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Review Summary

Probably one of my favorite pieces of outerwear from Haven thus far, the Polartec® Windbloc® boulder fleece is incredibly functional while also being quite easy on the eyes. A true warrior of the elements, this midweight fleece jacket provides some serious heat retention and wind protection while remaining quite breathable and comfortable. The Windbloc® membrane has a slightly rigid yet stretchy structure to it that allows the jacket to wear nicely without constraining. Subtle details are scattered throughout the fleece jacket including four premium YKK metaluxe zippers, three of which safely secure the pockets. Dual cinch cords at the waist and elastic cuff openings allow for proper sealing of the fleece jacket during the more frigid temperatures. 

Haven sizing is spot on with the boulder fleece. The sleeve length is just right to avoid any unwanted stacking while the torso length hits nicely at the waist to allow for proper layering if desired. Overall durability has been impressive as this fleece has been put through the everyday paces. Whether commuting in windy and/or rainy conditions or enduring long hikes, this jacket has kept me plenty warm while maintaining its integrity. At a price point of $395, the Haven boulder fleece is a pretty solid deal for the form and function that it has to offer.

Review Ratings


  • Polartec® Windbloc® material provides a high level of warmth with wind and rain protection to combat the harsh elements
  • Four premium gunmetal metaluxe YKK zippers are super smooth and feature Haven branding 
  • Dual adjustable cinch cords at the waist allow for added heat retention 
  • Sizing and fit is spot on with plenty of room for mobility while not being overly baggy
  • Exterior fleece is super soft and cozy with a tactical milspec style


  • Structured hood fits well, however, there are no cinch cords to fully tighten around the face which allows strong winds to enter
  • From a purely aesthetic standpoint, thumb holes at the end of the sleeves are not my favorite

Haven Polartec® Windbloc® Boulder Fleece

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Review Details

Haven Polartec® Windbloc® Boulder Fleece Sizing

The Haven sizing system is numerical ranging from 1 to 4. This can be a bit confusing if this is one of the first products you’re purchasing from the brand, but rest assured, it’s not rocket science. As you would imagine, size 1 generally aligns with small while size 4 is roughly an extra large. I’m 5’11” and weigh roughly 165 pounds and opted for a size 3. This is the same size that I have purchased all of my other Haven fleece garments in which has suited me quite well thus far. I’d imagine that I could most likely manage a size 2, but prefer a bit looser fit when it comes to outerwear to allow for layering.

haven polartec windbloc boulder fleece review

Proportionally, I’m very pleased with the cut of the boulder fleece. I find that it lays and fits even better than the previously reviewed Haven ascent and guide jackets, perhaps due to the heavier Windbloc® material. The overall length of the torso hits right at the waist which allows for lower layers to slightly peek out from underneath if desired. I’m a fan of a layered look so this is a big plus in my book. The back of the fleece is ever so slightly longer than the front by way of a subtle swoop. It’s not immediately apparent, but this extra length does help keep the back covered when reaching or bending.

The body is quite roomy without being overly baggy. While I don’t often, I could easily wear an extra base layer underneath for added warmth without adding any additional noticeable bulk. The silhouette is evenly straight all the way down to the lower hem. Here you’ll find functional cinch cords on both sides of the lower hem which allow for dialing in the tightness around the waist. This not only helps bring in the lower half a little for a less boxy feel, but also seals in body heat on colder days.

I found the sleeves to be rather ideal as they’re designed with a raglan style which allows for significant freedom of movement. They are long enough to where when my arms are extended forward, the wrist just begins to become exposed. When they are by my side, there are just a few minor yet nice stacks. Because of the elastic finish around the cuff ends, the sleeves don’t extend over the hand and instead hug the wrist nicely. There are thumb holes at the end of each sleeve which when used, removes all stacking in the sleeve. Thumb holes are not something that I typically use, but it does explain why the sleeves are the length that they are.

haven polartec windbloc boulder fleece review back

When it comes to the fleece jackets in my winter rotation, I have my thin and lightweight base layers like Polartec® 100, and then I have my thicker, more spacious outerwear pieces. The Haven boulder fleece definitely falls into the latter category and fits as such. Slightly loose and spacious with some extra stretch makes for a jacket that is easy to wear in just about any situation. 

