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The Best Fleece Clothing to Keep You Warm This Winter

The Best Fleece Clothing to Keep You Warm This Winter

Fleece clothing makes an indispensable addition to any cold weather wardrobe. With its soft warmth and versatility, fleece is ideal for layering and a variety of activities. This guide will explore the benefits of fleece clothing and provide expert tips on choosing the best fleeces for your needs. Learn about fleece types, key features to look for and how to care for fleece garments.

What is Fleece and How Does It Work?

Fleece clothing is made from a soft synthetic material, usually polyester. It contains a dense pile of fuzz or nap that traps air close to the body, providing excellent insulation. Fleece also wicks moisture away from the skin, preventing chill. The material's lightweight warmth and breathability make fleece perfect for layering. It works well as a base layer under a waterproof jacket or as a comfortable mid-layer under a shell. Fleece clothing comes in many styles including jackets, pullovers, vests, hoodies, pants and accessories.

What Are the Characteristics of Quality Fleece Clothing?

Fleece clothing has become increasingly popular for its comfort, versatility and warmth. But what makes quality fleece clothing stand out? Here are a few characteristics to look for:

  • Insulation: Quality fleece clothing provides excellent insulation due to its unique construction. The fabric's loft traps air, creating a layer of warmth to keep you comfortable even in cold conditions.
  • Breathability: Good quality fleece is designed to allow moisture to escape, preventing you from overheating during physical activities. This breathability helps regulate your body temperature and keeps you dry.
  • Durability: Quality fleece clothing is made to last. Look for products with reinforced stitching and strong materials that can withstand regular wear and tear.
  • Versatility: Fleece clothing comes in various styles and designs, from performance pieces to loungewear, making it suitable for different activities and occasions. Whether you're going hiking, skiing or simply running errands, fleece clothing can meet your needs.
  • Stretch: Many quality fleece pieces feature stretchy side panels or fabrics, allowing for better flexibility and freedom of movement. This is particularly important for activities that require a wide range of motion.
  • Pockets: Look for fleece clothing with practical pockets, such as hand pockets and chest pockets. These pockets offer convenient storage for small items, like keys or a phone, while on the go.
  • Layering: Fleece clothing is often used as an outer layer or mid-layer. It should be easy to layer under waterproof or windproof jackets without feeling bulky or restricting movement.

Types of Fleece Clothing

When shopping for fleece clothing, there are a few main types of fleece to consider:

Polyester Fleece

The most common type is 100% polyester fleece. It’s inexpensive, durable and easy to care for. Polyester fleece comes in different weights suited for different temperatures. Some polyester fleeces contain spandex for added stretch.

Wool Fleece

Wool fleece is usually a blend of polyester and wool. The wool adds natural moisture wicking. Wool fleeces are warmer but more expensive than regular polyester. Merino wool fleeces offer softness and odor resistance.

Polar Fleece

Polar fleece is a high-quality polyester fleece known for its velvety feel. It’s lightweight, breathable, quick-drying and easy to move in. Polar fleece works well as a base layer for outdoor activities.

Sherpa Fleece

Sherpa fleece has a thicker deep pile lining for extra warmth and a fluffy texture. It makes very soft, plush garments and linings. Sherpa fleece can pill easily from friction. It's best used as loungewear rather than activewear.

Key Features to Look for in Fleece

Once you've decided which type of fleece material is best for you, there are a few key features you should keep an eye out for when shopping for fleece. From casual fleece pajamas to performance fleece tops, these factors can make a big difference in your comfort and style.


Fleece weight indicates thickness and warmth. Light 100-weight fleece works for cool weather and layering. Heavyweight 300-weight fleece provides bulk-free insulation for cold climates. 200-weight is a versatile mid-weight fleece suitable for most people.

Pile Type

Fleece pile comes in different textures and heights. Short dense piles offer great insulation. Plush or shaggy piles are extra soft and fuzzy. A berber fleece pile has varied nap heights for visual texture. Choose pile height and texture based on feel preference and intended use.

DWR Coating

A durable water repellent (DWR) coating helps fleece resist moisture. Not all fleeces have it, but a DWR finish is useful for outerwear pieces. It causes water to bead up and roll off the fabric surface rather than soaking in. Look for a DWR coating on fleece jackets.

