10 Best Fleece Jackets Reviewed For You.

The fleece jacket is a staple piece of apparel, which nearly every Backpacker or Outdoors enthusiast seems to own and love. Many of us go with our favorite brands or styles that tend to work best for the environment we spend the most time in. Although many of us prefer the most cost-effective option for our budget, we also want quality and durability that will last through whatever challenges we put our gear through. Some require a specific fit or features for activities such as rock or alpine climbing, or even trekking through varied or extreme conditions which call for the need to layer up or down.

Many things go into finding that perfect fleece which properly suits the outdoor and sports environments. Aside from comfort, warmth and fit, the best choice will usually be one that will stand up to whatever you throw at it. There are literally countless styles and brands to choose from when it comes to fleece jackets. Nearly any company that manufactures coats or outerwear will most certainly have fleece jackets in their lineup. As our whole purpose is to present our readers with the very best outdoor gear and apparel manufacturers have to offer, we have done the research and put together a list of the top ten rated fleece jackets currently available on the market today. We have dug deep and come up with the pros and cons to criteria for the top rated choices among users from all over.

Last Updated: June 19, 2018
By Melissa Coleiro:

We looked closely at the top ten best fleece jackets that are available on the market right now. Take a look now at the criteria we used for our review. Next time you go on an adventure, you now know you will be comfortable and cozy with a high quality fleece jacket.

Patagonia R3
  • Patagonia R3
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High pile with reversable design
  • Price: See Here
Arc'teryx Fortrez
  • Arc'teryx Fortrez
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Hardface® water resistant fleece
  • Price: See Here
The North Face Denali
  • The North Face Denali
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Abrasion resistant nylon overlays
  • Price: See Here


10 Best Fleece Jackets.

Patagonia R3 Hoody

Patagonia R3 Hoody
Patagonia as most of us know does not produce cheap stuff, both in materials and price tag. The R3 hoodie is a popular one how many users who tend to put their gear to the test. The R3 used to come as a jacket now since been replaced by a new design with a hood, which seems to be even more popular than the previous versions among many outdoor and adventure enthusiasts.

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Although the R3 is a bit heavier it has a slim fit and a fairly snug hood that works perfectly under climbing helmets and other headgear. For those of you who tend to go for that grid pattern fleece Style r3 hoody is reversible, with one side being smooth and the other with fleece grid. This will allow you a bit more adjustability for your own style. When worn smooth side out the jacket features only two zippered chest pockets.When reversed to the grid pile side out, you get one zippered chest pocket and two front hand warmer pockets.

The two different configurations really helps a lot when you find yourself with different needs for certain situations. Perhaps you’ll find that your gear will get in the way of waist pockets therefore two zipper pockets on the chest would much more ideal. Also when you wear the jacket pile side need two zippered chest pockets are hidden, which works out great when you need to stash your ID or something important that you don’t want to lose or have taken.


Gaining more and more popularity in recent years, the grid fleece style features one side of the jacket’s material with the pile in a grid pattern. This style seems to maintain body heat really well, in fact many militaries have adopted this style of fleece material into their cold weather clothing systems. Patagonia always seems to deliver with their outerwear, and their fleece jackets have almost become legendary with the many loyal users.

The R3 is not cheap, but the insulation that you will get from this fairly lightweight fleece is well worth the price, especially if you are serious about outdoor sports like climbing. While there are some models that ended up on our list which were slightly warmer overall, None of them seems to beat the R3 when it come to more effectively regulating body heat.


The thing about a lot of the fleeces from Patagonia is that they really are as comfortable as they look. With models like the R3, R1 and even The Better Sweater, these end up becoming the go-to jacket to throw on when it get cooler, not just something you have set away to strictly use for climbing, hiking or camping. I addition to being built ready for abuse, this fleece is also super great for just hanging around in.

Additionally, the R3 does something well which many of the heavier fleece jackets don’t; It breathes pretty well during active use.


When we talk about fit, we of course think about how it physically fits the body, but also how it works with other articles of clothing and outerwear. Although the R3 isn’t the absolute lightest jacket, it I wouldn’t call it bulky at all. In fact it works really well for layering with hard shells or other rugged outerwear. The cuffs of the sleeve are clean and slim fitting, they won’t get in the way of whatever you are doing. That is another thing that makes it easy to layer with. This jacket will easily go underneath a waterproof or other layers, depending on your environment.


“You get what you pay for” is a phrase that sings true consistently with regards to most products from Patagonia. There is certainly no exception here. This was designed to be more than fleece to throw on for a trip to the store. The R3 hoody is intended for the outdoors, No matter what the activity is, this jacket seems to stand up to the riggers, and often time torture, that outdoor apparel tend to experience. I think it’s safe to say that you are getting a quality product here.