Haven Polartec® Windbloc® Boulder Fleece Construction

Haven initially won me over with their utilitarian aesthetic and neutral color palette. After purchasing a handful of their fleece jackets from early 2021, I became a loyal customer of their seasonal releases. Naturally, the high quality made in Canada construction of the boulder fleece did not disappoint. With zero cut corners and details present at every angle, it’s tough to find any flaw in this garment.

I’m always willing to part ways with extra cash if the tradeoff is quality. Upon handling the Haven boulder fleece, it’s immediately apparent that the craftsmanship and materials are second to none. There’s a nice weight to this garment, much heavier than the Polartec® 100 line. While I could see this being used as a baselayer in extremely cold temperatures, my regular use has included commuting and weekend exploring in near freezing to chilly temperatures.

haven polartec windbloc boulder fleece review front side

Polartec® Windbloc® is touted as the ‘barrier against bad weather’. This 100% windproof fabric features a slightly stretchy polyurethane monolithic membrane that locks in heat while maintaining a level of breathability to expel unwanted moisture. The exterior is highly water repellent and extremely durable making it perfect for tackling a full range of harsh elements. To no surprise, this fleece makes for an excellent all in one jacket that does not require the addition of an outer shell layer unless expecting heavy downpour.

Given the more rigid Windbloc® membrane material, I wouldn’t classify the boulder fleece as a packable option as it is quite bulky when folded. Unlike the Haven Polartec® 100 line which is super lightweight and transportable, the boulder fleece is thick and more resistant to folding. I wouldn’t say that this is inherently a bad thing, only something to keep in mind when planning a daytrip.

With all of the Haven fleece variants, one consistent is the utilization of custom branded YKK metaluxe zippers. For me, zippers can make or break a piece of outerwear. The fact that the Haven product design team went this route cannot be praised enough. YKK metaluxe screams quality with a super smooth reliable operation and perfectly hued finish. On the gray version of the boulder fleece, the zipper teeth and pull are a dark gunmetal color. The black version is adorned with a matching black color. Each and every metal zipper pull is branded with the Haven logo, an intricate detail that always earns my respect.

haven polartec windbloc boulder fleece review back

In total, there are four YKK metaluxe zippers found throughout the jacket. The main zipper that runs the full length of the front features a two way design. I’m somewhat partial to one way zippers. I don’t typically utilize the lower zipper and often find that trying to lineup the chain when zipping up is more difficult when the feed end needs to run through two pulls. That being said, having the option to unzip from the bottom to cool down the body slightly while not fully exposing the torso is nice. I’ve also found that this can help with increased mobility if wearing while being active. This main zipper has proven solid over the many repeated uses, never jamming, separating, or sticking.

The three other YKK metaluxe zippers are far more inconspicuous, only visible when searching. These zippers are concealed under a flap of Windbloc® and are used to secure three pockets. Two spacious inseam hand pockets can be found along the sides of the jacket, each with a primeflex mesh lining. I’ve found that these pockets are perfect for keeping your hands warm or storing any small to medium sized items like a phone, Ricoh GR camera, etc. 

The third zippered pocket is located on the left chest. Anyone with a keen eye will see the single stitch outline extending to the side seam and the subtle flap opening. This pocket is lined with Windbloc® material and is a generous size for storing all sorts of everyday carry items. Because of the way this pocket is constructed, items are kept close to the chest, avoiding any sagging or unnecessary movement during vigorous activity or excursion. This incognito pocket is perfect for items like airpods, keys, sunglasses, small notebooks, or anything of the like. 

When it comes to the appendages, no details are spared. The sleeves are constructed in a raglan style to provide plenty of underarm space, increasing mobility and movement. At the end of each sleeve you’ll find a thumb hole that can be used to recess the hands into the sleeve for greater warmth. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of sleeve thumb holes from an aesthetic standpoint. I suppose they serve a purpose, but they’re not for me. The sleeve ends are finished in a black contrasting elastic that seals the edge for a clean look as well as added wind protection. 

haven polartec windbloc boulder fleece review side

Around the base of the fleece tucked inside the lower hem are two elastic cinch cords, one on each side. The thin elastic shock cord exits through metal eyelets where it meets the double barrel spring loaded cord lock. This looks like standard equipment, however, there is one added detail. Typical cinch cords rely on you pulling the cord directly before locking into place. Haven added a nice little cord puller at the center that allows for greater ease in tightening the cinch.  

