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The 10 Best Fleece Jackets of 2022-2023

By: Kevin Katsafanas: Men's Techwear Buyer | November 19, 2022

 

In the world of outdoor gear, we’re always moving toward specificity. New gear keeps coming out that is more specialized, and more incredibly efficient at performing a single task. So we find it really comforting that through it all, the fleece jacket persists. This simple layer has been the monarch of versatility since its inception. The best fleece jackets are soft and cozy insulating layers that also happen to be naturally breathable and moisture-wicking, making them perfect both for everyday comfort and setting up a layering system for cold-weather outdoor activities. Nowadays, most fleeces fall into one of two camps, standard fleeces, or grid fleeces, which feature a grid-like design bordered with a breathable stretch fabric.

New This Year:

Historically, regular non-grid fleeces tend to be cozier and better for everyday wear, while grid fleeces tend to be more technical, and built for higher output endeavors like backcountry skiing or trail running. Lately, however, we’ve been seeing these lines get blurred, with grid fleeces like the OR Trail Mix series and the evo Polartec Hooded Pullover offering incredible cozy comfort, and standard fleeces like the Houdini Power Houdi scoring top marks in technical performance. The bottom line is: the best fleece jackets just keep getting more versatile!

Patagnoia R1 Air Zip Neck Top

Patagnoia R1 Air Zip Neck Top

The Patagonia R1® Air Zip Neck Top is a highly versatile layer for high-exertion activities in cold weather. Throw it under your shell, your puffy, or wear it as a stand-alone, there's not much the R1 can't handle. Think of it as an extension of yourself - warm, breathable, quick-drying, and oh so soft.

The R1 is a legendary piece of gear. Through all of its various renditions, it has earned its spot in the layering hall of fame for its top-level technical performance and breathability, making it perfect for nearly any outdoor activity.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Quarter ZipRecycled Polyester$119

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Outdoor Research Trail Mix Quarter Zip Pullover

Outdoor Research Trail Mix Quarter Zip Pullover

A versatile fleece for a mix of trails, asphalt, and snow, the Outdoor Research Trail Mix Quarter Zip Pullover is a perennial best-seller and ready for the outdoor activity of your choice. Built of 94% Recycled Nylon and 6% Spandex waffle grid fleece to trap heat and still allow water vapor to dissipate quickly, the Trail Mix Quarter Zip offers an optimal blend of style and function.

Like the R1, the Trail Mix Quarter Zip uses a grid fleece construction that highlights breathability. This one is much plusher, however, making it a bit warmer and cozier than most technically minded grid fleeces, letting it perfectly straddle the comfort performance line. Simply put, you might just never take it off from fall through spring.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Quarter ZipNo$109.95

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Patagonia R2 TechFace Jacket

Patagonia R2 TechFace Jacket

The Patagonia R2® TechFace Jacket stands strong in ever-changing mountain conditions that bring rain, shine, and anything in-between. This ideal cold-weather cross-layer comes with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and high-loft double-weave fabric that is soft and warm on your skin without trapping moisture. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

As the name implies, the R2 is a step up from the R1 in warmth, while retaining the same technical grid build. This version also has a weather-resistant TechFace, making it work like a softshell, ideal for layering under a hardshell or wearing on its own, especially in cold weather, active pursuits like backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and alpine climbing.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Full ZipNo$179

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Mountain Hardwear Polartec Power Grid Half Zip Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Polartec Power Grid Half Zip Jacket

Change sports with your gear, the Mountain Hardwear Polartec® Power Grid Half Zip Jacket is a versatile mid layer that's comfortable everywhere from ice climbing to early morning summer hikes. Sewn with warm and moisture-wicking Polartec Fleece, it's easy to add or subtract this jacket when you're outside and in it.

This Mountain Hardwear piece is another of our favorite grid fleeces. With a smooth outer surface, soft interior, and perfect light middleweight thickness, this is a great technical all-rounder.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Half ZipNo$139.95

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686 Sierra Fleece Flannel

686 Sierra Fleece Flannel

The 686 Sierra Fleece Flannel takes your favorite traditional flannel and one-ups it with a moisture-wicking mid-weight fleece knit and UPF 40+ sun protection. Just as perfect for layering under your shell as it is for bopping around town.