The rundown

Patagonia’s R3 hoody is a solid, quality made jacket that is perfect for physical activities such as climbing, hiking and long range treks. It provides excellent heat retention, a fit perfect for layering, as well as a durable and functional design. Although slightly expensive, we think the pros, by far, outweigh the cons, making this a top pick for our list.
  • Reversible design allows two different pocket configurations
  • Effectively retains body heat, while in a lightweight design
  • The R3 is a stylish as it is functional
  • Clean design cuffs allow easier layering and less bulk to get in the way
  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Not as warm as some other options

Arc’teryx Fortrez

Arc’teryx Fortrez
Our second place spot goes to the Fortrez fleece hoody from Arc’teryx. As a brand who mostly sticks to putting out performance geared outerwear, their Fortrez falls right in line. It really does have a sleek design that goes along with what you would expect to see from this brand. To me, one of the appealing factors is it’s simplistic yet functional design. Although not a cheap option, Arc’teryx tends to be worth it.
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The Fortrez is an ideal choice to layer with for alpine climbing. It features some great technologies such as their Hardface material, which will repel light rain. This material won’t do much under heavy rain, but it really helps quite a bit with blocking wind and minor elements. Like many newer models, this jacket is constructed with seams with flatlock stitching, which does make a big difference in comfort, especially when you have a bunch of gear hanging off of you. There are two zippered hand warmer pockets, and one zippered chest pocket. The jacket also has a neck gaiter/face covering, which can be tucked into the back of the hood and out of the way. And as a bonus, this jacket also looks good, making it ideal for everyday use, trips to the store, sports events, etc.


This one works really well as a mid layer, being that it just isn’t quite as warm as the R3 from Patagonia. However, if you tend to stay active, the body heat retention is still really quite good. the neck gaiter that we mentioned above, which can be used as a face cover, does make a huge difference with blocking wind as well as retaining some of that heat.

Even though there are options out there which offer thicker material and a bit more warmth, we feel like the Fortrez performs just as it was intended to. Perhaps this is best used as a level in your layering system.


This fleece is actually really comfortable, with a very soft fleece lining. The seams are flatlock stitched for reduced rubbing and discomfort, which is especially helpful when wearing a backpack or carrying extra gear. There were some who slightly annoyed with the sleeve seam that runs right down the center of the elbow however.

If you are looking for a softer, higher pile fleece, this is not the one for you. The Fortrez is constructed of the Hardface material which Arc’teryx uses to help block wind and protect against light showers. Although this is a comfortable jacket, it is designed more for function and performance, so not quite as soft as the R3 above.


Although this appears to be a tight fitting or slim jacket, it actually fit pretty comfortably. The non-bulky design does make it more useful when it comes to layering up. If you size it correctly most should be able to fit a thinner base or mid layer underneath. The cuffs aren’t tapered too much, but they are fitted enough to stay out of the way and not become bulky with layered with a heavier jacket or shell.

The hood looks almost like a wetsuit for scuba diving, but that is a good feature, especially if you plan to pair with heavier hooded outerwear. The hood also seems to fit just right, not to obstruct peripheral vision too much, an issue found with many hooded jackets.

One of the great things about this jacket is that it seems work really well for layering, without the problem of bunching up underneath, which is extremely annoying. Also, because it is so thin, the Fortrez doesn’t take away from you ability to move easily when wearing layers. This makes it a perfect lining layer for a rain jacket.


This brand is known for quality products, as their outerwear is designed to stand up to a beating and keep taking more. The Fortrez is no exception. This fleece was made for rugged activities such a rock climbing, ice/alpine climbing and treks through rough terrain. I think this one will last a while before the elbows start to give out.

The Rundown

The Fortrez Hoody from Arc’teryx is a great piece of outerwear, which may even work better as an outstanding mid layer. Although it is thinner and slightly less warm than the Patagonia R3, the Fortrez provides things like protection from light rain showers and built in, stowable neck gaiter which also works to cover the face. And, if you do intend to use this jacket for layering, the fit and material is such that it moves very well underneath heavier layer without challenging your movement. Although this is a rather expensive article of clothing, we think it is well worth the price.
  • Hardface material provides some resistance against light rain
  • Thinner construction makes it ideal for layering
  • Snug fitting hood does not create an obstruction
  • Neck gaiter/face mask adds extra defense from the elements
  • The thin design means less warmth than some others
  • Not a cheap option

The North Face Denali

The North Face Denali
The North Face Denali is a classic. This thing hasn’t changed a bit, and doesn’t need to. The Denali is a heavier fleece that the two featured above, but certainly a bit warmer as well. This isn’t a ultra-lightweight, hyper engineered performance jacket. This is a well constructed, long lasting fleece which performs well for many different uses and environments.
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First off, this is a warm jacket, made of Polartec 300 fleece. Though noticeably heavier, and a bit bulkier, than some others on our list, the Denali performs well with just about any adventure you can think of. The jacket has two zippered handwarmer pockets, as well as two zippered chest pockets for the men’s or one zippered chest pocket on the women’s version.

The bottom hem features zip cord adjustment to help block out the cold and keep the heat from escaping. Additionally, there are nylon overlays in different areas to reduce the effects from abrasions. The Denali comes in a lot of different color choices, and is even available in a hooded version.


This is probably the warmest option on this list. The Polartec 300 fleece material is great for most cold environments, especially those where you tend to stay active and move around more. The high collar and zip cord adjustable bottom hem also help out a bit with keeping the warmth trapped inside the jacket. For even harsher elements, the Denali is compatible with some outer shells from The North Face. There are snaps on each cuff which are used to secure the jacket inside of a compatible outer shell. However, these snaps are only meant to work with other products from this company. I have used this version as a stand-alone fleece jacket for a majority of the time, and was able to stay fairly warm in some pretty cold weather.


