I’ve been meaning to start adding some knowledge to the internet on the subject of what is perhaps my favorite brand.
I discovered Patagonia when I was in high school in the early 1990s when some of my friends had their stuff, but I never did, as it was too pricey for my parents.
One of the most enduring styles offered by Patagonia is the Synchilla Snap-T fleece pullover jacket, which has remained unchanged in style since 1989, and has been around since 1985.
Here’s a look at the three of the variations that exist of this iconic piece. The first is a Fall 1988 model in blue, green and pink. This is the older “Synchilla Snap-T Neck” model, which is the precursor to the newer style, the “Synchilla Snap-T”. Note that the difference in style for the years mentioned only exists in the regular model. The lightweight Snap-T model hung onto the old style for many more years (I believe it disappeared somewhere in the mid 2000s). The second one is a Fall 2002 model Snap-T in a brownish color. The last one is a Fall 2014 model Synchilla Snap-T Hoody (which is different, but is the most recent Patagonia fleece that I have at the moment -it’s my personal favorite fleece jacket). Note that the Hoody model also has hand pockets, while the standard Snap-T does not.
Here’s the difference between the neck tags… Again, the 1988 jacket is shown first, followed by the 2002 and 2014 versions. Note that the later version also has a tab for hanging the jacket from a coat hook.
The easiest way to tell the vintage of a Patagonia fleece is by the tag on the inside. These will have the style number, date code, and newer ones (at least since the late 2000s) will also have a color code which can help you determine the actual name of the color of the jacket in question. On older Snap-T’s this tag is on the inside left side seam, while on newer models, it’s underneath the neck tag.
As for deciphering these…
The 1988 tag has the older style number (25521), and a date code of F8. Some 1990s and 2000s model fleeces would have this date code, but coupled with the style number, I know that this is a 1988 model. This style of Snap-T Neck was only made from 1985 through 1988. Thus, this is from the final production run of this style!
The 2002 tag has the new style number (25450 -which is still used to this day), and a date code of FA02 (Fall 2002).
The 2014 tag has the style code 25461 (Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Hoody), date code of FA14 (Fall 2014) and a color code of CVK (Nickel Gray Heather and Navy (I googled “Patagonia CVK” to find the name of the color -of course, a catalog might show this as well, though this model is shown in the Fall 2014 catalog, this color is only marginally represented.
As for how to tell the weight of the fleece if you have a jacket with the tags cut out? Here’s a picture showing the thickness of the fleece next to a seamsters’ measuring tape. The fleece should be about 1″ thick if folded into four layers and not compressed. Note that this is the 2014 model. Other vintages of Synchilla fleece may vary slightly.
For a little look back, here are pictures of Snap-T pages from catalogs of the eras I am mentioning in this post. The catalogs represented are from Spring 1988, Fall 2001, and Fall 2014. The photo of Dean Potter slacklining from the 2001 catalog makes me extra nostalgic…
But anyway… Snap-T’s are awesome. Don’t let anyone convince you that these are only worn by frat boys during their drinking binges. These have been the style worn by outdoorsy types for 30 years now…