If you are looking for a quality jacket that can be worn in cooler months, you have likely considered opting for fleece. This is because this soft material has so many benefits including superior insulation. The lightweight design offers a low profile look while producing high quality thermal benefits. The best fleece jackets are easy to find as they are so popular that you will face no shortage of options.
To help you find the best warm fleece jacket we have put together a list of the best ones available in today’s market. All of these jackets incorporate high quality construction and are sure to make colder months much more bearable.
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
How To Choose The Best Fleece Jacket – Buying Guide
You may mistakenly think that all fleece jackets are made equally. As it is a synthetic material, this is very much not the case. It is important that the option you choose is crafted using only top quality materials.
Before looking to buy your next jacket, we recommend you do some research to make sure that the option you choose is the best one for you.this includes knowing the different features to look for as well as looking through the many fleece jacket reviews to find an option that is good for you.
Fleece is one of the warmest materials you can get. It is made from polyester to create a thick and well insulated jacket. In fact, it is nearly as warm as wool without the added weight and scratchy feeling. Fleece also won’t retain water which makes jackets made from this material great for survival situations. How the material is woven can affect the feel and warmth of the jacket. For example, a tighter weave will create a warmer jacket and keep the heat better than a more loose technique.
This material is a happy medium when it comes to weight. It is much lighter than materials like wool but can be heavier than cotton. But this is expected when you’re getting a jacket for colder conditions. A super lightweight jacket won’t have the insulation or thickness needed to keep you warm. Fleece isn’t overly heavy while providing you a great amount of insulation.
This may not be a huge priority to most people looking for a fleece jacket but can come in handy. Being able to have different pockets for your belongings will allow you to keep more sensitive items separate from others. For example, the screen of your smartphone can scratch easily so having a separate pocket for your loose change and keys will be ideal.
Some jackets come with upwards of 7 or 8 pockets that allow you to store items based on your needs. For example, you can have your keys in your waist pocket while your wallet can be in a pocket that sits along your sleeve. This will allow you to have fast access to your most important, or most used items.
This may be the most important part of any jacket. If it doesn’t keep you warm why bother wearing it. There are many ways companies can increase the warmth of their jackets. One way is by having insulation layers throughout the jacket. Some companies use a different weave of polyester on the inside to make it comfortable and warmer.
You should keep in mind what you’re going to be using the jacket for as well. If you are planning on hiking or being active you’ll need a much less warm jacket than if you were less active. If you are not planning on being as active you’ll definitely need more insulation and a warmer jacket to ensure you stay warm.
Fleece keeps you warm by keeping the warmth from your body inside the jacket. When your body warms up you can start sweating which is what you want to avoid. This can cause you to get your clothes wet which can, in turn, make you colder in the long run.
To avoid this, companies try to make their jackets breathable. This will mean the fabric heats you up but allows the moisture to escape through the material without it getting wet. What makes this hard is to not allow wind to enter the jacket – defeating the purpose of wearing it. To combat this, companies add a layer to the inside to keep the moisture away from your body.
This is the hardest factor to incorporate into fleece jackets. Companies try to make their fleece jackets as breathable as possible which doesn’t help the weather resistance. They have started adding insulation and more material to the inside of the jacket which will block the elements like wind and rain but also keep your body heat against your body. Some jackets will come with a coating that repels water. If you’ve found a jacket that you like but it doesn’t have the best weather resistance you can pair it with an outer shell that can block the wind and rain.
Fleece is one of those unique fabrics that water beads on top of but once soaked through holds water in the fibers. This makes your jackets waterlogged and can make drying take quite a bit of time. When drying fleece, you will want to avoid your drying machine. Instead, we recommend always hanging your fleece to dry. This will prevent it from shrinking and also work to avoid any pilling that may happen in the dryer. Hanging to dry may take a lot longer, but it will greatly lengthen the lifespan of your coat. If you do need to dry, make sure to do so on low heat.
If you are going to be in a cold climate you will want to layer your clothes and jackets. A fleece jacket is a perfect layer for this. But you’ll want to plan accordingly. If you are planning on layering your fleece jacket you’ll want to ensure it’s not too bulky. It’s best to have thin layers that you can take off or add depending on the temperature and your warmth. If you have only 2 layers, it can be much harder to find the ideal temperature since both layers can be too warm and one layer can be too cold. Having many allow you to find the ideal temperature without sacrifice.
