The Best Fleece Jackets of 2020-2021-Buyer’s Guide

Best Fleece Jacket of 2020-2021Best Fleece Jackets are most important for man and women’s to ware in winter. It is a common item of w+inter clothes. There are many kinds of Fleece Jackets in the market. So we have created a list of best Fleece Jackets that will help you find the best most popular Fleece Jackets for women .You can buy best swimsuit set from here too. We also reviewed On Best laptop, Best Camera, 3d printing pen, Best Speaker, Best Tablet Etc.

Out Top 6 Best Fleece Jackets for 2020-2021 To Buy Now.

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Best Fleece Jacket Reviews 2020-2021 – List

The Best Fleece Jacket-2020 Reviews

Best Jacket For Women

1.Best Overall:Tanming Women’s Coat Jacket

Read Reviews-OMG I LOVE THIS JACKET! Totally surprised and the look, fit and feel! Seems like so many times things are super small or tight, etc but this jacket was PERFECT! I browsed many, many moto jackets on Amazon and settled on this one. I am beyond excited with this purchase. I normally wear a Medium to Large shirt and a Large jacket (I’m broad-shouldered) so for this I ordered one size up to XL and the fit is perfect with either a cami or a light to medium weight sweater underneath. I know I’m raving…but I really must say again, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this jacket!


  • 100% POLYURETHANE(Shell) 100% POLYESTER(Lining)
  • Hand wash cold/ Lining turned out and dry shade
  • Black/ Colorful leather coat and slim pattern
  • Slant zipper design and two side pockets with zippers
  • Big special collar and four rivets on the collar
  • Short pattern design and made in China
  • Stitching leather coat with good tailoring/ please check the Product description of size chart before your order

2.Best Budget:Wantdo Men’s Fleece Jacket

Best Fleece Jacke For Men

Warm, waterproof, windproof and wear resisting.

The super soft fleece lining and cotton padding will make you warm during cold days. The waterproof coated fabric is suitable for rainy or misty weather. Unique design like elastic cuffs with stretchable thumb holes, windproof powder skirt, adjustable hood and hem can keep the wind out effectively.

Wantdo waterproof ski jackets are perfect for casual and outdoor activities like snowboarding, skiing, mountaineering, skating, traveling, camping, hiking.


  • Warm Fabric: Professional water repellent coated, fleece liner and durable fabric with 1200g cotton padding which guarantees the best heat retention. Relaxed-fit style with quick-dry material.
  • Waterproof: Water-repellent rain jacket can work under over 10000mm pressure head. Keep your body always dry and comfortable when you are outside, also can fights bad rainy or misty weather.
  • Windproof: 1) Adjustable cuffs, stretchable glove with thumb hole help seal in warmth. 2) Inside windproof snap powder skirt, internal drawcord hem, detachable and adjustable storm hood help to keep wind out. 3) Wear resisting soft shell is highly wind resistant.
  • Multi Pockets: 2 zippered hand pockets, 1 zippered chest pocket (passport or cards stowed), 1 internal pocket, 1 internal secure media pocket. An earphone line fastening and supporting fixture available inside the jacket.
  • Size notes: Jacket offers a standard fit. Please choose by US size.
  • Best use: Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowsports and other winter outdoor sports.

Best Fleece Jacket For Winter

3.Best For men:ARC’TERYX Fleece Jacket

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A performance fleece jacket with a heathered, casual style, the Covert Cardigan is the go-to piece for daily adventures. Alpine inspired and highly functional, the jacket has clean lines and a relaxed fit. Engineered to provide the versatility, warmth, and comfort of a technical fleece, the Covert Cardigan is an approachable technical jacket with the elegant look of wool.


  • Fleece^Polyester^Wool
  • Imported
  • Alpenex Heathered 100% Polyester. A brushed-back knit polyester fabric that looks like a wool sweater, but it is engineered to provide the versatility, warmth, and comfort of a technical fleece.. Breathable. Quick-drying.
  • Flatlock seams lie flat for added comfort. No-lift gusseted underarms. Full-front zip.
  • Stretch-knit cuffs. Laminated sleeve pocket with a laminated zip. Two hand pockets with laminated zippers.
  • Fit: Relaxed Fit, Hip Length. Weight: 530 g / 1 lbs., 2.7 oz.. Care:.
  • Machine wash in cold water.. Hang to dry.. Do not use fabric softener..

