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Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip Review

This midweight fleece looks good enough to wear for apres ski drinks while offering enough performance to make it a worthy cool weather hiker
Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip
Credit: Kuhl
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $119 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Less "teched out" aesthetic, thumb loops, large chest pocket
Cons:  Heavy, not built for heavy movements
Manufacturer:   Kuhl
By James Lucas and Buck Yedor  ⋅  Aug 26, 2022
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 8.0
  • Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Layering Ability - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 7.0
  • Weather resistance - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The KUHL Interceptr Quarter Zip is a midweight fleece that blends style and function. Our reviewers found that it landed more on the streetwear side. It was a little too heavy and not breathable enough to be a true performance piece. It does come equipped with a large chest pocket that has more than enough room for a smartphone or wallet. Despite minimal stretch and a rather slim fit, the articulated arm seams keep you from feeling restricted while performing overhead tasks. If you are looking for a fleece that you'll mostly be wearing around town and will take on the occasional hike, this could be the perfect option for you.

Editor's Note: This product was retested and the review was updated on August 26, 2022.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Less "teched out" aesthetic, thumb loops, large chest pocketCozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweightHigh performance, solid fit, breathable, solid featuresBreathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athleticsInexpensive, cozy, great stand-alone jacket
Cons Heavy, not built for heavy movementsNo thumb loopsDifficult to add many layers under, not as warm as other modelsAverage weather resistanceBulky and lacks breathability, hard to layer under tight layers
Bottom Line This midweight fleece looks good enough to wear for apres ski drinks while offering enough performance to make it a worthy cool weather hikerPatagonia made the classic R1 warmer and more comfortable with this versatile pieceBuilt for the athlete, this model provides warmth, as well as a highly functional pieceHighly featured and even higher performing, this cost-effective option provides a hard-to-beat valueAn inexpensive fleece jacket with a simple non-technical design and a bit of comfort
Rating Categories Kuhl Interceptr 1/4... Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Mountain Hardwear S... Outdoor Research Vi... REI Co-op Groundbre...
Warmth (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Layering Ability (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Weather resistance (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Kuhl Interceptr 1/4... Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Mountain Hardwear S... Outdoor Research Vi... REI Co-op Groundbre...
Type Midweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight
Measured Weight 15.1 oz 12.5 oz 13.3 oz 13 oz 11.6 oz
Main Material Body: 78% acrylic, 22% polyester
Side panels: 70% acrylic, 30% polyester
100% Polyester 100% polyester 94% polyester, 6% spandex 100% polyester
# of Pockets 1 3 2 3 2
Unique Features Thump loops, articulated sleeves, low bulk seam stiching Slim-fit hood, quick drying Raglan sleeves, thumb holes, three-piece fitted hood Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding Stretch binding at waist and cuffs
Hood Option Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

While most fleeces in this review follow the adage that form should follow function, the KUHL Interceptr flips the script a little and prioritizes a clean silhouette while still offering decent performance. This fleece is ideal for winter evenings out on the town or an apres-ski drink. The tight fit and low breathability don't make it a high performer for athletic pursuits, but it is a worthy mid-layer for casual exploits.

Performance Comparison


Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip fleece jacket - the interceptr blends mountain functionality with modern styling.
The Interceptr blends mountain functionality with modern styling.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Warmth


The midweight Interceptr offers a decent amount of warmth and is one of the warmer jackets in the review. The fleece is composed of two different styles of fleece. A thicker fleece makes up the bulk of the piece, covering the front and back panels, as well the top portion of the arm sleeves, while a thinner fleece is used on the side panels and underarms.


Kuhl has succeeded in creating a piece that kept your core warm without feeling too bulky or restrictive. It certainly provided our testers a lot of heat while hanging out around the Flatirons in Colorado during the chilly spring months.

Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip fleece jacket - the interceptr is perfect for staying warm while doing cold weather...
The Interceptr is perfect for staying warm while doing cold weather chores.
Credit: Buck Yedor

This piece will work as a standalone jacket in moderately cold conditions, wearing around camp, or out on the town but when darkness falls, or real winter hits, you'll undoubtedly need another insulating layer to throw on top. The jacket doesn't provide quite enough warmth for heavy snow or seriously biting cold. You'll also want another piece if you're doing more technical activities as this piece is almost too warm for serious cardio.