Stretch Fabric

Many fleeces contain spandex or elasticized fabric for better stretch and movement. This is ideal if you’ll be active in your fleece clothing. Stretchy side panels and cuffs allow for mobility. Choose stretch fleeces for sports.

Wind Resistance

While not windproof, some fleeces have a tight fabric construction that blocks more wind. Wind-resistant fleeces work better as outer layers in breezy conditions. But they may be less breathable than open loose-knit fleeces. Consider the wind factor before choosing fleece outerwear.

Why are Stretchy Side Panels Essential in Fleece Jackets?

Stretchy side panels in fleece jackets serve a crucial purpose – enhanced mobility. When engaged in physical activities or outdoor adventures, it's important to have freedom of movement. The stretchy side panels allow the jacket to move with your body, providing optimal flexibility. Whether you're reaching for a climbing hold, skiing down a mountain or cycling through rough terrain, the stretchy side panels ensure unrestricted movement and prevent any constriction or discomfort. They make your fleece ski jacket a performance piece that caters to your active lifestyle.

What’s the Role of Pockets in a Fleece Jacket?

Hand pockets and chest pockets are not only convenient but also play important roles in the functionality of a fleece jacket.

Hand Pockets

Hand pockets are located on the sides of the fleece jacket, typically at waist height. These pockets serve multiple purposes. First, they provide convenient storage space for small items like keys, a phone or gloves. This eliminates the need for carrying a separate bag or stuffing these items in your pants pockets. Secondly, hand pockets offer a cozy place for your hands, especially during colder weather. They provide warmth and protection, allowing you to keep your hands sheltered from the cold while on the go.

Chest Pocket

A chest pocket is often situated on the upper front part of the fleece jacket and is typically secured with a zipper. This pocket is designed for secure storage of valuable items like wallets, IDs or even small electronic devices. The zipper closure ensures that your belongings stay safe and secure while you're out and about. Whether you're hiking, traveling or simply running errands, having a chest pocket allows you to keep your essentials close at hand without worrying about their safety.

The hand pockets and chest pockets in a fleece jacket add convenience and functionality, making it a practical choice for various activities and everyday wear.

Overall, understanding the key features of different fleece jackets is crucial in selecting the right one for your needs. Long sleeves provide extra warmth, stretchy side panels enhance mobility and hand pockets and a chest pocket offer functionality and convenience. By considering these features, you'll be able to find a fleece jacket that not only keeps you warm but also meets your specific requirements and preferences.

How to Select the Perfect Fleece Clothing for Outdoor Activities

Fleece clothing is a popular choice for outdoor activities due to its exceptional warmth, comfort and versatility. Whether you're planning a hike, camping trip or simply want cozy attire for chilly days, there are a few key factors to consider when choosing the perfect fleece clothing. Let's take a closer look at how you can make the best selection.

Fleece Weight

One of the first things to consider is the weight of the fleece. Fleece jackets and tops are available in different weights, ranging from lightweight to heavyweight. Lightweight fleeces are perfect as mid-layers under a jacket, while heavyweight options provide excellent insulation as outerwear in colder conditions. Assess the weather conditions and activity level to determine the appropriate fleece weight for your needs.

Build Quality

Look for fleece clothing that exhibits excellent build quality. Inspect the seams, zippers and overall construction of the garment. Reinforced stitching, quality zippers and durable materials will ensure that your fleece clothing lasts for multiple seasons. Remember, outdoor activities can be demanding, so investing in well-made fleece clothing will pay off in the long run.

Performance Features

Consider the performance features that fleece clothing offers. Many modern fleece jackets come with stretchy side panels that enhance your range of motion, making them ideal for activities that require agility, such as climbing or mountain biking. Additionally, look for fleece jackets with convenient features like hand pockets and a chest pocket, enabling you to carry small essentials while keeping your hands free.

Weather Resistance

While fleece clothing is known for its insulation, it's important to consider its weather resistance capabilities. Some fleece jackets come with a softshell outer layer that provides moderate water and wind resistance. This added protection can be crucial when you encounter unexpected rain or wind during your outdoor adventures.

Why is a Fleece Jacket a Must-Have Outer Layer for Outdoor Activities?