4.Best For Women:Arc’teryx Fleece Jacket

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Arc’teryx Bottoms Size Chart Arc’teryx Tops Size Chart The Covert Cardigan is a stylish performance fleece that flies under the radar. Trim Fit is a motion-friendly fit with reduced fabric for minimal bulk. Alpenex Heathered™ fleece:• Brushed back increases surface area for improved warmth retention.• Specialized heather knit offers a sweater look with performance fleece properties. Laminated and glued zippers offer water-resistant protection. Stand collar. Full front zip. Stretch binding at the cuffs. Zip pocket at the left bicep. Zip hand pockets. Droptail hemline. Embroidered logo at the sleeve pocket. 100% polyester. Machine wash and line dry. Imported. Measurements: Length: 25 in Product measurements were taken using size SM. Please note that measurements may vary by size.

  • Fleece^Polyester
  • Made in USA or Imported
  • Arc’teryx Bottoms Size Chart

5.Best Overall:Patagonia mens Fleece Jacket

Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover - Men's

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It’s hard to move very far down this list without including the Synchilla Snap-T. This pullover is pretty much synonymous with the word “fleece,” and despite its simple appearance, can be a pretty versatile piece of gear. The Synchilla is easy to throw on before heading out for a walk or bike ride, and perfect for wearing out on the town after a day skiing. It’s definitely not performance oriented in any way, but people have had no problem embracing its casual slant.

Don’t expect a whole lot of features on the Patagonia Synchilla. The lack of pockets is one potential issue—aside from the famous snap chest pocket, of course—and you don’t get panels of fancy stretch fabrics or adjustments like some of the technical pieces. But it’s the fleece that matters here: soft, two-sided, extremely cozy fleece. Of the two available Synchilla versions, we like the lightweight best, which is about 4 ounces less than the regular but surprisingly thick and warm. And keep in mind that the Synchilla Snap-T has a fairly roomy fit, much more so than the Patagonia Better Sweater.

6. Best The North Face Denali 2 Jacket

Category: Casual
Weight: 24.7 oz.
Fleece weight: Heavyweight
Pockets: 2 hand, 2 chest
What we like: 300-weight fleece is warm and tough.
What we don’t: Fit is a little baggy for our taste.

The Denali line from The North Faceis best fleece jacket for 2020 to buy now

The Denali line from The North Face has been on the market for years and is right up there with the Patagonia Synchilla in terms of its iconic status (it’s particularly popular for urban use in cold climates like the East Coast of the United States). We love the heavyweight fabrics, which provide the most warmth and wind protection of any jacket on this list. The 300-weight fleece is thick and made to last, and the shoulders and chest feature nylon panels that resist light wind and moisture. For moderate fall and early winter days, the Denali 2 can be your only outer layer.

Keep in mind The North Face Denali 2 is the heaviest and bulkiest fleece on this list. At nearly 25 ounces and lacking in any real compression abilities, this is not a jacket that is easily stowed away in a pack. But most people don’t buy the Denali 2 for the backcountry, and it makes a really nice fleece for walking around the city, blocking wind, and providing warmth where others on this list will not. If you’re looking for a substantial and tough fleece jacket from a respected brand, this is it.


  • PolartecClassic 100 100% Polyester Micro Fleece 4.6 oz/yd
  • Imported
  • Bonded Zippered Sleeve Pocket
  • Warm fleece jacket is equally at home keeping you comfortable on mountain slopes or cozy on the couch
  • Polartec Classic fabrics are known for lightweight warmth and breathability; 100% polyester velour construction creates air pockets that trap air and retain body heat
  • Made of cushy Polartec fleece, with wind flap behind front zipper to block chilly drafts
  • Angel-Wing Movement means freedom of movement, without jacket riding up
  • Includes limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty

7.Best Quality:Marmot Reactor Fleece Jacket ($68)

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The best Marmot Reactor jacke is best seller jacket for men in 2020 to buy now.

