Did The North Face Denali Fleece ever go out of style? Apparently. But right now, these jackets and sweaters are back with a vengeance, and winning fans from the city to more traditional mountain settings. Much like the re-launch of Nuptse, everyone from Hypebeasts to climbing and hiking enthusiasts is lauding the arrival of the ‘95 Retro Denali Jackets and loving the updated Denali 2 Jackets. From the trailhead to the ski lodge, and your hip neighborhood hangouts, these essentials (they come in jacket, anorak, and hoodie styles) are this seasons’ ‘it’ items.
Since 1968, The North Face been providing authentic solutions to the real needs of mountain athletes. They’re also responsible for starting more than a few clothing trends along the way. TNF—which is probably this winter’s trendiest technical clothing collection—has also made headlines for their release of the revolutionary FUTURELIGHT fabric. Over the last few years, they’ve also dropped iconic Everest-inspired Summit Series reissues and also reissued the iconic 1990 GTX Mountain Jacket. Both revivals asserted themselves as must-haves beyond the backcountry and ski resort, gaining popularity in the most fashionable cities throughout the globe.
It’s the right mix of reviving old favorites and pushing the limits of innovative outerwear that’s kept The North Face at the top of the outerwear game and propelled its collections into coveted streetwear.
But we’re here to talk about the Polartec Fleece Denali Jackets, originally released in 1988 and then re-released to much acclaim in ‘95. Below, we’ll examine what makes these fleece jackets special, dive into specifics regarding their re-launch, and give some essential details about what makes these often colourful heavyweight sweaters truly timeless seasonal staples.
Make no mistake, The North Face Denali Fleece is back and is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Why did The North Face do a Retro Re-Launch?
As The North Face Global Creative Director, Tim Hamilton, stated in the ’95 Retro Jacket press release, “Perhaps no single piece of apparel represents authentic outdoor culture more completely than the Denali.” He also called the jacket, “synonymous with the brand” and “a truly legendary item.”
Whatever the causes for the re-release, these authentic outdoor garments are once again at the peak of a marketing push. The bigtime technical clothing and outdoor apparel brands, including The North Face, only truly create a few select styles that last the test of time. The rugged and oversized Denali’s are just that. And if you haven’t noticed, retro is always trending.
Plus, fleece is insanely cozy—and cozy is always fashionable in the 21st century.
What is ‘Denali Fleece’?
Denali Fleece is a heavyweight, mainly recycled, Polartec fleece that’s thermal retentive, wind-resistant, and fast to dry. Unlike other burly fleeces, The North Face coated their Denali fleece with a durable water-repellent finish. DWR finishes help this special fleece wick moisture, block out wind and cold air, and repel light precipitation. Denali fleece has also been said to be thicker and heavier than normal fleece, giving it a condensed, reinforced feel.
The other signature feature of Denali Fleeces are dark off-color overlays in rugged high-denier nylon. These overlays are also treated with DWR finishes, resting on top of the soft fleece fabric at the upper body, adding reinforcement and an extra layer of weather protection.
When you fuse the fleece body with the overlays, you get a garment that’s more like a jacket—hence the Denali jacket, anorak, and hoodie collections.
Be warned. The Denali Fleeces are super warm, and because of the bulkier fits, they aren’t the ideal layer unless your shell jacket is also oversized.
Denali 2 Jacket
Denali 2 Jacket
Difference between the ‘Retro’ & ‘Denali 2?’
The ‘95 Retro Denali Jackets are basically the same as the very original ‘95 Denali’s, maintaining their signature ‘oversized’ fit and colourways.
The biggest difference between the new 2019 Retro ‘95 releases and the originals released in 1995, is that the Retros re-releases are now made of 100% recycled polyester partially from plastic bottles. This material update is awesome if you consider the new styles now have way less of an environmental impact than the old school construction.
Overall, it’s the large and boxy oversized fit that is probably the biggest contrast between the Retro ‘95 and Denali 2 Jackets.
If baggy is your thing, we’d recommend Retro ’95 Denali Fleece.
Warm enough for Canadian winter?
First and foremost, the 333 g/m2 Polartec 300 fleece series is like a heavy blanket between you and the cold. There’s no breathable grid patterns or stretchy side panels—just thick fleece reinforced with wind-resistant nylon across the chest and back of shoulders.
The fleece thickness also makes the material less breathable, which actually helps it perform in early-or-late season winter conditions. We wouldn’t wear this jacket when it’s dumping snow, but on a sunny stroll in early-March, it’s more than acceptable.
Features like the scarf-like collar, snug sleeve cuffs, and a cinchable lower hem keep the heat in, helping the Denali series set the standard for fleece jacket warmth.
Both the ‘95 Retro and Denali 2 silhouettes are excellent standalone for shorter day hikes and staying warm on brisk days around town.
The North Face Denali Fleece Destination?
We’re not just the destination for Denali Fleece collection—we’re loaded with almost the entire collection of city and mountain products from The North Face.
If the Denali Fleece isn’t your thing, you can still shop backpacks, tents, trail running shoes, and regular new arrivals of the latest TNF clothing.