The pullover fleece; is there anything more classic? The simple piece can go from office to trail to campsite to…you get the picture. For the longest time, a certain manufacturer has held a near monopoly on the pullover fleece. It’s been unchanged for years. Basic, functional, boring. Enter the Cotopaxi Capitan fleece pullover. With just a bit of original thinking, Cotopaxi elevated the fleece game.
Fleece Pullovers – Boring
In case it wasn’t clear that I was talking about the Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T above, I was talking about the Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T above. Don’t get me wrong: the Snap-T is the quintessential fleece. When I broke my arm in high school – the second time – I wore an XL Snap-T every day over my sling. I don’t know what happened to that fleece, but I missed it until the Cotopaxi Capitan arrived.
There’s only so much you can do with a fleece pullover. It’s a simple piece by design. You take some fabric, sew it into sleeves and a torso, and add a collar with a snap placket. Done. But, they’re good enough to take the chill off on a cool, spring morning. They maintain insulating ability when wet and dry relatively quickly. Any fleece does that.
Cotopaxi Capitan Features
Cotopaxi held on to the basic shape of the fleece pullover. But, in typical Cotopaxi fashion, they added a bit of flare and a bit of function.
First, the function: The Capitan is sewn from Polartec High Loft fleece. High Loft fleece traps the most air of any Polartec product, giving it the most potential to keep you warm. It’s stretchy. It’s also the most compressible of Polartec’s fleeces, though it still doesn’t compress like down or even a synthetic fill. Cotopaxi uses raglan sleeves, which removes the shoulder seams, and underarm gussets, both of which make for excellent range of motion.
Cotopaxi puts a drawcord in the hem of the Capitan where the Snap-T only has some elastic. You can keep in an extra bit of warmth with the drawcord, though that goes out the window the second there’s a breeze. You also get an outer layer of nylon fabric around the neck, which keeps in more warmth. Finally, Cotopaxi stitches some knit cuffs onto the sleeves, giving you more stretch – you can push the sleeves up to your elbows, no problemo.
Flare? How about a contrasting external chest pocket, placket, and kangaroo pocket openings? Colors from the Crayola bold box? And, I have to list those knit cuffs in the flare section, too. They’re pretty snazzy.
Review: Cotopaxi Capitan Pullover
I love everything about this fleece, except two things. I love the look. I love the warmth and coziness. I love the stretch built in to the Capitan. It’s exceptionally comfortable. In a recent snow storm, I snapped the collar up to the top and dragged groceries and a toddler across the parking lot in the little guy’s favorite shopping cart – the one with the car on the front of it – in complete comfort. The Capitan gets compliments, both for style and the fabric.
At 5’10”, 215, the large fits well. Sleeves are a good length and the torso fits well without being too tight or baggy. Put a windshirt over it and you’ll be warm well down into the 30ºs.
While I also love the knit cuffs, they aren’t completely watch-compatible. I don’t love that. The hem drawcord on our tester was also just a little tighter than the hem, meaning I could never completely open up the bottom. I ended up cutting it out.
Patagonia owned the pullover fleece game for at least twenty years. Cotopaxi is finally shaking up the market a bit. The Capitan looks good, feels good, and works.
The Capitan is unisex (men’s medium = women’s large) and also available as a full-zip jacket.