear Microchill Fleece Review

Best value fleece for hiking and backpacking

For a lightweight, affordable, and basic mid-layer, grab the Mountain Hardwear Microchill Fleece. Sometimes the simplest solution gets the job done best. Shop now.

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  • Price: $65
  • Weight: 8.7 oz
  • Fabric: Recycled polyester Microfleece
  • Pros: Good value. Warm. Simple. Lightweight. Sustainable.
  • Cons: Modest breathability, stretch, and quick dry. Low tech.

Features & Construction

We’ve all worn fuzzy “microfleece” before, so you probably have a good idea of how the Mountain Hardwear Microchill Fleece will feel and perform. And to be honest, as lightweight fleece jackets go, it performs pretty dang well.

Fuzzy microfleece is less breathable, less quick drying, and less stretchy, and overall less comfortable than more expensive grid fleeces or high tech solutions like Octa and Polartec Alpha Direct. But because it’s less breathable, it captures heat better and has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio. And mechanically venting the quarter zip helps make up for any shortfalls.

While far lighter than the average fleece, at 8.7 oz for the men’s medium pullover, the MicroChill falls a bit on the heavier end of our preferences when it comes to ultralight backpacking. That said, you could do far, far worse. Anything sub 10 oz still gets a thumbs up from us. The value to weight to warmth on this one is why we’ve included in our guide to the best lightweight fleece jackets.

Mountain Hardwear Microchill Fleece Review Verdict

Sometimes simplicity gets the job done best. The Mountain Hardwear Microchill Fleece  is warmer and lighter than most “technical” fleeces costing 2-3X as much money. However, it is slightly less breathable, less stretchy, and less quick-drying, but not by all that much.

Compare this to the best hiking fleeces of the year. And polish off your layering system with our guide to hiking shirts, down jackets, and rain gear.