After careful research, we selected eleven fleece jackets from the top manufacturers, then put them on our brave testers and set them loose into wilds of the Eastern Sierra during an exceptionally snowy winter. We climbed, hiked, ran, and skied our faces off in each of these fleeces, pairing them with our favorite hard shells and puffy jackets to learn how well each one functions as part of a layering system. Finally, we brought these jackets along on all of our apres-ski adventures, evaluating them for style.
Caught in the heat of the sun, our tester de-layers quickly. A lightweight fleece will keep him warm, but not too warm.
After our testing phase, we rated each model in seven different categories: warmth, comfort, breathability, layering ability, weather resistance, style, and weight. Some of the ratings were determined solely through field tests, and for others, we did some extra product specific testing. For example, for wind protection, we stood in front a fan in one jacket after another to compare how much air was getting through, and for water resistance, we sprayed each fleece with a water bottle to see how quickly it soaked through.
Looking good and climbing good seem to go hand in hand. We discovered that fleece jackets can be stylish and functional.
We researched, compared and evaluated each layer, polling our friends and climbing partners for what they look for in a fleece, and rolled it all up into this review. We even considered how well each model did doing work around the house or wearing into town to run errands or heading to the bar, all to bring you the best fleece jacket review possible.
Sometimes the best use for a fleece is relaxing by the beach. Here or tester stays warm and comfy with a lakeside doughnut. It's hard work, but somebody's got to do it.