Hiker wearing a fleece jacket

Best Fleece Jackets for Hiking

If you are looking for the best fleece jacket for hiking, you have come to the right place. We have reviewed and purchased many fleeces over the years, and below are our favorites. A fleece is a versatile item of clothing that is on numerous occasions. However, it can often be hard to find the right fleece jacket. This is because you’ll often come across many different brands, materials, and thicknesses. So how do you find the right one for you?

The good news is I can lend you a helping hand. Below you will find 10 of the best fleece jackets on the market right now. This will help to narrow down your choice and make it more likely that you’re going to find a jacket you love.

If you don’t have the time or don’t want to read all the reviews, this is my recommendation for the best fleece jackets that I like in cooler weather:

Our Top Pick: Outdoor Research Vigor.

Specs and features:

  • 12 oz
  • Very breathable
  • Thumb loops
  • Balaclava style hood

Best Fleece Jackets Reviewed

1. The North Face Men’s Campshire Pullover Hoodie

The North Face Men’s Campshire Pullover Hoodie

Features:

  • 300-weight Sherpa pile fleece
  • Elbow patches
  • Kangaroo pocket
  • Front pocket with a zip

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Pros:

  • Supremely comfortable high-pile fleece
  • Convenient kangaroo pocket
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • Not the best in terms of weight & breathability

The North Face Men’s CAMPSHIRE Pullover Hoodie looks very comfortable and comes in 5 sizes, ranging from small to 2x-large. With elbow patches that give that part of the jacket more durability, this fleece item also comes with a kangaroo pocket.

The pocket of this high pile fleece has a zip which also makes it more secure. The side pockets are ideal for storing a few items or for those times when you need your hands to get warm again.

This 300-weight Sherpa has an elastic-bound front zip, allowing the wearer to warm up or cool down with a relaxed fit. The hood and cuffs are also elasticated, allowing for a better fit.


2. The North Face Men’s Canyonlands Full-Zip Sweatshirt

The North Face Men’s Canyonlands Full-Zip Sweatshirt

Features:

  • Elastane, polyester fleece mix
  • Machine washable
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Zipped hand pockets

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Pros:

  • Abrasion & weather-resistant
  • 3 pockets for secure storage
  • Machine-washable

Cons:

  • A somewhat flimsy zipper

The North Face Men’s Canyonlands Full Zip Sweatshirt comes in 19 different colors and 5 different sizes. Made from a mixture of elastane and polyester fleece, this sweatshirt is machine washable.

With its heavyweight hard-faced fleece, the sweatshirt is protected even further from the wind which means you are too. Abrasion-resistant and very comfortable, this sweatshirt has a Napoleon pocket and zippered hand pockets.

Weighing 1.2 pounds and with a zip that goes all the way to the top of the sweatshirt, it can keep you warm no matter what the weather’s like.


3. The North Face Women’s Osito 2

The North Face Women’s Osito 2 Fleece Jacket

Features:

  • Zipper closure
  • 2 zipped pockets
  • Good-size collar
  • 100% polyester

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Pros:

  • One of the best fleece jackets
  • High collar protects against wind
  • Easy to pack & transport

Cons:

  • Sheds quite a bit

The North Face Women’s Osito 2 Jacket is available in 26 different colors and 8 sizes, from small to 3x-large. Made from 100% polyester and with zipper closure, this is a well-made jacket ideal for the trail. In addition, North Face makes some of the best fleece jackets on the market.

Machine washable and with 2 zipped pockets on either side, you can keep your cell phone or your gloves nearby, so you can use them when you need to. Also, 14 inches wide and just 1 inch thick, this jacket can be rolled up and stored on the back of a backpack, so you have it close to you should you need it.

With a good-sized collar that can turn up to protect you against the wind, this Osito Jacket looks as comfortable as it feels.


4. Patagonia Men’s Better Fleece Sweater ¼ Zip

Patagonia better sweater fleece

Features:

  • 100% polyester
  • Zippered left chest pocket
  • Flat seams
  • Hip length

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Pros:

  • A superb heat-retainer
  • Hip-length fleece sweater
  • Reduced chafing

Cons:

  • No hood

The Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater ¼ Zip has a zipper closure that goes up to the top of the collar. Made from recycled polyester, the Patagonia jacket comes in 2 different sizes and 4 different colors. The zippered left chest pocket means you can store keys, a cell phone, or anything else you need easily and safely.

