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Patagonia - LW Better Sweater Hoody - Fleece jacket tested

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Fleece jackets – warm, soft and quick-drying!

Fleece Jackets

Fleece is the perfect fabric for outdoor clothing! Not only will it keep you toasty, but it’s also very low-maintenance. Most fleece fabrics are made of polyester fibres and are machine-washable, which means your garment will look great even after multiple wears and washes. Another plus: fleece is very quick-drying! This is especially advantageous on multi-day trips, since you can dry out your fleece overnight and then wear it the next morning.

In addition, fleece is more lightweight than wool. It’s also slightly water-repellent, it doesn't soak up moisture as cotton would and even if it gets wet, it’ll still reliably insulate and keep you warm. Plus, thanks to their small pack size, fleece jackets are great for travelling. The fleece’s softness won’t ever feel itchy on your skin, which is why children love it so much. Moreover, fleece jackets are used for insulation purposes and are often combined with other layers of clothing, such as a functional jacket or a waterproof hardshell jacket to keep you toasty and protected!

Not all fleece is created equal

There are many different types of fleece with varying qualities and thicknesses. When you see numbers, such as 100 or 200, to describe the fleece, it actually refers to the weight of the material per square meter. 100 fleece is a lot thinner than 200, and will therefore weigh a lot less. This is super convenient if you want to pack light or when it’s not too cold out but you still want to have a lightweight fleece with you. For the warmer seasons, you can get a summer fleece jacket that won’t be too hot when spending an evening in your cabin. In contrast, heavy fleece comes in super handy in winter and when spending time at high altitudes. Another great option is to layer up with several fleece jackets. There are also fleece coats on the market, which are specially made to wear in the transitional period. These are perfect for both everyday wear and athletic activities.

In addition to the thickness, fleece jackets also vary in their quality. It’s easy to notice a low quality fleece because it’ll pill and show signs of wear after a few washes. If you want a high-quality fleece jacket, then you should check out professional manufacturers, such as Vaude, Salewa or Norröna. Their jackets are guaranteed to feel soft even after many wears and they won’t scratch. Another criterion for judging a fleece jacket's quality is its breathability. A high-quality fleece will insulate and it'll provide optimal ventilation.

What fleece jacket for what purpose?

Today, there are many different types of fleece with entirely different properties and recommended uses. On the one hand, you’ve got super lightweight microfleece, and on the other hand, there's heavy windproof fleece. There are also very specific blends used for various purposes, so you're guaranteed to find one that's right for your needs.

Most mountaineers, skiers and hill walkers have multiple fleece jackets in various thicknesses and styles. This allows them to find the perfect layering system for the current weather. Conveniently, a fleece that’s a perfect transitional jacket can also be worn as a mid-layer in winter. There are also fleece beanies and gloves for men, women and children on the market to complete your fleece outfit.

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