Best Men’s Fleece Jackets for Hiking of 2019

Jason Miller
Jason Miller
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Outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, camping, and skiing in inclement weather conditions without a good fleece jacket can be a bad experience. You might end up hating such an outing due to the cold weather conditions.

Should you let go of the joy of outdoor activities due to unfavorable weather conditions? I don’t think so…

 With proper outdoor clothing, you should be able to go anywhere and enjoy all sorts of aerobic activities. Whether you intend to use the fleece as the outer layer or mid-layer, you can find the best jacket for your needs.

Well, in this comprehensive review we have handpicked the best hiking fleece jackets for men, with all-round features.

 But first, let’s go through some important features to help you make an informed decision when considering these garments.

Quick Answer - Editor's choice...

Patagonia Men's Better Sweater 1/4 Zip, Classic Navy, MD
icon-winner

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of high-quality polyester material
  • Resistant to shrinking and wrinkles
  • Weather resistance to a certain degree
6.8/10

Best Hiking Fleece Jackets for Men Comparison Table

Preview
Patagonia Men's Better Sweater 1/4 Zip, Classic Navy, MD
Material
Polyester
Weight (in oz)
10
SKA Rating
6.8
Preview
Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody Men's (Black, Large)
Material
Taffeta ad Nylon
Weight (in oz)
6.0
SKA Rating
6.0
Preview
Taiga Men's Polartec-300 Fleece Jacket (Size: M, Navy)
Material
Polyester
Weight (in oz)
20.5
SKA Rating
5.4
Price
-
Preview
Columbia Apparel Steens Mountain Full Zip 2.0 Soft Fleece Jacket, Black, X-Large
Material
100% polyester insulation
Weight (in oz)
8.8
SKA Rating
5.6
Price

Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Fleece Jacket

With the variety of options on the market, it can be overwhelming to pick the right warm fleece jacket. However, note that the habit of buying solely based on the warmth of the garment is outdated because gear manufacturers nowadays integrate plenty of features in their products.

The ultimate experience is your comfort when considering all the aspects such as warmth, weight, breathability, style, weather resistance, and comfort.

What should you look for when buying a fleece jacket for hiking?

Materials

The type of fabric materials is an important consideration when buying outdoor jackets. The least you want is an itchy garment that could turn your joyful outing into a memory worth-forgetting.

Ideally, you would opt for synthetic or organic fabric made. Synthetic fabric materials, in particular, have increasingly become the talk of the day among outdoor enthusiasts as the best direct alternatives to organic garments.

Down, for instance, loses its insulation when it gets wet. Synthetic fleece, on the other hand, retains its insulation and dries quickly. Moreover, synthetic materials do not absorb water like organic materials since they are often derived from petroleum.

In addition to choosing between an organic and synthetic fleece, consider a soft and fluffy material. Of course, you should also look at the durability of the material.   

Warmth

Buying fleece jackets come with lots of trade-offs. Usually, a warm jacket is thick. What happens to breathability?

While you need a warm jacket, consider also the balance between warmth and breathability.

Unless you want a fleece jacket to sit at the campsite. If you want to carry out outdoor activities, you need a breathable jacket to help expel the sweat.

Weight

Weight aspect also features in the warmth of your synthetic jackets. Fleece jackets are generally categorized into ultralightweight, lightweight, mid-weight and heavyweight.

The choice of any weight depends on your activities and personal preference. For a long hike in the outdoors, for example, I reckon a lightweight jacket.

If you camp in areas notorious of cold conditions, then a heavyweight jacket could be your best buy. However, note that such a fleece trades off breathability. 

Breathability

Breathability is also an important aspect of fleece jackets considering the rate of perspiration when undertaking energy-intensive activities. Wearing a thick jacket can result in wet clothes after a long day of hiking.

Imagine shivering because of your own sweat that you could have avoided with breathable materials that regulate the body heat.

Modern fleece garments are engineered to offer maximum breathability while also keeping them fairly warm. Others come with underarm or side panels through which moisture can escape. 

Even more to that, some jackets have varying levels of thickness with the less thick sides dedicated to breathability.

Weather resistance

 I once picked a random grid fleece jacket to hike on Drakensburg Mountain and thereafter regretted the ordeal I had encountered with cold climatic conditions and storms.

While we want a breathable jacket, consider the trade-off of weather resistance. A perfectly breathable fabric typically has bigger pores that cannot block the penetration of water.

Unless you plan to wear your fleece as a mid-layer, weather resistance is of paramount importance.