Made using flat seams, the Quarter-Zip sweater is not as bulky as it could be. The flat seams also help to reduce chafing, which means they’re less likely to become damaged over time. One of the good things about this Patagonia sweater is its hip length, which means it keeps more of your body warm.

This is great news for those who live in cold parts of the world or want to go hiking or camping where it’s cold.


5. Columbia Women’s Fast Trek II

Columbia Women’s Fast Trek II Full-Zip Fleece Jacket Classic Fit

Features:

  • Full-length zip
  • 100% polyester microfleece
  • 2 side pockets & 1 inside pocket
  • High collar

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Pros:

  • Soft and comfortable fabric
  • Great for layering during winter hikes
  • Available in 5 different sizes

Cons:

  • A bit too tight in the arms

The Columbia Women’s Fast Trek II Full-Zip Fleece Classic-Fit Jacket comes in 5 different sizes, ranging from small to x-large and in 17 different colors. Made from fleece and polyester, this jacket has a zipper closure and is machine washable.

Manufactured from 100% polyester microfleece, this is a warm jacket ideal for hiking and camping. Its 2 side pockets come with zippers for extra security and the collared neck also has a zipper closure.

With a classic fit and a comfortable feel, this jacket has an inside pocket ideal for maps, compasses, and anything else you wish to have close to you.


6. Black Diamond Women’s Coefficient Fleece Hoody

Black Diamond Women’s Coefficient Fleece Jacket Hoody

Features:

  • Low-profile hood
  • Weighs 337 grams
  • Thumb loop
  • Slim fit

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Pros:

  • Slim but comfortable & eye-catching
  • High collar & hood
  • Equipped with thumb loops

Cons:

  • Not the warmest model on the list

The Black Diamond Women’s Coefficient Fleece Hoody is available in 3 colors and 5 different sizes. With a low-profile hood, you can stay warmer and cozier without wearing a hat. In addition, the lightweight fabric means this is an easy hoody to have with you when you’re on the trail, as it isn’t heavy.

Weighing just 337 grams, the hoodie also comes with an integrated thumb loop. This loop helps you keep your sleeves down near your wrists and ensures you stay even warm at all times.

With a slim fit and a high collar, this is a fleece hoody that should keep you cozy whether you’re hiking, camping, or out and about when it’s cold.


7. Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan Men’s

Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan Men’s

Features:

  • Wool and polyester blend
  • 2 zippered pockets
  • Breathable fabric
  • Comfortable material

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Pros:

  • Super-clean design
  • Extremely comfortable & versatile
  • A casual/performance hybrid

Cons:

  • Expensive

The Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan Men’s fleece jacket is made from a mixture of wool and fleece, making it even more comfortable and even warmer. With clean lines, you have a nice finish, and the relaxed fit means there’s more room for those extra layers.

With a woolen look, the Covert Cardigan also has brushed polyester, which gives it extra warmth. The 2 zippered pockets allow you to store your essentials, so you can reach them when you need them. The breathable fabric ensures that you don’t sweat too much while your temperature is regulated.

Sold in 9 different colors and 6 different sizes, ranging from small to xx-large, the Covert Cardigan fleece jacket is ideal for life on the trail. Also, check the Best Arc’Teryx Jackets.


8. Marmot Reactor

Marmot Reactor Fleece Jacket

Features:

  • Full-length zipper
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable fabric
  • Water resistance

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Pros:

  • Easy to layer & lightweight
  • Water-repellent finish
  • Modern minimalistic look

Cons:

  • No hood

The Marmot Reactor Jacket is a very modern jacket that comes in 4 colors and 5 sizes. With a full-length zipper, the jacket has been designed to keep you warm as the zipper goes right up to the top of the collar. Made from 100% polyester and with 2 zippered pockets at the front and one on the upper left side, this jacket is handy to have. Carry your gloves, your cell phone, or anything else in the pockets, or use them to keep your hands warm.