Equally at home keeping you warm on mountain slopes or cozy on the couch, the Marmot Reactor jacket is made of cozy Polartec fleece, with a wind flap behind the front zipper to block chilly drafts. Angel-Wing Movement means absolute freedom of movement, without the jacket riding up, whether worn as a jacket or underneath a shell as a warm mid layer, and the jacket comes in a variety of colors to suit the setting.


  • Polartec Classic 100 Micro material
  • Flat lock construction
  • Zippered handwarmer pockets
  • Bonded zippered sleeve pocket
  • Wind flap behind front zipper with chin guard
  • Elastic draw cord hem for adjustability in serious weather
  • 27.75-inch center back length and 12.7-ounce weight

Polartec Material
Used by outdoor professionals for nearly three decades, Polartec Classic fabrics are renowned for lightweight warmth and breathability. The 100% polyester velour construction creates air pockets that trap air and retain body heat, maintaining insulating ability and non-pilling appearance after repeated laundering. These fabrics are available in a range of weights to provide the right level of insulation for most outdoor activities, and benefits of Polartec material include:

  • Warmth without the weight and bulk of traditional insulating fabrics
  • Breathability to provide comfort in all activities; does not restrict the movement of moisture vapor
  • Water repellence to shed rain and snow
  • Quick-drying durability
  • Machine washable versatility

Lifetime Warranty
Marmot products include a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

  • PolartecClassic 100 100% Polyester Micro Fleece 4.6 oz/yd
  • Imported
  • Bonded Zippered Sleeve Pocket
  • Warm fleece jacket is equally at home keeping you comfortable on mountain slopes or cozy on the couch
  • Polartec Classic fabrics are known for lightweight warmth and breathability; 100% polyester velour construction creates air pockets that trap air and retain body heat
  • Made of cushy Polartec fleece, with wind flap behind front zipper to block chilly drafts
  • Angel-Wing Movement means freedom of movement, without jacket riding up
  • Includes limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty

8.Best Soft:Columbia Women’s Fleece Jacket

Columbia Women's Benton Springs Full-Zip Fleece JacketCheck Best Price

  • 100% Polyester
  • Imported
  • Zipper closure
  • Machine Wash
  • Full-zip long-sleeve fleece jacket in four-way comfort stretch fabrication featuring zippered pockets on front and sleeve

This is a very nice fleece jacket. It is what I consider to be a mid-weight, very warm jacket. I’m 5’6 and 125 lbs and I ordered both small and medium to pick which is the best fit (LOVE Amazon Prime that I get free shipping and returns). Most Columbia styles tend to be a little tight in the middle and extra big on top. However, with this jacket the small fit nicely in the middle but I felt the fabric bunched up under the armpits (a lot of seams come together with the side seam and both front and back princess seams). Not comfortable. So I kept the medium and can move comfortably while staying warm and stylish (one picture is of the medium and the other the small; if you can’t tell them apart it shows that looks was not compromised for comfort). I wish the sleeves had some elastic or binding on the bottom to help keep them out of the way since they are a little long, but I much prefer that than too short. Very happy with this purchase.

9.Best Full Zip:Columbia Men’s Fleece Jacket

Columbia Men's Granite Mountain Fleece JacketCheck Best Price

  • 100% Polyester
  • Imported
  • Zipper closure
  • Machine Wash
  • Front-zip fleece jacket with standing collar and logo at chest
  • On-seam zippered side-entry pockets

It’s the best jacket for the money. Soft, warm, professional yet casual, and simple. The Northface and Patagonia style ones are literally the exact same thing yet you pay $60 more for the brand. Columbia is even a great brand in and out of itself. I’ve had 4 of these jackets. 1 blue, 2 blacks, and 1 gray. The gray and 1 of my blacks are wearing out but I think I could still get a few more months out of them. These jackets last probably 3 years, 3 years in any weather condition, heat, cold, rain and snow. Amazon does not have the best price for these jackets but they do have the most reliable price. Meaning in store these jackets “on sale” (they’re always “on sale”) are $34.99, in TJ Max, Burlington, Marshalls, you can find these for $24.99. That’s where I look first. This time around they didn’t have the color I wanted (they typically always have black and gray) so I decided to order it now since I didn’t want to bite the bullet and wait until it got colder. They fit literally to whatever shirt size you would wear to where it’ not too big or too tight.

