I’m about 100 kilometers away from the equator, but it’s below freezing outside.
It’s because I’m in Ecuador, 5000m above sea level, 120m below the summit of Illiniza. Visibility is less than 10m, a hail storm is raging, and in front of me is a massive sheet of ice. I hadn’t planned for this. On my feet were a pair of lightweight summer trail running shoes.
While my toes were freezing, the rest of my body was faring quite well. Underneath my waterproof Montane hardshell and Arc’teryx Atom insulating layer was my Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody.
Long story short, our group had to turn back about 100m away from the summit due to the icy conditions. It was disappointing, but I did get to test my new hoody.
During my recent trip to Ecuador, I wore the Arc’teryx Fortrex Hoody every single day, whether I was eating in a 5-star restaurant, taking a day walking tour in Quito, visiting the presidential palace, at the airport or climbing a 5000m mountain. The hoody wasn’t the most appropriate piece to wear at the restaurant, but other than during that occasion, it was the perfect travel piece.
Here are my thoughts on the Arc’teryx Fortrez hoody after wearing it at home in NYC, while traveling and more:
- Great for layering or on it’s own
- Built in neck gaiter that works as well as a Buff
- Scuba style hood
- Smooth zippers
- I personally like the technical look
- Hardface fleece exterior looks sleeker, and sheds water slightly better than normal fleece
- I’ve machine washed it in cold water. It came out looking brand new, and smelling substantially better.
- Excellent quality, as you’d expect from Arc’teryx
- Lightweight, size small weighs 0.7 lbs (or about 11 ounces). (Independently weighed by me, not taken directly from manufacturer specs.)
I would say the Arc’teryx fleece on it’s own with a lightweight baselayer under is ideal for temperatures between 45ºF to 70ºF, if you’re stagnant. (This is a very rough estimate.) Anything lower, and you’ll want to wear a insulated jacket over the hoody.
The Fortrez hoody isn’t very warm; it’s meant for active pursuits, to be worn while climbing, hiking or even running. The fleece is made from Polartec Power Stretch, a polyester fleece material which is insulating, comfortable, durable and moisture wicking.
The Arc’teryx Fortrez has the standard pocket layout you’ll find on most technical hoodies (i.e. Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man, Patagonia R2, etc.):
- 2X hand warmer pockets
- 1X chest pocket
The chest pocket is large enough to fit a passport. I like to put small important items that I need to access quickly in the chest pocket, such as boarding passes, cash or those pesky customs forms. One thing to keep in mind: if you overload the pocket, it will bulge and look weird.
The hand warmer pockets are exactly as you’d expect them. Fleece lined, they’ll keep your hands warm and are great for holding a phone, a map or snacks.
Suggestion for Arc’teryx: another pocket on the inside of the hoody would be a nice addition to make the jacket more resistant to pickpockets.
I am 5’8″, 130 lbs with a slim body type and wear the Fortrez hoody in size Small.
The hoody has a trim fit, as it’s meant to be worn under other layers. The trimness is just right – not restricting, and not too much extra material where it is baggy.
The fit is almost perfect on me, however the fit at the waist isn’t quite trim enough. It flares out a bit. (Bear in mind, though, that my waist size is 28.) It isn’t a deal breaker, but isn’t ideal. Some heat can escape from the bottom.
The sleeve length is perfect, and so is the fit at the chest.
It seems that I’m not the only one with this issue either. Reviewers on Arcteryx.com have highlighted waist fit as well.
If you have an athletic, “V” body shape, this might be a concern for you. Try the hoody on in-store first, or buy it on an online retailer with a convenient return policy, like Altitude Sports.
There is a scuba-style hood, which is close fitting. The wearer is able to put a helmet over the hood, although I haven’t tried that personally.
This is a great hoody – and it better be, considering the $200 price tag. Here are the few very minor issues I had with the Fortrez:
- Just a warning – you won’t blend in when wearing this jacket in Quito, Ecuador, or in New York City. It looks like it was made for the outdoors because it was. The styling of this hoody is very technical. The chest pocket, ‘hardfleece‘ exterior, hood and detailing all ooze of the outdoors. Personally, I love the look, but it’s all about personal preference.
- I hate to grumble about such a minor thing, but the zipper pulls are really pared-down. I assume that this is on purpose, because the fleece is meant to be layered. If you are wearing the Fortrez alone, the zipper pulls can feel unsubstantial and can be difficult to pull with gloves on.
- The fit at the waist can be improved, as I mentioned in the Fit section.
- The Fortrez hoody needs a drawcord hem adjuster, like what is found on the Arc’teryx Atom AR jacket. This would help to solve the waist fitting issue, and would keep heat from escaping.
A premium product for adventurers who want the best, the Fortrez Hoody from Arc’teryx has all the right features. It’s warm, versatile, and with only one main drawback – the waist fit.
The hoody costs retail $199, and you might be able to find it on sale. It comes in several colors; I’ve tested it in Anaconda green, which isn’t boring like black, but won’t make you overly stand out while traveling.
Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody Ratings
Where To Get It
What are your thoughts? Have any questions about the hoody? Leave a comment below.
The Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody was provided by Altitude Sports for this review. As always, this Arc’teryx Fortrez review contains only my honest views and opinions. 🙂 Find out more about me and this site here.