This waterproof fleece is a useful outdoor garment for in-between weather.
This Marinac fleece by Lands’ End forms part of my recent haul of goodies from this company. I bought it in ‘orchid petal’ – a pale lilac – rather than the green colourway shown, and it cost me £29.50, reduced from around £60 in the sale.
Sixty quid is a lot of money to pay for a fleece, so why is Lands’ End charging so much? Well, because it is a techno-fleece that Wallace would be proud of – really a double-thickness combination fleece and soft shell.
However, when it arrived, I was initially disappointed. Having read that it was slim-fitting, I actually found it rather voluminous, and the raglan sleeves seemed surprisingly restrictive (I couldn’t lift my arms above my head while wearing it). The Dri-off finish makes the outer fleece feel quite strange – almost squeaky and rubbery – and I also didn’t like the Velcro tabs, which have a sturdy rubber top section.
Since I had already bought the Squall Jacket, I couldn’t see for what purpose I would actually wear it.
However, I gradually realised that it really is a coat, not an indoor garment and should be regarded as such – it’s cut so you can get a jumper under it (slightly longer at the back, too, and higher at the front, which is what you want for hiking) and the sleeves are cut for marching, not for waving your arms about.
Having calculated that the postage was too expensive to send it back from France, I kept trying it on, looking this way and that, trying to work out its role in my wardrobe. Then today I suddenly ‘got’ it – this is the perfect fleece to wear when I go swimming.
On these occasions, I only have to dash from the car to the pool, but the weather might easily be inclement, blustery and cold. I don’t want a long coat, because they’re hard to drive in, the pegs in the changing rooms are short, and in any case, I wear fleece-lined tracksuit trousers in winter. When I leave the pool, my hair is wet and I have to wear a hat: therefore, I don’t need a hood.
This fleece is lightweight, showerproof and cosy, perfect to drive in, and it can be rolled up and stuffed in a locker or kit bag far more easily than the Squall. It would also work very well as an emergency summer fleece, to keep in the car in case the weather turns.
It doesn’t look particularly special, I will admit – all the specialness is in its performance. The outer fleece is coated with the firm’s patented Dri-off finish, which makes it, if not waterproof, at least showerproof, and the inner layer has a Windcheck barrier to keep the wind off. It has outer zip pockets, inner patch pockets, adjustable Velcro tab cuffs and a wind-stop backing to the zip.
I’m not sure, to be honest, that I would pay full price for this jacket, but for the price I did pay, I’ve come to think it is brilliant. I wear it now to go swimming several times a week, and I also find it’s the right thing for a trot round the garden when it’s not yet actually raining, but looks as if it might.