10.Best Seller:Columbia Men’s Fleece Jacket

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The Best Columbia Men’s Fuller Ridge Fleece Jacket isperfect for men to buy in 2020 now.

  • 100% Polyester Polartec Microfleece 200
  • Imported
  • Polartec 2 fleece
  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Full zip product
  • Polartec 200 fleece
  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Imported from Viet Nam

Made from warm and durable Polartec® fleece, the men’s Fuller Ridge Jacket provides toasty all-season comfort, with zippered hand pockets to securely stash your stuff. Polartec Microfleece 200 100% polyester. Zippered hand pockets. Center back length: 28″. Regular fit. Imported. Material: Fleece.

There are times when wearing a full jacket is too much. For those crisp morning temperatures or days that are cooler than expected, wearing a high-quality and protective fleece jacket offers men the perfect in-between and all-season solution. The Columbia Men’s Fuller Ridge Fleece Jacket is made from high-quality 100% polyester. This jacket features Polartec 200 fleece and microfleece 200 materials that retain heat and allow breathability, keeping you comfortable during colder weather conditions. The Columbia Men’s Fuller Ridge Fleece Jacket is perfect to wear on those chilly mornings or evenings when the sun sets early, at home, or as you travel.

The unique design and Polartec 200 fleece materials work together to retain heat and reduce the potential of cold temperatures seeping into the jacket. Columbia products are known for their durability, quality, and ability to hold up against constant use. This men’s fleece jacket is no exception and is designed to last. For added convenience, the Columbia Men’s Fuller Ridge Fleece Jacket provides toasty, all-season comfort, with zippered hand pockets that securely keep your personal items safe.

11.Best SHDAS Men’s Fleece Jacket

Quality materials and construction are important facets when it comes to making a great fleece jacket. Gone are the itchy/scratchy fleeces of the 1980s (or least, they should be). If the fabric isn’t soft or fluffy against the skin then everything else about the jacket is obsolete. Synthetic fleece was first created by a parent company of Polartec in the late 1970s. Since then, Polartec has remained one of the leading manufacturers of synthetic fleece, selling their material to such manufacturers as Patagonia, The North Face, and the ever classic L.L. Bean. They currently produce dozens of different kinds ranging from sheer and shiny to furry and bearlike, and almost every model that we tested in this review was made with a Polartec produced material.

12.Best Design:Columbia Sportswear Jacket

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Product description

We’ve added our patented thermal reflective technology to this classic winter Interchange jacket, delivering an even warmer winter weather fighter with layering options galore. The technical outer shell is waterproof breathable, with adjustability at the hood, hem and cuffs and the new zip-in fleece liner features thermal reflectivity, which reflects your body heat for warmth while maintaining a high level of breathability. Each piece works as an outer layer on its own during moderate conditions, or wear them together when you need the jacket’s full storm-fighting power.


  • Shell: 100% Nylon plain weave Ultra Touch. Lining: 100% Nylon 210T taffeta. Liner: 100% polyester Dotswarm fleece
  • Imported
  • Front-zip jacket featuring detachable storm hood and concealed placket
  • Flap, media and goggle pockets at chest with side-entry pockets on hips
  • Fleece zip-in jacket with front-zip closure and zippered pockets at sides
  • Flap, media and goggle pockets at chest with side-entry pockets on hips
  • Flap, media and goggle pockets at chest with side-entry pockets on hips

Best Men’s Waterproof Jacket

13.Best Wantdo Men’s Waterproof Jacket


  • Warm Fabric: Professional water repellent coated, a fleece liner and durable fabric with 2400g cotton padding which guarantees the best heat retention.
  • Zipper closure
  • Waterproof: Water-repellent rain jacket can work under over 10000mm pressure head. Keep your body always dry and comfortable when you are outside, also can fights bad rainy or misty weather.
  • Windproof: 1)Adjustable cuffs, stretchable glove with thumb hole help seal in warmth. 2)Inside windproof snap powder skirt,internal drawcord hem, and adjustable storm hood help to keep wind out. 3)Wear resisting soft and front-zip shell is highly wind resistant.
  • Multi Pockets: 1)2 waterproof zippered plus cross pockets(passport, cards or gadgets stowed). 2)Dual internal pockets, 1 internal secure media pocket, 1 zippered pocket. 3)An earphone line fastening & supporting fixture available inside the jacket.
  • Size notes: Shell jacket offers a standard fit. Please choose by US size.
  • Best use: The jacket can handle inclement weather easily, such as heavy fog, rainy or snow day. It’s best for downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowsports, mountaineering, hiking, journey, and the jacket is also best for other winter outdoor sports or various occasions.

