Have you ever wondered how to find the best fleece jacket to suit your lifestyle? Maybe you live in a cold climate and could use some warmth or only need a specialized one just for outdoor sports. Whatever the reason, a fleece jacket is an essential layer of clothing that comes in handy for all types of environments and activities. But with hundreds of different makes, thicknesses, and materials to choose from, how do you pick the best fleece jacket from the bunch?

One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for the outdoors. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best fleece jacket and show you the top models of the year.

 

THE BEST FLEECE JACKET – QUICK ANSWER

  1. The North Face Denali
  2. Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan
  3. Patagonia Better Sweater Quarter-Zip
  4. REI Co-op Quarter Zip
  5. Arc’teryx Delta LT
  6. The North Face Denali 2
  7. The North Face Osito 2
  8. Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T
  9. Marmot Reactor
  10. Mammut Darrington

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Hiking

 

THE BEST FLEECE JACKET – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
FLEECE JACKET
BEST FOR
ZIP DOWN
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
FLEECE JACKET
BEST FOR
ZIP DOWN
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
The North Face Denali
Overall
Yes
Medium
$$$
4.4
Arc'teryx Covert Cardigan
Overall
Yes
Medium
$$
4.5
Patagonia Better Sweater Quarter-Zip
Outdoors
No
Medium
$$
4.6
REI Co-op Fleece Pullover
REI Co-op Quarter Zip
Outdoors
No
Medium
$
4.8
Arc'teryx Delta LT
Outdoors
Yes
Light
$$
4.3
The North Face Denali 2
Outdoors
Yes
Heavy
$$$
4.8
The North Face Osito 2
Women
Yes
Medium
$$
4.8
Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T
Women
No
Medium
$$$
4.7
Marmot Reactor
Men
Yes
Light
$$
4.5
Mammut Darrington
Mammut Darrington
Men
Yes
Medium
$$$
4.9

 

 

FLEECE JACKETS 101

 

3 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST FLEECE JACKET

 

1. MATERIALS

Fleece jackets are often made with a combination of synthetic and natural materials. The reason behind the invention of Polar fleece was to offer all the same benefits of wool but at only a fraction of the weight. It is also hydrophobic, meaning the material won’t absorb water like down or wool would.

Today, most fleece is still made by Polartec out of petroleum derivatives. In the past, fleece used to cause your sweat to pool between your skin and the fabric, leading to some sexy stains. Today, fleece is much more breathable and is even often made from recycled materials.

 

2. VENTING

Lightweight fleece jackets with retractable vents are the best for athletic activities because you can regulate your body temperature easily. Windproof fleece jackets, however, are great for protecting against wind and rain but can trap heat, causing you to sweat more. Zip jackets also generally make for more adaptable jackets, where you can adjust air flow as needed. Another great feature that many fleece jackets have are mesh pockets that can be unzipped to cool down if it starts to get too warm.

The thing to keep in mind is that breathability is often the counter to wind and water resistance. Are you planning to go hiking in the wind and rain? Then it might be better to sacrifice some air flow for protection and opt for a jacket with tightly woven fabric with a membrane. Likewise, the grid style fleece works great for highly active people.

 

3. WEIGHT

Like base layers, fleece jackets come in a variety of thicknesses and weights. But though it can be tempting to grab the thickest jacket on the shelf, you should consider going lighter if you plan to wear your new jacket for strenuous activities. While the thickness generally correlates to warmth, tight woven fleece or fleece with vent pockets can affect the coziness as well.

 

LIGHTWEIGHT FLEECE

Lightweight fleece jackets are best for those of us who are very active, like runners or endurance athletes who train in frigid temperatures. Lightweight fleece jackets still allow the skin to breath but add an extra layer of warm comfort.

 

MID-WEIGHT FLEECE

Mid-weight fleece jackets are perfect for those who are moderately active, like trekkers or casual cyclists. These jackets can be helpful if you train after sunset or have poor blood circulation. Both mid-weight and lightweight fleece jackets are the best for layering.

 

HEAVYWEIGHT FLEECE

Heavyweight fleece jackets are thick, extremely insulated, and work best if you’ll be doing a stationary cold weather activity – like camping or sitting on a ski lift.

