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EMS Power Dry Fleece Pullover Review

EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip Micro-Fleece Pullover

Do you have a piece of outdoor clothing that you wear all the time even when it doesn’t really fit the situation it was made for? A piece of clothing that is your absolute favorite and you wished you had more than one of because you knew you were going to wear it out too quickly? Of course you do! For me it’s the Power Dry Fleece 1/4 zip base layer from Eastern Mountain Sports.

I’ve been testing/wearing the EMS Power Dry Fleece for the past four months now, mostly for backpacking and day hiking but also for casual wear and I’ve come to love this simple pullover. The fit, weight, and performance is beyond any other similar garment I own and I have a heck of a lot of fleeces. I’m also very pleasantly surprised that I like the pullover version as much as I do. I usually tend to favor full length zippers.

EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip Micro-Fleece Pullover

The Power Dry Fleece is made using bi-component knit polyester fabric (91% recycled polyester, 9% spandex) produced by Polartec. If you look at just about any of the performance fleeces that you own you’ll see that they are most likely made using material from Polartec.

Power Dry is a special weave designed (as the name suggests) to keep you dry by wicking away moisture (sweat) from your body as you exert yourself by hiking, backpacking, or running. The moisture is wicked away by a very fine grid-pattern interior to the smoother outer surface of the garment where it can evaporate, keeping you dry and warm.

EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip Micro-Fleece Pullover

I packed the EMS Power Dry as my mid layer for my recent Mt. Whitney trip this past August. In the photograph below you can just make out the three layers that I was wearing, the Power Dry was my mid layer for warmth. I also wore an EMS Techwick base layer and a GoLite Dakota windshirt.

EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip Micro-Fleece Pullover at Mount Whitney Trail Camp

Below is an example from lower elevation where I am wearing just the two EMS layers, not sure why I was so serious looking in this photo? As I mentioned above, I’ve been wearing this fleece for just about everything lately as the temperatures here in NC have started to drop. It’s been a lifesaver in the evenings during Jack’s football practices and I’ve taken to wearing it as my warm up pullover before crossfit workouts and when running.

At the orginal price of just $60 this is a bargain, but as of the time of me writing this the EMS Power Dry Men’s 1/4 zip pullovers are on sale for $35.40! I’m personally going to try and snag another two of these (maybe not in this plum color) so that I have more of them. I love the fit and feel (it’s very soft), it keeps me incredibly warm without being sweaty and it’s lightweight for a mid layer. I never thought I’d get this excited about a fleece, but I am.

EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip Micro-Fleece Pullover

And don’t just take my word for it. You can find another rave review of this simple pullover fleece written by Philip Werner at

Disclosure: EMS provided Brian’s Backpacking Blog with a complementary Power Dry Fleece for testing and review.

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  • G Ko

    Great post! Random question: how did you set up the caption bubbles on your images? What a great way to utilize your photos and add another element of user interaction!

    • Thanks, glad you like them, I even use them on my blog banner. It’s a free service called ThingLink and is very easy to set up on any website or blog. Click on the link above to see my stream of annotated images and follow the instructions to set up your own! Even works on Twitter images :)

      • G Ko

        Fantastic, thank you so much for sharing! Looking forward to trying ThingLink out and reading more of your posts!

  • Shawn Amison

    Thanks for posting! I first read about this on Phil’s blog then I saw you posted with the sale price so I ordered one today! Looking forward to getting it.

    • Just curious, what color did you order?

      • Shawn Amison

        I think it was called Rifle Green that I ordered? It was between that and the Picante color. I own too many black fleeces already.

  • Seems like that chocolate color is all the rage these days. It suits you too!

    • Thanks. Right back at you. It’s a great fleece isn’t it, I’m wearing it all the darn time. BTW – I’m red/green color blind and assumed this was a chocolate brown color, but the product specs said it was “plum” is that how it looks to you – say it ain’t so!

  • Diane Pinkers

    Do have any notion how this compares to the Patagonia R1 pullover? For about 1/4 of the price this seems like a great deal.

    • Yes. Funnily enough the Patagonia R1 pullover is also made using Polartec’s Power Dry material. However, the finer weave of the EMS pullover is a lot warmer than the Patagonia R1 which has a larger weave. The Patagonia R1 pullover doesn’t hold your body heat in nearly as well as the EMS Power Dry Fleece which is a much less expensive option and a far better value than any of Patagonia’s technical R1 garments.

      • JayDub

        Is there a hooded version?

        • Not that I know of. Did you go out to the EMS website and look?

          • JayDub

            I did. Didn’t see one, then asked – was hopeful I’d just missed it.

          • You’re not the only one who would like a hooded version. If I find one I’ll let you know. I might also reach out to EMS to see what they have to say.

  • micah

    There is no such thing on the website, did they discontinue this??