This is a heavier fleece, so you’re probably not going to wear it while lounging around the house. But, it is one of those kinds of things that you don’t mind, and even may not like to take off. One feature that is a plus, some found as a bit of an irritation at times as well. The drawcord in the bottom hem tends to ride up when climbing, backpacking or other activities which required a lot of movement. Also, this model seems to be a bit on the shorter side. As it works great for people of a shorter stature, the same doesn’t seem to be true for the taller folks. When bending and reaching, the jacket tends to follow quite a bit, exposing the wearer.


The Denali is much bulkier than the Arc’teryx Fortrez and Patagonia R3, so it may not have the same kind of performance with activities such as rock climbing, ice/alpine climbing, or some others which require less bulk and more maneuverability. This fit much looser, and tends to get caught with backpack straps and interfere with movement and accessibility to you gear while loaded down. However, the Denali jacket is an excellent choice for those hikes during the cooler seasons, as well as camping. Really, this one is a great choice for an everyday fleece to wear around during your daily errands.


It is pretty well constructed. This model features overlays made with a durable nylon material, which covers the shoulders, chest and elbows. This provides some added abrasion resistance to keep the jacket lasting longer. Most people who have picked one of these up can tell you that it will last for quite a while. Some people wear them for years before finally giving into purchasing something new.

The Rundown

The Denali jacket from The North Face is a solid no nonsense fleece which is incredibly warm, built with quality and will last for quite a while. It probably isn’t going to be your first choice for high tempo activities, or things that require a lot of continuous movement, but it does have its own great qualities. This jacket is really more suited for camping, day hiking and lower tempo functions. It is also ideal for everyday casual wear.
  • Very warm Polartec 300 fleece
  • Nylon overlays provide abrasion resistance
  • Drawcord bottom hem helps to retain body heat
  • Compatible with shells and other outerwear from TNF
  • Available in a large amount of colors
  • Durable construction
  • A bit expensive
  • A bit to bulky for sports like rock climbing or others which require a lot of movement

Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 200

Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 200
Mountain Hardwear is another mainstream, but great brand that shouldn’t be overlooked. They are alway on my shopping list when it comes time to look for new outerwear. The Monkey Man 200 is really a multi-functional jacket, good for both casual and outdoor use. The high pile style is one that people either love or hate, but definitely helps a bit with heat retention. Let’s take a look at this one, and see what makes it worthy of our list.
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This fluffy fleece features a high pile design, not quite as shaggy as Patagonia’s Classic Retro-X, but is as inviting as it is warm, with a more fitted design. It has the typical two zippered hand warmer pockets as well as one zippered chest pocket with the Mountain Hardwear logo on it. The pile stops just above the cuff for a clean fit, free of extra material that could potentially get in the way. The high pile fleece continues throughout the inside of the high collar. The Monkey Man 200 is also available in a hooded grid fleece version.


The appearance alone screams warm jacket. Although the Monkey Man might be a bit too warm for higher tempo activities, it is certainly a more than ideal pick for long hikes, camping, or even a thicker layer for mountaineering. Their MicroClimate Zoning seems to really work well, retaining body heat where and when you need it. It also works really well as a part of your layering system, providing the perfect level of warmth, working best paired with an outer shell in windy and more extreme conditions that you might find yourself in. The cuffs wrap the wrist good enough to also help retain that heat.


The material in this jacket is really quite soft, making the Monkey Man a comfortable option for just about any use, even just hanging around the campsite. Depending on the body type, the shoulders and back may tend to fit a bit tight for some, making it not ideally comfortable for everyone. In all, this is as comfortable as it is functional, which is always a good thing.


Although the overall fit isn’t form fitted, it is snug. This works really well for when you want to add it as a layer for those much colder environments. If sized correctly, there is enough room for extra layers underneath. The cuffs tend to fit tightly, but if that isn’t something that you find bothersome, it seems to help with retaining body heat well. As mention above, the shoulder and back of this jacket may fit a bit tight on some body types, so it might be necessary to size up if you intend on layering underneath. Just keep in mind that the bottom of the jacket does not have a drawcord, so it might hang lower than you may want with a larger size.


Mountain Hardwear produces some good gear, stuff that really does tend to live up to their name. The Monkey Man 200 seems to stand up to the challenge, although it would be great if there were some type of reinforced material covering the elbows. Other than that, it is quite a sturdy jacket, one which we would recommend to anyone interested in an option which will definitely cost you a bit less than something from Patagonia or Arc’teryx.
  • Cuffs fit great
  • Very comfortable
  • Sturdy jacket design
  • A bit thin on the elbows
  • Might be a bit tighter on the shoulders for some people


Arcteryx Covert Cardigan-Jacket

Arcteryx Covert Cardigan-Jacket
This great fleece has multiple uses, wear it to ski as an under jacket, a hiking trip, or even as a casual stylish jacket. When your out camping, this is the jacket to slip on during a chilly evening while you are sitting by a nice campfire.

The cardigan-style jacket has stretch qualities but certainly not over stretchy, it comfortable and warmly hugs the body. If you like the comfort and warmth given by fleece you will certainly be happy with this lightweight fleece cardigan styled jacket. A clear cut nicely tailored design, this jacket is a solid performing cool weather jacket without the weighty bulk found in similar versions.
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The jacket is cut to hug the body while allowing some flexibility and looseness, you have two choices on how to wear it. Because of its fleece mid weight construction it is not a jacket to wear on its own in extremely cold weather but it can be worn under another jacket in very cold conditions to provide an insulating double layer of warmth.