The patches on the shoulders give this jacket a somewhat modern look while ensuring your backpack is less likely to damage it. A lightweight garment with hydrophobic synthetic fibers, moisture is allowed to pass through, ensuring you stay dry and warm.

The durable and water-repellent finish adds an extra layer of protection, helping you stay even dryer.


9. Terracea Men’s Crossing Fleece

terracea crossing fleece jacket

Features:

  • Polartec Wind Pro technology
  • Weather-resistant
  • Anti-microbial

Pros:

  • A genuinely wind-resistant fleece
  • Anti-pilling / anti-microbial
  • High warmth-to-weight ratio

Cons:

  • No hood

The Terracea Men’s Crossing Fleece comes with Polartec Wind Pro technology, which helps the fabric breathe, allowing moisture to make its way to the surface. 4 times more wind-resistant than many other fleeces. The jacket also has durable water-repellent protection. This allows the fleece to repel snow, rain, and any moisture coming into contact.

However, it’s still far from a proper rain jacket.

With a soft feel and anti-microbial and anti-pilling technology, this fleece is also quick to dry, making it a convenient piece of clothing to have on the trail.


10. Outdoor Research Men’s Longhouse Jacket

Outdoor Research Men’s Longhouse Jacket

Features:

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Zippered chest pocket
  • Flatlock seams
  • High collar

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Pros:

  • Moisture-wicking properties
  • Zippered hand-warmer pockets
  • Clean design

Cons:

  • Available in only 4 (similar) colors

The Outdoor Research Men’s Longhouse Jacket comes in 2 colors and 2 sizes, ranging from medium to xx-large. Wearers can keep their essential items close by with a zippered chest pocket, knowing that they’re secure.

The flatlock seams make the jacket smaller, so it takes up less room while ensuring those seams are less likely to get damaged. As a result, the jacket helps keep you warm with moisture-wicking properties without making you feel damp with sweat or rain.

The 2 hand-warmer pockets are zippered and can be used to keep your hands warm or to hold anything small that you want constant access to.


11. Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0

Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0

Features:

  • Full-zip jacket
  • Casual & inexpensive
  • Two zippered pockets
  • Collared neck

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Pros:

  • An affordable full-zip jacket
  • Provides a decent amount of warmth
  • Available in many colors & sizes

Cons:

  • Questionable durability

Coming in many different styles and colors, but also cheap and soft, Columbia’s Steens Mountain 2.0 model is one of the best fleece jackets.

First of all, this is a pretty basic, casual jacket – its fabric does not stand out in any way, and the buyer doesn’t get any of the bells and whistles found on pricier fleece jackets. However, the jacket does provide its wearer with a decent amount of warmth, especially once you take the model’s genuinely affordable price into account.

When buying a fleece from this price range, one should always set reasonable expectations. Unfortunately, this model isn’t really breathable, nor does it block wind, making it unsuitable for cold-weather activities like hiking in chilly conditions.

In other words, this is not one of the best fleece jackets if you’re looking for a toasty piece of clothing for serious outdoor use. However, those who need a cheap outer layer for around-town use are bound to find this full-zip fleece jacket to their liking.


12. Patagonia R1 Fleece Hoodie

Patagonia r1 fleece jacket

Features:

  • Patagonia brand
  • Performance style
  • Low-profile hood
  • Off-shoulder seams

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Pros:

  • Patagonia-made performance fleece
  • Breathable & trim-fitting
  • Ideal for winter climbing & skiing

Cons:

  • The Patagonia R1 is not as warm as theR2

Those who know a thing or two about outdoor apparel know about Patagonia. The competitive collection of Patagonia-made fleece jackets is tough to beat, with the Patagonia R1 Fleece Hoody being a great example of the company’s expert craftsmanship.

This winter, the Patagonia R1 Fleece Hoodie has joined the company’s extensive range of technical models – it’s a light, cozy, and breathable model with a genuinely eye-catching style. Furthermore, Patagonia R1 provides its wearer with a baselayer-like feel that successfully dumps heat while trapping warmth, which turns it into an excellent option for activities like winter climbing and backcountry skiing.

However, Patagonia R1 Fleece Hoodie works well as a standalone piece, too. This is largely due to its features such as the low-profile hood and off-shoulder seams. However, the Patagonia R1 is not as protective or durable as some of the other fleece jackets on this list, which makes it less versatile as an outer layer. That being said, Patagonia R1 Fleece Hoodie is certainly an excellent addition to the company’s collection of well-made fleece jackets.


