You step into Melanzana’s Leadville, Colorado storefront and the first thing you see are rows of fleece jackets and hoodies for sale. But, peering beyond the product shelves, you notice something out of the ordinary: workers at sewing machines making the company’s products. For it is here where all the company’s offerings are crafted.

Manufacturing in Melanzana’s Leadville, Colorado store

In addition to being a clothing hobbyist, I’m also an outdoor enthusiast: hiker, backpacker and occasional mountaineer. So a good fleece–soft, warm, fast drying, able to insulate even when wet–is a vital part of my kit.

Yet fleece, in its various incarnations, has even infiltrated the world of classic clothing. No less an authority than True Prep, the sequel to the Original Preppy Handbook, noted the embrace of fleece in traditional circles.

Last week, my family and I were on vacation in Colorado, and early in the week, we made a day trip to Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States. Near the end of downtown, we came upon Melanzana. Noting that all the company’s products are made, as they have been for 20 years, in Leadville, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase one of their tops.

Unadorned with pockets, velcro closures or other unnecessary ephemera, Melanzana’s products are the epitome of streamlined function. My Micro Grid Zip Top in a large weighs a scant 9.1 ounces, making it the perfect mid-layer for a cool-to-cold thru hike.



It’s already been a worthy companion on three hikes: one on the trails outside of Salida, Colorado, one on the Colorado Trail and one on a climb of Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in the state.

My Melanzana top and I on the summit of Mt. Elbert.

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