A fleece jacket serves as an essential outer layer for outdoor activities due to its numerous benefits:

  • Warmth: Fleece jackets are excellent insulators, keeping you warm even in cold temperatures. The fleece fabric traps air, creating a layer of insulation that retains body heat.
  • Breathability: Fleece jackets are breathable, allowing moisture to escape while preventing overheating. This is particularly important during high-intensity activities when you're likely to sweat.
  • Quick-Drying: Fleece jackets are known for their quick-drying properties. Unlike other materials, fleece dries rapidly, making it ideal for outdoor activities where you may encounter rain or damp conditions.
  • Versatility: Fleece jackets can be worn as an outer layer in mild weather or as a mid-layer under a waterproof shell or insulated jacket in colder conditions. Their versatility makes them a suitable choice for various outdoor activities.
  • Comfort: Fleece jackets are incredibly soft and comfortable to wear. The fabric feels cozy against the skin and allows for a full range of movement.

How to Assess the Durability of Fleece Clothing

Ensuring the durability of your fleece clothing is essential for long-lasting performance. Here are some factors to consider when assessing durability:

  • Materials: Look for fleece clothing made from high-quality materials. Synthetic jackets, for example, are known for their durability and ability to withstand regular use and repeated washings.
  • Product Certifications: Check if the fleece clothing has any trusted sustainability certifications or product certifications. These certifications guarantee that the materials used are ethically sourced, and the manufacturing process meets specific environmental standards.
  • Build Quality: As mentioned earlier, examine the build quality of the fleece clothing. Pay attention to the seams, zippers and overall construction. Strong seams, durable zippers and reinforced areas indicate a higher level of durability.
  • Fleece Weight: The weight of the fleece can also be an indicator of durability. Heavier weight fleece tends to be more durable and resistant to wear and tear, compared to lightweight options.
  • Customer Reviews: Before making a purchase, check online customer reviews for the specific fleece clothing you're considering. Real-life experiences can provide valuable insights into the durability and performance of the product.

Remember, durability is crucial when it comes to outdoor clothing. Investing in high-quality fleece clothing will save you money in the long run and ensure that you can enjoy your outdoor activities without worrying about garments falling apart.

Overall, selecting the perfect fleece clothing for your outdoor activities involves considering factors such as fleece weight, build quality, performance features and weather resistance. Additionally, understanding the benefits of a fleece jacket as an outer layer and assessing the durability of fleece clothing will help you make an informed decision. With the right fleece clothing, you can stay warm, comfortable and protected during your outdoor adventures.

About Stio

Stio connects you with the outdoors through quality products infused with a mountain soul. Proudly operating from Jackson Hole, WY, we take inspiration from our natural surroundings and put it into every piece of apparel we make. From technical performance to aesthetics, Stio outfits you with exceptional products for unforgettable outdoor experiences.


What does fleece mean in clothing?

Fleece in clothing refers to a synthetic fabric made from polyester fibers. It's known for its soft and fuzzy texture, resembling the fleece of a sheep. Fleece fabric is lightweight yet warm, making it a popular choice for outerwear, jackets, sweatshirts and blankets. It's excellent at trapping body heat while allowing moisture to evaporate, making it highly breathable and comfortable to wear. Fleece is also a durable and insulating material that is often used in outdoor and cold weather gear.

Is fleece actually warmer?

Yes, fleece is generally warmer than many other materials. Fleece is made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, which have the ability to insulate and trap heat. The fabric has a brushed surface, creating tiny air pockets that help to retain warmth. Fleece is known for its excellent thermal properties, providing insulation and keeping the body warm in cold temperatures. It is a popular choice for outdoor clothing, winter apparel and blankets thanks to its ability to provide comfort and warmth.

Is fleece only for winter?

No, fleece is not only for winter. While it is a warm and cozy fabric that is perfect for colder weather, it can also be used in other seasons. Fleece is known for its ability to provide insulation by trapping heat, which makes it great for chilly nights or indoor activities year-round. Additionally, fleece can come in different weights, so there are lighter options that can be worn in transitional seasons like spring or fall. Its versatility makes it suitable for various climates, and it can be used as a layering piece or as the outermost garment depending on the weather.

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