13. Outdoor Research Vigor Full-Zip

Outdoor Research Vigor Full-Zip

Features:

  • Lightweight fleece jacket
  • Hybrid construction
  • Performance style
  • Excellent breathability

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Pros:

  • A well-made lightweight fleece jacket
  • Works great for layering
  • Very stretchy and breathable

Cons:

  • Not very versatile

Performance fleece jackets that are as light as possible are undoubtedly a growing trend – the Patagonia R1 model analyzed above is a great example. Outdoor Research’s horse for the race is called Vigor Full-Zip, a well-made mid-layer that provides its wearer with a combo of warmth, breathability, and stretch.

In terms of construction, this fleece full-zip jacket utilizes a hybrid concept. To put it simply, the back and the lower part of this performance jacket sport a soft, moisture-wicking grid-style fleece. The upper chest and arms, on the other hand, feature a thicker spandex/polyester fabric. For anything from skiing to running on cold days, this fleece full-zip jacket is a great piece to wear.

Where this lightweight performance fleece comes up short is versatility. On its own, the model doesn’t provide enough warmth for around-town use in winter, let alone backcountry pursuits. However, it does a better job of handling elements than the Patagonia R1 jacket that I have analyzed above. In summary, this is a well-made low-weight fleece and a great choice for layering in the winter.


14. Arc’Teryx Delta MX Hoody

Arc’Teryx Delta MX Hoody

Features:

  • Polartec Power Dry fleece
  • Arc’teryx brand
  • Athletic fit
  • Stylish

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Pros:

  • Very breathable thanks to Polartec fleece
  • Highly mobile – great for mountain climbing
  • One of the best fleece jackets out there

Cons:

  • Not as wind and water-resistant as Patagonia R1 TechFace

Unlike the Delta LT model from the same company, which nicely combines performance and casual features, this lightweight fleece jacket falls short on the technical side of things. Still, it’s yet another great Arc’Teryx product that definitely deserves a closer look.

Like the Delta LT model, this cozy fleece sports a super soft interior and a gridded exterior finish. However, Arc’teryx Delta MX Hoody also has a hood (hence the name) that provides the wearer with additional protection from cold and wind. Furthermore, this is a highly mobile performance jacket whose climbing intentions are pretty clear.

It has gusseted underarms, articulated patterning, and is highly breathable due to its Polartec Power Dry fleece. The jacket’s athletic cut makes it a great outer layer.

The biggest rival of this lightweight performance jacket is Patagonia R1 TechFace, which I’ll analyze later in the article. Compared to that jacket, the Delta MX Hoody isn’t as good when it comes to standalone use – here, the key is in proper layering. Still, the model is undoubtedly lighter and more breathable than its main rival.


15. REI Co-op Hyperaxis 2.0

Rei fleece jacket

Features:

  • Polartec Power Stretch fleece
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Thumb loops
  • Stylish

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Pros:

  • Modern, performance-oriented design
  • Stretchy & moisture-wicking
  • Excellent breathability

Cons:

  • Overkill for around-town use

Based in Seattle, Washington, REI is a brand that knows a thing or two about fleece – material such as this one can come in very handy when you’re living in the Pacific Northwest.

Unlike the more basic REI-made fleeces such as the models from their Groundbreaker lineup, the Hyperaxis 2.0 features a more performance-oriented and modern design. While it’s somewhat pricier than most REI in-house clothes, this jacket uses Polartec fleece, just like the Arc’Teryx model I’ve analyzed above (in this case, it’s the Polartec Power Stretch fleece). Once we combine this fabric with features such as thumb loops and low-profile seams, we get one of the most versatile, well-built, and good-looking fleece jackets for the money.

Just like the Delta MX Hoody (which I reviewed above) and Patagonia R1 TechFace (which I’ll analyze later), this model is also performance-oriented, stretchy, moisture-wicking, and has good breathability. However, these rivals offer better weather protection thanks to their hoods and robust shells. Still, Hyperaxis 2.0 is a more affordable solution that is bound to keep you cozy in all but the foulest weather conditions.


