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Ode to the Fleece

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polar fleece

It becomes an afterthought. You throw it on while you pore over stats and specs for this winter’s ski gear. It’s the layer you wear when you go shopping for your new parka. It’s seen the four corners of the Earth, the inside of your local grocery, innumerable National Parks, and more happy hours than any of us will admit.

It’s your fleece. The only thing more ubiquitous than a fleece jacket (or vest) is the near universal attitude of indifference we have toward them.

For those old enough to remember, there was a time when you peacocked your fleece jacket as the mark of a true outdoorsperson. Things were a little bulkier back then and this may have turned the tide of public opinion for a spell. But in the 2000’s, fleece technology and performance has advanced to the point where we know manufacturers by name (we’re talking to you, Polartec). Top brands tout its inclusion as a premium selling point.

In all likelihood your fleece has been with you longer than any other gear, yet somehow you never tell your friends about it or compare performance characteristics with their own version. What it lacks in sartorial appeal, it more than makes for in functional savoir faire. Think about it, your fleece has:

  1. Been with you on every backpacking trip as a lightweight, multi-tasking layer and superior pillow,
  2. Accompanied you so frequently on your globe-trotting adventures that you’re kicking yourself for not having secured a unique air mileage card for it,
  3. Been permeated with the scent of fire, be it from a campfire, barbeque or the mysterious burn holes it’s acquired from a life of unrequited love and hard knocks,
  4. Received more hugs than any other item of clothing because of the sheer number of days it’s been worn. There’s: the post-expedition bro-hug, the first day of school teary hug, the comforting bad day hug, the haven’t seen an old friend in a long time hug, the proud of you for your accomplishment hug and the “I-don’t-care-I’m-covered-in-dog-hair” hug, and
  5. Been up close and personal to every element Mother Nature and her cohort (i.e. you) have been able to conjure up. Water (rain, river trips, morning surf sessions), earth (mountain biking, gardening), fire (see above), and air (the wind on a sailboat, the crisp breeze when summiting a peak).

Be loud, be proud and make peace with your fleece. It’s here to stay and you know that makes you as happy as a two-year old hearing he can bring his woobie on the road trip. We celebrate the humble fleece – the workhorse of the closet and the backpack and the commuter – with our new, reformulated Nikwax Polar Proof.

With a few ounces in the wash, Polar Proof breathes new life into your fleece. It won’t add weight or change the appearance, but the specialized formulation adds water repellency to an otherwise sponge-like fabric. Polar Proof also maintains the crucial air gap between the knit and the weave that is the essence of the highly breathable, warmth-to-weight comfort of fleece.

Your fleece has been around long enough that some cultures would consider you legally bound by default. But we know you’re bound by love and we want to ensure you have a long, happy future together. We’re Nikwax: it’s what we do.

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