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Best Hiking Fleece Jackets 2023

Choosing the Best Fleece Jacket for Hiking: Your Ultimate Guide

Fleece jackets are a staple in any hiker's wardrobe. They provide warmth, breathability, and comfort in a variety of outdoor conditions. But with so many fleece jackets available, which do you choose for your hiking adventures? Let's break down the key factors to consider when choosing a fleece jacket, essential features and the different types of fleece jackets for various hiking conditions so you can have the best experience on the trail.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fleece Jacket for Hiking

When planning your outdoor adventure, it’s important to have the right gear for a comfortable experience. Here are some key factors to consider to help you find the best fleece jacket for hiking.


Fleece jackets can be made from various materials, including natural fibers like wool or synthetic materials like polyester. Synthetic materials offer better performance and resistance to weather, making them ideal for hiking. Polyester fleece is one of the most commonly used materials for fleece jackets. It’s durable, lightweight, and easy to clean. It's also quick-drying, making it perfect for activities that involve sweating or getting wet. Some manufacturers use recycled materials to make their fleece jackets, making them eco-friendly and sustainable.

Another material used in fleece manufacturing is wool. Wool offers excellent insulation and is naturally moisture-wicking, making it a popular fleece hiking jacket option. However, wool is heavier and bulkier than polyester and isn't always the best choice for fast hikes.


Insulation is the ability of the fleece to keep you warm. It is determined by the thickness or density of the fabric. Thicker fleece offers better insulation but also means it will be heavier and bulkier. Some fleece jackets offer stretchy side panels that increase mobility while maintaining warmth. Look for a balance between warmth and weight, and insulation levels depending on the weather conditions you will face.


The weight of the fleece jacket is another important factor to consider. A lightweight fleece jacket is ideal for activities that require a lot of movement, like hiking or climbing. Heavier jackets are more suitable for cold conditions and activities that don't require a lot of movement, like camping. When considering the weight of a fleece jacket, be sure to consider the weight of other layers you may be wearing as well. A fleece jacket may be a base layer or worn as a stand alone outer layer. In both cases, it's essential to consider its weight compared to the rest of your layering system.


If you're going on a multi-day hike or backpacking trip, packability is an important factor to consider. A jacket that packs down into a small size will be less bulky in your backpack and save weight. Packable jackets are usually lightweight and thinner than a typical fleece jacket. However, these jackets may lack some of the features of thicker and heavier jackets, such as zippered pockets or thicker material.


A breathable jacket allows sweat to evaporate and escape, keeping you dry and preventing overheating. A breathable fabric is especially important in colder conditions when sweat can freeze, which can lead to discomfort or hypothermia. Look for fleece jackets with moisture-wicking properties and ventilation in areas where you are likely to sweat, such as under the arms or on the back. These will help keep you dry and comfortable.


Moisture-wicking is the ability of the fleece to absorb moisture and spread it over a larger surface area, where it can evaporate quickly. This feature is crucial for keeping you dry and comfortable, especially during high-intensity activities that cause sweat. Fleece jackets with moisture-wicking technology include additional features like mesh or ventilation panels that increase airflow and keep you dry, and prevent the buildup of bacteria or odors.


A durable jacket is always in style for hikers looking to make the most of their purchase. Look for jackets that have reinforced seams or stretchy materials that are more resistant to rips or tears. Higher-end fleece jackets are often more durable and resistant to pilling than their cheaper counterparts.

Weather Resistance

A weather-resistant jacket is vital for those who may face changing weather conditions, including wind, rain, or snow. Some fleece jackets are treated with DWR (durable water repellent) which makes them water-resistant and keeps them dry in damp conditions. If you plan to use the fleece jacket as an outer layer, look for a jacket with a wind-resistant shell or a waterproof membrane.

Full Zip or Pullover

Generally, fleece jackets come in two different styles: full-zip or pullover. Full-zip jackets offer more ventilation and are easier to take off and put on. Pullover jackets have less ventilation, but they are often more durable, and less likely to snag on branches or rocks. When choosing between the two styles, consider the activity you'll be doing, personal preference, and the weather conditions.

Essential Features in the Best Fleece Jacket for Hiking

Here are some key features that you should consider when looking for a fleece hiking jacket:

Comfort and Fit

Comfort and fit are important factors to consider when choosing a fleece jacket for hiking. You want a jacket that fits snugly without being too tight. A good fit will allow for a full range of motion and prevent any excess bulk or fabric from interfering with your movements on the trail.

