Burly fabric in a piece built to rock - but size up!
The Fortis is definitely a new force in my climbing pieces: super durable fabric that feels amazing. The cut is great for climbing and seems to move well with you despite not feeling stretchy. It's nice to have a full-zip trim fitting layer for the daily temperature swings in desert-y places like Smith Rock and Utah. I wear a medium in just about everything. For reference, a medium black spider hoody is the best fitting (trim fitting) piece I've ever owned. Across most brands, medium is the ticket - For more comparison I'm 6', 175lbs, 6'3" wingspan, 32" waist, medium build (and not a particularly muscular person by anyone's standards). But like Dennis mentions in his review, the sizing is off by a full size. I experience the same type of fit: a LARGE provides a snug fit, room enough for a t-shirt, but not enough to comfortably add a warmer baselayer. Because the fabric doesn't have much stretch, it can occasionally feel too snug for daily wear, but in actual practice I've never found it restrictive. If you're "always" one size, I'd go a size up, if you're often between sizes, I'd probably size up for 1 size for snug, 2 sizes if you're hoping to layer (Guesswork on my part) The hood is snug, which is nice for under-helmet use, but I'd love to see a more open/elongated face area (I don't expect this piece to cover my face at all) and either an off-set zipper or more of a chin guard, as the zipper paired with the stiffer fabric tends to rub a bit. Overall a solid piece in the cragging lineup, some sizing and face/hood tweaks would put it over the top!
Not quite sure what they're going for here
The Fortis is an interesting piece, sort of a shell but sort of an insulating layer. I purchased recently, and haven't used hard yet, so these are first impressions. 1. Sizing is strange. Using the NWA size charts, I should be at the upper end of size L or the low end of XL. I ordered XL, thinking I could live with a bit baggy. The garment that arrived says it's an XL, but the fit is very snug. I can wear a light base layer under it, but no more. I can't, for example, wear a Black Spyder hoody under it. 2, Despite the tight body fit, sleeves are long and body length is good for wear with a harness or a pack hipbelt. The chest feels snug when the garment is zipped up, and with the hood up the neck is uncomfortably tight. 3. Very simple design. Sleeve ends have no velcro or elastic. Bottom hem has no stretch tape or drawcord. Both are turned over and finished. A full-zip front. The same hood that you'd find on a Black Spyder hoody, with the same limitations that it doesn't cover my face well at all. 4. The fabric is interesting. Described as 90% nylon/10% Spectra, it feels sort of like a mid-weight wool blend - smooth and dense. Not especially warm, but under a shell jacket it is warm. Not as wind-resistant as a windshirt, but definitely more so than fleece. The closest thing I can compare to is Outdoor Research's Ferrosi hoody. Except the fabric on the Fortis feels way sturdier than the Ferrosi. So far the Fortis strikes me as a garment in search of a mission. I'd use it like a softshell, but I can't layer under it the way I would a softshell. I can use it as a mid layer, but the fabric is heavier and holds more moisture than a light fleece. I haven't taken it rock climbing, where the abrasion-resistance would really matter. Perhaps that's what it's for. For the moment I'm not quite sure what to do with it.