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Best Fleece Jacket: Staying Warm in the Winter

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Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

So, winter is here and the nights are cold, but as an avid hiker, trekker, or mountaineer, you probably have a few worries, right? You are probably wondering how you are going to scale through the cold nights without catching a cold, aren’t you? Well, we are happy to inform you that your fear isn’t big of a deal because one of the thing you need to keep yourself warm in the winter, is the best fleece jacket you can find on the market.

A fleece jacket is a very useful piece of clothing that is suitable for hiking as it provides the needed insulation to keep you warm, and it is very comfortable, quick drying, breathable and moisture-wicking. However, as there are several companies making numerous types of fleece jackets, choosing the right one is always a difficult task for anyone. Luckily for you, we are here to help you make the right choice.

In this article, we will be showing you some of the important things you should take into consideration purchasing a fleece jacket. After that, we will be moving to the section where we will uncover our top picks for the best fleece jackets currently available on the market. We will discuss each of their features, and their pros and cons and we will also talk about some recommendable products you can consider buying with the reviewed products.


Product Name
Weight
(Oz)
Dimension
(Inches)
Best use Price
Patagonia R1 1216 x 10 x 3Climbing, backcountry touring, expedition and alpine useCheck price on Amazon
Arc’teryx Fortrez20.814 x 11 x 3Alpine conditionsCheck price on Amazon
Marmot Reactor1219 x 16 x 3Alpine conditions and extreme cold weatherCheck price on Amazon
Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 20014.824 x 15 x 3Alpine conditionsCheck price on Amazon
Arcteryx Alpha SV 17.613.9 x 13.7 x 2.6Cold and wet weather, alpine conditionsCheck price on Amazon
The North Face Khumbu 23226 x 17 x 4Cold weather conditionsCheck price on Amazon
Columbia Mountain 17.625 x 18 x 3Winter weatherCheck price on Amazon
Puma Fleece Track 161 x 1 x 1Winter weatherCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Before we go into any product reviews, it is always helpful to take a look at a few vital things to consider before making your purchase. We are going to discuss some of them so that you are aware of what to look for in your potential daypack.

Breathability

Breathability and airflow are very essential. You will feel uneasy when all of the heat is trapped inside, especially if you are engaged in an energy consuming activity.

Purchasers who intend to wear the jacket for high energy exercises should make sure that it blocks the cold adequately while still enabling ventilation to lessen overheating or sweating.

Windproof Layers

Since winter rain and snow normally comes combined with stinging winds, windproofing is an important feature you should check for when buying a fleece jacket. Sadly, windproof layers may make the fleece jacket lose some flexibility and suppleness.

blue fleece jacket

Additionally, windproofing reduces breathability in a similar way that layers that are water resistant. For minor outdoor activities and strolling, a windproof jacket is a great option. However, for exercise requiring vigorous physical exertion, you need to opt for better airflow instead of the windproof layer.

Collars and Wrists

Cold air can leak through the wrists and collar of a jacket. A collar or extra lining at the jacket’s neck warms the neck of the wearer. You ought to consider a fleece jacket that has elastic bands at the bottom and at the wrists. In spite of the fact that this may diminish the style of the jacket a little, it will preserve the warmness of the body while blocking the cold air.

Velcro is another alternative for wrist closures. Velcro strips enable you to make the cuffs of the jacket tighter without dealing with the restrained elastic look. In warmer climates, you can roll up sleeves that have Velcro at the wrists without damaging anything, but you will be possibly be snapping the elastic band if you roll up elastic cuffs.

Pockets

Numerous fashionable fleece jackets either have extremely shallow pockets or no pockets at all. In any case, some extra pockets will be useful if you are using the jacket for a hike or for a camping trip. When buying a fleece jacket, you should search for the pockets that are put at the waistline and are deep enough to hold a phone, snacks, keys, and other little things.

karimor fleece jacket

Some jackets that are made for winter sports and hiking come with pockets on the arms and the chest. Those of you who intend to wear their jackets for energetic activities might need to consider a jacket with weave pockets for extra ventilation options.

