For as long as humans have explored the outdoors, keeping warm was a high prerogative. And throughout the majority of our existence, the use of wool as a means to keep warm dates back to some of the earliest civilizations. Now while the material is known for its insulating qualities, it proves almost entirely useless when wet. In fact, as many of us already know, wool actually absorbs water and requires a significant amount of time to dry. It wasn’t until 1981 that fleece would take over the outdoor apparel scene with its warming water resistant properties.
Today, there are well over 100 types of fleece jackets on the market catered to particular consumer wants and needs. From 100% recycled polyester fleeces to tactical fleece jackets to more stylish “sneaker” fleeces that suit a chilly night on the town. Whatever your preference, it’s important to make sure you invest in a brand you can trust to ensure you get exactly what you pay for; that is reliable outerwear that traps heat and repels water. Here are our picks for the 15 best fleece jackets out there.
Orvis Sweater Fleece
Anyone looking for an excellent layering piece should consider this fleece jacket from Orvis, founded in 1856 in Vermont. Combining both the elegant hand of a knit sweater with the timeless insulating characteristics of fleece, this jacket functions perfectly as either a cold-weather layering item or an outer jacket on brisk fall mornings.
Bonobos Crosstown Fleece Bomber
Bonobos offers excellent products and service to interested buyers across the country, and the Crosstown Fleece Bomber is no different. The Crosstown is made from luxuriously soft cotton in a more tailored fit than other options. Granted, this “bomber” style will keep you warm and looking fresh whether out on a hike or out on the town.
Iron and Resin Imperial
California-based Iron and Resin produces tons of high-quality outdoor gear for a modest price point. Made for the outdoors and versatile enough to get you through any change in the weather, the Imperial Hooded Fleece comes equipped with a water-resistant upper shell, a berber fleece lower shell and an adjustable hood with Henley pockets.
Roark Revival Quarterman
Fresh out of Orange County, California, Roark Clothing basis its products around the endless pursuit of adventure and independence. Here, their Quarterman Fleece stands up to this litmus test. The design, which features poppy bold-shaped outer quilting and stretch-Lycra-bound cuffs, was inspired by the founder’s guide in on a recent trip to Vietnam.
J-Crew Summit Fleece Full-Zip Jacket
Trail inspired, city slick. The J-Crew Summit Fleece looks like a sweater on the outside but maintains a warm fleece core on the inside to keep you warm as you navigate the concrete jungle. The jacket also comes with several pockets both inside and out to keep your everyday carry at the ready.
Cotopaxi Sambaya Stretch Fleece
Cotopaxi, a company founded to create outdoor products that fund sustainable poverty alleviation around the world, offers plenty to the avid outdoorsman with their Sambaya Stretch Fleece. Here’s a technical fleece hoody with modern styling that’s designed for cold-weather adventures ranging anywhere from short afternoon hikes to full-on mountaineering. It features slightly longer sleeves and thumb-hole cuffs for smooth layering changes and plenty of pocket capabilities for just about anything packable.
Outdoor Research Starfire
Outdoor Research offers adventurers around the globe gear to help them facilitate their journeys. The majority of their product line concerns outerwear, and this is where we found the Starfire Hooded Fleece. It’s built for the outdoors with quick-drying, moisture-wicking features, odor control, and a Balaclava-style hood for an extra layer of protection.
Founded in Massachusetts in 1975, Penfield knows how to deal with cold weather. Their Carson Hooded Fleece is no different. As an ideal alternative to a heavier jacket in the fall, the Carson also functions as the perfect mid-layer to battle the harsh winter elements. Each fleece comes in Navy coloring, full body mesh lining, and water resistant Nylon overlay at the hood and upper body.
Patagonia M’s Synchilla Snap-T Pullover
Patagonia never ceases to remain relevant in the world of outdoor apparel. And with the Synthilla Fleece Pullover, they continue to impress. Each product contains warm and durable, 100% polyester fleece that’s 86% recycled. It’s the style that started it all and Patagonia wears this one well.
Since 1960 Sweden-based Fjallraven specialized in outdoor equipment, specifically clothing and rucksacks. And as a company based out of a cold Nordic environment, you can bet the they know how to manufacturer warm and comfortable outerwear. Their Keb Fleece Jacket, featuring a wool-blend mid layer, engineered hood, and G-1000 reinforced shoulders, certainly accomplishes that goal.
Keep warm during any cold night with this polyester fleece hooded jacket. Each fleece hosts a relaxed fit and is hip length in order to keep your inner layers locked within the warm confines of this color-contrasted fleece. It also features two lamented zippered hand pockets and one zippered sleeve pocket to keep your carry close in a simplistic design.
Stay stylish and warm with the Velocity jacket from Aether, founded in 2009. Boasting both angular lines with a modern twist the casual comfort of the Velocity makes it a perfect wear for any occasion. Each jacket is made up of a 3-layer shell of fabric that gives the piece the defined structure, in conjunction with a fleece backer to provide extra comfort.
Mountain Standard Hardface
Add this outdoor jacket to your everyday wear thanks to stretch yarns in the fabric and an overlay pocket to give you weather protection that keeps your tech and other belongings dry when the sky opens up. Colorado-based Mountain Standard also hooks this fleece jacket up with several additional features including a comfort-touch collar tape and anodized zip pulls.
Triple Aught Design Ranger Jacket
From outdoor-savvy Triple Aught Design, based in San Francisco, comes their Ranger Jacket, a premier choice for adventures combating cooler conditions throughout the globe. And with features such as wind-resistant warmth, advanced thermal properties and durable fibers to help the jacket withstand abuse, the Ranger Jacket is definitely built for the soldier in all of us.
Relwen Tweed Fleece Jacket
Feel like a boss and keep warm with this Tweed Fleece Jacket from Relwen. It’s a hardy 4-season option that’s made from warm and comfortable 100% polyester knit pile with brushed back. The Tweed also features a soft face and a layered herringbone printed pattern that comes in a relaxed fit. Perfect for both the outdoors and your local watering hole.