Best winter jacket for 2020

14.Best ARSUXEO Winter Fleece Jacket

Designed for cold winter weather,front arewindproof and waterproof,inside fleece keep you warm during cycling,best material,black material is breathable and highly stetch,keep you comfortable during cycling,reflective brand logo and stripe keep you safe in darkness,zipper pocket for storage


  • Front of the jacket are Windproof waterproof,soft warm up fleece inside keep you warm in winter.
  • Reflective brand logo and stripe keep you safe in darkness
  • Zipper pocket and back pocket for safe storeage
  • 4-Way stretch fabric(black colour)on back and sleeves,with elastic and breathable function,keep you comfortable and dry when cycling.
  • Size runs small,choose 1 size bigger than your normal size.

– fits really well based on the size chart. I’m 5’8″ 145lbs and small was spot-on
– quality material and stitching with wind resistant fabric in all the right places
– fleece lining was exceptionally comfortable. I started the ride with a thin base layer with a light summer short sleeve jersey and was too warm. So I removed the jersey at the half way point and was very comfortable for the remainder of the ride
– the collar design is really well done in that it keeps the wind out while feeling very comfortable
– similar to the collar, the elastic sleeve cuffs are also comfortable while being effective in keeping out cold air
– the 3 rear pockets are large and can hold a lot of stuff including my personal belongings, a banana, and my summer jersey I removed at the half way point


  • Waterproof: Water-repellent jacket can keep your body dry and warm ,so it can also fights for bad weather, such as rainy,misty.
  • Windproof: 1)Detachable and adjustable hood help to keep wind out.2)Inside windproof lining help to keep wind out.3)Adjustable cuffs with Velcro.4)Durable shell is perfectly resist the wind.
  • Excellent Abrasion Resistance and Durability:High-qualified Fabric guarantees its durability.
  • Warm and Breathable Material: Professional waterproof fabric , fleece lining and wear-resisting fabric which guarantees the heat retention well. Soft and breathable fabric make you feel free outdoors.
  • Occasion :Best for winter outdoor activities: skiing, skating,snowboarding, hiking, camping, cycling, mountaineering.
Today’s fleece are soft, fluffy, and breathable, with well thought out features and stylish designs.

These days, it’s increasingly common to see these synthetic materials advertised as being made with mostly recycled materials. It’s quite amazing that a hard soda bottle can be somehow manipulated into the soft and cozy “fur” that we love to wear. Like many other synthetic fabrics, this fabric is manufactured through a process that involves petroleum derivatives. A malleable compound called PET is created that can be formed into many different materials depending on the desired outcome. It can be shaped and allowed to harden into such end products as plastic to-go boxes or soda bottles, or it can be extruded into fine fibers which are knitted to form the material that we know and love.

This material keeps you warm by trapping warm air in the tiny little pockets that are formed between the threads throughout the fabric. Since fleece is derived from petroleum, it is naturally hydrophobic, and the threads do not absorb water. This is a huge advantage over other material, such as down, which loses its insulative properties when wet. This advantage makes it a versatile material that is suitable for all sorts of outdoor pursuits in both wet and dry conditions. However, its hydrophobic qualities have historically resulted in one significant downside: it has trouble allowing sweat to escape.

Early models felt stifling when worn for high exertion activities and were unsuitable for any activity that caused significant sweating. Anyone who has gone on a hike in one of these early models will attest to this sweltering feeling. In recent years, manufacturers have made huge strides in producing fabric that is both highly warm and seriously breathable. Improvements in fabric patterns and design have made fleeces not only a viable option for high exertion activities, but often the preferred choice. In fact, even lower end modern models are significantly more breathable than the top products of past generations. We’ll discuss below all the different attributes, including breathability, that you’ll want to look for in a fleece jacket.