Water Resistance

Generally, fleece jackets are not waterproof. Also, not all of them are water resistant since breathability is normally hindered by water resistance. Those fleece jackets with limited water resistance include a resistant layer inside the material.

Although they will probably give some protection against light drizzle or snowfall, they may not get the job done in an icing winter rain.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Below, we reviewed 8 of the best models available on the market right now. We checked their features and reviewed their pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.

Patagonia R1 Fleece Jacket Patagonia R1 Fleece Jacket

Price: Approx. $140

Weight: 12 oz

Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 3 in

Sizes: Medium and large

Colors: Classic red, black, forge gray, hunter green, and electron blue

Specific features: Iconic design, breathable, made of Polartec power-grid materials, 4 pockets, slim fit, thermal efficiency, clean style

Best use: Climbing, backcountry touring, expedition and alpine use

Description: The first fleece jacket on our list is the Patagonia R1 Fleece Jacket, made by a company that is well known in the world of outdoor gear, and is totally deserving of its spot on this list. It is an incredible jacket that is perfect for winter and with its high functionality and efficiency, it is probably the best fleece jacket on this list.

The Patagonia R1 is an exceptional fleece jacket that can be very reliable in the winter nights. The Polartec Power Grid design consists of two types of material: the jackets are made of 7% Spandex, and 93% recycled polyester.

The jackets come in a slim fit so they fit comfortably to the body thereby intensifying thermal efficiency. The jacket has numerous pockets, in fact, numbering four, with two zipper hand pockets and two meshed in internal pockets on the inside of the jacket.

If you are looking for a reliable piece of clothing to shield you from the winter cold, the Patagonia R1 Fleece Jacket is the ideal jacket for you.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Perfect fit for most active users
  • Perfect weight for various conditions
  • Great design

CONS:

  • Poor breathability

Related: If you are reading this article, we figured you might be an outdoor enthusiast. To give yourself the ultimate protection against the cold, we recommend the Zeagoo Waterproof Fleece Lined Insulated Pants. They are quick-drying and come with a lot of pockets, and is sure to keep you warm as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody Fleece Jacket Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody Fleece Jacket

Price: Approx. $204

Weight: 20.8 oz

Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 3 in

Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, and XX-large

Colors: Carbon copy, nighthawk, thalo blue, oxblood, chipotle, riptide, mantis green, adriatic blue, anaconda, azul, basalt, and stellar orange

Specific features: 100% polyester materials, multiple color availability, flatlock seam construction, Phasic AR panel nests in the hood’s interior; abrasion resistant, Polartec Power Stretch with Hardface Technology, smooth face, and phasic AR panels inside the hood allowing for use of a neck gaiter of the balaclava, plenty of pockets

Best use: Alpine conditions

Description: The Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody Fleece Jacket is priced between $135 and $533, and comes as an attractive selection with a reasonable price. And, it is easy to personalize with a huge choice of colors available. The jacket also has Flatlock seam construction, helping to ensure lasting comfort by eliminating any irritation to your skin when you are wearing it.

Perfect for alpine conditions, since it is fitted with Polartec Power Stretch with Hardface Technology, and it has elastic fibers with improved resilience to allow for stretching of the fabric and returning to its natural formation. The latter feature ensures the jacket holds up well during performance-based activities and provides the benefit of easy product care, breathability, and moisture wicking properties in addition to the awesome stretch resilience.

Furthermore, the jacket has a smooth face, allowing for layers and moisture shedding.  The jacket also clings close to the body, thereby enhancing moisture vapor transfer and intensifying thermal efficiency. You get a chest pocket and two hand pockets for lots of storage.

PROS:

  • Excellent hood design
  • Handwarmer pockets
  • Water resistant
  • High durability

CONS:

  • Not really breathable

Related: If you are a hiker, you are probably looking to purchase an excellent backpack as well, right? Well, we recommend the 5.11 Tactical RUSH 12 Backpack. It is a high performance, multi-purpose bag with water-resistant components.