For medium cold or less, the jacket is ideally comfortable and gives a fair degree of protection from the chill. You get the warmth you require so long as you are selective about the types of weather conditions in which you wear it.
If you choose to wear the jacket as a layer under another clothing item, the body hugging fit ensures that the materials will not ripple or bunch up and cause discomfort.

Very comfortable fit, the design hugs the body while allowing a nice level of flexible body movement.

The full zip feature pulls up nice and high to keep in body warmth for your comfort and if you feel too warm you can use the zip feature to give the jacket ventilation capabilities, too warm then just adjust the zip to allow in more air, too cold and adjust to keep in body warmth.                                                                                                  Stay comfortable and protected against moderate rain and chilly winds. If your carrying a backpack, this will sit well on the jacket without rubbing or shoulders strap movement due to the figure hugging contour of the jacket.

This jacket is tailored to sit close to the body, tapering a little at the waist, the collar can be folded down or be put up and zipped for protection around the neck. Fit feels close but stretch factor is present which allows for flexibility.

The sleeves are close fitting and the cuffs narrow down for a closer fit around the wrists.

A durable product, fleece has good durability so long as the material is treated respectfully, the jacket is designed for durable longevity.

The Run Down
A nice performance jacket with casual functionality as and when required, comes in at 18.70 ounces, so it’s light and not cumbersome, the fleecing sits at mid weight, you get two secure pockets for carrying whatever you need.

A clean cut design without frills or gimmicks and deserves to be seen as a good all purpose jacket for singular use or for wearing through layering for warmth and protection.

For the top all-around fleece on the market, we give the nod to the sleek Covert Cardigan from For everyday casual use it is comfortable and has a good style which is pleasing to the eye, however it is fine for hiking in upper cooler climates and will serve purpose for providing warmth and protection.

Stretch factor is not as high as in similar fleece jacket models because the design is more for hugging close to the body which is why this fit style means the jacket can easily be worn as an under layer.                                                                             
Stretch for flexibility is there for the wearer its just not as pronounced as in some other fleece jackets.

To sum up, this jacket feels nice to wear, it looks very nice and its a good multi purpose fleece jacket. In terms of cost it does cost a bit more than some other brands but you do get a sound investment.

Stylish and durable.

Good Front Zip System

Mid Range Fleece

Can be worn as layer clothing

Comfortable tailored style 

Casual or Performance wear                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Not for extremely cold climates.


Toad & Co Ballard

Toad & Co Ballard
This jacket is classic when it comes to chilly cold weather, it looks and feels right, in short it has the type of style which works for men. Designed  to take on the type of cold weather thrown at you on a remote winter hiking trail, this jacket can keep out the cold, short of a full blown blizzard. With a rugged visual appeal, this fleece jacket with twill weave pads on the chest and shoulders, looks stylish and its designed to keep moisture out and keep warmth in.

The styling is finished off with a straight hem at the base of the jacket which sits close to the body to ensure that the cold can not find a way inside. The great features in this jacket are impressive, its ideal to wear in cold environments but it comfortable for casual wear as well.
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You get protective comfortable warmth from this jacket, it's certainly designed to keep the cold out, rain resistant in wet conditions providing its not being worn in a monsoon, protective in snow conditions but risky if you try it in severe blizzard conditions.

Putting aside extreme weather condition, in all other types of weather you get absolute warmth while wearing it and you are protected from the cold wet environment.

The fabric construction for this jacket ensures the cold stays out and heat generated by your body is retained, factors which are very much appreciated in cold conditions.

A secure robust full front zip means you can zip all the way up including zipping up a protective collar to keep out chilly wind.

The cuffs are designed to hold securely around the wrists so that the sleeves do not ride up and expose skin to the cold conditions.

Cold elements are kept out through smart clothes tech which blends woven twill at the chest and shoulders to keep wet out, the rest of the exterior is polyester which is densely woven and we all know polyester has sound water resistant qualities, the inner fleece hugs the body to ensure warmth.

To ensure no entry to the cold, check out the styling via the cuffs reinforced with elasticated herringbone binding and the chest guard quality material. 

Chin protecting zipper garaging, forces home the message that the cold will not be allowed to enter inside.

Side pockets conveniently angled to put in your hands while you walk and another secure zip up chest pocket for stashing items.

Whatever you need, it's been built into this jacket to give you warmth and functionality.

For water resistance, the jacket has been DWR treated to give the material hydrophobic water resistance.

The full front zip system is backed up by a built in wind resistant flap to ensure that no chilly breeze finds entry, every conceivable innovation is designed into the jacket in order to keep the cold and wet out. 


The jacket gives extensive protection from the cold but the design does not trap body heat to the point where you lose comfort.

The materials used in the making of the jacket are water resistant due to DWR treatment but a good breath factor is retained, which means that the materials lets your body breath while retaining enough heat to keep you warm and comfortably in a cold environment.

The stylish design ensure a jacket which sits comfortably close to the body outline, keeping in the right amount of warmth without you overheating.

This combination with materials giving breath ability result in a great blend of body comfort.

