This jacket is has some improvements over your 'average' fleece. The hardface exterior looks great, keeps the jacket from looking fuzzy, and actually puts up a bit of a fight against drizzle and cool breezes. Not waterproof, for sure, but somewhat more resistant than other fleece jackets I've had. The hood seems like a bit of a gimmick, but it has actually become a favorite feature. The hood is slim fitting and works well under my ski or climbing helmet when I need a little more warmth. And the balaclava actually works nicely. Moderately warm - my last fleece was an R2, and the Patagonia was warmer (under a shell, at least - the R2 was not water or wind resistant at all, plus it was so furry looking, to the point that I hardly ever wore it alone). But the Fortrez under my shell keeps me warm skiing into the 20's. Finally, it looks nice enough to wear around.