The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Review

  • Ultralight Backpacker
  • Wilderness Backpacker
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The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Overview

The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip TKA 100 Pullover is a casual, lightweight fleece that is useful in just about any chilly situation (Disclaimer: untested in “chili” situations, though we imagine it’d be quite messy). It has a long name that we’re not thrilled with, so we’ll shorten it from here on out.

This soft pullover will stave off the brisk autumn air whether you’re at home or in camp, and layered with an outer shell the Glacier 1/4 Zip will help keep you warm on alpine nights.

Simple and effective, this do-it-all fleece comes with a lifetime warranty from The North Face. You might expect versatility and reliability to cost a pretty penny, but The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip is reasonably priced and often on sale.

For its simplicity and cost we’ve awarded The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip our Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Ultralight Backpacker.

Can you go cheaper? Sure, Target and Costco will get functional fleece in your hands for less. The main reason to go The North Face route is the warranty, and it’s easily found in outdoor stores. If those things don’t matter to you, by all means grab something in the $10-$20 range.

Dig in to our comprehensive guide to fleece jackets for an extensive breakdown of all things fleece, and read below for the full North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip review.

Glacier 1/4 Zip Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 13 oz (370 g) Fleece jackets in the lightweight variety generally weight 11-13 ounces. This one is a bit heavy, but not anything out of the ordinary.
Fabric Weight 100-weight Fleece comes in three main fabric weights, and 100 is the thinnest. It breathes better but doesn’t keep you as warm. More on fleece fabric weight in our Guide.
Fabric Material 75D 190 g/m², 100% polyester 75D thread is standard for the fabric weight. More on fleece material in our Guide.
Fit Casual The North Face either has baggy or casual fitting clothes, and this fleece is casual. Don’t expect it to hug your body tightly.
Number of Pockets 0 A bare-bones fleece means no pockets what-so-ever.
Thumb Holes No Again, no luxuries here. Hold onto the cuff with your fingers when layering.
Hood/Jacket Option No The Glacier 1/4 Zip series isn’t offered with a hood. Most lightweight fleeces don’t use hoods because extreme warmth is not their primary purpose.
Zipper 1/4 Zip, reverse-coil zipper This fleece is a pullover with a 1/4 zip for ventilation. This saves weight, but makes it very specific in terms of functionality.
Adjustable Waist No No extras on this fleece, and it’s meant to be worn when you need a bit of warmth, not if you want to trap a bunch of warmth.
Gender(s) Men’s and Women’s We tested the men’s version. The women’s is the exact same except for fit, and it’s very popular.
Sizes Available Men’s: S-3XL, Women’s: XS-XXL The North Face tends to make clothes in many sizes, and that’s true here. Their skew is always towards larger people, as you can see in the 3XL and XXL sizes.
Manufacturer Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty The North Face offers most of its products, including this one, a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects and workmanship issues. The only real moving piece on this fleece is the zipper, so if that malfunctions you can get it repaired.
Retail Price $55 The low-end of name-brand fleece. Often on sale, too. This is a budget price for a product with a lifetime warranty.

Gear Review of The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

I’ve been wearing the North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip for months because it is such a convenient, easy layer to throw on in these (never actually warm) summer months on the Oregon Coast. It also served me well for over 100 miles of backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail, mostly in the evenings as I ate dinner and set up camp.

The-North-Face-Glacier-1/4-Zip-review-wide-shot-worn
A walk in the woods.

There was one afternoon on the trail when a thunderstorm rolled in, bringing strong winds which cooled the air. I took the Glacier 1/4 Zip out of my pack and pulled it over my head — it kept the nippy breeze off my skin as I hustled across a ridge and tried to get downhill before the lightning caught up with me.

I dropped into a valley as the storm passed overhead. The Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket I carried for such an occasion slipped over the Glacier fleece with ease, and the two layers worked together to keep me dry and warm. I didn’t take the fleece off for the rest of that chilly evening and slept cozily in its embrace until sunrise.

The-North-Face-Glacier-1/4-Zip-review-wilderness-photo
The approaching storm.

Digging Deeper

Comfort

The North Face Glacier 1/4 zip is made of a 100-weight TKA microfiber fleece, which is soft on your skin and insulates well for how light it is. Fleeces are usually broken down by three weights — 100-weight is the thinnest of them all.

The-North-Face-Glacier-14-Zip-TKA-100-Pullover-review-featured-wide
The Glacier 1/4 Zip is 100-weight fleece, which is enough to keep warm while maintaining good breathability.

The Glacier has no elastic bands or drawstrings to rub you the wrong way –it’s like a teddy bear fur coat, but PETA won’t hate you for wearing it!

The-North-Face-Glacier-1/4-Zip-review-cuffs
The cuffs are plain with no elastic. Budget means very few extras.

Durability

The synthetic fabric of the Glacier is designed to withstand rugged use, and after several backpacking trips with this fleece I know it holds up well. The seams have held together and the zipper is sturdy. It’s even machine washable. All of the dirt and stink that comes with backpacking just disappears into the soapy void.

The-North-Face-Glacier-1/4-Zip-review-jacket-zipped-up
The Glacier 1/4 Zip cleans up nice.

Fit

I’m 5’10 at 180 pounds and the medium men’s Glacier fleece fit me well, holding close to my body without feeling too tight (Fleecy hugs!). The lack of cords and extra zippers makes this an ideal mid-layer that can comfortably fit under any outer layer.

Style

The Glacier is a casual jacket. You’ll look good in it at the park or in a grocery store, but keep it off Project Runway.

The-North-Face-Glacier-1/4-Zip-review-selfie
Trail suave, but not necessarily suave suave.

Grievances

By design this fleece is about as simple as it gets. It does everything it’s supposed to do, and doesn’t rankle anywhere.

That said, I’m a fan of pockets. When I’m wearing this as a stand alone jacket I find that I keep reaching for a hand hold that just isn’t there. It’s a mild frustration that irks me whenever my pocket-seeking muscle memory kicks in.

The-North-Face-Glacier-14-Zip-TKA-100-Pullover-jacket-no-pockets
Hands looking for pockets that just aren’t there.

If pockets are your thing, know that the Glacier 1/4 Zip doesn’t have any.

Final Word

The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip pullover is like the bass player in your favorite rock band: reliable, adaptable, and doesn’t try to be the star of the show. This fleece pulls together your entire backpacking ensemble.

Where to Buy The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip

We tested the men’s Glacier 1/4 Zip TKA 100 Pullover. That is the full name of the product, but it’s also commonly referred to as the Glacier 1/4 Zip. There is also a women’s version, which is the exact same except for cut. The North Face has a whole line of Glacier TKA products, but we think this is the best bet for active people that want a lightweight, no-hassle fleece.

Compare The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip prices below.

arthur mcmahon outdoor gear reviewer

Arthur McMahon

Arthur loves to walk. It's as simple as that. Whether it be in the mountains, on the beach, or along the city streets-- he believes walking is the best way to experience the world. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was his first backpacking foray, and he hasn't stopped since. He and his wife chronicled their journey in their book Adventure and the Pacific Crest Trail. They now regularly travel into the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest seeking new trails to hike. Follow his adventures on Instagram. As much as he enjoys exploring the real world, Arthur also ventures into the worlds of fiction. You can learn more about Arthur's science fiction novels and his Paracosms podcast on his website.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.

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