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Budget-Friendly and Flexible: REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket Review

Stay warm, stylish, and mobile on all your outdoor adventures with the REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket.

the rei co-op flash hyperstretch fleece jacket review(Photo/Kylie Mohr)
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At its core, fleece jackets have one job to do: hold in your body heat, helping keep you warm in the elements. The REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket does just that, in style and at a very budget-friendly price point. 

REI is known for its accommodating return policy, membership kickbacks, annual garage sales, and affordable in-house products. The REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket is no exception.

This fleece straddles the line of feeling warm and substantial without adding extra bulk. A slim, stretchy fit makes it the perfect companion for activities where you need to move — from shoveling snow to hiking and skiing. It’s one of the least-restrictive fleeces I’ve ever worn, thanks to a combination of recycled polyester, nylon, and spandex. 

And it rolls up small and light enough, to barely be noticeable in a backcountry or hiking pack. Insulation without bulk to slow me down? Yes, please! 

In short: The REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket ($100) is an excellent midlayer to provide insulation for a variety of activities. A streamlined fit and thoughtful features make it a competitive choice alongside other fleece jackets that are double or more the price. 

Read the full GearJunkie Fleece Jackets for Women buyer’s guide.

REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket

Specs

  • Weight 11 ounces
  • Fit Athletic
  • Fabric 54% recycled polyester/35% nylon/11% spandex
  • Density Unavailable
  • Special features Zippered hand pockets, drawcord hem

Pros

  • Stretchy
  • Slightly longer length with drawcord hem
  • Affordable
  • Hood stays on while running

Cons

  • No thumbholes
woman wearing rei co-op flash hyperstretch fleece jacket
(Photo/Kylie Mohr)

REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket Review

The REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket is one of the top 20 favorite products for REI members (all 23 million of them) as of 2024. After wearing it up and down Montana’s mountains, I could see why.

This jacket has everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. It’s comfortable and warm without being stifling, even for medium-output activities like hiking steeply uphill. It’s versatile and affordable, and it quickly became the fleece I reached for through the winter and shoulder seasons. 

Skiing cold laps at the resort, layered with a puffy? Check. Working in the garden on a chilly spring day? Check. Hiking with my dog in variable conditions, with a light rain shell in my pack just in case? Check. This jacket works well alone or as a midlayer with jackets that provide additional insulation or weatherproofing like a rain jacket or wind shell. 

Unparalleled Range of Motion 

Fleece jackets can sometimes feel too bulky or thick for athletic activities if they’re made completely of polyester. Not the REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece. As the name suggests, this jacket is stretchy. That’s thanks to a blend of 54% recycled polyester, 35% nylon, and 11% spandex. 

The blend is Bluesign-approved, which means chemicals are kept out of the apparel supply chain, including toxins that are harmful to the health of humans, animals, and the environment. I also appreciate the choice to use recycled rather than virgin polyester, which sheds fewer microplastics and helps find a second life for plastic consumer products like water bottles. 

This fabric composition makes this piece a joy to wear when I didn’t want to feel restricted. I could swing my arms, reach for things, crouch over, and jump without feeling like I was wearing anything at all. The stretch and softness add significant comfort. 

woman unzipping the zip pocket on the rei co-op flash hyperstretch fleece jacket
(Photo/Kylie Mohr)

All the Features You Need, None You Don’t  

Thoughtful design bumps this budget option up from basic to excellent. One of my favorite details is the Scuba-style hood, which fits snugly on my head without being constrictive. An elastic edge (in a cute contrasting color) helps the hood meld to my head, keeping out most wind.

A windflap behind the zipper also helps block gusts. I ended up (accidentally) running in the middle of a hailstorm, and this hood stayed on my head the entire time. 

I’m also a big fan of the elastic cuffs on the sleeves, which help keep the jacket out of my way, and the hem drawcord. Despite being an inherently permeable fleece fabric, this jacket really works overtime with a design that’s meant to at least not let extra cold air in. Just cinch down the drawcord to fit your body. 

A hip-length design doesn’t ride up during activity, and stays down underneath the hip belt of a pack. I also really appreciated the two zippered front pockets, which held everything I needed on short hikes or especially cold runs where my other garments were lacking in the pocket department. 

Versatile for a Wide Range of Activities 

The REI Co-op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece uses hard-face fabric on the outside, which means it’s been treated with a patented polymer surface treatment to provide some durability. The blend is meant to increase resistance to abrasion — a plus if you’re planning on toting a pack for fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking, you name it — and water repellency. 

While I still wouldn’t want to be caught in a downpour wearing this fleece (or any fleece), I appreciate that the jacket is dependable and doesn’t feel too delicate for a variety of situations. I bushwhacked off-trail while wearing this piece hiking: brushes and twigs left no mark. I also ran a few miles along Missoula’s Clark Fork River during early spring rain, snow, and hail showers and stayed warm and dry enough to make it home in one piece. 

The jacket’s athletic fit — slim without being too tight — makes it the perfect layering piece. A baselayer fits smoothly and comfortably under the jacket with room to spare. Puffy jackets and rain shells pair nicely on top in inclement weather. This meant I could grab the fleece for warmer spring skiing days or when I knew it might be windy or damp on longer adventures. 

Like lots of offerings from REI, everyone from outdoor newbies to seasoned professionals will like this jacket and find that it integrates well into whatever they’re doing in the great outdoors. 

woman adjusting the rei co-op flash hyperstretch fleece jacket
(Photo/Kylie Mohr)

Critiques

I’ll be honest: I have very few complaints about this jacket. If you’re looking for an especially warm fleece, you’ll want one that’s a bit more of a true midweight jacket than this one. The REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece is definitely on the lighter side of midweight. 

Although I do tend to run cold, I found myself chilly wearing this jacket as the sun began to set in a trailhead parking lot after a sweaty hike, even though it was mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit. I’d definitely recommend this jacket for medium-output activities.

You might find it a tad warm for trail running, unless it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. And you might find it a tad cold for standing around without additional layers during true shoulder season temperatures or when the sun starts to drop, especially if you’re damp from activity. 

Thumb holes are always a nice feature, but not a dealbreaker with this jacket. 

woman running in the rei co-op flash hyperstretch fleece jacket
(Photo/Kylie Mohr)

REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket: Conclusion 

A fleece jacket doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles — it just needs to keep you warm at the end of the day. Moderate warmth, stretchy comfort, and an athletic fit make the REI Co-Op Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket a versatile layer that I reach for time and time again. 

It’s thick and soft enough to be comfortable on your skin, blocking out a chill, while streamlined enough to layer under a puffy jacket, rain jacket or other outer shell. No extra bulk here! A trim cut and sharp color accents transition from trailhead to brewery with ease.

Through the seasons, I found the jacket worked best for moderate activities in moderate temperatures or high-output activities in cold temperatures. With a bit of experimentation, you’ll find which activities — and there are many — work the best with the Flash Hyperstretch Fleece Jacket as your midlayer

I wear this layer in all four seasons and have no plans of stopping. For skiing, hiking, and everything in between, this fleece jacket, and its price, really can’t be beat. Don’t break the bank to stay warm!

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