16. Mountain Hardwear High Loft Polartec

Mountain Hardwear High Loft Polartec

Features:

  • Polartec High Loft fleece
  • Hybrid style – casual/performance
  • Stretchy side panels
  • 1 chest pocket & 2 hand pockets

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Pros:

  • Impressively comfortable and soft
  • Easily resists shoulder-season chill
  • Great for high-output activities

Cons:

  • Sheds over time

Formerly known as the Monkey Man, the Mountain Hardwear High Loft Polartec jacket is undoubtedly one of the most popular products designed by this brand.

First of all, this sweater is among the softest fleeces in this roundup, as the fabric is made looks and feels almost like real fur. Moreover, the jacket provides enough warmth to keep the wind and winter at bay while staying relatively lightweight at the same time. And just like Patagonia’s uber-popular R2 jacket, which I’ll analyze next, this piece sports stretchy side panels that turn it into one of the best fleece jackets for biking and mountain climbing.

What are the disadvantages of this sweater? Fleece jackets do not offer the best protection against high winds – in gusty conditions. This jacket will protect only if combined with other clothes (use it as an outer layer or mid-layer). My only other complaint is that this is one of those fleeces that shed quite easily. But in terms of sheer coziness and comfort, Mountain Hardwear High Loft Polartec is one of the market’s best fleece jackets – there’s no question about that.


17. Patagonia R2 Jacket

Patagonia r2 fleece jacket

Features:

  • Hybrid style – casual/performance
  • Lightweight mid-layer
  • Minimalistic design
  • Versatile

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Pros:

  • A combo of performance R1 fabric & high-loft fleece
  • Exceptional breathability & freedom of movement
  • Low-weight fleece

Cons:

  • Not particularly water or wind-resistant

Here we have one of Patagonia’s best fleece jackets, a model with a hybrid-style (performance/casual) construction, and the go-to sweater for active outdoor pursuits for many people all over the world. As the name suggests, this is an upgrade of the popular Patagonia R1 model and a piece of clothing that definitely deserves a closer look.

This high-quality fleece sweater features a combo of gridded fabric on its side panels and high-loft fleece on the chest area and over the core of the jacket’s body. This hybrid-like construction is precisely what turns it into one of the best fleeces out there – it provides core warmth, breathability, freedom of movement, as well as low overall weight. To put it simply, it takes the best from both worlds and is a great option for both hiking and casual use.

An important thing to mention here is that many down or synthetic jackets provide similar warmth while being far more weather-resistant. However, it is true that the R2 Jacket sports a more casual design and breathes a lot better than most fleece jackets (this includes the Patagonia R1). While it’s not as well-made or useful as Patagonia’s popular TechFace model, it should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a casual/performance style fleece pullover with a low weight.


18. Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T

Patagonia lightweight fleece

Features:

  • Casual-style sweater fleece
  • Half-zip (buttons in this case)
  • Patagonia brand
  • Cozy & warm

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Pros:

  • A comfortable fleece mid-layer
  • Great for layering with other clothes
  • A fairly roomy fit

Cons:

  • No additional features

No roundup of the market’s best fleece jackets is complete without Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T. This sweater fleece is actually an amazingly versatile piece of outdoor apparel, despite its minimalistic appearance. So let’s take a closer look at it:

Although it’s ideal for outdoor adventures, you can also wear this fleece around town after a day of backcountry exploration. The model does not fit into the category of performance wear in any way, but thousands of people have pretty much no issues with embracing its casual appeal. As such, it is a cozy sweater that you shouldn’t expect a lot from in terms of extra bells and whistles.

Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T has only one pocket and features no panels of stretchy fabrics like the best fleece jackets money can buy today. Here, comfort is the name of the game – it’s a casual, mid-weight fleece jacket that you can wear whenever you need something that will provide you with warmth during your chilly-weather outing.


19. The North Face Denali 2

The North Face Denali 2

Features:

  • The North Face brand
  • Casual style
  • Thick fleece
  • Nylon panels

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Pros:

  • Tough and extremely cozy
  • A heavyweight but casual around-town fleece
  • Excellent standalone outer layer in chilly weather

Cons:

  • The weight of 1 lb 0.9 oz

TNF’s Denali range has been around for quite a while and is just as iconic as Patagonia’s Synchilla lineup. Both lines are top-rated in cold-climate urban areas, such as the Pacific Northwest and New England.