When buying a fleece jacket, one of the main objectives it must fulfill is keeping you warm. However, a lot of people make the mistake of reaching for the warmest possible model on the rack. If you only plan to use it for sitting around the campfire on cold nights, then, by all means, pick the warmest one you can find, like The North Face Denali 2. If, like most of us, you plan on using it for active pursuits, then consider something that is not quite as warm but works as part of a layering system. When you wear several layers of clothing in the outdoors, you have options to remove or add layers based on exertion levels or changes in the weather. If you only have one extra warm fleece jacket, you may find yourself in a situation where wearing it is too much, but not wearing it is too little. For more information on this topic, check out our Introduction to Layered Clothing Systems article. In general, the weight and thickness of the material largely determine its warmth, which brings us to our next section.

Thin, lighter weight fleeces like the one shown here breathe and layer better than heavier fleece.


As a general guideline, fleece material is categorized into the following weight classes:

<100 g/m² = ultralight
100 g/m² = lightweight
200 g/m² = midweight
300 g/m² and up = heavyweight

While weight does go hand in hand with warmth, the loft or fluffiness of the fabric will also make a difference as fluffy fibers have more air pockets to trap more heat. A heavy, tightly woven model like The North Face FuseForm Progressor Hoodie did not provide the same amount of warmth as a lighter high-loft model like the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Grid II.

We like using lightweight models, like the Marmot Reactor, when we need a light layer for active days or as a mid-layer under another fleece or shell jacket in frigid conditions. Lightweight models are more breathable, and provide adequate warmth for active pursuits, but not enough warmth for colder weather.

The lightweight contenders. Clockwise: The Marmot Reactor, The Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody, and the Patagonia R1 Hoody

Midweight fleeces are some of the most versatile layers out there. They work well as outer layers during a wide range of cool temperatures, but can also be incorporated into your layering system. Some, like our Editors’ Choice Patagonia R3 Hoody, are highly breathable and can still be worn during active, high energy activities. These fleeces are beneficial in just about every temperature range that you’d want a warm layer in. Heavyweight models are the least versatile of all the thicknesses. They are less breathable and bulkier than the thinner options and have limited use. However, they do work well as stand alone layers in much cooler temperatures. They also do well in a light rain, and the thicker fabric helps to block the wind more than do thinner models.

Our selection of midweight fleeces, Clockwise: The North Face FuseForm Progressor Hoodie, The Patagonia R3 Hoody, The Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody, The Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Grid II, The Columbia Steens Mountain 2.0, The Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody


This is an important consideration when buying any piece of outdoor clothing that you plan on being active in. We all generate sweat, but no one wants to hang out in their own puddle of it every day. In fleece jackets of old, the sweat would bead up on the inside of the material and then start to trickle down your arms or back — not the best feeling. Today’s options are much improved though, and manufacturers have gone out of their way to try and make this material more breathable.

The primary method of adding breathability to a fleece jacket is to utilize a variation in the thickness or loft of the fabric to create certain key areas of high breathability while retaining a high degree of high warmth in others. This method is used in hybrid models like the Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody, which has side and underarm panels made of thinner stretchy fabric that is very different from the tight-knit fleece that makes up the front and back of the jacket. This effectively increases the breathability by allowing sweat to escape from the most critical area — under the armpits — while the rest remains cozy and warm.

Thin panels under the arms increase the Better Sweater’s breathability.

Another method that maximizes breathability is variability in fabric thickness, which comes on a more micro (and less obvious) level. This method is commonly found in “grid” style models that appear smooth from the outside but looks like a checkerboard from the inside with many thin “channels” in between the thicker squares. Each of these channels provides a small gap between the material and your skin which allows sweat to evaporate naturally. It is then transported through the thin fabric of the channel and vented to the outside. Grid fleece jackets, like the Patagonia R1 Hoody, our Top Pick for Breathability, are the best options for aerobic activities on chilly days.

The grid pattern on the Patagonia R1 Hoody creates hundreds of tiny channels to move moisture and keep you cool.