Where many of the other fleeces so far on the list have been more focused on technical performance, the beauty of a good fleece jacket is that it’s also just a cozy layer to wear in your daily life as well. The Sierra Flannel is one of our favorite examples of this style of fleece, with button down style and an impossibly soft touch.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Button DownNo$99.95

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Houdini Mono Air Crew

Houdini Mono Air Crew

Low-key style with high-key performance, the Houdini Mono Air Crew reminds us that oftentimes the magic is hidden under the hood. Made from an innovative new Polartec® Power Air Light fabric that traps warmth in small pockets, this crew neck sweatshirt punches well above its weight class so you can stay warm and content whether you're layering it under a shell or just rocking it over your t-shirt.

If you're all about simplicity, this is the fleece for you. The Mono Air Cre sets itself apart with simple pullover vibes packed with cozy warmth and breathable athletic performance.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
PulloverNo$179.95

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evo Polartec Hooded Pullover

evo Polartec Hooded Pullover

The evo Polartec Hooded Pullover is a hybrid baselayer designed to keep you dry and warm even when physical exertion beckons. Made from a premium, dual-weight Polartec® Thermal Pro® grid fleece that's thicker at the core and thinner in the extremities, this hooded pullover was born to get after it. Capped off with an integrated balaclava/neck tube/hood and a convenient chest pocket to securely stow your phone. For skiers and snowboarders looking for a pinnacle baselayer hoodie, look no further than the evo Polartec Hooded Pullover.

Everybody loves a good hoodie. And mountain people everywhere are catching onto the idea that a plush, cozy grid fleece just might be the perfect layer. So it was a no-brainer for us to put those together in our Polartec Hooded Pullover. It's cozy, warm, and breathable on any occasion, looks great, and comes at a nice price point to boot.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
PulloverYes$119.95

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Volcom Polartec ½ Zip Top

Volcom Polartec ½ Zip Top

The Volcom Polartec 1/2 Zip Top is a breathable midweight mid layer made from Polartec® 200 Series fleece, for all the sleek warmth you need in cold weather. Its double-velour recycled polyester fleece is breathable and soft. Plus a mock-neck and raglan sleeves add fashion and wind protection to your winter layers.

We love the clean design of this Volcom fleece. It uses traditional plush fleece and adds in a sweet kangaroo pocket that you don’t usually find on this style of jacket.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Half ZipNo$100 - $105

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Houdini Power Houdi

Houdini Power Houdi

Houdini's signature piece, designed for long-wear, impeccable warmth and coverage, and maximum comfort. The Houdini Power Houdi Fleece Jacket combines the brand's sustainability design framework with Polartec's innovative fabric for one hell of a mid layer. From winter sports to climbing, mountain biking, and much more, the Power Houdi will quickly become that go-everywhere jacket you can't live without.

If you’re looking for peak performance in a mid layer, the Power Houdi is our recommendation for you. The thick, stretchy, breathable Polartec Pro fabric is top-of-the-line, and Houdini has pulled out all the stops on the design, with a fitted hood, thumbhole, and a full zip front.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Full ZipYes$199.95 - $209.95

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The North Face TKA Glacier ¼ Zip Top

The North Face TKA Glacier ¼ Zip Top

The North Face TKA Glacier ¼ Zip Top is a casual top with a cool look and 100% recycled fleece that'll make you feel good about your afternoon snuggle sesh. This classic style compliments hikes, Sunday errands, and whatever else you can dream up. Zip up and zoom about!

The TKA Glacier is the epitome of what we love about fleece. It’s just such an easy layer that looks and feels good for any occasion. If you’re looking for value, you can’t go wrong with this North Face classic.

ClosureMaterialOriginal Price
Quarter ZipNo$58.95

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The Selection Process:

Our techwear buyers have an endless amount of knowledge on all things outerwear stemming from years of experience in the outdoor industry in tandem with their countless hours spent outside in all conditions around the world. From hot to cold, snow, rain, wind, and even sunshine, they know what clothing will keep you comfortable. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Kevin Katsafanas

Growing up in the northwest I took to snowboarding when I was 13 and spent most weekends up at Snoqualmie riding the park. As I grew as a rider I traded out rails and jumps for more freeride terrain found on the other side of I-90 over at Alpental. With evo in my backyard, I spent countless weekends hounding the shop staff about gear. Finally, when I was 19 years old I found my way into a full-time position selling snowboards at the Seattle store. In the decade since I've worn a number of hats in the outdoor industry in addition to talking gear, including spending time as the Seattle store's marketing and events coordinator. 9 years later and I am still here at evo in my role as the Buyer for men's techwear, and ski/snowboard bags.