KÜHL is a brand that knows the products that are needed for tough, challenging weather conditions. So, living in the fabled Yukon Territory, I’ve spent the past few months happily evaluating and putting KÜHL products to the test. This has been one “KÜHL” gear review assignment as the Interceptor FZ mid-layer zip-up sweater and Akkomplice Base Layer Hoodie did not disappoint.
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Interceptor FZ Mid-Layer Zip-Up Sweater
My particular favourite of both pieces is the Interceptor FZ mid-layer zip-up sweater. I can truthfully say I haven’t seen anything quite like this jacket for performance and warmth.
With one somewhat minor exception, I’ve been deeply impressed with the item’s quality and functionality.
As I mentioned, I live in Canada’s north, so I’ve had many chances to test it out in some extreme weather. Even during a week or two of temperatures hovering in the -40s and -30s C (-22 to -40 F), this piece of clothing and its ALFPACA GOLD™ performance fleece kept me more than warm enough.
I have a similar full-zip sweater from Icebreaker (an older version of the Away II) that has been one of my favourites for several years, but the Interceptor exceeds it in every way. Except for fit, that is (more on that later).
In addition to the excellent warmth, one bonus of the sweater is that it’s styled sweetly. I frequently wear it to work, and it definitely doesn’t look out of place in its deep burgundy/red rock shade. Or, if you prefer, you can choose from steel, oatmeal, charcoal, black, or mutiny blue.
The four pockets – two hand-warmer and two chest pockets – are a very welcome touch. Also, the zipper, while not a double zipper, is sturdy and more than adequate. I’m looking forward to trying out the sweater on its own and in combination with a vest. It’s a very versatile piece of clothing.
Unfortunately, the Interceptor runs a little small regarding fit, which didn’t make for a good first impression.
Fortunately, it loosened up a bit as I wore it – a lot. The product’s performance, though, more than made up for the tight fit, but I find myself pondering about standardized sizes.
By comparison, I have several items made by Columbia, Helly Hansen, and UnderArmour. While there’s some variability even within their products, as a general rule, I can wear items in extra-large comfortably, while XXL is generally loose.
The Interceptor I tried out is an XXL, and, as I said, I find it a little tight.
Akkomplice Base-Layer Hoodie
The second item I’ve been trying out for my review is KÜHL’s Akkomplice Base Layer Hoodie.
As with the Interceptor, the Akkomplice Base Layer Hoodie ran a little on the small size, but not to the same degree.
However, it’s an absolutely lovely base layer that’s more than warm enough for a midweight. Also, there’s a bit of stretch due to the KUHL Dynamik™ stitching and lots of wicking ability because of the multifilament KOREKONTROL fabric.
Generally speaking, the combination of the Akkomplice and the Interceptor is far too warm to wear together most days. Combined with a lighter mid-layer, though, the Akkomplice Base Layer Hoodie is an excellent addition to anyone’s apparel collection.
In these times of COVID-19, the built-in mask is also useful for more than cold weather. In a pinch, it’s a good emergency substitute when you’ve forgotten a mask, or you can use it to double up your existing protection.
I’m not at all reluctant to heartily recommend both of these items. The Interceptor FZ mid-layer and Akkomplice Base Layer Hoodie have risen right to the top of items I reach for first in cold weather.
What about you? What is your review of KÜHL’s Interceptor FZ mid-layer or the Akkomplice Base Layer Hoodie? Please share your insights with us in the comments below.