Weather Resistance

The downside to increasing a material’s breathability is that it can make it less resistant to wind and water. This is a problem if you plan on wearing it as an outer layer in inclement weather. Some models, like the Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody, are made with a “hardface technology” fleece that does a decent job of blocking the wind. The “hardface” is a special polymer that is fused to the outside of the fabric, making it smooth but still flexible. This shell provides a barrier against wind and a light rain (more on that below). Other “windproof” jackets utilize “Windstopper” fabric in their construction. This is a three layer bonded material that includes an outer microfleece, middle “Windstopper” membrane, and an inner knit.

While these technologies are getting better at blocking the wind while remaining breathable, our testing confirmed that these jackets inevitably end up far less breathable than their non-wind-resistant counterparts. We believe the combination of a highly breathable fleece jacket and a wind jacket or hardshell jacket is a significantly more versatile and efficient system than simply trying to force a fleece to be windproof. If you intend on wearing a fleece solely as a top layer for around-town use and do not require a high level of breathability, then a wind resistant model is a good choice and worth looking into.

The “hardface” technology on the Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody make it more weather resistant than softer, more breathable models.

Some models might also be sprayed with a protective coating to increase water resistance. (Generally, this is seen on sheer, wind resistant products, as it wouldn’t make sense to spray a water-beading treatment onto a furry high-loft model.) The thick The North Face Denali 2 has a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment, causing light rain to bead up on the surface of the fleece where it can easily be shaken off. These treatments can be somewhat effective when the jacket is new and you only plan on being outside for a short period in a light rain. But, if the rain is going to be at all heavy, a fleece is not a suitably impermeable layer. No matter how extensively treated, this type of fleece jacket should never be thought of as a replacement for a hardshell or rain jacket.

This jacket was the second most weather resistant model behind the North Face Denali 2. Light precip beaded up and rolled off the “hardface” exterior of this fleece.


Gear manufacturers are constantly redesigning and modifying jackets by adding and changing features. It can sometimes make your head spin to try to understand whether certain features are legitimately useful or simply marketing tricks aimed at attracting attention. There are, however, a few key features that can seriously elevate the performance of a fleece when properly designed and constructed.

Handwarmer pockets, chest pockets, and hem cinches are just some of the useful features to consider when buying a fleece jacket.


Hoods add a lot of versatility to any jacket. They give you the option of increasing warmth without any decrease in breathability. While it’s not true that you lose “70 percent of your body heat from your head,” keeping your head warm does add a lot to your overall feeling of warmth. Some models on the market today have innovative combination hood/balaclavas. As there are few things in life as miserable as a cold face and numb ears, it is easy to appreciate this innovation when the mercury really drops. The Arc’teryx Fortrez has a unique hood system, with a fold out balaclava that is warm when deployed but craftily tucks away into the hood when not in use. There are certainly situations where a hood is more of a nuisance than an advantage, though. If you’re looking for something to wear under a rain or ski jacket, it’s annoying to have the extra fabric of a hood bunching up at the back of your neck. For these situations, a hoodless model is more comfortable and less cumbersome. Overall, we think that hooded models, specifically those with fitted hoods, offer the highest level of versatility and usefulness for everyday users.


Pockets are the most basic of all features. Nearly every fleece on the market has some configuration of handwarmer and/or chest pockets. The ideal arrangement of pockets really depends on the intended use. For activities like rock climbing, it is typically better not to have handwarmer pockets as they feel weird and obtrusive under a harness. However, they are nice to have around town, as they provide a convenient location to place your hands and are a welcomed feature on freezing days when you aren’t wearing gloves. Chest pockets are nearly essential, as they allow easy access to important items when wearing a pack or outer layer. Some models even have arm pockets, which aren’t great for carrying too much weight but are the perfect place to put a music player or ID.

Thumb Loops

Thumb loops are a somewhat divisive feature. Some people love the feeling of sleeves extending down to mid-palm, while others hate the look and don’t understand the appeal. Most testers found this feature comfortable and useful on lightweight models that are used for aerobic activity. It’s a nice way to keep sleeves from riding up while jogging without having to add excessively tight elastic to the cuffs. They are also great to have for activities like ice climbing, where you swing tools above your head and would likely prefer to keep snow from falling down your sleeves. Otherwise, they are mostly a matter of personal preference as opposed to a performance must-have.

If you have relatively long arms to the rest of your body size, look for a model with thumb loops. The arms will be cut longer than normal to reach down the hand. While the length might not be long enough for you to actually use the thumb loops, at least you won’t have your sleeves ride up to your elbows whenever you reach your arms overhead.

