On the luxury end of the Fleece category, we have the plush Patagonia Synchilla Snap T. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever sent 5.14, skied a 60 degree slope, or stood on top of an 8000 meter peak while wearing a Snap T, but we can pretty much guarantee that plenty of hard-charging folks have put on this cozy pullover after sending the gnar, safe and sound, curled up with a hot cup of something. Around town or around the house, this is a warm and comfy fleece. For the Backcountry, we'd recommend a fleece that breathes better and packs away smaller like the Patagonia R1 Hoody or the Arcteryx Kyanite Hoody.
Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Soft, Warm, Stylish
Cons: Does not breathe well, bulky
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This fleece performs poorly in the breathability, layering ability, and weather resistance category while feeling super comfortable an exuding a certain cool-because-I-don't-care sense of style. Our testers agreed that the Snap T feels more comfortable than other "style"-centric jackets like The North Face Denali 2. For a casual jacket that breathes and layers better than the Synchilla Snap T, check out the Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody.
This fleece is thick, heavy, and consequently pretty warm. It's thick, uniform polyester fleece is an effective insulator, but doesn't compress or breathe very well. If warmth is your primary concern when purchasing a fleece jacket, the Patagonia Performance Better Sweater and the North Face Denali 2 are warmer options. Additionally, the hooded version of the Snap T will help lock in more heat around your head and shoulders.
The Synchilla Snap T has blanket-like softness and comfort. We don't know if Patagonia sourced these Synchillas in the wild or from the controversial Argentinian Synchilla farms, but their fur sure is soft. Seriously though, this fleece has no pockets or zippers to get in the way bunch up, and it's boxy fit draped over our testers like a poncho. Elastic cuffs keep the sleeves down around your arms when it's cold, and are easy to pull up when it's time to get down to business. For a comfortable fleece that breathes and layers well, check out our Top Pick for Layering and tester favorite, the Patagonia R1 Hoody.
Thick fleece doesn't breathe well. The Synchilla Snap T is more breathable than The North Face Denali 2, but that's the only fleece heavier than the Synchilla. The Better Sweater Hoody has breathable side panels, so does the REI Co-op Flowcore. The Synchilla's only method of venting hot sweaty air is to open the four plastic snaps.
You're going to need a shell or insulated jacket with ample room if you plan on incorporating the Snapt T into your layering system. Our slimmer testers found this fleece bulky, especially in the shoulders and sleeves. When layered under a shell, the thick fabric bunched up, feeling constricting and uncomfortable. The Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody is a style-oriented fleece that has a slimmer fit and works better in a layering system, but we suspect folks that like the look of the Synchilla Snap T won't be trying to hide it under a technical looking hardshell jacket.
When it comes to wind, the Snap T performs better than lighter jackets like the Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody and the Patagonia R1 Hoody because it's heavier and thicker. This comes at the cost of breathability and weight. This jacket has no durable waterproof treatment, and you'll get soaked quickly in a rainstorm.
The Snap T tipped our scales at 17.75oz. While not as heavy and way more packable than The North Face Denali 2, we would pick the REI Co-op Flowcore or the Patagonia R3 Hoody for backcountry adventures. Neither of these jackets is that much lighter than the Synchilla Snap T, but they are warmer and have great features like pockets, and the R3 has a hood.
This jacket is available in 12 different patterns! Our testers often paired it with a warm flannel as this loose-fitting jacket that has plenty of room for it. From party patterns to low key solid colors, this fleece has a look for any casual occasion.
The Snap T has a list price of $139, with older versions and colors going for as low as $59; not too bad if you dig the look, but we feel that the REI Co-op Flowcore is a much better value and more useful in the backcountry because of its weight, layering ability, and lower price.
This basic fleece with it stylish snaps and chest pockets is soft and stylish for hanging out in town or around the house. For day hikes, it'll beat the pants off of any cotton or polyester sweater, but for alpine climbing or longer backpacking trips, we'd go with a more technical, lightweight fleece.
This warm pullover is popular for its comfort and style and has been a classic Patagonia staple for years. We think it's an awesome piece for post-adventure lounging and recounting highlights and mishaps around the campfire, but if you're headed into the backcountry, we recommend a more breathable jacket, like the R1 Hoody or the REI Co-op Flowcore.
— Matt Bento