Note that it is only amid mild rainfalls that these garments can protect you. Perhaps consider packing additional hard-shell or wind jacket as the outer layer should you come across treacherous weather conditions. 

Oftentimes, DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating is used to add water resistance feature on fleece garments.

Comfort

Comfort often refers to texture and fit. Soft textured fleece with micro-fibers is a potential choice for comfort. Scratchier and itchy fabric can make your outdoor adventures miserable.

Also, consider a fleece that fits you properly. I know that buying online presents plenty of challenges whereby you can’t fit the garment prior to buying it. I recommend considering elastic fabrics. For instance, instead of a corded hem, consider an elastic hem.

Speaking of the fit, the length of the torso is also important especially if you will be indulging in hands-on activities such as rock-climbing. You don’t want the hem to lift up when raising your hands.

Style

While buying fleece garments predominantly based on performance and functionality, we should also consider the stylistic designs. 

There are some jackets which you would struggle to distinguish if they are winter-specific or fashion materials.

Other important features to consider when buying a fleece jacket

 The above features can be supplemented by extra features such as the hand-warmer pockets, chest pockets, hoods, and sleeve pockets. Pockets help store valuables or warm your hands if you have forgotten your hand gloves while traversing the outdoor terrains.

A hood can enhance your warmth. If you decide to sleep with your fleece jacket then the hood can serve as the missing blanket to your head. 

Reviews of the Best Hiking Fleece Jackets for Men

Now that you’ve gone through the most significant features to consider when buying these jackets, let’s delve into the actual reviews of our handpicked items.  

Perfect for warming up your cold weather hikes. 

6.8/10
icon-winner
Patagonia Men's Better Sweater 1/4 Zip, Classic Navy, MD

Warmth

8

Comfort 

8

Breathability

5

Style

7

Weather Resistance

6

Best offer for today

from $115.00

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of high-quality polyester material
  • Resistant to shrinking and wrinkles
  • Does not absorb water
  • Weather resistance to a certain degree
  • Does not feel bulky
  • Inexpensive outdoor jacket
  • Available in a variety of colors to suit your styles

Reasons To AVOID

  • Polyester breathability is not perfect
  • The fleece cannot stand heavy rains, and so you need a rain shell
  • Limited pockets: no side pockets
  • No hood

Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater is my top pick among the 5 feature-rich best fleece jackets for men we’ve tried. It is easy to layer in case you consider taking a rain shell, for example. It ticks all the boxes of the significant features I have reviewed in the value section, and for this reason, I rate it top.

What else distinguishes this jacket? Well, let’s talk about its construction…

 Made of 100% polyester, Patagonia Men’s Fleece could be your best buddy in the wilderness. Polyester is renowned for its unique features that surpass organic fibers.

While it is synthetic, polyester remains durable even after numerous washes. It does not wear quickly and it is resistant to shrinking and wrinkles. Such a flexible synthetic material you can rely on amid inclement temperatures in the wilderness.

Moreover, polyester is an inexpensive option than any other fleece material such as down and cotton.  

 Patagonia offers a variety of colors to choose from so you can suit your style. The jacket looks exquisite from the outside. That goes hand-in-hand with its quality.

You get the quarterzip, which makes it easier to wear the fleece. Even when you want enough ventilation, the zip becomes handy. The stand-up collar feature gives you the much-needed warmth.

If you want to stow your tiny valuables away from mild rainfalls, the left zippered chest pocket gives you that storage. I wish there were side pockets to warm your hands if you forget gloves.

Weighing 10 ounces, this fleece pullover is not burdensome to walk for long distances with. However, such a lightweight does not compromise its warmth, thanks to the insulating properties of polyester. Polyester also adds comfort, all thanks to its soft texture. I could feel it in my hands when I touched it.

Incredibly comfortable and and warm.

6.0/10
Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody Men's (Black, Large)

Warmth

7

Comfort 

6

Breathability

5

Style

5

Weather Resistance

7

Best offer for today

from $159.00

Reasons To Buy

  • Windproof jacket for windy outdoors
  • Made of high-quality taffeta and nylon
  • DWR coating yet still breathable
  • Lightweight and compressible for easy of storage
  • Has the Squamish hoody
  • Front pocket to stow your tiny items
  • Snug fit to enhance your comfort

Reasons To AVOID

  • Its lightweight compromises its warmth
  • Cannot withstand heavy rains
  • The DWR coating will vanish with time

If you are planning to visit the outdoors that are likely to expose you to frequent mild rains, the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody Men’s Fleece could be your best buy. With added durable water repellent, the fleece can repel water drops and leave you dry. But, do not stay in the rain for a prolonged time.