The most recent model in the Denali line is the North Face Denali 2, a jacket with a fleece material that is thicker than the one found in the previous models. As such, Denali 2 provides its wearer with more wind protection and warmth than most of the casual fleece and fleece-like garments in this roundup. It’s not as warm as a down jacket, but it comes pretty close.

Besides this thick fleece, whose job is to keep you cozy at all times, Denali 2 also features wind and water-resistant nylon panels on the chest, hood, and shoulders.

Even though it doesn’t compare to a rain jacket, I appreciate the jacket’s water-resistant features.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that the North Face Denali 2 is among the bulkiest jackets on this list, with a weight of 1 pound and 0.9 ounces. While this means that it provides its wearer with a fair amount of warmth, Denali 2 is also quite difficult to store away in a pack. Still, you can wear this model as your only outer layer in chilly autumn weather and during early winter days.


20. Arc’teryx Delta LT

Arc’teryx Delta LT

Features:

  • Arc’Teryx brand
  • Premium 100-weight fleece
  • Exceptionally low weight
  • Relaxed fit

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Pros:

  • A phenomenal mix of casual & performance features
  • Eye-catching style – one of the best-looking fleeces out there
  • Remarkable breathability & low weight

Cons:

  • Expensive for not a lot of warmth

Most all-around performance and around-town fleeces favor casual users. However, the model I’m about to analyze here flips these priorities – the Delta LT sweater fleece is a low-weight mid-layer that you can still wear in urban surroundings due to its phenomenal looks.

Using premium 100-weight fleece and featuring a soft-touch interior and gridded-finish exterior, this mid-layer breathes in terms of breathability and moisture removal. The performance side of Delta LT is evident in its weight – only 9.3 ounces. However, the model is still equipped with pockets and sports a more relaxed fit than the previous iterations.

This Arc’Teryx jacket is certainly a great alternative to many casual-leaning models from this roundup as a performance layer. It works great for layering and is a fantastic choice for activities such as backcountry skiing or shoulder-season climbing. Its only major downside is the high price, but that’s something you can expect when buying an Arc’Teryx garment.


21. Patagonia R1 TechFace Hoody

patagonia techface fleece

Features:

  • Weather-resistant
  • Weight of 13.8 ounces
  • 3-way adjustable hood
  • Slim fit

Check Price on Backcountry 

Pros:

  • Very tough and weather-protective
  • Increased breathability and mobility
  • Very comfortable

Cons:

  • Not for casual users

When it comes to high-output activities in cold weather, many people prefer synthetic-insulated or softshell jackets. However, performance fleeces have a pretty loyal following, too – and for a good reason.

Patagonia’s extremely popular R1 TechFace Hoody is a great example of how well these garments work for activities such as hiking and climbing. What’s more, this sweater can also be used as a fully functional mid-layer for skiing. Like most garments of this type, the R1 TechFace Hoody excels in terms of breathability but can also protect its user from the elements with its 3-way adjustable hood and DWR face fabric.

Those looking for a fleece hoody that they will wear only around town will find that this model is too “jacket-like.” However, for the right people, the R1 TechFace Hoody is a complete package. If you’re looking for a fleece that is similar to this one but has a more casual appeal, make sure to check out Arc’Teryx Covert Cardigan (No. 7 on this list).


22. Fjallraven Keb Fleece

Fjallraven Keb Fleece

Features:

  • Casual/performance hybrid
  • Quality materials
  • Extra durable
  • Moisture-wicking

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Pros:

  • High-end look & feel
  • Retains body heat and wicks away moisture
  • Reinforced shoulder panels & hood

Cons:

  • Expensive

If you ever had a chance to wear one of the Fjallraven garments before, you know what you can expect from their Keb Fleece.

Like most other fleeces made by this brand, this one also sports a premium look and feel that many other companies are trying to emulate. For the construction, Fjallraven utilizes a special wool and polyester blend that can and will keep you toasty in winter-like conditions. However, this fleece is also quite stretchy and has moisture-wicking properties. In short, it’s a fleece that is both capable and good-looking – and that’s not easy to achieve.