Check the price on Amazon

Marmot Reactor Fleece Jacket Marmot Reactor Fleece Jacket

Price: Approx. $157

Weight: 12 oz

Dimensions: 19 x 16 x 2 in

Sizes: Small, medium, large, and X-large

Colors: Black, cobalt blue, cinder, dark fern, team red, leaf, dark Crimson, green lichen, sunset orange, and blue night

Specific features: 10 colors, Angel-wing movement, bonded zipper sleeve pocket, limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, Polartec fleece, wind flap, 100% polyester velour microfleece, 100 weight fleece, flat lock construction, breathable, moisture vapor movement non-restricted, elastic draw cord hem inclusion, machine washable, quick drying, Polartec material, and quick-drying durability.

Best use: Alpine conditions, extreme cold weather

Description: The Marmot Reactor Fleece Jacket is at the entry-level end of pricing and this makes it more than affordable with the prices ranging from $60.00 to $225. You can also easily personalize the purchase of the Marmot Reactor Jacket by choosing one of ten colors.

Furthermore, the jacket offers Angel-wing movement, so that you can lift your arms up over your head without worrying about the annoyance of the jacket creeping up your mid-drift. And, the bonded zipper sleeve pocket ensures your storage remains safe inside the pocket.

As for the build material, the jacket is made of Polartec 100% polyester velour microfleece, and features a wind flap to ensure superior warmth.  The flatlock construction ensures a snug fit against the body and thermal efficiency.

Though warm, the jacket is breathable and the moisture vapor movement is not restricted in any way. You can ensure lasting comfort even in the coldest times by using the elastic drawcord hem to tighten up the coat and block out incoming air and wind.

Easy to machine wash and quick to try makes caring for the jacket a breeze. The Limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, ensures you can buy with confidence.  This fleece jacket repels snow, water, and rain, and is a great choice for every outdoor enthusiast.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to layer
  • Breathable
  • Drawstring hem

CONS:

  • No hood
  • Not very warm

Related:  Whether you are hiking, riding, or running, wearing a pair of gloves will make you feel comfortable all day. Thus, we recommend the Smartwool Liner Gloves due to its high versatility.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 200 Jacket Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 200 Jacket

Price: Approx. $150

Weight: 14.8 oz

Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, and XX-large

Dimensions: 24 x 15 x 3 in

Colors: Black, titanium, greenscape/utility green, azul, dark fire, phoenix blue, hardwear navy, shark black, smolder and red/hardwear navy

Specific features: 97% polyester materials / 3% elastin materials, chest pocket, comfortable, intensely warm, lightweight, MicroClimate Zoning construction, Polartec Thermal Pro Body, soft feel, strategically zoned fabric, thermally efficient, upgraded from the original Monkey Man design, and zipper handwarmer pockets.

Best Use: Alpine conditions

Description: The Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 200 Jacket is an extremely warm and cozy fleece jacket that is very popular among mountaineers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. It is a very affordable fleece jacket with a price tag ranging between $100 and $150.  The jacket features a MicroClimate Zoning construction which provides the ability to stretch, breathe, and also provides maximum warmth.

Furthermore, the jacket has a sizable chest pocket for storage of maps or other important items. This fleece jacket is an upgrade of the original Monkey Man design, which has toned down on the amount of down so you can layer other items with the coat instead.

In addition, the lightweight design makes this coat a coveted design, and the amount of thermal efficiency the jacket offers, ensure you can endure the cold weather outdoors in maximum comfort.  Personalization of the coat is a breeze, just choose from one of 10 colors.

PROS:

  • It is warm
  • It is stretchy
  • Very soft
  • High-durability

CONS:

  • Weighty

Related: If you are on a hiking trip, a fire starter is something you need to have with you at all times. We recommend the Light My Fire FireSteel 2.0 Fire Starter. It is designed to light fires in any condition, and it also features a whistle in case of an emergency situation.

