Made primarily from polyester, fleece jackets and vests are durable garments and a timeless and versatile edition to any wardrobe. Some choose to wear them as jackets, mid-layers or sweaters. However you choose to style them, they’re sure to keep you warm whether you’re camping, staying active outdoors or just hanging out at home.

Warm, lightweight, over the head or zipped up, hooded or sleeveless, take your pick from our favourite fleece jackets and vests. We’ve also prepared a summary of things to look for when buying a fleece, and some answers to classic questions you might have.

1. Our top pick
2. Our best lightweight fleece
3. Our warmest fleece
4. Our best affordable fleece
5. Our best sherpa jacket
6. Our best pull-over fleece
7. Our best fleece vest
8. Our other favourite

Our best fleece jackets and vests reviewed

1. Our top pick

Patagonia's Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Sweater has been a long-time favourite for a reason. Soft, warm and lightweight, it's just as good for a relaxing day by the fire as it is for an afternoon of climbing. True to the high-quality manufacturing of all Patagonia products, it's made in an environmentally responsible manner. And like a fine wine, this fleece sweater will only get better over time.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Recycled polyester
  • Soft to the touch
  • Timeless style

Cons

  • Limited choice of colours
  • Pockets aren’t practical
  • Fits large
Brand Name | Product Type

2. Our best lightweight fleece

Season after season, Burton's Hearth Fleece Sweater is a go-to for snowboarders and comfort seekers alike. Warm and breathable, this fleece shirt is just thick enough to protect you from the cold and light enough to wick away moisture on the slopes.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Wide variety of colours
  • Bluesign certified
  • Polartec 200

Cons

  • Style not very versatile
Brand Name | Product Type

3. Our warmest fleece

It's all in the name. The Better Sweater is the best fleece for keeping you warm. Whether you're putting it on as a mid layer while downhill skiing, or as a jacket while hiking, you can count on the Patagonia Better Sweater to keep you warm. Made from 100% recycled polyester, it's also bluesign and Fair Trade certified. It’s the best for you and the environment!

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Recycled polyester 
  • Highly versatile
  • Convenient full-length zipper

Cons

  • Not very breathable
Brand Name | Product Type

4. Our best affordable fleece

Columbia is known for designing high quality products at affordable prices and this sweater is no exception. Its classic, timeless appeal is all-purpose and will never go out of style. Maybe you'll wear it on the trail, or maybe you'll wear it while working from home - either way, you've got a fleece that will keep you warm for years.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Timeless style
  • Soft to the touch

Cons

  • Limited choice of colours
Brand Name | Product Type

5. Our best sherpa jacket

Made of Polartec with a shearling look, Patagonia's Retro Pile jacket is making a comeback. It's so comfy, you won't be able to resist putting it on! It may not be water-resistant, but this coat will be your best bet for staying warm on chilly mornings and evenings around the campfire. Thick and designed for easy mobility, the Retro Pile is a coat equally suited to urban activities as it is to outdoor pursuits.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Fair Trade manufacturing
  • bluesign certified
  • Recycled polyester

Cons

  • Could be softer
Brand Name | Product Type

6. Our best pull-over fleece

Even if you already have a fleece sweater in your closet, it's hard to resist The North Face Campshire. Just touch it, and you'll see why it's so popular! Ultra-soft and cozy, this hoodie is like a sleeping bag you can wear on the go.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Ultra comfortable
  • Ultra warm
  • Large practical pocket

Cons

  • Fits large
Brand Name | Product Type

7. Our best fleece vest

Original, comfortable, and unique, the Retro-X has everything you'd expect from a fleece vest: great looks and soft to the touch fleece insulation. Since you'll be wearing it as both a mid-layer and an outer layer, Patagonia equipped the Retro-X jacket with a windproof barrier and handwarmer pockets.

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • 50% recycled polyester
  • Fair Trade certified design
  • DWR treatment

Cons

  • Fits small
Brand Name | Product Type

8. Our other favourite

Cotopaxi has been on everyone's radar ever since entering the North American market. Both the bright colours and the eco-friendly designs have managed to catch our attention. Cotopaxi's high-quality clothing is durable, fashionable, and made with respect for the environment and workers. It's easy to see why the Teca fleece sweater is on our list!

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Stylish colours
  • Recycled materials
  • DWR treatment

Cons

  • Fits small
Brand Name | Product Type
Brand Name | Product Type

Cotopaxi has been on everyone's radar ever since entering the North American market. Both the bright colours and the eco-friendly designs have managed to catch our attention. Cotopaxi's high-quality clothing is durable, fashionable, and made with respect for the environment and workers. It's easy to see why the Teca fleece sweater is on our list!

Price: 0.00$

Pros

  • Stylish colours
  • Recycled materials
  • DWR treatment

Cons

  • Fits small

BUYING GUIDE

What to consider before buying a fleece jacket

1. Thickness and warmth of the fleece

Synthetic fleece materials such as polyester or Polartec are relatively light, breathable and retain their insulating properties even when wet – but still have low compressibility. If you’re not particularly concerned about the amount of space your garment takes up in your bag, fleece is ideal for both wet and dry environments.

There are three different fleece thicknesses so you can be sure to have the right version for your activity:

  • Lightweight fleece is ideal for aerobic activities or mild climates and is an excellent choice for high-intensity activities to keep you from getting too hot.
  • The mid-layer fleece is ideal for moderate activity and temperate climates, such as hiking in early fall.
  • Thicker fleece is perfect for colder climates and lower intensity activities like hiking or downhill skiing.

2. Features

  • Pockets

It’s a matter of preference. If you’re only going to use your sweater for everyday life, a single chest pocket with a zipper is ideal for storing things like your phone. For outdoor activities, additional pockets are a good way to carry other essentials you might need. Two zippered hand pockets can be used for storage or to keep your hands warm.

  • Hood

A hood keeps your head warm while keeping out wind, rain and snow. However, it can get in the way if you decide to layer.

  • Full-length zipper

It can be very handy if you plan to wear your sweater or vest as an outer layer. However, the zipper can get in the way if you choose to wear an extra layer on top.

  • Jacket VS Vest

It’s all about comfort! Like the long sleeve sweater, the vest will keep your body warm but will offer better breathability in the arms and underarms. Whether or not you choose long sleeves depends on the activity and the climate.

FAQ: Fleece jackets and vests

Q: What’s the difference between sherpa and fleece?

A: Sherpa fabric resembles sheepskin, with a smooth knit on one side and a fluffy lining on the other. Fleece refers to fabric that is brushed on at least one side to create a soft-touch texture. Sherpa fabric is primarily used as a lining, while fleece comes in several layers and can be worn alone.

Q: Is fleece eco-friendly?

A: Made from polyester, fleece is a material that can be considered eco-friendly. More and more brands are designing fleece garments from fully recycled polyester.

Q: What is fleece made of?

A: Fleece is primarily made of polyester. Other materials such as nylon or elastane can be added to enhance the strength or stretch of the garment.

Q: Why is fleece so popular?

A: The comfort of the fabric, the warmth it provides and the durability of the polyester are what make fleece clothing so popular.

Whether you’re throwing on your new fleece sweater for camping, hiking or just relaxing at home, any occasion is appropriate to adopt the retro, casual look of this must-have garment. When shopping for a fleece jacket, pay attention to the different weights and thicknesses and how they perform for certain activities to ensure you get the best out of your fleece.

Often imitated but never equalled, our top pick is the Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T sweater for its unparalleled comfort, eco-friendly design and timeless style.