Here is my selection of the best lightweight fleece jackets for 2018 which I would consider to buy for my next hiking or backpacking adventure.

Here is my selection of the best lightweight fleece jackets for 2017 - 2018 which I would consider to buy for my next hiking or backpacking adventure.

For wet conditions a fleece jacket is a much better choice than a down jacket to protect yourself against the cold as down will lose it’s insulation once it’s wet. An alternative to a fleece jacket would be a synthetic insulated jacket which has the advantage of being windproof.

A fleece jacket can be used as a mid-layer to keep you warm while you are active (climbing, hiking, skiing or biking) and dries rather fast compared to other fabrics like cotton.

Have a look on our FAQ to learn more about fleece jackets.

Best Fleece Jackets 2018

Weight comparison table

Fleece JacketWeight
Mountain Hardwear Microchill 2.0 Zip T168 grams / 5.9 oz.
Arc'teryx Thetis Zip Neck205 grams / 7.2 oz.
Mammut Moench Longsleeve205 grams / 7.2 oz.
Rab Micro Pull-on238 grams / 8.4 oz.
Arc'teryx Delta LT Zip Neck240 grams / 8.5 oz.
Berghaus Spectrum Micro 2.0 Half Zip Fleece330 grams / 11.6 oz.
Millet Techno Stretch Zip350 grams / 12.3 oz.
Marmot Reactor Jacket360 grams / 12.7 oz.
Arc'teryx A2B Comp Jacket367 grams / 12.9 oz.
Outdoor Research Men's Radiant Hybrid Pullover388 grams / 13.7 oz.
Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4-Zip499 grams / 17.6 oz.

Arc’teryx A2B Comp Jacket

Weight: 367 grams / 12.9 oz. Fabric: Gore-Tex Windstopper, Fleece and Wool

Arc’teryx A2B Comp Jacket is made for the urban cycler. Wear this jacket in the morning when you cycle to work or on chilly days. The advantage of this fleece jacket is that it is also windproof.


Arc’teryx Delta LT Zip Neck

Arc'teryx Delta LT Zip Neck

Weight: 240 grams / 8.5 oz. Fabric: Polartec Classic 100 Micro Velour Small Grid

The Arc’teryx Delta LT Zip Neck is also a nice fleece. I have currently the Delta LT Zip Jacket model which is similar to this model except that you have a full zip on the front.


Arc’teryx Thetis Zip Neck

Arc'teryx Thetis Zip Neck

Weight: 205 grams / 7.2 oz. Fabric: Polartec Power Dry

The Arc’teryx Thetis Zip Neck fleece is more a fleece for those who are planning to sweat during the winter e.g. if you are planning to go running or hike up a mountain.

The Polartec fabric should dry quite fast and transports moisture away from the body.


Berghaus Spectrum Micro 2.0 Half Zip Fleece

Weight: 330 grams / 11.6 oz. Fabric: Berghaus fabric (recycled)

The Berghaus Spectrum Micro 2.0 Half Zip Fleece is an everyday fleece and an improvement from the classic Berghaus mid-layer with an InterActive zip to attach it to one of Berghaus outer shells.


Mammut Moench Longsleeve

Mammut Moench Longsleeve

Weight: 205 grams / 7.2 oz. Fabric: Polartec Power Stretch

The Mammut Moench Longsleeve features a stretchy fabric which should keep you dry and allow your body to move with ease and should be a good fleece for activities in the mountains.



Marmot Reactor Jacket

Weight: 360 grams / 12.7 oz. Fabric: Polartec Classic 100

The Marmot Reactor Jacket is a lightweight fleece which comes with a velour construction which traps the air to retain body heat and a wind flap behind the front zipper.


Millet Techno Stretch Zip

Weight: 350 grams / 12.3 oz. Fabric: Tecnostretch Fleece

The Millet Techno Stretch Zip jacket has been designed for hiking and trekking. It’s stretch fabric offers ease of movement, flatlock seams, protective collar, adjustable hem, cuffs and a sporty cut. There is also a zipped chest pocket to store small items.


Mountain Hardwear Microchill 2.0 Zip T

Weight: 168 grams / 5.9 oz. Fabric: Tecnostretch Fleece

The Mountain Hardwear Microchill 2.0 Zip T is a very light weight fleece made from soft fabric and adapts to your movements.


Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Pullover

Weight: 388 grams / 13.7 oz. Fabric: Radiant Fleece

Wear the Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Pullover for skiing or hiking. This fleece offers great weight-insulation ratio. Use the long zipper to vent. There is also a thumb loop to keep your hands warm during the winter when wearing gloves.


Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4-Zip

Weight: 499 grams / 17.6 oz. Fabric: Polyester

Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4-Zip is manufactured in a more environmental friendly procedure and is also bluesign approved. The jacket also comes with a zippered left-chest pocket to store your cash or keys. The jacket also has a flat-seam construction which reduces seam chafe and bulk. Moreover, the micropolyester jersey trim at the collar, cuffs and hem wicks sweat.


Rab Micro Pull-on

Rab Micro Pull-on

Weight: 238 grams / 8.4 oz. Fabric: Polartec Classic Micro (recycled)

The Rab Micro Pull-on is a light fleece pullover. It’s fabric is made of recycled fabric if you prefer to opt for products and also keep nature in mind.


FAQ on Fleece Jackets


Fabric of fleece jackets

Fleece jackets come in different fabrics and depending on the material a fleece jacket can be more stretchy, offers better insulation or is more comfortable to wear.

Polartec Classic 100 is the most basic fleece fabric and in most cases sufficient if you go hiking. It is probably also the least expensive fabric offered by Polartec.

Polartec Thermal Pro is similar as the Classic 100 fabric and was developed to add more styles and offers better efficiency.

Polartec Power Stretch might be more interesting for those folks going climbing since it is more stretchy.


Zippers

Zippers can add an additional function to your fleece jacket. Either as a pocket zipper or to open and close your jacket.

If you are more into Ultra-light hiking then zippers won’t be probably that appealing to you since they add on weight. However, in some cases a zipper to open or close your jacket can be more comfortable. Pocket zippers might be useful if you want to store safely small items or tools.


Thumbholes

Fleece jackets with thumbholes offers additional protection and insulation during the winter when wearing gloves.


Hood or no Hood?

I prefer to have a fleece jacket without a hood because it makes the fleece jacket more versatile and it’s more comfortable to wear under another jacket. You can always carry an additional hat with you in case you need one.


Bluesign System

Bluesign approved textiles have been manufactured from the beginning of the manufacturing process in a sustainable way and without the use of harmful substances.

Combining a fleece jacket with other clothes

A good idea is also to combine a fleece jacket with a wind jacket. A wind jacket protects you from cold winds while the fleece jacket offers insulation.

Fleece jackets are not windproof and you won’t sweat that much in a wind jacket than in a rain jacket when you are hiking. When it starts raining you can exchange your wind jacket with a rain jacket.

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