Check the price on Amazon

Arcteryx Alpha SV Fleece Jacket Arcteryx Alpha SV Fleece Jacket

Price: Approx. $540

Weight: 17.6 oz

Dimensions: 13.9 x 13.7 x 2.6 in

Sizes: Small, medium, large, and X-large

Colors: Black, cayenne, dark Olympus, Poseidon, oxblood, mantis green, Adriatic blue, magma, venom

Specific features: 100% nylon materials, e3D patterning -athletic helmet compatible, best protection in wet and cold weather, chest pockets, engineered with N80p-X Gore-Tex hardware face fabric, internal laminated pockets, pit zippers with watertight features, quiet and soft materials, resist abrasion, snow, and sheds water, and it has a single sleeve pocket.

Best use: Cold and wet weather, alpine conditions

Description: The Arcteryx Alpha SV Fleece Jacket is priced between $510 and $750. This fleece jacket is made 100% nylon materials ensuring a comfortable fit and ease of care. The jacket is compatible with an athletic helmet and offers plenty of storage with dual chest pockets.

Each pocket is laminated inside to keep your personal items protected. You also get a single arm pocket.  The Arcteryx Alpha SV is quiet and soft when you move in it. Since it resists snow and abrasions as well as sheds water, you are promised a long-lasting fleece jacket to wear and you’ll remain warm and dry.

It also features pit zippers that are watertight to keep dampness out and to increase thermal efficiency.  The jacket is guaranteed waterproof and comes in a breathable standard fit in a 30-inch center back length.

Fully taped seams ensure the longevity of the jacket, and the selection has underarm zips for venting. It even comes with a lifetime warranty.

PROS:

  • Comfortable
  • Very soft
  • Very durable
  • Good breathability
  • Waterproof design

CONS:

  • Very expensive

Related: You probably need winter gloves to protect your hand from the biting cold? We recommend the Arcteryx Alpha SV Mitten. It provides adequate warmth and great comfort. 

Check the price on Amazon

The North Face Khumbu 2 Fleece Jacket The North Face Khumbu 2 Fleece Jacket

Price: Approx. $184

Weight: 32 oz

Dimensions: 26 x 17 x 4 in

Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, XX-large, and XXX-large

Colors: TNF black, cardinal red/sequoia red, asphalt gray, coffee bean brown, high rise gray/asphalt gray, TNF red/asphalt gray, monster blue/TNF black, scallion green/black ink green, shady blue-urban navy, cosmic blue, shady blue/urban navy, asphalt gray, coffee bean brown

Specifications: Made of polyester, zipper closure, 300 weight classic fleece, midweight fleece, classic design, relaxed fit, midweight fleece, secure zip-hand pockets, cinch cord, and machine washable, lifetime guaranteed

Best use: Cold weather outdoors

Description: Another excellent fleece jacket on this list is The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket. It is highly stylish and made of lightweight fabric, while still giving the wearer adequate warmth and wind protection.

This jacket is priced between $60 and $185 and is manufactured out of 100% polyester materials so taking care of it is a breeze.  It is machine washable, warm, and perfect in situations when you want to layer attire.

In addition, this fleece jacket is made to last for many years as it is made of a very thick material. Also, the chest and shoulders have nylon panels that are resistant to moisture and light wind. For early winter days and moderate fall, the North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket can be your only outer layer.

A lifetime guarantee comes with the product so you can buy with confidence.  You’ll appreciate the relaxed, comfortable fit, the classic fleece jacket design, and the cool storage pockets on this midweight fleece jacket model.

