Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece Review

A fleece can mean many things for an active person living in Colorado: A layering medium for downhill skiing, a covering for a spring hike, a trip to the gym, or fashionable piece of outerwear for an evening out. The Sambaya Stretch fleece is a midweight jacket that can be worn alone in cool temperatures or layered beneath a shell on a frigid day outside.  It’s part of Cotopaxi’s line of outerwear, where each piece is tied to a humanitarian cause. In this case, each purchase of the Sambaya fleece provides a cancer treatment for a patient in Senegal (a program called Radiating Hope). I tested this fleece by itself on a few mild Colorado winter days, on several frigid ski days up in the mountains, and out and about around town.

Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece Fit

The Sambaya has a regular to slim fit. The arms are nice and long, and the thumbholes have to be the most comfortable of any I’ve had. There is just enough material to cover my knuckles, without having a lot of bunching between my thumb and forefinger allowing my hand to maintain a natural position instead of something that resembles a claw.

Who knew thumbholes could be so lovely?

The body of the fleece has a nice long length, hitting me just below the hips (something that is similar across the entire line of women’s Cotopaxi outerwear).
I love this feature because I am long-waisted and have always had trouble finding jackets that provide enough coverage.

Slim fit, long waist and arms = perfect for me.

The zippered hand pockets are in a good spot, well-sized, and lined with a warm fleece material. The outer fabric is smooth and fit well under a ski jacket. It didn’t snag or catch on layers or packs. The thumbholes did a good job of keeping the sleeves in place and provided extra wrist coverage in chilly conditions.

Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece Features

The jacket is made of Polartec Powerstretch Fabric. It’s fuzzy warm on the inside and very smooth on the outside – not pilly at all, like most fleece jackets. This makes it nice for layering, and also for casual wear as you are out and about running errands. When I skied with it, the fleece kept me warm, but was breathable enough that I wasn’t sweating. The zipper comes up far enough to protect the neck and chin. Note the piece of fabric up top that prevents the zipper end from getting in your face.

The fabric up top prevents one from getting zip-smacked

The material is not windproof, so it did get drafty when I wore it alone on a blustery day. I had really good range of motion with my arms and it never rode up on me (huge bonus). It has proven to be durable after many wears and several trips to the washing machine.
The offset seam construction allows you to add layers or a backpack without being aware of the seams. There are also lot of pocket options for all your storage needs, including a laminated chest pocket and an internal chest pocket.
The hood is form-fitting, though a little loose around my face. It could be handy in a pinch (again, not windproof), and did not get in the way when I wasn’t using it.

The scuba hood

I layered this piece beneath the Cotopaxi Pacaya jacket and Kumari ski jacket and it worked really well underneath both pieces.

Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece in a Nutshell…

The Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece has made a nice addition to my winter/spring outdoor wardrobe. It’s versatile enough to layer on a powder day, or wear by itself on a chilly pajama day. I think it’s really cool how Cotopaxi integrates and benefits global humanitarian causes into their business – I am really impressed with this and their commitment to making a difference.
I tested this fleece ($129) in the Capri color (teal blue), and it also comes in Raven (black) and Terracotta (orange). Check out their website for more info:
Megan Wise: Megan is an everyday athlete who grew up running, hiking, skiing, and cycling among the foothills and mountains of Colorado. She loves traveling and finding new adventures with her husband and daughter.
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