Cotopaxi Teca Full-Zip Review
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Cotopaxi Teca Full-Zip
|Price||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$76.96 at Backcountry|
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Check Price at Backcountry
$54.83 at REI
|$33.74 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Soft fleece, warm, comfortable||Breathable, lightweight, inexpensive, stretchy||Stylish, warm, simple||Soft, stretchy, warm, thumb holes||Inexpensive, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||No zippers on pockets, basic, feels lower quality||Average warmth, odd hood shape||More style than function, bulky||Not especially breathable, clings to base layer||Bulky, hoodless, poor layering|
|Bottom Line||A simple fleece jacket with a high-volume cut that keeps in body heat||A lightweight and breathable hoody with a lot of stretch for mobility and hard-to-beat value||Billed as casual outdoor wear, this warm fleece can move from out on the town to out at the crags||This super soft fleece hoody is a versatile and warm addition to any cold-weather layering system||Affordable, comfortable, and functional, this fleece offers the no-frills basics that you'd want in a jacket|
|Rating Categories||Cotopaxi Teca Full-Zip||Outdoor Research Vi...||Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...||REI Co-op Hyperaxis...||Columbia Steens Mou...|
|Layering Ability (15%)|
|Specs||Cotopaxi Teca Full-Zip||Outdoor Research Vi...||Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...||REI Co-op Hyperaxis...||Columbia Steens Mou...|
|Measured Weight||12.9 oz||13.2 oz||15.1 oz||16.7 oz||16.6 oz|
|Main Material||Shell: 100% recycled polyester fleece
Stripes: repurposed polyester taffeta with DWR finish
|94% polyester, 6% spandex||Body: 78% acrylic, 22% polyester
Side panels: 70% acrylic, 30% polyester
|Polartec Power Stretch Pro polyester||100% polyester|
|# of Pockets||4||3||1||3||2|
|Unique Features||Recycled and repurposed materials||Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding||Thump loops, articulated sleeves, low bulk seam stiching||Thumb loops, bluesign-approved 4-way stretch polyester||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Made with a shell of 100% recycled polyester fleece and complemented with repurposed polyester taffeta with a DWR finish, the Cotopaxi Teca comes ready to keep you warm in the wintertime.
The dense fleece material of the Teca makes for a warm, well-insulated jacket. During testing, we found it was one of the most wind-resistant models. The poly taffeta paneling on the chest first appears to be purely aesthetic, but it also does some decent work blocking wind if your outer shell happens to be partially unzipped. The looser fit does a nice job of retaining a heat pocket close to the body, and the zipper garage at the top protects the chin from touching a cold zipper with the lip or chin. The fleece layer behind the zipper blocks wind from passing through what would otherwise be a weak point for heat to leak out.
Though the taffeta stripes on the chest have a durable water-repellent coating, we can't say that this made any kind of important difference to our experience in damp weather. The main fleece doesn't readily absorb water anyway, and the chest stripes are just a small part of the jacket. Having said that, this is a cold-weather fleece, great for staying warm during downtime at camp or as a mid-layer with a heavier waterproof shell over the top for complete protection from the elements.
We also love the softness of this fleece. Though the material does feel a little less nice than some of the knit-fleece models in our lineup, it feels great to the touch, and the taffeta lining in the neck area wicks moisture and limits rubbing where the jacket comes in direct contact with skin. In addition, this traditional style of fleece didn't pill nearly as much, or really at all, during testing, which is a notable advantage over the knit-style competitors out there.
The cuffs on the Teca are really stretchy, which also helps with the fit. Having said that, this fleece doesn't offer a ton of mobility overall. There isn't much stretch beyond the wrists, especially compared to the models that incorporate spandex or elastane in the main fabric blend. With that in mind, this layer is not the best choice for activities like climbing that require a high degree of mobility.
As for storage capacity, the pockets don't have any zippers, so this isn't an ideal layer for a day hike when you might want to stow car keys or other important small items. Though the pockets are relatively deep, the liner is a slippery polyester taffeta, so we opted not to put anything in them we weren't prepared to lose. However, the interior pocket lining is sewn shut at the bottom, so there are two generous drop pockets on the inside that themselves are split vertically into one larger and one smaller slot on each side, making them a great spot to tuck away sunglasses or a case on one side and a hat or gloves on the other.
Breathability is the main area where this jacket does not excel. Because of the thickness and density of the main material, it doesn't allow moisture to escape nearly as well as its thinner, airer counterparts. In fact, we noticed that we got 'panic hot' in this jacket the fastest. Moving at a moderate hiking pace, we started to get damp in about 20 minutes in temperatures as low as 40 degrees.
All to say, this model is great at insulating but not as good at wicking away moisture. For this reason, we think it is better suited for staying warm while stationary than for vigorous physical activity.
The Teca Full-Zip is a looser-fitting fleece but layers well in both directions. It has more than enough space underneath for a base layer, and it can even accommodate another thinner, slimmer fleece as well. Since this jacket doesn't come with a hood, this is a decent option if you want to double up with a hoody for added warmth. We tried this out a couple of times, and it makes for a pretty solid combination.
On the other side of the layer sandwich, most rain jackets and winter coats will fit comfortably over the top of the Teca. There aren't any thumb loops to hold the sleeves in place, though, so it is liable to bunch up and require some rearranging. Similarly, as discussed above, the less stretch fabric rides up some when reaching overhead, and this issue is exacerbated when there is another static layer like a shell jacket over the top of it.
At 12.9 ounces, this fleece is much lighter than its warmth and volume would suggest. In fact, it is one of the lightest fleeces in the whole category. If you like this jacket for everything else it offers in terms of warmth and comfort, then the weight is certainly not a limiting factor.
Having said that, the Teca is comparatively high volume and takes up a lot of precious space in a backpack. For that reason, we don't see it as an ideal option for an extended backpacking trip where capacity is limited, and other pieces of gear might take equal or higher priority.
Should You Buy the Cotopaxi Teca Full-Zip?
The Teca Full-Zip is one of our favorite high-insulation jackets for general use. Though it is far from the most packable, it is surprisingly lightweight, super soft, and warm. It is made from 100% recycled fleece, which could appeal to those looking to limit the environmental impact of their clothing purchases. The lack of breathability limits its usefulness during high-exertion activities. However, this is a great option for anyone who is looking for a comfortable fall jacket or a cold-weather mid-layer fleece at a lower price point and doesn't need it to pack down super small.
What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?
For a similarly soft and warm fleece experience with added mobility and a hood, the REI Co-op Hyperaxis 2.0 is one of our favorite warm and stretchy options. Another traditional full zip fleece that we love is the Arc'teryx Covert Cardigan — it has a dressier aesthetic and is a little heavier. Lastly, if you want to go in the other direction — athletic, lightweight, and breathable — then the Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody is the cream of the crop.
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