Additionally, look for a jacket that has a soft and comfortable interior lining that won't irritate your skin, and choose a fabric that is breathable and moisture-wicking to keep you dry and comfortable during exertion.

Pockets and Storage

Another feature to consider when choosing a fleece jacket for hiking is pockets and storage. Look for a jacket that has enough pockets to hold your phone, wallet, and other small essentials, but be careful not to overload it with too much weight.

Look for a jacket with easily accessible pockets located in convenient areas, such as on the chest or at the hip, and that they are made from high-quality materials that won't rip or tear over time. Some pants even have interior pockets for added storage.

Zippers and Ventilation

Zippers and ventilation can make a big difference in a fleece jacket for hiking. A good fleece jacket should have a full zipper that allows you to easily adjust the level of warmth and insulation. Additionally, look for zippers on the pockets, which can help you keep phones, keys, or snacks secure on your hike.

Also, be sure to choose a jacket with vents or mesh panels that can help to circulate air and prevent overheating, especially on warmer days.

Hood and Adjustability

A hood is always a feature to look for in a fleece jacket for hiking to help protect you from the elements. Look for jackets with adjustable hoods that fit snugly to your head without feeling too tight or obstructing your vision.

Also, consider the adjustability of the cuffs, waist, and hem of the jacket. These features can help to ensure a snug fit and prevent any drafts or cold air from creeping in.

Layering Ability

Be sure to consider the layering ability of the fleece jacket. Look for a jacket that you can layer over a base layer or t-shirt, as well as a jacket that can be used as a mid-layer or outer layer when the weather changes

Some jackets have stretchy side panels and airy fabric that makes them great for layering, while others have a more substantial face fabric that can be worn as an outer layer in mild weather.


Value is an important consideration when it comes to choosing the best fleece jacket for hiking. Look for a jacket with high build quality that uses durable, high-performance materials, such as polyester fleece and recycled materials, and that is backed by a warranty or guarantee of quality.

Keep your budget in mind but don't be afraid to invest in a higher-end fleece jacket. Even if you're paying a little more now, a quality fleece jacket will last for years longer than a cheaper option, ultimately giving you more bang for your buck.

By focusing on comfort and fit, pockets and storage, zippers and ventilation, hood and adjustability, layering ability, and value, you can find a fleece jacket that will keep you warm, comfortable, and protected on all your hiking adventures.

Fleece Jackets for Different Types of Hiking

While you may not think of a fleece jacket as a key piece of hiking gear, it can actually be incredibly valuable. So, whether you're a day hiker or a multi-day backpacker, there is a fleece jacket out there to meet your needs.

Lightweight Fleece Jackets for Day Hikes

Lightweight fleece hiking jackets are an ideal addition to your day hike gear. These jackets provide excellent warmth without adding much weight, making them perfect for cool mornings or evenings on the trails. Fleece material is known for its soft, insulating properties, which makes it perfect for when the temperature dips on the trail. Despite being warm, fleece is lightweight, which means you can carry it without feeling bogged down. The weight of the jacket can also help to regulate your temperature, as if you start to feel too hot, you can easily take it off and pack it away.

Another benefit of lightweight fleece hiking jackets is the level of protection they offer. These jackets can help to keep you dry in light rain, protect you from the wind, and even keep you warm in colder temperatures. Additionally, fleece is breathable, preventing you from overheating and perspiring too much. With a good fleece hiking jacket, hikers have a layer of armor against the elements.

Moreover, lightweight fleece jackets are versatile in regards to their suitability for various day hike experiences. While they are primarily known for being great for colder weather hikes, they are also great for cooler early morning hikes, or even for sunnier hikes that need extra protection. For example, during the summer, a lightweight fleece jacket can easily be worn in the evenings when temperatures dip, making it a great choice for hikers who don't want to carry around multiple layers.

In addition to the technical advantages, fleece hiking jackets also come in tons of different colors, styles, and fits. Choosing the right jacket can make all the difference in terms of comfort during your day hike. When shopping for a jacket, consider the style that you prefer. Some may prefer a hoodie or a full-zip jacket, while others may prefer a half-zip. There are also different fleece thicknesses to choose from, ranging from thin to thick, so it’s important to pick a fleece that suits your individual needs.

If you're looking for the perfect fleece hiking jacket for your day hikes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to choose a jacket that fits well. Ensure that the jacket fits you snugly but also lets you move freely for a full range of movement. Additionally, choose a jacket that is made of high-quality materials, since it will be more durable and will offer better weather protection.