The thickness of taffeta and the softness of nylon makes this fleece a go-to to withstand outdoor inclement weather conditions. On the overall, it is weather and tear-resistant.

Weight-wise, I like how this lightweight fleece is so compressible. You shouldn’t struggle to pack it and go. Although it has a DWR coating, it can still offer you a fair breathability. It remains comfortable despite breathability and DWR coating.

To enhance your warmth, the jacket comes with a hoody, which you can detach and store in the hand pockets of the fleece if not needed. This fleece hoodie can help you if you plan to sleep outside on a sleeping mattress.

 Furthermore, the fleece has a full front zip and fly configuration to retain your body heat. It also has the laminated die-cut Velcro cuff adjusters, which help reduce the bulkiness. If you want to use it as a mid-layer, its snug fit makes that possible.

Considering its DWR coating, I would use it as the outer layer and probably have some jerseys underneath to enhance the warmth. Its lightweight design compromises its warmth. For minimalist hikers, this windproof fleece is a perfect fit.

Lightweight and  durable for mild weather.

5.4/10
Taiga Men's Polartec-300 Fleece Jacket (Size: M, Navy)

Warmth

6

Comfort 

5

Breathability

5

Style

5

Weather Resistance

6

Best offer for today

$98.95

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of top-notch quality materials
  • Numerous pockets and internal pouches for enough storage
  • Warm and weather-resistant fleece
  • Comfortable jacket for a cold day
  • Available in many colors
  • Full front zip to seal your body heat
  • Drawstrings at the hem

Reasons To AVOID

  • Breathability is not really the best out there; it is compromised by weather resistance feature
  • While the drawstrings at the hemline seal the warmth, they can be a nuisance for some outdoor activities. I would prefer the elastic hemline
  • Might be too hot for summer hikes.

If you are more into pockets, this Canadian ultralight fleece jacket could be your go-to garment. I am a fan of pockets too and so TAIGA Polartec-300 Fleece Jacket has what it takes for my ideal fleece. It comes with 3 zippered pockets and 2 inner pouches. That is more than enough to store your tiny items and still have hand-warmer pockets in case you forget your gloves.

The Polartec is a warm fleece jacket as well as water-resistant, and so it can fairly withstand rain in the wilderness. Even a coffee spill shouldn’t be problematic.

The drawstrings at the hem keep you warm and comfortable. Add to that the flat-seamed shoulders, power stretch cuffs, and the stretch collar. All these features make this fleece a sought-after for your outdoor adventures.

You get to choose different colors to suit your style. Also commendable for this jacket is its breathability and lightweight. It will wick away moisture and help regulate your body temperature. But its breathability is not really the best on the market due to a balance of weather resistance.

This jacket is not really bulky. It should be portable to pack and hit the road. It is a top-notch quality fleece to use as an outer layer so I don’t see a reason to even pack it. Its thickness improves the warmth.

The perfect layering sweeter for colder climates. 

5.6/10
Amazon Essentials Men's Full-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket, Black, X-Small

Warmth

7

Comfort 

5

Breathability

5

Style

6

Weather Resistance

5

Best offer for today

$20.50

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of high quality polyester
  • Multiple pockets for storage and to warm your hands
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Warm fleece suitable for the layering system
  • Full front zip made of heavy-duty nylon
  • It is soft to use as a mid-layer fleece.

Reasons To AVOID

  • Its breathability does not impress me. But I understand polyester is not really the best with breathability unless side and underarm panels are added
  • Its water resistance cannot withstand heavy downpours

Amazon’s best-buy fleece jackets for men also deserve recognition. The Amazon Essentials Men’s Full-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket is made of high-quality materials; all thanks to testers that influence the final production of the features.

 The fleece is wear and tear-resistant. It is made of 100% polyester, which performs far much better than wool insulated jackets do. What impresses me is that the jacket is shrinking and wrinkle resistant. There’s no need to worry about ironing it.

Its high collar and front full-zip help seal the warmth. You shouldn’t find it too freezing to enjoy the outdoors with this mid-weight fleece. But, I don’t recommend it for frigid climatic conditions.

Side seam pockets provide additional storage for your small items. The downside though is that the pockets are not sealed. That said, you should beware of your items when running lest they fall.

The zipper is made of heavy-duty nylon, which should be durable, no matter how many times you wear this fleece pullover. The sleeve hems and the straight bottom hem measure ¼ inch. They are both elasticized and therefore respond to pulls.

