Review: BAM 73 Zero Recycled Fleece Jacket

A smart, straight-forward fleece jacket that’s 100% recyclable

Feature type Review

Read time 5 mins

Published Jan 24, 2023

Author Matthew Pink

Matthew Pink BASE’s brand head honcho is a denizen of the crag. He gorges on adventure culture, hankers for epic treks and grinds his gravel bike round the Bristol orbit.

Our Verdict

A smart, straight-forward fleece jacket honourably made for the eco-conscious outdoorsman.

RRP £95
Composition 100% recycled Polyester, 335gsm
Features Two-sided brushed inner, chest panel with zipped pocket, recycled and recyclable Polyester for zero waste

Pros

  • Very soft and smooth
  • Made from recycled materials with absolutely no virgin plastic
  • 100% recyclable right down to the stitching and the cords of the hood
  • Reliably warm

Cons

  • Plain aesthetic
  • Quite constricting

What I’m Looking For

It needs to be just loose enough for vigorous activities – day hikes, scrambles, family walks – but also snug enough to not feel a draft when the wind picks up

I love a fleece, me, and there’s two kinds I usually go for: A thinner, machine washable and quick-drying breathable mid layer – not too thick, not too thin and lightweight so I can comfortably chuck on a shell or a thicker jacket over the top if really pushed, without feeling like I’m doing a Joey in Friends. It needs to be just loose enough for vigorous activities – day hikes, scrambles, family walks – but also snug enough to not feel a draft when the wind picks up. These might be full-zip but often they’re actually ¼ zip and or even just a pullover.

Then, I love a thicker, higher pile number that I can wear as a jacket for day-to-day stuff – town, pub, out-out, family time – but also, to be perfectly honest, as a bit of an adult comfort blanket. Just like gorging on comfort food and losing yourself in good music when the wild world out there gets a bit much, throwing on the fuzzy goodness of a deep pile shearling (ideally double-sided for extra lushness, natch) will see you through the stormiest of times. Especially if you don’t know what to wear. These ones should be a bit retro in look, longer cut and looser-fitting, allowing plenty of room underneath even for a denim jacket or shirt (did someone say ‘shacket?’ OK, yes over a shacket then).

First Impressions

First, the colour: Nimbus. Isn’t that a word more associated with clouds and therefore a cool grey? The 73 Zero Recycled Fleece Jacket is electric blue with bright orange flashes. Not a biggie, but a little odd. It looks on first glance to be at the smart-casual end of the fleece spectrum. The claims are strongly made on the labelling: ‘Next generation fabrics that change the game’, ‘The only fully circular fleece on the market’. OK, well – they’re big calls in a busy market with innovators aplenty. (Or at least claims of innovation aplenty). Decent chest pocket – I’ll be needing that. It does look high quality, elegant even (for a fleece). It doesn’t look like it’s going to have much give though and is a pretty straight cut so I expect it to be snug fitting – and it sure is just that.

The Test

At the time of writing, we’re in mid-November 2022 and this autumn has been weirdly mild to say the least.

There has hardly been a call for even a hoodie, never mind a fleece or a down. That said, we got a little elevation for some hikes and riding in the Cambrian mountains in Mid Wales where the mornings and the evenings got a little chillier and I’ve used it for some blustery coastal walks on clear, bright days.

Who is this fleece for?

I admit to being slightly puzzled by this one. It’s not really loose or thin enough to work as a mid-layer. If you have anything of smartphone size in the front pocket, movement becomes awkward and a bit constricting. It’s almost too closely fitting (I’m 6’2 and 85kg) to wear anything underneath other than a T-shirt.

It makes me think that this is less for serious adventure or exertion and more for smarter, outdoorsy city wear. Although the aesthetic, to be a bit brutal, is a little middle-of-the-road. It’s definitely warm though and not itchy in the slightest. It’s maybe a jacket for a dry day in early winter or late autumn, a cool day’s hiking, or to throw on in the absence of a packed puffer on a chilly morning post-camp.

It’s maybe a jacket for a dry day in early winter or late autumn, a cool day’s hiking, or to throw on in the absence of a packed puffer on a chilly morning post-camp

What stands out?

Brushed inner

Ironically the inner is the thing that comes to mind first for ‘stand out qualities’. It’s smooth and soothing and inviting in that sense, and of course adds warmth.

Chest panel with zipped pocket

For swipe cards or card wallets, keys or travel tickets, this is at useful height and possesses useful depth as long as you’re not dropping anything with too much bulk in there.

100% Recycled and recyclable

Fleeces, if you weren’t already aware, are usually made from synthetics. The first Polarfleece was invented by Malden Mills way back in 1979 and the ubiquitous fleece of these days is the Patagonia Synchilla which actually dates back to 1985. This was the first mass-produced synthetic number which didn’t carry a pill texture. Now, the two most commonly found materials in fleeces are natural merino wool and the man-made synthetic polyethylene terephthalate.

This jacket, however, is made from recycled materials with absolutely no virgin plastic and it is 100% recyclable right down to the stitching and the cords of the hood. No mean feat.

Value for money

At £95.00 this probably teeters on the edge of the upper third of the price range. However, as discussed before (and we’ll no doubt do so again), eco-consciously made kit, gear and clothing has to come with a certain price point. Simply put: it ain’t easy (yet) designing, producing and moving stuff around countries and continents sustainably in an ecologically sound way. 

This garm feels like it’s pretty tough and will last. Although, in this case, I do think this comes with a sacrifice in the way of movement.

BASE Bottom Line

If you’re after a technical, multi-functional fleece with flex that will work as a layer in a variety of different environments, you might well look at other options. However, for urban adventures and use in more social contexts, or if you’re absolutely dead set on a fleece jacket which delivers pretty much immaculately on its eco credentials, then the 73 Zero should certainly be on your radar.

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