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What is Synchilla?

We often get the question from Patagonia fans: “What is Synchilla?” Deep in Chilean Patagonia, on a single, remote ridge in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, in the shadow of the volcano Tinguiririca, the Patagonia Synchilla roams free. After growing fat on the scrubby, native vegetation that clings to life in this region, each Synchilla is sustainably harvested by indigenous hunter-gatherers for processing into Patagonia Synchilla fleece jackets. Each Synchilla fleece contains the fur of 5-7 Synchillas, depending on garment size.

OK. Well… no. No, that’s not how it works.

So, what IS Synchilla? To explain, we have to go back to the beginning. WAY back. In the late 1970s, Malden Mills began experimenting with polyesters, eventually discovering that a superfine yarn could be woven into a dense fabric, then brushed. The result was super soft, insulated well and didn’t hold water. By 1981, MM was collaborating with a relatively unknown company named Patagonia to introduce this first-generation fleece to the outdoor market. They called it Synchilla, as in “synthetic chinchilla.”

In 1985, Patagonia introduced the Snap-T, featuring Synchilla fleece, and a legend was born. Nearly 30 years later, the Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T is still a classic, and its newer, lighter-weight versions — the Men’s Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T and Women’s Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T — headline a collection that includes dozens of styles. The current version, unlike the original, also includes 80% recycled polyester.

With literally thousands upon thousands of fleece jackets available today, that original Snap-T is still king, and the original Synchilla fabric is still authentic, durable and versatile. The Synchilla Snap-T is one of our best-sellers, year in and year out, available in a huge range of solid colors and prints. Shop six of our favorite Synchilla styles by clicking the images below!

Patagonia Men's Synchilla Snap-T Pullover Saltillo: Cinder Red

Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T

The pullover that made fleece famous, the men’s Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T is made of warm and durable Synchilla heavyweight polyester fleece with the classic Snap-T pocket and placket.

 

Patagonia Women's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover Timber Twist: Cinder Red

Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T

A lighter version of Patagonia’s classic Snap-T Pullover, the Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover is made of warm and durable midweight polyester fleece.

 

Patagonia Men's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Vest Nickel w/Navy Blue

Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Vest

The Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Vest is made of warm and durable midweight polyester fleece.