Almost any adventure or any outdoor activity needs a fleece. Now, while there is no magical golden fleece (at least not that I am aware of), there are a dozen really great fleece jackets out there that we can recommend with confidence. Some are better than others, but they all do a really great job at keeping you warm, drying quickly, and are perfect addition to any layering system.
Fleece is great at keeping us warm because it is a good insulator. We lose heat from our bodies by convection, conduction and radiation, and the fleece will help to stop our bodies from losing heat. Today, more and more fleeces are being made from recycled plastic threads – of course, which greatly helps the environment. Not all of the fleeces on this list are recycled, but you’ll notice that some have been labeled with the bluesign criteria.
We will also share with you which fleeces listed below are better for things like mountaineering, or more a pro pro for whiling away your time or enjoying a glass of wine next to the roaring bonfire. So, let’s not hesitate a moment longer, because you’re probably standing there cold. Let’s get you informed on the best fleece’s out there today, so you can make the best choice. You can brush up on the fleece fabric in our last article here.
Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan
This fleece Cardigan by Arc’teryx is perfect for hiking in cool weather, or for your early morning run in the snappy and crisp air, or for throwing on for just about any outdoor activity or casual errand that you need to run. It delivers the highest combination of coziness and styling.
The jacket features a Alpenex II heathered fleece that is super soft and provides reliable warmth. There are two zippered hand pockets as well as a zippered sleeve pocket – perfect for keeping your hands warm or stashing some stuff. Gussets that are located under the arms allow for freedom in movement, and binding at the collar, hem and cuffs add durability. Available for $179
Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover
This is a classic fleece look and one that you can’t go wrong with. It is great for a variety of outdoor sports and activities, delivers warmth while remaining lightweight. The fabric is a polyester fleece that is 80% recycled, and therefore, meets the bluesign® criteria – which designates a sustainable textile.
It features a soft and durable 200-weight Synchilla fleece that continues to insulate even with wet. The front has 4 snap buttons reinforced with Supplex nylon, as well as a snap chest pocket. The design is put together with Y-joint sleeves for a really comfortable fit with a stretch binding on the cuffs and straight-cut hem. The Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover is more casual but gives you unbeatable versatility. Buy for $119
The North Face Men’s Apex Canyonwall
The Men’s North Face Canyonwall is often a go-to for active outdoor use. The jacket is abrasion-resistant and offers high protection from the wind with a gridded fleece backing – making it a superb layer of breathable warmth for your active adventures with the wind permeability rated at less than 10 CFM (WindWall fabric is a wind-resistant fleece).
The fleece on the back is very soft and the collar has a brushed tricot lining. It also features a full front zip and two hand pocket zips, a hem cinch-cord to seal in the heat and keep out the cold. The exterior is finished with a durable water-repellent (DWR). The jacket has a classic and casual wear-anywhere styling to boot. Buy for $100
Mammut Aconcagua ML
The men’s Aconcagua light midlayer hooded jacket has a really great look to it. It is constructed with a lightweight stretch material with a waffle structure and features active moisture-wicking. There is a flat seam design in order to avoid chafing and elastic border on the hood for a snug fit.
There is a zippered pocket on the chest with gussets underneath the arms for freedom of movement and thumb loops at the opening. There’s chin protection and two backpack and climbing harness-compatible zipped pockets. This jacket by Mammut Aconcagua is a very handsome design and snugger fit. Available for $179
Arc’teryx Fortrez Fleece Hoodie
This medium-weight fleece jacket hoodie is a great defender against the cold and will keep you comfortable during a number of different conditions. It works well as a cold-weather layer or you can wear it as a standalone jacket on cool and dry days. It features an abrasion resistant Polartec Power Stretch fleece with Hardface technology that provides warmth. It layers easily makes it an excellent choice.
The ScubaHood fits great under a helmet with an integrated neck gaiter that doubles as a balaclava. High breathability and a moisture-wicking four-way stretch fabric allows for breathability. Flatlock seams lie flat for added comfort with two hand pockets zips and chest pocket zip. Articulated elbows and micro-corded zipper pulls makes for good anatomical shaping. Buy for $138
Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man
The Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man is a lightweight fleece that is made of a 200g Polartec High-Loft fleece and is revered for both its comfort and warmth. Great for almost any outdoor sport or activity, this new version has been redesigned for an all-mountain silhouette. Because of its lightweight it is easy to pack.
This jacket has strategically zoned side panels in order to maximize stretch and offers good breathability where you need it most. It also features a number of interior and exterior pockets to hold gear, your keys, cards, and other essentials. A percentage of this jacket is recycled and contains materials that meet the bluesign criteria. Pick up for $175
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody
The Deviator Hoody by Outdoor Research is a fantastic choice for high exertion activities in the winter. Most fleece jackets used the method of insulating with a thicker fleece in critical areas of the body, like the back and upper and upping the breathability factor at the same time with panels of lighter weight fleece under the arms. This jacket takes that idea to the extreme.
The jacket is a Polartec insulated piece that covers the front and shoulders, and microgrid fleece on the arms and back. It is a business-in-the-front and party-in-the-back style. The Deviator is a top pick for breathability which is why it’s perfect for very active pursuits. Buy for $132
Whether you are climbing cracks, skiing corn, riding or running the trails, this nice looking full-zip hoodie handles cool-weather adventures with outstanding stretch and breathability. Wonderful for a variety of different sports it features a high/low grid interior that is a Polartec Power Grid fleece – the key to this hoodie’s light weight and breathability. The fabric stretches, traps heat and compresses to practically nothing.
The jacket also features anti-microbial properties and has a Polygiene odor control. The hood has a snug fit and fits comfortably under the helmet. It has front zipper finishes with a soft kissing-welt garage at the chin for next-to-skin comfort. Stretchy cuffs can be pulled up over the forearms, and the thumbholes are useful for warmth on chilly days. The handwarmer pockets are low-profile, and there is a left-chest pocket with Slim Zip, zipper garage and mesh pocket bag. Available for $169
Columbia Titan Pass 2.0
Don’t be afraid to head out into the wilderness with the Columbia Titan Pass 2.0 Fleece Jacket. It consists of a Polartec 200 microfleece, which makes this jacket great as a mid-layer during the fall and winter season, or as a stand-alone piece when things outside are a little bit milder. Hit the higher peaks, whether you’re skinning in on your touring skis or scrambling rocky sections in the alpine.
It comes with an adjustable hem with drawcord to provide the ideal fit while lightweight warmth adds breathability. It is an active fit fleece jacket with a full front zip closure and stand collar. The jacket features to front zippered hand pockets and zippered chest pockets to keep your personal affairs safe during your activity. Available for around $100
This lightweight and quick-drying Fleece Jacket will keep you warm and comfortable long after your adventure is done. Polartec Power Grid Fleece wicks away sweat to keep you dry while the flatlock seams reduce chafing and irritation. A windflap behind the front zipper blocks drafts too. And zippered chest and hand pockets provide quick and easy storage.
The Marmot Reactor also has reinforced shoulders for durability for when you carry packs and backpacks or doing other activities. An elastic bound hem can be adjusted in order to help keep the cold out and keep the heat in. It is a suiting outer layer for cool weather hikes and chilly mountain summits, and better when layered up for colder weather. The Marmot Reactor is better for everyday errands and activities, and things like camping and hiking. But this jacket for $100