By Amos Kwon
on 12.28.11
Photo by Helly Hansen

If you’re looking for a solid technical mid-layer fleece that stands apart from the rest, take a look at the Helly Hansen Swift Fleece ($130). We tried one on for ourselves this winter and found it easily more than capable for cold-weather activities and casual goings on, as well. The body is slimmer than most fleece mid-layer jackets, which we found refreshing. No more of that baggy, unkempt look that makes you appear ready for a jaunt to Old Country Buffet, plus the more athletic fit hugs your body for additional warmth.

The Polartec 200 brushed fleece is supremely soft and lends to a good amount of flexibility, perfect for the active life. We especially liked the contrasting trim on the hood, sleeves, zipper and hem. The vertical chest zip-pocket and hand-warmer pockets are stealthy enough keep the Swift looking trim and large enough to actually be functional. Zipper pulls are logo’d and made of tough and flexible plastic, which make them easy to grip with gloves and the fantastic hood has a snug fit so it doesn’t get blasted off when a cold wind hits you. We loved it and will be wearing it all season. It’s also received more than its fair share of compliments, which is saying something, especially among the teeming hordes of fleece jackets presently roaming the earth.

Buy Now: $130