Lastly and importantly, the fleece material feels gentle and comfortable to wear and has nice flexibility to allow comfortable body movement.


You get to expect a secure FIT from a cold weather jacket and this brand model lives up to all expectations.

The FIT factor is very good and you get a jacket which allows you arm movement without the sleeves riding up your arms, the materials let you move flexibly while continuing to hold true to the body, overall, this jacket has very good FIT.


Toad like to technically blend fabrics to achieve durability, protection, comfort and warmth, with durable long lasting pill resistance, this functional jacket can stay as part of your kit for a long time. Treated to be soundly water resistant and offering polyester and weaved twill materials which are robust and long lasting, you get solid durability for your investment.

The Run Down.

In listing the qualities in our run down, things really look impressive, this jacket has a good moderate level of breath ability, two nice exterior pockets for stowing items away or for you to slip in your hands for more warmth, durable 100% woven polyester, elasticated cuffs for comfort and protection, DWR water proofing, a hip length cut to the jacket.

The chest features a pocket with zip up security, for stability while wearing the inside neck piece has basket weaved holding tape tech, secure weather protective chin guard.

Full front zip system which means full closure in the cold but you can open the jacket in less chilly weather, a stylish napoleon zipper pocket, a stand up collar for it gets very windy and chilly and an interior flap for more defense against a cold wind.

Pill resistance is very good for this jacket and the jacket can be run through a washing machine and tumble dried.

This is a tried and tested brand fleece jacket which easily meets the needs for comfort, protection, warmth, durability.


The price is really reasonable and the investment easily meets value for money.

Full Frontal Secure Zip/Wind Flap

DWR Water Resistance Tech

Secure Comfortable FIT

100% Polyester and Tweed Chest and Shoulder Protection.

Secure Pockets

Herringbone Elasticated Cuffs.

Zip Up Extendable Neck Collar.

Great Durability, Protection and Comfort.


Not for very severe weather conditions.


Marmot Reactor

Marmot Reactor
The Marmot Reactor is an inexpensive fleece for an adventurer who needs a warm mid-layer without any frilly extras.

This jacket steps in as an efficient lightweight fleece with very good breath-ability, you get a slim style which gives nice Body-Fit.

Mostly designed for climbers but not restricted to use for a broad range of other outdoor activities.

Take in our review for more specs on this very nice fleece jacket.
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This is a pretty light fleece compared to others on our list. But it's definitely not the lightest. For how lightweight it is, it might be surprising how warm it is. For the weight, it is an excellent insulator, great for cold mornings and thrown in your pack when it warms up (it won't take up much space).

Because of the surprising warmth and it's lightweight feel, this makes it an excellent mid-layer. It will keep you warm without making you feel bulky.

Because this is the lightest jacket on our list. It fits well, and won't make you feel bulky when layering. The only feature lacking is a hood.

No fleece is expected to hold up against heavy conditions like rain or snow because they are primarily meant to insulate. But, the Marmot Reactor fares better than most other jackets on our list when it comes to repelling mist and light rain. Anything more than that and you'll want to put on a hard shell or rain jacket.

This is a really affordable fleece, especially compared to others on our list. The Marmot Reactor will keep you warm and save you some money for you to spend on more adventures.
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to layer
  • breathable
  • drawstring hem


  • No hood
  • Could be warmer


Fjallraven Greenland Jacket (Fleece Lined)

Fjallraven Greenland Jacket (Fleece Lined)
Here we have a jacket which sits apart from other fleece jackets, it's interesting and will appeal to those looking for alternatives, especially hikers or those people in constant contact with an environment which offers ongoing fluctuation between warm and chilly.

Constructed with environmentally organic friendly in mind.

All fleece jackets are built for purpose and each brand strives to offer functionality which is specific.

The Fjallraven Greenland jacket goes for this criteria and looks at a wider picture in terms of function.

If you want difference, you will get it, of course there are other warmer jackets because this jacket is a middle ground model for users that are in cold climates but want more functionality, more bigger pockets, a level of durability which covers many years.

Adding this jacket to your kit is tantamount to taking on a passion, you get a fleece lining ( and in other same models you get an alternative lining).

The jacket construction comes in durable blended cotton and polyester which is treated and the treatment is continued by you through regular waxing and ironing, wax is certainly great at repelling water, so to treat a material with it does present a reasonable logic. For water proofing you have seen this method in a similar way with the Helly Hansen Dubliner and the Tres 3 in 1 from Patagonia.

Read our review, if you want different, this is for you.
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There is no set claim to a warmth level which is just specific to this jacket because the jacket style lets you wear whatever layering you like with it.

When we think of warmth level you are given full control. If you choose to wear it for hiking it will work, if you wear it for working in a colder environment it will work, if your thinking about scaling a mountain face wearing it, yes it's possible but probably not perfect.

I would wear it for a ski run with my choice of under layers, I know i could keep warm at whatever warmth level I choose.

This jacket feels different too other models, it hangs on you rather than hugs to your body but if your wearing layered clothing, the more under layers the closer the fit.

For warmth you get a really soft fleece lining very similar in performance to the Patagonia Isthmus jacket

The shell fabric has a stiff quality with characteristics like the Marmot Fordham, which we know offers a fair degree of heat retaining warmth.

