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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Cotopaxi Teca Fleece > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Cotopaxi Teca Fleece

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - December 7, 2020

Field Report - February 9, 2021

Long Term Report - April 13, 2021

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight: 225 lbs (102 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking background is a combination of the Minnesota area, where I lived most of my adult life, and Southern Arizona where I moved eleven years ago to Tucson to take a new job.  I am a pack and worn weight watcher, keeping my burden lighter than most of the folks I hike with, but also safety-minded so I do not go to extremes.  I vacillate between fleece and down for my insulation layer depending on weather conditions.

Initial Report

Product Facts

Product Information
Manufacturer
Cotopaxi
Manufacturer website
https://www.cotopaxi.com
Year manufactured
2020
Model
Tf01
Color tested
Biblioteca (only color available)
Size tested
XL
MSRP
$100 USD
Weight
specs: Not specified by the manufacturer
measured: 1 lb 12 oz (794 g)

Features from the Cotopaxi website:
  • 100% re-purposed fleece
  • 100% re-purposed polyester taffeta stripes with DWR finish
  • Elastic binding at hem and cuffs
  • Two hand pockets
  • Limited edition colorways (re-purposed fabric, so when they run out, that's it)

Initial Inspection

Tf02
Packaging and contents

The garment arrived in a sturdy cardboard box in plastic wrap.  In addition to the garment, the box contained, from left to right in the photo above, a face mask, a hand-written card from a Salt Lake City Utah refugee community member, a decal, and a Do Good card explaining the company's values.  The face mask will be addressed in a brief separate Owner's Review report.

I carefully inspected the garment and could find no loose threads, unsewn seams, or any other manufacturing defect.  The zipper worked nicely and did not seem to have an issue with catching on the fabric.

First Impressions

Tf03I removed the garment from the packaging and tried it on.  I wear an XL for pretty much all the upper body garments that I buy, though I will occasionally purchase a Large-Tall when available.  At age 67 I can hardly qualify for requiring an athletic fit, but the Teca fleece seemed to have sleeves that were slightly too short, felt a bit tight in the chest, and a tad too much room in the abdomen area (hard to believe for me!!)

I checked their sizing chart and the XL should have had plenty of arm length for me, as I measure on the short end of their range.  If you look at my wrists in the photo at left you can see that I could easily use another inch or so (2.5 cm) of sleeve.

The fleece felt nice and soft.  I could immediately feel the sensation of warmth from the insulation.

This is a very attractive garment.  The color on the front stripes and even the color on the collar liner really give it a nice appearance.  Also, the red trim on the hem and sleeves that matches the zipper is a nice touch.

The pockets are nice and roomy, running all the way to the zipper, and the material is slippery making it easy to get hands in and out.

Tf04

The mask is attractive, easy to get on and off with the end loops, and is generously sized so I don't have to tug on it to make sure my mouth and nose are covered.


Kudos:

  • Attractive and functional garment and mask.

Concerns:

  • Longer sleeves, larger chest and less room at the waist.
  • Weighs quite a bit for a fleece.

Field Report

Cold & Wet in Portland

TF05

For the Christmas holiday we took a bit of a COVID-19 risk to travel to Portland Oregon to spend this special time with our daughter and grandson.  We travel there often, and whenever I do I try to get some amount of exercise, typically running or walking.  Only walking on this trip.  They currently live in the Sellwood neighborhood on the Southwest side of downtown, which is a very busy area so a mask was mandatory on my morning walks.

The temperature ranged from right around freezing to about 55 F (13 C).  We had a couple of dry sunny days during the 10 days we were there, and the above photo was taken on one of these.  The rest of the days were typical Portland winter weather: off and on drizzle all day long.  On the dry days I was able to walk with just the fleece over my shirt, as shown above, the rest of the time I had a rain shell over the Teca.

The Teca fleece performed admirably on this trip.  I was comfortable with no additional layers while walking outdoors down to near freezing temperatures.  I pretty much lived in the fleece for these 10 days - wearing it all day long in their apartment as they keep it pretty chilly in there.

I have grown to like the pockets to keep my hands warm, but I did discover that my keys could slide to the outside of the pocket and become hard to reach due to the way the pocket is sewn:

tf08

When I put something like my keys in a pocket, they initially reside in the main compartment on the left.  Sometimes they will slide over, under the sewn through area, and become very tough to reach if they settle in on the right hand side in the above photo.