 The fleece isn’t necessarily thick and so breathability shouldn’t be a problem if you engage in energy-intensive outdoor activities. For your style preference, you get to choose from a variety

Affordable and reliable warm clothing for cold weather adventures.

5.6/10
Columbia Apparel Steens Mountain Full Zip 2.0 Soft Fleece Jacket, Black, X-Large

Warmth

7

Comfort 

5

Breathability

5

Style

5

Weather Resistance

6

Best offer for today

$34.99

Reasons To Buy

  • Made of top-notch quality fabric materials: polyester
  • Weighing less than 2 pounds, it is lightweight and portable
  • Two side pockets for extra storage
  • Full zip closure to seal heat
  • Collared neck to provide more warmth to your neck
  • Stylish fleece with outdoor features
  • Available in many colors
  • Affordable

Reasons To AVOID

  • No special water resistance coating
  • Polyester is not impressively waterproof
  • Not adequately thick to use at the outer layer in colder nights

Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain Full Zip Soft Fleece is known for producing some of the best fleece jackets. Made of 100% polyester MTR filament, this fleece should endure cold nights in the wilderness but not freezing conditions.

The zipper closure retains your body heat although the fabric is fairly breathable to help regulate the heat before you find yourself soaking in sweat. On the overall, the jacket provides an impressive warmth compared to similar products in the price range. This explains why the fleece has thousands of reviews.

 For your storage convenience, you get 2 side pockets with zippers. You can also use these pockets as hand warmers.

 More on the warmth and comfort, the fleece has the collared neck. If sleeping outside is your hobby then this collared neck could come to your rescue.

 The soft fabric makes this jacket comfortable. Its super fit also adds to the comfort. Make sure you follow the size chart in measuring your actual size.  

 You get to choose from different colors to suit your preferred style. The jacket is stylish in itself. You can even go to festival nights without setting itself apart as a camping fleece.

 Although polyester breathability is not that impressive, this fleece is still fairly breathable to help regulate your body temp.

A Winner Fleece Jacket for the Following Features

Best-Value Fleece Jacket

 Purchasing a fleece jacket is a mind-stretching activity because you have to take into account the value it brings. There are some compromises you must make. Oftentimes people mistake pricey items as the most high-performing ones.

 That is not always the case…

 My top pick, Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater, is one of the least expensive yet it comes with great features to make your outing a worthwhile experience.

 Make a checklist of the features that are most important for your situation because I understand we go to different types of outdoors.

Best Fleece Jacket for Breathability

Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater still fares well in the breathability category mainly due to its lightweight. And so is Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain Full Zip Soft Fleece with its weight of less than 2 pounds.

These jackets are all made of polyester just like others but their weight plays a significant role. Polyester is generally not impressive with breathability. In fact, a thick polyester jacket is a no-go area if breathability means a lot for you. Remember when I said purchasing a fleece jacket comes with compromises?

 If you have a thin jersey, it will fairly wick away moisture. The good thing with polyester is that it dries quickly than nylon. 

Best Fleece Jacket for Weather Resistance

 Although both polyester and nylon perform well in weather resistance, nylon takes the crown. That said, Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody Men’s Fleece comes top with its taffeta and nylon fabric. Nylon is more durable and more weather resistant whereas polyester is more heat-resistant. Nonetheless, a polyester with a DWR can also resist a great deal of weather.

Best Fleece Jacket for Comfort

Talking about the comfort, Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater still takes the crown here. It has a soft texture and fits properly. Patagonia uses its expertise and experience in synthetic fabrics to give customers maximum comfort when wearing their fleece jackets.   

Best Fleece Jacket for Wind Protection

A windproof jacket similarly fares well in weather resistance. These features are closely linked. I still go with the Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater in this department. But, there isn’t much difference between polyester and nylon. In fact, all items are fairly good in wind proof. 

The Verdict: What Is the Best Hiking Fleece Jacket for Men

Choosing a top fleece jacket can be daunting and overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider.  

Although we’ve handpicked the best 5 fleece jackets for different features, the overall winner is Patagonia Men’s Better Sweater. It ticks all the boxes when using the features I have highlighted under the value section as the benchmark.

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Jason Miller

Jason Miller

Hi there, my name is Jason and I am the creator and editor of this site. My activities include hiking, skiing, mountain biking, camping, and backpacking. I'm also a keen nature photographer. I like to get outdoors and then write about it. I created this site to help people find the right gear so they enjoy their outdoor pursuits that much more.

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