Fleece Jackets – the perfect mid layer
On the hunt for a fleece jacket? We want to help you pick out the perfect fleece jacket. This guide will help you understand more about what to look for in fleece jackets and why you need one.
Fleece jackets are an invaluable piece of outdoor gear. They are warm, soft, and comfortable jackets that make good insulators and breathe well during aerobic activity. Fleece jackets make a great base layer in cool weather, and typically dry fast when wet compared to down or synthetic puffy-styled jackets. Only downside of fleece jackets is that they are not for serious cold though and they can be heavier and bulkier than down or other synthetic jackets.
While there are a variety of types of fleece jackets on the market, look for a jacket made with Polarfleece or Polartec. These two names are the trademarks of Malden Mills, original inventor of modern fleece and are popular, high-quality jackets.
Fleece jackets also come in different weights. The weight of your fleece jacket will depend on the type of activity you plan on using it for. Microfleece is perfect for a light first layer or for gloves, liners, and headwear. Medium weight fleece jackets tend to be the most popular. These fleece jackets are the most versatile because they work well as a mid layer or as a standalone jacket. The Polartec TM 200 series is one of the most popular weights because it provides excellent warmth without being bulky.
For colder activities you may want more weight in your fleece jacket. Polartec 300 and up provides a warm thermal layer for extreme colds. This weight is known to be the best insulating fleece on the market for fleece jackets. But keep in mind that the heaviest fleece is not going to be as warm as down or or some synthetics such as PrimaLoft. Also wind can permeate fleece pretty easily, so look for a fleece jacket that contains a wind-blocking face or wear the fleece under a shell to keep protected from the wind.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite fleece jackets:
Men’s Fleece Jackets
- Patagonia Men’s R2 Fleece Jacket – super lightweight and compressible fleece that makes a great stand-alone jacket in cooler temps or a great insulating layer underneath a shell
- Patagonia Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket – a breathable/windproof membrane sandwiched between recycled-polyester fleece outer and moisture-wicking interior
- Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Fleece Jacket – offers fuzzy, plush warmth to backcountry-exploring male primates
- The North Face Denail Fleece Jacket – a classic with wind resistant panels and 300-weigh fleece
Women’s Fleece Jackets
- Outdoor Research Rumor Hooded Women’s Fleece Jacket – great light fleece for running and skiing offering some light wind protection
- Patagonia R3 High-Loft Hoody Jacket– Patagonia’s warmest jacket made from their highly technical Regulator Fabric – super soft, lightweight, and recyclable too
Got a particular fleece jacket you like? Let us know!