Arizona Trail

tf06I did a short 2-day backpack along the Arizona Trail on January 27-28 just south of Kearny, Arizona.  I hiked 19.2 miles (30.9 km), in temperatures ranging from freezing to 60 F (16 C), elevation range 1762-3534 ft (537-1077 m).

I had the fleece on when I began hiking (see photo at left), and took it off after about an hour when I warmed up.  I put it back on when I arrived at camp and left it on to sleep at night so I could read with my torso out of my sleeping bag.

It was very windy on this trip, I would estimate gusts in excess of 30 mph (48 kph).  The Teca fleece has no wind barrier, so it breathes well.  This allowed me to keep it on longer than I would have had it included a wind stopper layer.

tf07On the flip side, the weather was not as warm on day 2 of the hike, and it was cloudy so I didn't have the sun to warm me as I hiked.  I anticipated this, so I brought a windshirt with me as an outer layer to put on over the fleece.  I did so in the morning in camp, and the additional warmth was remarkable.

I left the windshirt on for most of the morning as pictured at right.  It is apparent just how windy it was, with the way it blew up the brim of my hat and puffed out the windshirt.  Later in the morning I was able to remove the windshirt and hike with just the fleece, and then I finally removed the fleece and hiked in my shirtsleeves for the last hour or so.

I think this experience demonstrates the advantage of layering - I can put layers on or peel them off as I go.  This does require taking my pack off, but it's a good idea to take a "pack off" break from time to time anyway.

Bottom line: the Cotopaxi Teca fleece did very well during the trip - I was very happy with its performance.

When I got home I threw it in the laundry with the rest of my hiking clothing.  That's one thing I really like about fleece, it is so easy to care for, no special laundering procedures!

Summary

Good Things

  • Warm, yet breathes well.
  • The zipper has worked flawlessly, never getting caught or bound up.
  • Attractive garment

Areas for Improvement.

  • The short sleeve length was noticeable on the backpacking trip, especially when I wore gloves.  My wrists got cold.
  • Small objects can get trapped in remote pocket corners where they are hard to reach.

Long Term Report

Three Days in Arizona's Superstition Mountains

On March 19-21 I did a modest hike in the Superstition Mountains just northeast of the city of Phoenix, Arizona.  The elevation ranged from 2400 ft (730 m) to 2700 ft (820 m), just high enough to be a little cooler than Phoenix, yet not enough to have really cold nights.  It dipped to around 50 F (10 C) both nights.  The mornings still felt a little chilly to me, and I was glad to have the Teca fleece fully zipped up around my neck in the morning when I arose early to make breakfast (see photo below).  I am finding that I like the high collar on this fleece, it does a great job of keeping my neck warm.  The picture below also demonstrates the issue I pointed out in the Field Report concerning how short the sleeves are.

Tf09I found that with a warm baselayer I was perfectly comfortable in these conditions with the fleece as my primary insulation.  I brought a windbreaker with me just in case, but I found I really didn't need it as the air was calm and I was plenty warm.

I wore the Teca fleece in the evenings around the campfire, and in the mornings, but removed it for sleeping.  I left it on one night for a while to read a book, mostly to keep my arms warm.  I found when it was time for me to sleep, I removed the fleece to prevent overheating with my down quilt.

No issues with the garment on this trip other than the previously mentioned issue with the pocket "channel".  I had to fish my lighter out of the pocket at one point, as it slid into the area that is tough to reach.

Daily Use

We keep our house pretty chilly in the wintertime, only turning on the heat on cold mornings to take the edge off.  Once the house has warmed up a bit in the morning sun, we turn the heat off for the rest of the day.  My office can get a bit chilly, and I ended up wearing the fleece almost daily.  I must have laundered it a half-dozen times.

As can be seen from the photo at left the fleece has held up extremely well.  No pilling, loose threads, permanent stains, or any other cosmetic issues.  The zipper, often the Achilles Heel of these garments, continues to work flawlessly.


Summary

My summary from the Field Report above stands - I didn't experience anything in the latter two months to change my opinion on any of those points.  To it I would add the durability and robustness of the garment: it is holding up very well without me babying it.  Also, the nice high collar that zips up all the way is a nice feature.


Many thanks to Cotopaxi and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.



Read more reviews of Cotopaxi gear
Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Cotopaxi Teca Fleece > Test Report by Kurt Papke



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