The hood is basic, simplicity is the key and it works and you get a heavy drape pile liner which gives a constant feel of the jacket hanging on your body rather than the close feel you get from alternative styled jackets.

Snap tighteners are fitted to the cuffs which is nice for keeping out the chill and stability for secure holding of the jacket sleeve.

The front zipper works in two directions and you can creatively manipulate it for ventilation purposes. Too warm and open the top of the lower front of the jacket, a very clever zip innovation.

Wow, seven pockets, one of them securely located inside the chest area of the jacket for extra safe stowing of personal items.

For the other six exterior pockets two of the pockets can be used for hand warming and all the pockets feature metal snap fastening buttons.

The chilly wind simply cannot penetrate a cotton and polyester waxed barrier, your warm inside the jacket and in terms of breath-ability, if you feel too warm you need to make use of the ventilation qualities designed into the two directional front zip system.

Waxed material will not let in water but equally it wont allow moisture to evaporate out through the material, so if you sweat a lot, you need to open up the front of the jacket.

Used in the right context this jacket will give you exactly the needed level of warmth.

This jacket is not about specific FIT, it more about multi use. When we think about FIT, the approach is traditional styling, you slip on the jacket and it hangs on you with a somewhat slightly loose fit feel.

You can move, twist, reach out and the jacket gives you room to be flexible, you get flexibility but you don't get a sensation of body hugging shell.

If you add layering, you will get a sensation of a more close FIT, which is how FIT was controlled in past times with the more traditional designs.

Some of us will like being in control of the FIT factor while some of us prefer to put on something that immediately FIT to our body.

The point which is clear is that when you put on this jacket, it hangs and feels the way all jackets used to feel before innovative designing became popular, it looks like a jacket.

It FITs like a jacket in standard terms of perception, you will either appreciate it or be distracted by it.

It terms of functional variable FIT you are on to a winner.

You are in full control of durability, carry out the regular waxing treatments and the jacket might even outlast you.

Cotton blended with polyester and coated in wax clearly offers a level of durability combined with high water repelling qualities.

The jacket has a robust sewn together construction and the inner pile insulation is made for longevity, it will be fine for a good number of years.

The jacket is a durable work horse.

The Run Down
The jacket is very flexible with regards to how much warmth you want because you are in control of this factor.

Being a loose (but not too lose) fitting jacket, you apply whatever layering you feel is suitable for the days weather.

You want protection from the wind and wearing a durable waxed material will give you great protection and working in conjunction with this is great protection from the rain, water runs of wax surfaces.

With 7 pockets, your really in a situation in which you can carry whatever you want, this jacket is really about multi functional uses depending on where you are and what your going to do.

The original concept for this style of jacket comes from people working on farms in cooler regions, they wanted broad functionality and good protection from the weather.

They needed a jacket which could be multi purpose, warm,protective, comfortable and very durable and this is exactly what you get from this traditionally styled jacket.

Premature wear is reduced because the wax process gives very solid protection to the materials, the construction is solid, strong and held together through a strong network of stitched seams.

The inner insulation pile is excellent, comfortable and durable.
You are unlikely to ever wear this jacket to go running but certainly for skiing, hiking, orienteering or just being out in the cold, this is a very interesting offered alternative to the current range of fleece jackets being offered.

Look at what you get, taking into account the broad functionality, the durable longevity, protection from the elements, it will be higher priced than some other alternative jackets. If you invest in this jacket, it will be a part of your kit for many years.

A long term durable jacket

Multiple uses

Warmth controlled through layering

Very wind resistant

Very water resistant

Zip system for ventilation control

Traditional and functional hood.

Good number of pockets




Traditional style and functionality might not appeal to some modern minded people.


Mountain Hardwear Therminator Jackets

Mountain Hardwear Therminator Jackets
Fleece lined pockets, this is luxury. Skiing can mean very cold hands, especially if your gloves get wet. Put your cold hands into the fleece lined pockets and you will warm up very quickly.

Terminator jackets might be rightly named, they certainly seem to want to terminate other competition, these jackets get a positive tick for "almost: everything. We are reviewing fleece use in jackets here for you, these jackets offer fleece and other alternatives.

You even get a choice for fleece lined pockets. Hoods with built in clothing tech, cuffs with quick user friendly Velcro fastening.

A grand total of 7 secure pockets, pit zip systems, designed in integrated powder skirting, the front zipper operates both ways, the list of functional features are nice.

The first priority in the jacket design favors snow boarders, skiers, day long hikers orienteering but it does not require much imagination to come up with more outdoor activities for which these jackets will work.

These jackets are clearly stepping forwards in terms of innovative design and broad functionality.

If you don't go for cold weather sports, wear this stylish jacket daily in winter months for casual wear.

This is going to be an informative review, come and read.
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Absolutely yes. Put your hands inside the fleece lined pockets and soak up the comforting warmth. This is a unique fleece and synthetic materials innovation which skiers will really like.

The Teryx Fission SV offers excellent Thermic aero insulation but the terminator jackets gives twice as much, it's impossible to question the warmth capability, clearly the wearer gets maximum warmth.

A very well engineered powder skirt system gives full protection against cold drafts. The performance from this jacket is very close to the Marmot Fordham.

Great protection from the robust shell fabric and sold non sealed network of seams which surly provide discrete breath-ability.