You will want a jacket that fits perfectly. This can be hard if you’re shopping for a jacket online as you can’t try it on. To combat this companies usually include the specific measurements for their jackets. You can then measure your dimensions and compare it to the sizing chart. This usually involves measuring your chest, arms and waist to get the measurements.
Keep in mind that if you’re going to layer the jacket you’ll have to plan accordingly for the added room you will need. Taking time to ensure you get the perfect fit is important as it plays a big role in how well the jacket will work for you. A coat that is too loose will allow air to get through while too tight can cause underlying layers to bunch up.
The added features that your jacket comes with will be the difference between a good and a great coat. We recommend deciding on what features you are looking for first and use that to help guide your decision.
A hood is one of the most important features that can really transform a jacket. You will not want to underestimate the power a hood can have, especially in cold and windy conditions. A lot of heat is lost through the head and neck. Having a hood is a good way to seal the insulation by protecting wind from traveling down your neck and back. It also provides protection from the rain. On the downside, if you plan to layer your fleece, having a hood can make it difficult.
In terms of insulation, jackets with thumb holes are a newly popular feature to consider. This look is typically more popular amongst a younger crowd but has many advantages. Having longer sleeves that extend down your fingertips works to keep you warmer without having to wear gloves. They are also ideal with gloves as they allow your sleeves to stay in place when putting on gloves ensuring that no wind can get through.
In terms of insulation, there are other ways to ensure you stay as warm as possible. Drawstrings are a great way to pull your jacket tighter and reduce the amount of air that can reach your skin. As a bonus, this will also help to give you some control of the fit of the fleece. Cuffed sleeves also control the breathability.
You will also want to think of storage. This is especially true if you want to use your fleece for active trips such as on hikes. It is also good to consider this for simple trips to the dog park or anywhere else. Pockets allow you to bring along some gear with you such as snacks or your phone. Some jackets will come with zippered pockets that allow your gear to stay secure. Some even go the extra mile by making pockets on the inside and outside of your coat.
Lastly, if you are thinking about layering your jacket, you may want to consider one with a full front zipper as opposed to the pullover design. This aids in ventilation as you can simply unzip or fully zip depending on the temperature.
One of the main draws to this material is how durable it can be. While fleece isn’t technically waterproof by nature, it does cause liquids to naturally bead on top of it. This is ideal for the fact that it naturally has stain resistant technology. This will go a long way in ensuring your jacket looks new for longer.
The main downfall to how durabile this material can be is that it is known to pill. This can cause your coat to show some wear, especially in the armpits and any area that is prone to rubbing. While many companies are making the efforts to solve this issue, the real results will come with proper care of your fleece. This can easily be done by avoiding putting your fleece in the dryer.
There are a few different types of fleece that you should be aware of before getting too far in your search. You may think that all forms of fleece are made the same but in reality, this isn’t the case. The type of fleece you choose should depend on the temperatures you plan to be in as well as the activity level you plan to partake in. You will need a heavier fleece when watching soccer games in the winter than you will when hiking in the spring. The three types include lightweight, midweight and textured fleece.
The lightest fleece that has a wide range of use is the Microfleece. This is a very thin and lightweight material that is ideal for layering. This type of fleece tends to work for year round use making it an excellent option. The thin design can easily accommodate layers going on top of it in the winter. It can also translate into a comfortable outer shell on days that are a bit warmer.
Microfleece is especially popular amongst athletes and those who enjoy brisk exercise such as backpackers. As the material is quite a bit thinner in design, it is also much more breathable. This allows for the jacket to have moisture wicking components that are ideal for those who plan on sweating quite a bit while wearing this. The lightweight and low profile design of this material tends to also be quite popular amongst this group of people.
Midweight fleece is what we focused most on in this article. This type of material is most ideal for those who are planning to do a moderate amount of movement but focused more on the insulating benefits of this type of material. Midweight fleece is more of your everyday material as it offers a bit more insulation while not being overly bulky.
