REI Co-op Hyperaxis 2.0 - Women's Review
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REI Co-op Hyperaxis 2.0 - Women's
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|Pros||Soft and cozy, very warm, better accommodating of diverse body types, lots of pockets||Very stretchy and comfortable, cozy and warm, breathable, comparatively compact||Comfortable, stretchy, mobile shoulders, fluffy interior, warm, polished exterior look and feel, easy to layer||Very stretchy, comfortable thumbholes, extended coverage, packable, very breathable, great warmth-to-weight ratio||Instantly cozy, soft and fluffy, affordable, lots of color options|
|Cons||Cuffs are tight, pockets are bulky, wind guard is an awkward length||Slim fit doesn't work for everyone, not very windproof, fuzzy exterior collects debris||Zipper not wind resistant, slim cut may be limiting||Chest pocket looks bad, oddly long cut, light colors are see through||No pockets, challenging to layer, not breathable, less wind resistant|
|Bottom Line||Offering cozy sweatshirt vibes, tons of pockets, thumbholes, and exceptional stretch and warmth||An extremely versatile fleece with lightweight breathability and stretchy comfort combined with midweight warmth and protection||All the comfort of your favorite sweatshirt combined with the performance of a technical fleece layer||This lightweight fleece features good technical performance and coverage, a great warmth-to-weight ratio, and a reasonable price||A simple pullover with a classic design that's cozy, relaxed, easy to love, and affordable|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Hyperaxis...||Patagonia R1 Air Fu...||Arc'teryx Kyanite H...||Outdoor Research Vi...||Columbia Benton Spr...|
|Layering Ability (15%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Hyperaxis...||Patagonia R1 Air Fu...||Arc'teryx Kyanite H...||Outdoor Research Vi...||Columbia Benton Spr...|
|Main Material||Polyester||Recycled polyester||53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane||94% polyester, 6% spandex||Polyester|
|Cuff Construction||Lycra spandex binding||Quick-drying woven binding||Tanica stretch fabric||Same fabric as jacket||Elastic cuff|
|Weight||14.3 oz||10.7 oz||12.6 oz||8.9 oz||10.4 oz|
|Number of Pockets||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand||1 chest||None|
|Features||Hip belt compatible hand pockets, thumb holes, seam-free shoulders||Off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, moisture wicking||No slip front zipper, chin guard, moisture wicking, off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams||Thumbholes, flat seam construction, UPF 30, moisture wicking, off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, chin guard||Comfort stretch, extended collar|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Hyperaxis 2.0 is a midweight stretchy polyester fleece with a full zipper and a hood. It features a zippered chest pocket and two zippered hand pockets that double as internal slip pockets, as well as thumbholes and thoughtful seam placements, removed away from the shoulder tops.
The Hyperaxis 2.0 is one of the warmest fleece jackets we tested. It's impressively thick and soft, creating the feeling of immediate warmth against your skin and holding up well against the cold. The main zipper only has a wind and chin guard on the top six inches, making the rest of the zipper a weak point against the wind. The thumbholes are cut out of the ends of the sleeves, and stay gaping holes when not in use — not our favorite arrangement, but they are quite warm and hold the sleeves down almost all the way to our knuckles. The loose scuba-style hood has an exceptionally tall chin that's easy to burrow into and plenty of space to fit over a beanie. It's also stretchy enough that you can pull it over a beanie and your head even when it's zipped up all the way to the top.
The softness of the Hyperaxis fabric is wonderful against our skin and overall, this is a fairly comfortable jacket. It has a few minor features that make it less impressive than some of the others we tested. First, the extra thick fabric is doubled up in key areas, creating asymmetry in the weight and wearability of the fleece, notably along the zipper of the chest pocket, the chin area, and the 6" wind guard. All three of these areas are a bit too thick and heavy, subtly dragging the jacket in different directions. Second, while the seams normally found across the tops of the shoulders have been moved back a bit, it's instead at a diagonal, still meeting up with the back of the neck. This still creates small areas of rubbing underneath backpack straps, which is noticeable over long-distance hikes. The Hyperaxis also has regular seams in the armpits, rather than moving them to areas with less motion and rubbing, as many other models do. And thirdly, the elastic cuffs are a bit too snug around our hands when worn using the thumbholes. And since those thumbholes are literal holes — not clever cuffs designed to lay flat and closed when not in use — they beg to be worn all the time so you're not left with drafty holes on your wrists. All three of these comfort complaints are relatively minor, but they illustrate the minute differences that set other fleeces slightly above the Hyperaxis regarding comfort.
As with nearly all the fleeces we tested, light precipitation easily soaks into the fabric of the Hyperaxis, but thanks to its thickness, it takes longer to soak all the way through to your skin. The polyester fabric does a decent job of slowing down wind, though the main zipper leaks cold air. The size Small we tested weighs 14.3 ounces, one of the heaviest jackets we tested. It's also quite thick and bulky, like a big fluffy sweatshirt. This is certainly a fleece we prefer to wear rather than carry.
Despite its impressive warmth, the Hyperaxis 2.0 still maintains reasonable breathability. It's not exceptionally breathable but does pretty well for its thickness. The zippered hand pockets and chest pocket can be opened to add some ventilation to your core, as all three are lined with a type of fine-holed mesh. Though the sleeves and cuffs are on the tighter end of the spectrum, they still feel okay to pull up a little bit to cool your wrists. Of course, the full zipper on the front can be opened as far as you'd like. However, that double layer of thick, heavy fabric on the chin and the large wind guard on the top of the right side make the hood a bit heavy, floppy, and a little lopsided. It's very wearable, but something we notice compared to other hooded, zippered models.
The Hyperaxis is fairly easy to layer. It has a relaxed fit with a tapered waist that leaves space for layering underneath without necessarily turning you into a squishy marshmallow. This relaxed fit does beg for a slightly roomier outer layer — we found ourselves on a hike with a windbreaker as a shell that was smaller than the Hyperaxis. It worked, but we had some odd bulges here and there, trying to stuff all this bulk into a smaller jacket. The textures of both the inside and the outside of this fleece don't stick too much to other fabrics.
Should You Buy the REI Hyperaxis 2.0?
The Hyperaxis brings a lot of functionality, warmth, and features to the table for a fairly reasonable price — and seems to be often available at bargain prices. It's a great choice for those looking for that super warm sweatshirt vibe and who love thumbholes and softness. Though a few others offer more technical performance, the Hyperaxis reigns supreme when it comes to sheer warmth.
What Other Fleece Jacket Should You Consider?
If you're after a sweatshirt-like fleece that will keep you seriously warm, the REI Hyperaxis 2.0 is an excellent choice. For a slightly more technical performance and extra details that really add up (and a little more money), the Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody is our favorite sweatshirt fleece. Or, for more packability and breathability, the lightweight (but performs like a midweight) Patagonia R1 Air is our favorite fleece of them all, with its dynamic performance and fit.
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