The front zip system is two way directional and we like this, open up the lower or upper of the jacket for effective ventilation control.

The neck band can be securely pulled up and held in place by the secure zipping mechanism. This works well with the technical padded hood to ensure it holds firmly around the lower part of the head, the hood is styled to allow just enough comfortable ventilation airflow.

The jacket is not 100% waterproof but it is highly water resistant, wind resistance factor is great and to my eyes, the jacket looks aerodynamic.

Full water and wind resistance is a scarce quality and to get it you need to review the Arc'teryx Camosun.

In snow conditions, average wind and moderate rain, the terminator jacket performs to expectations.

Comfort stems from the construction of the jacket, robust sewn in insulation baffling blended with a very smooth comfortable inner lining of fabric, the jacket is rounded off with a light weight synthetic material.

Though the appearance looks figure hugging, the inner style does more, a degree of loose for airy comfort which means an inner pocket of hair between your skin and the material, the proximity or density of air varies with how you move and turn.

A robust comfortable jacket which allows for flexibly body movement, the seams are designed to be hard wearing and durable.

The overall material construction is made up of tightly woven synthetic fibers which give a high durable value and to the front of the jacket we find a durable solid zip system.

The Run Down.
You get a top grade cold weather jacket with high water and wind resistance, strong synthetic material construction, a very nice hood which has aerodynamic and subtle ventilation qualities.

The both ways zip system allows you to use it as a body temperature control mechanism, you can ventilate built up body heat through freeing the top half of the jacket at the front so that warm air disperses.

If you want a flow of air you can manipulate the zip system to open the front lower part of the jacket to allow in a flow of air.

The choice of different sized pockets numbering up to 7 is really useful, skiers can even stow away spare gloves securely, bring a water bottle, even safely carry money/change.

The integrated powder skirt serves its protective purpose and the broad use of synthetics ensure a high resistance against cold and wet penetration, though in severe very heavy weather conditions you will experience wetness eventually seeping through.

This is a very solid jacket and much positive design tech has gone into creating it, the Terminator sits up there alongside other top performing jackets.

Only one downside exists, the synthetics insulation will over a long period of time feature a degree of breaking down though this has negligible impact on the warmth offered by the jacket.

It's a high quality top performing product which will cost a bit more than mid range standard jackets but the investment is good.





Good protection

Robust stylish construction

High water resistance

High wind resistance

Two way zip system which can be used to control air ventilation

Great hood-aerodynamic-tech-air ventilation

Secure cuffs with velcro

7 good sized pockets


The synthetics insulation will over a long period of time feature a degree of breaking down but this does not impact on warmth.


Outdoor Research Transition Hoody

Outdoor Research Transition Hoody
If you are looking for a snug trim fit this could be for you. Looking at this nice styled fleece top we see potential for use in sports, outdoor activities and daily casual wear.

Take into consideration that it can be worn through three different seasons in conjunction with thoughtful layering and you have a top which can be used for much of the year.

The style of the jackets states "easy wear" and where we use it and how seems open to many options.

Light skiing, snow shoe walks, cycling, hiking, orienteering, outdoor tennis or even around town. Whatever grabs your fancy and in the right weather conditions, this fleece top will be useful.

It can it work in so may places because it has the transition qualities for being part of layered clothing.

Let's see how it fares in our review.

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Let's look at this hoody as a mid layer fleece garment which can transition either way.

It easily serves purpose as part of your outdoor kit because its use is so flexible. Even in really cool environments, if you are on the go it can double up with a thin pullover/sweater and ensure you are comfortably warm.

Layering for warmth is the key here:

This transition jacket style hoody can be very flexible, wear it against the skin, wear it between garments or wear it outside.

It works above or under shirts, other hoody tops, under jackets and is constructed from good stretchy material in high wear locations such as the hips, neck back, back and upper arm areas, it does not over stretch and lose hold or shape.

Worn on its own it will not give solid protection against water or strong wind but it was not made for that purpose.

So in rainy or snowy conditions it will best serve at mid layer, if you wear it as an out layer in the rain you will get wet and cold.

The hoody does have design features which serve to dump or disperse heat and because of this there is a level of moisture control and the jacket will dry out very quickly if it does become sweaty or wet.

A good trim fit, it can be worn comfortably under puffy jackets, shell jackets.

Just the right amount of loose factor with stretch also ensures comfortable fit if you wear a shirt or thin sweater underneath it.

With full length sleeves you get full motion flexibility for the arms, stretch out or rotate your arms and you wont find the sleeves riding up your forearm.

Secure FIT continues through the nice thumb loops built into the cuffs so that you can choose to securely hold the sleeve, if you ever find a situation where you need to do so.

The hood features are impressive, wear helmet or beanie and the hold will stretch over and hold in place.

The balaclava style hood closes securely at mid chin when the front zip is fully up and this serves as solid defense against chilly drafts.

Generally the FIT factor for this jacket top is very good and really flexible.

You get durability as the top is constructed from reliable Polartec fabric which is proven to have long term durability while also being comfortable and soft against the body.

The zip system is proving durability and there aren't any comments suggesting that it breaks or sticks.

In terms of life time durability, this can be seen through natural wear and tear, if you wear it more as an outer top then it will be subjected to wear from the environment.