Elastic Hem

Some models like the Marmot Reactor come with a cinch cord at the waist to help you seal in warmth and block out wind or snow. This is great for certain applications, like snow sports, but might create pressure points when worn under a climbing harness or backpack’s waistbelt. Best to consider first what you intend to use it for before committing to this specific feature.

Fit and Style

As we all have different shapes and sizes, it is impossible to recommend any one piece as the best fitting model on the market. The best way to find a properly fitting layer is by trying on numerous models and comparing them side-by-side. However, our individual reviews will give you a good idea of the general fit of each model in our test. In the following paragraphs, we will take you through a few of the key criteria to keep in mind when searching for an optimally fitting fleece jacket.

Length of Torso

The length of a jacket’s torso is important to look at not only because it determines whether it will fit tall people, but also because it determines whether it will work under a backpack or harness. It is unbelievably annoying to go climbing in an ill-fitting jacket that slowly comes untucked as you climb. There is a constant urge to tug the layer down, which is made worse when you reach down to grab a piece of gear, only to find that the jacket has come completely untucked and fallen over your gear loop. Not a great situation. Luckily, most manufacturers have figured this out and unless you are exceedingly tall, there is surely a model of adequate length on the market. The Black Diamond CoEfficient features a long torso.

Length of Sleeves

The length of the sleeves is also an important factor that affects overall usefulness and comfort. Short sleeves can be unsightly at best and sacrifice much of your warmth at worst. As we mentioned before, models with thumb loops have slightly longer sleeves to accommodate half-palm coverage when the loops are in use. Wrist elastic is also an important feature for active models to have. An active jacket is more versatile if the sleeves can be rolled up to the elbow. As a general rule, we find that wide wrist elastic tends to be more effective and comfortable than narrow. If you want a functional climbing or active layer, look for a long slim model with wide wrist elastic and long sleeves.


One final important feature of every fleece jacket is its aesthetic appeal. No one wants to purchase something that looks drabby or fits like a poncho. Early models were generally baggy fitting with unflattering cuts. Luckily, manufacturers have caught on to the trend of stylish fleeces and now many models on the market are at least somewhat stylish, though some still retain their “technical” look. For many people, their primary use will be for around town casual wear. If this is the intended use, style should be a large part of your decision-making process. In reality, if you only plan on wearing your fleece jacket around town, all the technical features in the world will prove much less important than a proper fit and flattering cut.

A properly fitting fleece jacket will keep you warm and covered without restricting your movements.


Some outdoor manufacturers, like The North Face and Patagonia, use recycled soda bottles to produce “new material.” In addition, Patagonia takes in old garments through their recycling program and turns them into new fluffy offerings. They’ve even gone so far as to say “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” and instead are encouraging their customers to have their old stuff repaired first instead of buying new stuff. As outdoor enthusiasts, it is constantly tempting to purchase the newest and greatest gear as things continue to evolve and improve. But we also want to minimize our impact on the planet and help keep those places we love to recreate in pristine. Your best bet is to buy a quality product in the first place, treat it well, stitch and patch up those holes, and when it truly can’t be worn any longer, send it off for recycling.

Types of Fleece Jackets

The different options when it comes to fleece jackets are as follows:

Lightweight — this type is the most versatile for technical outdoor pursuits. While they might not offer much in terms of warmth, they should be breathable and work as part of a layering system for use in a wide range of weather conditions and activities. Ideally, products in this category are slim fitting, layer easily and breathe well. Our testers prefer hoods on this type of jacket or pullover.

Midweight — this type is ideal for use as a mid-layer on cold winter days or as a stand alone jacket in milder temps or around town. Products in this category provide a great blend of performance and style for technical and general use. Some might have a hood and others might not, but if you plan to use it under a ski jacket then it’s preferable to not have a hood, particularly if you use a helmet.

Heavyweight — this type is ideal for casual, around-town or camp use. They often weigh more than one pound and are expensive, heavy and bulky for their warmth. Products in this category tend to be too bulky to layer effectively, which limits their usefulness. However, they are quite comfortable and can be the perfect option for cold nights around the campfire or as a fall/spring jacket in the city.


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