This heavier alternative works to trap in your body heat helping you to remain warm despite crisp conditions. This material has all the benefits of heavier winter coats while still being an incredibly soft and cozy option. Midweight fleece is an excellent option for those that plan to go on short hikes or walks. This is because the heavier material is warm while still being breathable this allows it to keep its moisture wicking properties and will allow some breathability. The size of this fabric is still ideal for pairing making it an even smarter option.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the most well known option of textured fleece. Textured fleece also often goes by the name fully fleece with some companies. This type of fleece has that recognizable waffle pattern you are bound to recognize. This is the most ideal option for extreme weather offering the most insulation of the three types. This winter option is ideal as it acts as a complete block protecting you from having any of your body heat escape.
Q: What Is Fleece?
A: Fleece is a synthetic material which means that it is lab created rather than naturally forming. It is made out of the popular material you have likely heard of called polyester. The result is a very soft material that has many thermal insulating benefits.
Q: What Type Of Fleece Should I Get?
A: You may not be aware that there are a couple different types of fleece or more specifically weights. For most cases, a midweight fleece will be your best bet. This type is certainly the most versatile as it is thick enough to be worn as either an interior insulator or an exterior shell.
For those looking for highly breathable materials, you may want to opt for a lighter microfleece. This is most ideal for those that intend to do more active activities such as hiking. This fabric is thinner and has moisture wicking properties that will keep you warm, dry and comfortable.
Q: Do Fleece Jackets Shrink?
A: Yes. When you are washing your fleece jacket, we recommend taking extra care to avoid shrinking. You can do this easily by using a gentle cold water cycle for washing. Instead of throwing your jacket in the dryer, we recommend hanging to dry. This will work to avoid any shrinking that will happen. If you must tumble dry, you will want to stick with a low heat setting.
While fleece shrinking can be a huge problem, many companies will pre shrink their fabrics. When looking to wash yours it is wise to read the labels to see if your jacket has this feature. Preshrunk fabrics are ideal as you will be able to better ensure that it continues with your ideal fit longer.
Q: Is Fleece Waterproof?
A: Fleece, as well as its former polyester, does not tend to absorb water easily. You will often see water beading on top of your jacket due to its outer coating. Fleece, being a breathable fabric, does allow water to soak through the fabric. When this happens, the fleece tends to hold the water in the material. This leads it to be heavy when wet and causing it to take a long time to dry.
Q: Can I Stretch A Fleece Jacket?
A: Not likely. Fleece isn’t a material that is prone to stretching making it more important than ever to get a size and fit that is ideal for you. Fleece is made from polyester, a material that is known for its resistance to stretching.
Q: Why Does Fleece Pill?
A: You may have noticed that over time your fleece will start to show wear in terms of pilling. The reason this happens is due to the manufacturing of the material. Fleece is made using incredibly short fibers, shorter than natural. Pilling occurs when these short fibers begin to rub.
Put simply, pilling is caused by friction. When the threads rub, they push to the surface creating small balls that sit on the top of the fabric. The balls are called pills which is what gives it the name. You will find pilling in the areas of most friction which in jackets is under the arms.
Due to the amount of friction that happens in the washing machine, you will find your fleece showing signs of pilling after every wash. For this reason, it is wise to reduce how much you wash your fleece and to wash on gentle cycles. You can also use garment bags to reduce how much friction your jacket receives in the wash.
Luckily, to avoid this kind of wear many companies have incorporated an anti-pilling finish to their fleece products. This feature may come with a more expensive price tag but is well worth it when your fleece holds its shape looking like new for longer.
Q: Why Is Fleece So Popular?
A: Fleece has earned the spot as one of the most popular materials to use in the outdoors early on. The craze around fleece first started due to its incredible insulation. Fleece is so highly popular due to it offering impressive insulation. Fleece also has the added bonus of being very soft and comfortable to wear. This is a great advantage over products such as wool which can sit uncomfortably when in direct contact with your skin. Lastly, fleece tends to be a highly durable material. This adds to the appeal of the fabric when used for outdoor products.
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The popularity of this type of jacket seems to be only growing. Every year more and more fleece jacket brands are putting tons of money into researching and designing the best options for you. With exceptional features becoming the norm such as anti-pilling coatings, waterproof coatings and much more, it is no wonder this is quickly becoming one of the most popular coat materials.
All of the fleece jackets that made our list are made using top quality designs and construction. They are all exceptional and we have no doubt that they will make your winter months more enjoyable. With a little bit of research and thought, we are confident you now have all the tools to make the best purchase for your specific needs.
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Have you ever used any of the warm fleece jackets from our list? Let us know how you liked it in the comment section below.
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