All in all durability factor for this fleece top is good.

The Run Down.
For our run down we note extra features which we have not yet mentioned.

With this mid layer product you get, elasticated cuffs, an elasticated hem and elasticated hood front.

The stretch around the cuffs is flexible enough to go over gloves which is a very useful feature.

If you do wear base layers, the elasticated waist will comfortably stretch over and securely hold.

If you are wearing as a mid layer item and you are unlucky enough to feel the top is riding up then you can secure it by tucking into the pants.

Importantly, the elastic features in the transition hoody have good longevity and the elastic retains is stretch capability.

We like the Polartec Power Grid system which serves for moisture or heat wicking. Between each grid square we note a discrete channel which enables moisture or heat to be expelled and so accelerates wick functionality.

The design of the raised grid squares are part of the fleece feature for insulation.

The chest area features a pocket with a secure zip and its safe for securely carrying a phone and there are two hip pockets which provide enough space to carry maps or other large useful items.

We noted that the side pockets could perform even better if they perhaps had secure zip systems.

Not a high price and really a good investment.


Really good for layering

Nice and comfortable on the body

Robust balaxclava style hood

Warm when worn in context

Full front zip system


The hip pockets might be better if they had zippers for security


Criteria for Evaluation

We apply a few categories of criteria while searching for the best picks. The style is great, but the function is even better. For that reason we looked beyond the seasonal trends, digging just a bit deeper to see what would be an ideal fit for real outdoor use. Some of the search revolves around suitable features for particular environments, comfort, fit, durability and most importantly level of warmth provided.


This is really the biggest reason you are buying a fleece. We want to be sure that the best and most suitable choices provide an acceptable, if not exceptional, level of warmth to the wearer. Whether you intend to wear as a layer, or as a stand alone, it needs to do the main job it is designed to do, and do it well.

We looked for features such as a fairly secure waist, well-fitting collar or hood, and snug fitting cuffs. The are a few things that help greatly in retaining body heat. We also look at the material. We want to know whether it is high-quality fleece or poorly made fabric that allows the wind to breeze right through.


This one is pretty obvious, but still good to mention. Who wants to spend a bunch of money on a jacket that is uncomfortable?

But, we don’t just pay attention to whether it is only comfortable as a stand alone piece of outerwear. We also want to know how comfortable and adaptable they are when paired with other garments, forming a layering system. We want to know if the jacket bunches up when worn underneath a hard-shell, whether the cuffs are too tight, whether there are portions of a jacket which seem to fit too snug or too loose, not matching with the fit of the rest of that jacket. We like to know if this is comfortable around the house and daily errands kind of jacket. If you go out and spend your money on something, you ought to be able to wear it wherever and whenever you want.


This has less to do with overall comfort, and more to do the functional fit, especially when performing specific activities such as rock climbing, alpine climbing, and even intense trekking. You don’t want to have bulky material hanging from the sleeves, an extra loose fit that tends to bunch up under the rest of your gear. We really look at whether or not the best choice really is designed with a fit which is truly suitable for the uses it is intended.


Whatever you choose, it has to stand up to anything that you intend to throw at it. The stitching should be strong, the material should be durable enough for the environment and elements you may find yourself facing. We also look into whether a particular jacket holds up to the quality track record of the company.


Q; Why is fleece so popular?

A: Fle,ece is popular because it has a high insulation value, it’s very comfortable against the skin, has good durability

Q: Layering is effective but why?

A: Studies by the military found that thin layers of clothing worn together are more effective than one layer of thick clothing. The main reason for this is because each layer traps small amounts of air which serve towards added insulation.

Q: I have read comments in which front zip systems are described as good for body heat control, is this really true?

A: Yes, it is if you know how to manipulate the zip system. When a jacket is fully zipped up and closed, your body will not only retain more heat but depending on the breath-ability of the fabric, heat inside the jacket will build up and you can start to sweat and feel over heated. By using the zip system to adjust and open your jacket you allow heat to escape and air ventilation so that your body temperature can stabilize.

Q: Which types of jackets are known for less breath-ability?

A: Jackets which have been treated with wax coating do have less breath-ability but the makers design in other features to promote overall breath-ability to compensate for this. Once again, heat build up due to less breath-ability can be balanced through manipulating the zip system.

Q: What are the advantages of shell jackets?

A:  Shell jackets work through adding mid layers of clothing along with base layers. The jackets do not have built in insulation and are designed to protect from wet and wind.

Q: Which materials are best at preventing water and wind penetration for jackets.

A: It depends on what the jacket will be used for and in which environment? Waxed coated materials are highly resistant to wet and wind because was forms a none penetrable barrier. Very tightly woven synthetic materials are making strong inroads into going for 100% protection against water and cold chilly wind getting to you inside your jacket. Even as I write this answer, technology is evolving and I suspect that what we now know as extremely protective will continue to be updated as tech moves forward.

Final thoughts

Really, the fleece jackets that people choose are completely up to their own particular needs, as well as budget.  Though most of the options in this buying guide tend to run a bit higher in price, we believe they are well worth the cost if you intend on really putting your gear to the test. We researched more angles than simply what would meet our set criteria. We also paid a lot of attention to what previous customers and current users had to say about the options we picked for our list. Now you can decide which of the top ten fleece jacket options suit you best as well as your adventure.

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