 

what fleece jacket to wear for hiking

Photo By istockphoto.com/portfolio/Maridav

 

 

FLEECE JACKET REVIEWS

TOP 10 BEST FLEECE JACKETS

 

1. BEST FLEECE JACKETS FOR OVERALL WEAR

THE NORTH FACE DENALI

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Layering and all-around wear

WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Denali

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: Two chest pockets, zip-in compatible, abrasion-reinforced shoulders and elbows

PROS: Durable, lightweight yet warm, stylish, easy to layer

CONS: The sleeves are a loose fit with elastic around the wrist, an awkward fit for many people

 

 

 

ARC’TERYX COVERT CARDIGAN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Wearing both on the streets and on the trail

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: Stretch cuffs, flatlock seams, Alpenex polyester

PROS: Breathable, perfect for everyday wear

CONS: Not heavy enough to withstand serious chill

 

 

 

PATAGONIA BETTER SWEATER QUARTER-ZIP

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Those of us who just can’t ditch our favorite sweater and backpackers

WOMEN’S VERSION: Patagonia Better Sweater Quarter-Zip

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: Raglan sleeves perfect for pack wearing, chest zip pocket, stand-up collar

PROS: Not your everyday fleece pullover, comfortable, can wear it anywhere

CONS: Fully zipped, the neck opening of the sweater can feel a bit snug

 

 

 

 

2. BEST FLEECE JACKETS FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS

REI CO-OP QUARTER-ZIP

REI Co-op Fleece Pullover

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Outdoor wear for a great value

WOMEN’S VERSION: REI CO-OP Quarter Zip 

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: 2-way stretch, quick drying material, high collar, quarter-zip front

PROS: High quality material for a low price, simple, stylish, and versatile

CONS: Sizing tends to run too small

 

 

 

ARC’TERYX DELTA LT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Aerobic activities in chilly weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Delta LT

FLEECE WEIGHT: Light

FEATURES: Front zipper with chin guard, droptail hem, laminated sleeve pocket with laminated zipper

PROS: Breathable, stylish, perfect for layering or wearing on its own

CONS: Sleeves might run a bit too long

 

 

 

THE NORTH FACE DENALI 2

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Adventurers heading into very cold weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Denali 2

FLEECE WEIGHT: Heavy

FEATURES: Reinforced material around shoulders, chest, and the forearms, zip-in compatible, stretch fabric around the cuffs, hem cinch cord

PROS: Durable, comfortable, and known to last many seasons

CONS: Does not offer very much protection against the wind

 

 

 

 

3. BEST FLEECE JACKETS FOR WOMEN

THE NORTH FACE OSITO 2

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Cool weather walks and low strain activities

MEN’S VERSION: N/A

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: Zippered hand pockets, stretch cuffs and hem, high-pile raschel fleece

PROS: Cozy, soft, comfortable, simple

CONS: Material tends to shed – especially the black version

 

 

 

PATAGONIA RE-TOOL SNAP-T

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Multisport activities in chilly weather

MEN’S VERSION: N/A

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: Kangaroo style handwarmer pockets, deep-pile fleece, microfleece trim on cuffs, nylon chest flap

PROS: Versatile, comfortable, known to last a long time

CONS: The colors featured online are not always true to what you get

 

 

 

 

4. BEST FLEECE JACKETS FOR MEN

MARMOT REACTOR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: When you need just that extra bit of warmth

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

FLEECE WEIGHT: Light

FEATURES: Chin guard, Polartec classic 100 microfleece, windflap backs for the zipper, stretch material

PROS: Very soft, stylish, the perfect outer layer for cool weather

CONS: Arm pocket too small to be useful

 

 

 

MAMMUT DARRINGTON

Mammut Darrington

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Throwing on for the city or the open trail

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

FLEECE WEIGHT: Medium

FEATURES: Zippered hand pockets, quilted hood, flatlock seams, two inside pockets

PROS: True to size, comfortable, and a magnet for compliments

CONS: Not very wind resistant so it’s best to have an under layer

13 Shares
Pin5
Share1
Tweet7
Flip