A lightweight fleece hiking jacket is a must-have for anyone who loves hiking. It offers a range of benefits, including warmth, protection, and versatility. By choosing the right jacket, you can stay comfortable, no matter the weather. Investing in a high-quality fleece hiking jacket will be well worth the money, and will ensure that you are prepared for any day hike that comes your way.

Midweight Fleece Jackets for Multiday Hikes

Midweight fleece jackets have become an essential garment for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. They provide warmth and comfort in the cold and windy conditions, making them perfect for multiday hikes. These jackets are usually made of synthetic materials that provide insulation and moisture-wicking capabilities. Multiday hikes can be challenging, and for those who love to explore the great outdoors, it’s essential to have a jacket that meets all their needs. A midweight fleece jacket is one such jacket that is perfect for this type of activity.

The primary reason why a midweight fleece jacket is ideal for multiday hikes is its warmth. The insulation provided by this jacket is perfect for the cold weather conditions. Fleece is an excellent insulating material and provides warmth without weighing you down. The insulation traps the heat produced by your body and prevents it from escaping. This means you’ll stay warm and comfortable, even during the coldest of nights.

Another great feature of midweight fleece jackets is their moisture-wicking capabilities. When you’re hiking or engaging in any outdoor activity, you’re bound to sweat. This moisture can quickly become uncomfortable if it’s not removed from your body. That’s where the moisture-wicking properties of fleece come in handy. A good midweight fleece jacket wicks the moisture away and keeps you dry and comfortable throughout your hike.

Midweight fleece jackets are designed to be incredibly comfortable and provide a pleasant experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The soft and lightweight fabric always feels comfortable, inviting you to wear your fleece all day without it feeling cumbersome. The stretchiness of the material also ensures a perfect fit, so you don't have to worry about uncomfortable rubbing or chafing.

It goes without saying that when it comes to outdoor activities, durability is crucial. You need a jacket that can withstand the harsh elements and rugged terrain. Midweight fleece jackets are made of tough materials that can endure the rigors of the great outdoors. The synthetic fibers used in these jackets are resistant to damage from water and can dry quickly, making them perfect for rainy conditions.

And if you want a jacket that can do lots of different things, another great feature of midweight fleece jackets is their versatility. They can be worn as a standalone jacket during colder months or as a layering piece during winters. You can wear your midweight fleece over a base layer for added warmth or under a shell for extra insulation.

Pockets are always a valuable addition to any outdoor garment. Midweight fleece jackets usually come with at least one zippered pocket that can be used to store personal items like your phone, wallet, or snacks. This can be important during a multiday hike, as it provides easy access to your essentials without having to open your backpack.

Midweight fleece jackets are perfect for multiday hikes. They provide warmth, comfort, moisture-wicking capabilities, durability, versatility, and pockets for essential items. They’re an excellent investment for any outdoor enthusiast and will serve you well on your outdoor adventures. Make sure to choose a jacket that fits well and provides you with the features you need to have a great outdoor experience. Stay warm and comfortable, and enjoy the great outdoors!

Heavyweight Fleece Jackets for Extreme Conditions

Heavyweight fleece jackets are an essential piece of clothing for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities in extreme conditions. Whether you are a hiker, a mountaineer, a skier, or a snowboarder, you need a jacket that can keep you warm, dry, and comfortable in harsh weather conditions. Heavyweight fleece jackets are designed for exactly this purpose. They are made of high-quality materials that are both warm and breathable, allowing you to stay comfortable and protected against the elements. One of the key benefits of heavyweight fleece jackets is their insulation properties. They are typically made of materials such as polyester, which provide excellent insulation against the cold. Polyester fleece jackets are especially effective because they trap air between the fibers, which helps to keep you warm. Additionally, fleece is lightweight and breathable, making it an ideal choice for jackets that need to be worn for extended periods of time.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a heavyweight fleece jacket is its ability to wick away moisture. When engaging in activities such as hiking or skiing, your body can generate a significant amount of sweat. If your jacket is unable to wick away this moisture, it can lead to discomfort and potentially cause you to become cold. However, heavyweight fleece jackets are designed to wick away moisture, allowing you to stay dry and comfortable even in damp conditions.

In addition to insulation and moisture wicking, another important factor to consider when choosing a heavyweight fleece jacket is its durability. When engaging in outdoor activities, you need a jacket that can withstand the wear and tear that comes with rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions. Many heavyweight fleece jackets are designed with reinforced stitching and durable materials that can withstand the rigors of outdoor activities.

