While I’m not going to go into all the details here, I was struggling to find a mid-weight plus size jacket for a trip to Alaska back in 2015. I was looking for a mid-weight jacket that I could easily add or remove as weather conditions changed on our trip. After striking out in-stores and reading reviews online, I determined that my best bet would be to purchase a Columbia plus size jacket. I originally purchased the Women’s Benton Springs Full Zip but had returned it due to the tightness of the sleeve cuffing. (I personally don’t like things on my wrist, so a tight cuff is just as bad as a watch to me!) When I returned it to my local Columbia Outlet, a sales person suggested I get the Women’s Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket instead.
TIP // Did you know that you can often order plus size clothing in store to avoid shipping costs? Also, you can avoid return shipping costs by returning it to a local store (even outlets). On top of that, those local returns make for some great finds on the clearance racks! This is because it’s easier for many stores to just put returned plus size items on the clearance rack instead of returning it to a warehouse. I’ve found some great deals at Columbia and REI by searching the clearance racks in the straight-size section.
The following is what I liked best about Columbia’s Plus Size Women’s Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket:
- CUT // What I love most about this Columbia plus size jacket is that it was designed and manufactured with the body of a plus size woman in mind. Now, if you are not a plus size person that sentence might seem bizarre, but I assure you it is not. Many plus size items are just enlargements of straight size products. This never works in our favor as our bodies are shaped differently. The Women’s Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket gets it right. The sleeves of this jacket are also large enough for my arms (always a challenge for me) to have full mobility and the cuffs are open, which I love!
- FIT // I purchased the 2x and it fit as I would expect compared to other national brands. The jacket also has enough give to flex with my fluctuating weight (I would probably size up to a 3x if I reordered). When I purchased my jacket, I used the size chart on Columbia’s website. Now, they offer an awesome “Fit Predictor” calculator to help you determine your size. All you have to do is pick a designer (Lane Bryant, etc.) that you own clothes from, enter a category of what you own (tops, bottoms, etc.), and then list your size in their designs. The calculator will tell you what Columbia size will best fit you. I tried it out and it is accurate based on this jacket and a few other items I tried.
- QUALITY // This jacket is made well. I talked about the cut and fit, but the materials themselves are well selected. Three years after my purchase the fleece hasn’t pilled, the seams are all intact, and the zippers still work without issue.
- POCKETS // I never dreamed that I would be listing actual functioning pockets as a pro in any plus size clothing review. HOWEVER, they are amazing! This jacket has three outside pockets that have full zip closures. Two that sit slightly in front of the hip and are large enough that I can fit my mirrorless camera in a pinch. 8-O The other pocket on the outside is on the left upper sleeve and is perfect for car keys and chapstick. There are two pockets on the inside as well, but they do not have zippers. In fact, they have a small opening at the base, but I used them successfully to hold trail maps and gloves.
The following is what I liked least about Columbia’s Plus Size Women’s Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket:
- LENGTH // I would love to see this jacket with a tall option. At 5’7″ I’m not the tallest lady out there, but I do have a longer torso. While this hit me just above where I normally like my jackets to fit, I still love it for all the other reason I listed above. The length is pretty average compared to other tops and outerwear I have tired on, so do not stress about it if you don’t have a long torso.
Women’s Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket Specifications
This jacket is made of 100% polyester microfleece and comes in the following plus sizes:
- 1x // Size 16W-18W // Bust: 43-45 // Waist: 36-38 // Hips: 45-47
- 2x // Size 20W-22W // Bust: 47-49 // Waist: 40-42 // Hips: 49-51
- 3x // Size 24W-26W // Bust: 51-53 // Waist: 44-46 // Hips: 53-55
I haven’t found anything to beat this mid-weight fleece jacket to date. The one I purchased way back in 2015 is still not only holding up well but is still in heavy rotation. In all honesty, I would recommend this jacket based on the cut alone. However, the quality materials, numerous pockets, and durability push it over the top for me. It’s perfect for a nighttime football game or a late summer bear watching trip in Alaska.
Purchase or Learn More
You can purchase your own Columbia Plus Size Women’s Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket online via Amazon or Columbia or in-store where plus size Columbia merchandise is available.
The Jacket in Action
Interested in more gear reviews? Check out my other reviews.