Atop the body of the Haven boulder fleece is a spacious fixed hood that extends up from the collar that fully wraps around under the chin, covering the neck. When in the fully zipped position, the hood does a relatively nice job of sealing around the face with black elastic lining covering the edge of the opening. I wouldn’t have been mad if there were some cinch cords incorporated into the hood to further tighten around the face to avoid wind sneaking through, but this is a small issue. The stretchy nature of the Windbloc® material allows for the hood to be pulled over the head while in the fully zipped position which makes it easy to quickly seek cover.

The Canadian craftsmanship is apparent in every Haven garment with the boulder fleece being no exception. The melding of form and function was executed to perfection resulting in a jacket that sees more rotations than many others in the closet. After a year of use, I have zero concern around the longevity, durability, or construction of this super versatile fleece jacket. 

Haven Polartec® Windbloc® Boulder Fleece Style

Haven does quite a lot of things well. One of those include the always curated and carefully restrained color palette that is often milspec inspired. I’m admittedly a sucker for any technical piece of outerwear that is any shade of black, gray, or olive. Lucky for me, the boulder fleece was offered in either black or gray, I couldn’t go wrong. The gray is a darker shade, I believe Haven classifies it as wolf gray which is pretty accurate. One thing you’ll immediately notice about this fleece is the mid length chunky exterior that somewhat resembles that of a teddy bear. To my knowledge, this is the first fleece from Haven that strays from the tighter, smooth, lightweight weave; and I absolutely love it. 

haven polartec windbloc boulder fleece review detail

The Haven boulder fleece jacket exudes a tactical milspec aesthetic. Personally, this is what drew me to make the purchase. The simplistic exterior is clean and free from any branding, a change that Haven more recently made that I greatly applaud. The soft cozy fleece is contrasted by the slightly matte gunmetal zipper making for a nice blend of materials. The overall design is kept straightforward which allows this jacket to be super versatile and easily pair with all types of accompanying garments.

The nice thing about gray is how well it complements both black and olive. I typically wear this fleece with either a nice pair of olive fatigue pants, nylon John Elliott cargo pants, or black Nudie jeans (either waxed or raw). During the more transitionary months, I’ll wear the jacket open with a basic earth tone tee beneath. When the temps begin to drop, a mid weight thermal is my usual go to base layer which will often show itself extending past the bottom hem of the jacket.

I concede, a gray jacket in and of itself isn’t the most stylish item on the market. It may also not be for everybody. But if you’re into premium functional materials which have been formed to make a milspec inspired garment that’s easy to wear, then look no further.

Haven Polartec® Windbloc® Boulder Fleece Value

The Haven Polartec® Windbloc® boulder fleece retails for $395, and honestly, it’s worth every penny. As mentioned at the beginning, this is one of my favorite items purchased from Haven thus far. So much so that I’m fighting the urge to purchase the black version as I write this. Everything from the fit, finish, sizing, style, details, and material selection are spot on for a fleece jacket.

There is then the functionality factor, in which there is no compromise. This jacket can easily handle a barrage of bad weather and keep on barreling forward. The usability range is quite large with this garment as it can be worn during transitional months in an unzipped or half zipped fashion. It can then be used during the dead of winter in inclement weather conditions. This leaves the option open to wear the Haven boulder fleece during 4-6 months of the year depending on your geographical location.

Canadian made quality is no myth. Early Arc’teryx Veilance, Wings+Horns (RIP), and Reigning Champ are just a few of the Canadian brands that have really helped synonymize the country with high manufacturing standards. Haven is no different. The intricate details and bulletproof stitching are a testament to the passion put forth in creating the boulder fleece. I’ve no doubt that the weather this fleece has seen over the past year will pale in comparison to what’s to come. I also have no doubt that this fleece will continue to live up to the task. If this is not the definition of value, then I don’t know what is.

Mentioned in this article:

Functional Fleece: Haven Polartec® Jacket Review
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Haven: Purveyors & Developers of Top Tier Technical Wear
Creating a brand in the highly competitive space that is menswear is not an easy task. Sustaining and evolving a brand over the span of 15+ years is incrementally more difficult.
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