Beyond insulation, moisture wicking, and durability, there are several other features that are important to look for in a heavyweight fleece jacket for extreme conditions. One key feature is a high collar that can be cinched closed to keep your neck warm. Another feature to look for is adjustable cuffs, which can help to prevent cold air from seeping into the jacket. Additionally, some fleece jackets come with adjustable hoods that can be tightened to keep your head warm.

Ultimately, choosing the right heavyweight fleece jacket can make all the difference when it comes to staying comfortable and protected in extreme conditions. By selecting a jacket that is designed to provide insulation, moisture wicking, durability, and other key features, you can enjoy your outdoor activities to the fullest while staying warm, dry, and comfortable. When shopping for a heavyweight fleece jacket, it is important to choose a high-quality brand with a proven track record of producing high-performance outdoor clothing. With the right jacket in your arsenal, you can tackle any challenge that comes your way, and enjoy your outdoor adventures to the fullest.

How to Care for a Fleece Jacket

Like any other piece of clothing, fleece hiking jackets need to be taken care of properly to ensure that they last you a long time. Here are some tips on how to care for your fleece hiking jacket.


The first step when it comes to caring for your fleece hiking jacket is washing it regularly. It’s important to wash your jacket after every hike, especially if you’ve been sweating or if it’s gotten dirty. The best way to wash your fleece jacket is to turn it inside out and wash it in cool water. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage the fibers in the fleece.

When washing your fleece jacket, use a mild detergent that’s specially designed for fleece materials. Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, or any other harsh chemicals, as they can damage the jacket’s fibers. If you have any stains on your jacket, use a stain remover before washing it. Be sure to check the manufacture's label with any additional care instructions that need to be followed, especially if your fleece jacket features a DWR or water resistance rating.


Once you’ve washed your fleece jacket, it’s important to dry it properly. Never put your fleece jacket in the dryer, as the heat can damage the fibers. Instead, lay your jacket flat on a clean towel and roll it up to remove any excess water. Then, hang your jacket up to dry in a well-ventilated area.

Never hang your fleece jacket in direct sunlight, as it can cause the colors to fade. If you need to use a dryer, use a low heat setting and remove the jacket before it’s completely dry. This will help to prevent the fibers from becoming damaged and keep your jacket looking new for longer.


When you’re not using your fleece jacket, it’s important to store it properly to prevent damage. Fold your jacket neatly and store it in a dry, clean place. Avoid placing your jacket in a plastic bag or other non-breathable materials, as it can cause mold and mildew to develop.

If you’re planning on storing your fleece jacket for an extended period of time, make sure to wash and dry it properly before storing it. This will help to prevent any buildup of dirt or odor and keep your jacket in good condition.


In addition to washing and drying your fleece jacket, there are a few other things you can do to help maintain it. For example, you can use a fabric shaver to remove any pilling or fuzz that may have developed on the surface of your jacket. You can also use a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on your jacket.

If you notice any holes or tears in your fleece jacket, it’s important to repair them as soon as possible. Ignoring these small issues can lead to bigger problems down the line, such as further tearing or damage to the fibers.

By taking care of your fleece hiking jacket, you can make sure it will last you a long time. With these simple tips, you can keep your jacket looking new and feeling comfortable, no matter how many hikes you go on. Remember to wash and dry your jacket properly, store it in a dry place, and perform regular maintenance to keep it in good condition.

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 is fleece?

Fleece is a synthetic fabric made from polyester fibers. It is known for being lightweight, warm, and breathable. Fleece was first developed in the late 1970s as an alternative to wool and has since become a popular choice for outdoor clothing.

What are the benefits of using a fleece jacket for hiking?

Fleece jackets are ideal for hiking because they provide warmth, breathability, and moisture-wicking capabilities. They're designed to keep you warm without weighing you down, making them a perfect choice for chilly autumn and spring hikes. Fleece jackets are also great for layering, so you can easily adjust your body temperature as you hike.

How do I choose the best fleece jacket for hiking?

When choosing a fleece jacket for hiking, you'll want to consider factors such as weight, warmth, and durability. Look for jackets made from high-quality materials with good insulation and breathability. Consider features like zippered pockets, stretchy side panels, and a zippered front closure to keep out the cold.

What is the difference between a lightweight fleece and a heavyweight fleece?

Lightweight fleece jackets are designed to provide warmth without adding bulk. They're ideal for layering and can be worn under a shell for added protection from the elements. Heavyweight fleece jackets, on the other hand, are designed to provide maximum warmth in cold weather conditions. They're less breathable than lightweight fleece jackets, but they're great for wearing as an outer layer in cold, dry weather.

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