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Backpackers Guide to Buying a Fleece Jacket

Last updated January 17, 2022| Guides

Fleece is the most important part when it comes to layering yourself to keep yourself warm, but it is very light in weight, this specific piece of clothing can be used as the outer layer on cold days when there is a must need of it. When you are planning to live at some places where the weather as quite unstable as the UK, it is very crucial to layer-up and have some kind of clothing options that will not push you down with all its weight but should be useful in case of temperatures get a little too cold for your liking.

However, one fleece cannot serve everything that you want so there are many types that totally depends on their thickness and structure, some of them comes with a hood and many other customizations as well for your requirement. We have created this buying guide to let you know about fleeces, how they work, their features and the ways to choose the perfect fleece for you.

Backpackers Guide to Buying a Fleece Jacket

What actually is a fleece?

Before digging deep into the discussion about the kinds and types of fleece that you may get according to your comfort, you need to know what does fleece actually do and what it is? Whether you are planning to climb the mountains or even just walking through the woods, a fleece can surely help you to keep warm. Although you can get a wide range of styles and designs that are widely available at any respective shop, but you will soon find out that every fleece performs a broadly similar job.

A fleece is actually made by man that is a soft, warm, and light in weight fabric that is used to create a middle layer. They are considered the best for outdoor events because the fabric will always keep you warm without any extra weight on your body. Most of the fleece material is made from 100% polyester from Polyethylene terephthalate and you may find fleece trousers and gilets as well. Though, a fleece is more commonly a jacket or a top. These mid-layers are meant to trap air and keep you warm while being made with different weights and features to suit different needs.

Let us see the different kinds of fleece that are available in the market, let us see some of them so you can choose according to your taste and choices.

What are the different types of fleece?

Fleeces are usually divided into different types with respect to their weight and appearance, but may be called with different names as microfleece, mid-weight fleece, heavyweight fleece and textured fleece.

So let us see these different kinds of fleece in detail.


As the name suggests, microfleece is considered to be the thinnest and most lightweight among all the fleeces, microfleece is said to be the perfect mid-layer but work just as good as individual outerwear that one can wear upon. A microfleece can provide a lower level of insulation while its ability to breathe makes them best for activities such as running. If we talk about weight, any fleece that weighs up to 200g/m² is thought to be a microfleece. This suggests that they will allow some greater flexibility when doing any sort of physical activity, as they are not too thick to limit your movement.

Mid-weight Fleece

This is considered as the most popular kind of fleece, and it is often called a standard fleece, mid weight fleece is also said to be the most adaptable fleece that makes it the best for everyday wear and a lot of other activities. A mid-weight fleece has somewhat higher insulation and comfort as compared to microfleeces, which means that they can perform as an outer layer of your clothing as well. So, a mid-weight fleece will usually have a weight of 200 – 300g/m². all these kinds of fleeces will offer a little less flexibility than as compared to a microfleece, but if we talk about the thickness, its thickness will balance in comparatively cooler circumstances. Mid-weight fleeces can usually be found in a 3-in-1 jacket.

Heavy weight Fleece

This is a true winter layer. A heavyweight fleece is seen at the top of all the ranges when we talk about its weight. This type of fleece is considered to be the best for extremely cold weather conditions, where you will not be doing a lot of physical activities, because as we know that the movement is restricted by the fleece’s thickness. Heavyweight fleeces have a weight of 300g/m² and can be above it as well. Flexibility is very restricted in heavy weight fleece, but these fleeces are said to be the most insulating and are definitely not suited for workout and any other outdoor activities as you may overheat quickly. Heavyweight fleeces may suit the best to very harsh climates or Arctic conditions.

Textured Fleece

A textured fleece will be almost same when it comes to weight as a heavyweight fleece, but it has a patterned fabric. This is only meant to be for decorative and design purposes only, and just for a more luxurious-looking fleece with a softer feel. A textured fleece can also be worn for some fancy occasions that you may be invited for. These fleeces will sit between 200 – 300g/m² or above in weight. A textured fleece is the best for wearing as an individual outer layer when you are out in the cold or as a mid-layer under a coat when temperatures drop.

Fleece Weight and Activity Guide

Weight Best for Activity
100g/m² this weight for a fleece is considered to be the best for high intensity activities, that includes running and climbing, or it can serve as a mid-layer that you may wear under another fleece or shell jacket on a reasonably cold day.
200g/m² this weight for a fleece is ideal for hiking to keep yourself warm in case you are resting, this is an all-rounder that provides great breathability when moving and a mid-layer under a waterproof.
300g/m² this weight for a fleece said to be the perfect weight for winter walking and cold conditions under an expedition-type coat, this can also serve as a top layer for walking in cold weather.

You should always keep in mind all the outdoor activities that you will be doing before buying a fleece.

What are the different features of a fleece?

Companies are more likely to design the fleeces from the scratch, but there are many distinct features that can be found on every type of fleece to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable while you are walking or enjoying the outdoors. Below are some of the main features that you should look for when going to buy a fleece.


A perfect sized hood can be one of the best things that you may find on your fleece. A hood can not only keep you warm but can also provide you with the shelter from rain. A hood can easily fit under any kind of helmet, which can prove to be ideal for you when you are climbing or biking so you can maintain all the warmth with a comfortable fit hood. A close-fitting hood will retain warmth and will not allow wind to get inside the jacket.

Is a fleece waterproof?

So, the most asked question about fleece can be, is it waterproof or not? So, the simplest answer you may find here is, no, a fleece is not waterproof at all due to the material that is used in it but it can be moisture-resistant. While washing a fleece, you have to be a little more careful because of the reason that they are flammable as well, so do not iron or tumble dry it ever and you have to make sure the heat on a radiator is not too high else it will catch fire.

Zips & Interactive Zip

You may often fine two choices for the zip in fleeces ant they are a full-zip or a quarter-zip.

  • A full zip can make it like a jacket.
  • A quarter-zip fleece is similar to a jumper.

Another feature can be is an interactive zip which will link with a waterproof jacket effortlessly. This will make it ideal for winter when it is raining and cold outside, which makes it a 3-in-1 jacket.


You will see that fleece pockets are typically lined with another fabric that will help heat up your hands in comparatively cooler temperatures. Pockets can be placed in several different locations around the fleece to fulfill many needs. For instance, higher front pockets on the chest area will let you wear it with a harness or have easy access to necessities that you may need.

Adjustable Hem

Fleeces sometimes can have adjustable hems in them so that they can be attached properly. An adjustable hem means that you can limit air from getting into the garment and seal it properly, creating a more windproof layer.


An anti-pill feature means that a fleece has been treated to prevent little balls – or pills – of thread appearing on the surface of the fabric. These pills of thread are mostly the result of washing and drying and can affect a fleece’s heat capabilities. Anti-pill treatment means the fleece will be bobble-free.

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