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Mid and Base Layers

Craghoppers Ashfield Half-Zip Fleece | Review

A late 80s, early 90s, throwback-style fleece that’s ideal for cold evenings at camp

Why We Chose It: Retro styling, recycled materials, relaxed-fit.

There was a time when the late 80s and early 90s were looked back on as a bit of a joke. With its bad haircuts, in particular, the era became somewhat of a punchline in the age-old game of ‘what were we thinking?’ In recent years however, the era’s aesthetic has had somewhat of a revival. You can see it in the current hipster obsession with classic football shirts from the period, and you can see it in outdoor people’s rediscovered love for vintage fleecewear. From a style point of view, the three or four years either side of 1990 are officially back… and back with a bang.

The Ashfield Half-Zip Fleece from Craghoppers is a nostalgic doff of the cap, one that drags the brand’s heritage styles into a modern context. Sporting a deliberately old-school Craghoppers logo that looks like something from a VHS player, the Ashfield Half-Zip, part of The Archive Collection, is like being reunited with an old friend you haven’t seen in years. It’s new, but reassuringly familiar; fresh, and yet infused with a deeper sense of shared history.

“Sporting a deliberately old-school Craghoppers logo that looks like something from a VHS player.”

Like most of your favourite adventures, Craghoppers started with a couple of outdoor enthusiasts, some out-of-the-box thinking, and a bit of “I bet you can’t” gauntlet-throwing. In 1965, the founders of Craghoppers challenged themselves to design the ultimate outdoor clothing and then proceeded to test the items everywhere – from the picturesque Peak District to the highest highs of the Himalayas. The result: a brand that’s as authentic as they come.

Back to the subject of the fleece itself, the Ashfield scores eco-points for being made entirely of recycled materials. The adjustable hem cords, meanwhile, are super useful for helping to get the snug fit you want. Nothing worse, after all, than a fleece that undoes all its good insulating work up top by letting in loads of cold air at the bottom.

The Ashfield is made from 100% recycled materials. Photo: Chris Johnson
The two zipped pockets are as simple as they come. Photo: Chris Johnson
The vintage Craghoppers logo is surprisingly refreshing. Photo: Chris Johnson

The covered zip pockets on the Ashfield are sturdy, secure, and well-suited for valuables like a wallet and phone. Sure, they won’t keep the rain out forever but they will give you more than enough time to lazily retrieve your waterproof before any damage is done to the tech in your pockets. In terms of fitting, if you’re tall, skinny, and wavering between two sizes – go for the larger option otherwise you might find it crops slightly too high for your liking. Minor criticism though because this fleece really does deliver the simple basics that you want from a fleece.

Tester’s Verdict

Ash Routen, outdoors writer

“Midlayers have become increasingly (perhaps unnecessarily so) technical in recent years, so this simple retro design immediately caught my eye. For me, it’s quite thick to use as part of a layering system, and I see it being better suited for use on an evening wild camping, or to pull on for a summit pit stop.

“A big plus is the smock design and large front pockets. Overall, it’s easy to whip on, comfortable and warm – it does what it says on the tin.”

Adjustable hem cords, meanwhile are useful for helping to get the snug fit you want. Photo: Chris Johnson

Trade Secrets

James McNamara – Craghoppers Global Commercial Director

“The Ashfield Half-zip fleece is one of the iconic pieces in our 2019 Archive Collection. Delving into our history and bringing these classic items back to life has been a huge amount of fun for all the Craghoppers team, especially using the bold early-nineties colour palette and the old-school logo. Everyone who has seen the original logo absolutely loves it. The items are all pretty much exact replicas of the originals. One update we have made to the Ashfield Half-zip is to use a fleece fabric made from recycled plastic – an update everyone agreed was worth making!”

Craghoppers Ashfield Half-Zip

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