PROS:

  • Great warmth
  • Very comfortable
  • Very soft
  • Breathable

CONS:

  • No inner pocket

Related: There is nothing better than having clean and drinkable water with you while you are on your adventure, but you need an excellent reservoir system for that. We recommend the Source Tactical WXP Hydration Reservoir System. It is a high-performance reservoir system and it is easy to clean and drain.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Steens Fleece Jacket Columbia Steens Fleece Jacket

Price: Approx. $185

Weight: 17.6 oz

Dimensions: 25 x 18 x 3 in

Sizes: Small, medium, large, large tall, X-large, X-large tall, XX-large, XX-large tall, XXX-large tall, XXXX large-tall

Colors: Tusk, black, charcoal heather, black/grill, collegiate navy, buffalo, surplus green, surplus green/charcoal heather, Tradewinds gray/graphite, red element, black/bright red, charcoal heather/marine blue and 25 more color options

Specific features: 100% polyester materials, front zip, standing collar, machine washable, zipper closure, side entry pockets

Best use: Winter weather

Description: The Columbia Steens Fleece Jacket is an affordable and a soft fleece jacket, and it comes in varieties of colors and sizes. While it is a very simple jacket with no extraordinary features, it is very popular among hikers, mountaineers, and outdoorsmen.

The jacket is priced between $60 and $185 and is made of 100% polyester MTR filament, so it is easy to wash and dry. You get a jacket with front located zipper and a standing collar that helps to keep the neck warm when brutally cold winds blow.

A stylish logo is on the front chest area on this soft, rugged, jacket that provides you with a fantastic classic fit and feel.  The coat is a universal standard fit. It is machine washable for ease of care.  The zipper closure helps keep your body warmth, inside the jacket.

If you are looking for a high-performance fleece jacket with basic features, then the Columbia Steens Fleece Jacket is the one for you. While it comes with no special features, it does its main job of providing warmth superbly.

PROS:

  • Very rugged
  • Stylish look
  • Front zipper
  • Standing collar
  • Breathable
  • Easy to wash

CONS:

  • Not water resistant
  • Pills over time

Related: You want something to keep your head warm at all times? Then we recommend you to purchase the Columbia Whirlibird Watch Cap. No matter the condition and where your adventure takes you, this cap is sure to keep your head warm.

Check the price on Amazon

Puma Fleece Track Jacket Puma Fleece Track Jacket 

Price: Approx. $66

Weight: 16 oz

Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 in

Sizes: Medium and Large

Colors: Black/white, medium gray heather black cat, and dark gray heather with black cat

Specific features: 65% to 35% ratio of cotton to polyester material, zipper closure, zipper front, kangaroo pockets, machine washable

Best use: Winter weather

Description: Puma is a renowned company when it comes to the manufacturing of anything related to clothing, and it is not surprising that one of their products are featured in this article. Priced between $25 and $66.00, the Puma Fleece Track Jacket is a highly affordable model.  The jacket is made of cotton and polyester materials, so the jacket feels great when you are wearing it.

The fabric is breathable, keeping moisture out and the heat inside. And, it is easy to care for too, as it is machine washable. The kangaroo pouch-like pockets mean you can carry a lot of items along with you and remain hands free when you do so.  The zipper front helps increase thermal efficiency.

Durable, lightweight and affordable, the Puma Fleece Track Jacket is the perfect choice for you if you are an avid outdoorsman that is looking for high functionality without breaking the bank.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable
  • Fits great
  • Great warmth
  • Very stylish
  • Very affordable

CONS:

  • Not water resistant

Related: If you are looking for a pair of hiking socks to complement your hiking boots, we recommend the CloudLine Merino Wool Crew Hiking & Trekking Socks. They provide adequate warmth and are designed for long-lasting softness.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Now, we have reached the end of the article, and we are sure that you now have more knowledge about fleece jackets than you had before the beginning of this article. Make sure you remember to check for the important features such as breathability and airflow before buying your fleece jacket, so you wouldn’t waste a couple of dollars on something that won’t be giving you comfort.

Best Fleece Jacket: Staying Warm in the Winter

While all our picks are really excellent, the product we think is outstanding is the Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody. It is water resistant, has hand warmer pockets, and has a great hood design, among other features. However, we are sure that you won’t regret going for any of our picks.

Did we miss a product you think should have been included? Or you have a recommendation you would like to share with us? Please do so in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry Mueller

Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.