Outdoor clothing company Skogstad started out in Norway in 1937 but has only recently appeared in Britain. The Pireus fleece is the first Skogstad garment I’ve tried and it’s a good start. It’s made from a thin fleece fabric that, unusually, doesn’t have a fancy name. It’s 95% polyester and 5% elastic and very stretchy.
The outer is very smooth with a slightly shiny look. The inner is softer and lightly brushed. The Pireus is a pullover with a 10cm zip at the neck with an internal flap and a very high collar. The hem and cuffs are double fabric. The only other feature is a small pocket high on the left breast that is large enough for a smartphone or a compass but not much more. The weight of the men’s medium is 337 grams. The fit is reasonably loose though the stretch means it tends to cling to the body.
Lightweight fleece tops like the Pireus are favourite garments of mine as I find them very versatile so I was keen to find out how it performed and delighted when I found that it did so very well, being very breathable, fast wicking, quick drying and comfortable. It’s not windproof of course, or water-resistant, and is meant to be worn as a midlayer. Under a shell garment it’s surprisingly warm for the weight but when worn as an outer garment in warmer conditions I didn’t overheat.
I wore it on a bitterly cold and stormy winter’s day in the Cairngorms over a thin base layer and under a shell jacket and stayed perfectly warm while moving. On first seeing the garment I’d noted that the fabric resembled Polartec Power Stretch, one of the fastest wicking fleece fabrics I’ve tried. The performance is very similar too, which makes the Pireus excellent for strenuous exercise. I tried it over a short-sleeved base layer and found the fabric felt comfortable on my bare arms and it wicked moisture away very fast.
Many other fleece fabrics can feel clammy if worn against the skin. In cold weather the Pireus could be worn as a warm base layer.
Comfort was excellent – the stretch meant that it moved with me and didn’t restrict movement and it’s quite a long garment and so didn’t ride up under a rucksack hipbelt.
Overall this is an excellent fleece at a good price and suitable for year-round hillwalking and backpacking.