Two features I particularly liked are the well-made hood and the reinforced shoulder panels – these turn the model into a suitable choice for layering during winter hikes. However, all of these features and the model’s attractive, clean look come at a price – this fleece is not the best option for those on a budget.


23. Kuhl Interceptr Fleece

kuhl fleece jacket

Features:

  • Relatively affordable
  • 4 pockets
  • Thumbholes
  • Full-zip

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Pros:

  • Reasonable price
  • Solid-value casual layer
  • Lots of storage space

Cons:

  • Doesn’t handle winter cold that well

Many people who had a chance to wear this fleece have only words of praise for it. In a way, this fleece looks and feels like a budget-oriented variant of the Arc’Teryx Covert Cardigan (No. 7 on this list).

For a relatively affordable price, this fleece offers an athletic fit with lots of storage space (the model is equipped with 4 pockets). There are a couple of additional features, with the most important one being 5-panel sleeves with thumbholes. These will keep your hands cozy, and you’ll never have to worry about sleeves not staying in place.

While it stands as one of the best choices for use in the spring and fall seasons, the Kuhl Interceptr is not the best choice for those who often hike in winter. While it layers well, the model doesn’t handle the cold that well once the temperature drops. Remember that Patagonia’s popular Better Sweater costs only around $10 more and provides its wearer with more warmth while still sporting a similar style.


Best Fleece Jacket Buying Guide

Man wearing a fleece jacket

When it comes to buying the best fleece jacket you can afford, (we all have limits), you need to make sure the one you purchase does everything you need it to. If you buy a fleece jacket that doesn’t have your desired features, you may not want to take it with you when you go hiking and camping. Therefore, you must choose a fleece jacket that ticks all the boxes.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what you need to be on the watch for when you’re buying one.

Fleece Warmth

A fleece is there to keep you warm; however, you may want to refrain from buying the warmest fleece available. If you buy one that’s too thick, you may find that you’re too warm.

If you need such a super warm layer, you might be better off buying a down jacket.

The good news is that wearing more than a few layers can keep you cozy without being too hot. What’s more, if you do get a little too hot, you can always take one of those layers off. Finally, look for a classic fleece that’s not too heavy, as it’ll be ideal if you intend to wear multiple layers.

Related:

Weight

The weight of the fleece determines its thickness and the material’s loft. Therefore, the higher the number, the warmer the fleece will be. There are 3 different weights of fleece, 100 lightweight, 200 midweight, and 300 heavyweights.

Lightweight fleeces are ideal if you are going to be active in a cold environment. They also tend to be quite breathable.

Midweight fleeces work as an outer layer, but they can also be part of many layers. Fleeces such as these are quite breathable, but they’re also slightly warmer.

Heavyweight fleeces are ideal if you want one layer to retain your body’s warmth when it’s cold outside. However, they can be quite bulky and take up just a little too much room.

Breathable

Hiker in a red fleece jacket

A fleece jacket’s breathability can greatly impact how comfortable you are when you wear it. As your body temperature rises, you will ideally be wearing a fleece that allows your sweat to move away from the surface of your skin. This will help you stay warm and dry.

Anti-Pill

Anti-pill fleece jackets have been treated to ensure that small balls of thread do not appear on the fabric’s surface. You often see threads such as these when a garment has been washed and dried multiple times. Affected garments aren’t usually as warm as those that have anti-pill properties.

Hoods

A good hood can make fleece jackets a lot more versatile. However, some can also cause discomfort around the neck, as they tend to bunch up. It may, therefore, be better to opt for a fleece jacket that does not have a hood.

Thumb loops

Some people love fleece jackets that come with thumb loops, whereas others detest them. Thumb loops are ideal for helping to keep the garment in place while adding extra warmth. In addition, the thumb loops work by forcing the sleeves to extend down to the palm or the wrist. This prevents them from riding up the arm while you’re active.

The Conclusion

There are some great fleece jackets on the market these days, but finding the right one for you isn’t always easy. I hope you have found at least a few fleece jackets you like the look of from the list above. I also hope that knowing what to look out for will help you choose the best fleece jacket for you.

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