Comfort


One of our favorite features of the Interceptr is that the zipper carriage around the neckline is finished with an incredibly smooth and comfortable fleece that protects your chin from any undue chafing. The interior itself is quite soft and enjoyable to wear; it feels great against the skin. Our testers enjoyed lounging and hanging out in it after climbing. It made summer campfires pleasant and tailgate beers at the end of a day of sport climbing in Rifle, Colorado, very nice.

Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip fleece jacket - the interceptr's comfy material is perfect for at home lounging.
The Interceptr's comfy material is perfect for at home lounging.
Credit: Buck Yedor

The overall fit of the fleece is on the slimmer side, and despite the articulated arm seams, our review team found it to be restrictive and too tight for easy overhead movement. The bottom of the jacket felt a bit flared out. This fleece has the surprising addition of elastic thumb straps hidden in the wrist cuffs. While it's a nice addition, the elastic straps are not the most comfortable.


Breathability


While the thinner side panels attempt to make this a more breathable piece, when comparing it to other fleeces on the market, it just doesn't stack up. This fleece doesn't shed moisture incredibly well, and this is the primary reason our testers found this to fall more into the casual around town category. If you don't need as much breathability, this jacket is adequate.

Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip fleece jacket - the interceptr uses two different weaves of fleece. the front and...
The Interceptr uses two different weaves of fleece. The front and back panels (left side) use a thicker fleece to keep your core warm, while the side panels (right side) use a thinner fleece to increase breathability and range of motion.
Credit: Buck Yedor

If you're planning on running, hiking, or doing serious cardio events, then other jackets would be better suited. Don't plan on hiking a Fourteener or any serious mountain adventures in this piece, as you'll end up disappointed. It lacks the ability to breathe well enough on bigger missions, but is great for lounging around and relaxing.


Layering Ability


The slim fit makes layering over this fleece a nonissue even with low volume or slimmer fitting puffys. The addition of the thumb loops makes sliding your arms in and out of layers tangle and bunch-free. The thumb loops are also fairly thin and stay out of the way. Some of our testers preferred the thumb loops in the cuffs but the ones in this jacket proved adequate for keeping the sleeves in place.

Kuhl Interceptr 1/4 Zip fleece jacket - the interceptr's articulated arms keep you from feeling restricted...
The Interceptr's articulated arms keep you from feeling restricted, despite the slim fit. It also provides a good level of weather resistance.
Credit: Buck Yedor

The shorter cut of the torso gives limited coverage and was difficult to get to stay tucked underneath a climbing harness. Our testers found it difficult to climb in partly because of this. Again, the short cut makes for a stylish look but not ideal for layering underneath equipment.


Weather Resistance


The thick front and back panels were actually pretty wind resistant as far as fleece goes but readily soaked up water when exposed. The thick fleece, once soaked, is slow to dry.


If you're looking for a super weather-resistant jacket, this isn't the best option due to its lack of a water-resistant treatment. If the skies open up, reach for a better shell than this piece.

Weight


For being a quarter zip with only one pocket, this fleece is on the heavier side of things. Weighing in at 15 ounces, this probably isn't the fleece you'll be wanting to bring on your fast and light missions into the mountains.


As casual wear, it's lighter than the three other more casual fleeces we tested, making it a good choice for throwing it in your work bag or gym bag and having a stylish option for when the temps drop.

Should You Buy the Kuhl Interceptr?


While this fleece isn't a bargain, it is in the mid range to the low end of prices for premium branded fleece. It's well made, comfortable, and has more street style than many of the other more "teched out" fleeces, which can make you look like an uber mountaineer. If you're looking for a city fleece that will make an occasional appearance on the trails, this is worth buying. If you are looking for a purely technical piece built for running around the mountains, you will want to look elsewhere.

What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?


The KUHL Interceptr is a midweight fleece designed to be mountain chic. It is too heavy and not breathable enough to be a true performance piece, but its ergonomic stitching and decent warmth make it a great mountain/city hybrid. The Outdoor Research Vigor, however, is a higher scoring fleece that also costs less, though it does offer less weather resistance than the Interceptr. The Mountain Hardwear Stratus Full Zip offers higher overall performance for a similar price.

James Lucas and Buck Yedor
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