Fleece is a closet staple for any outdoor enthusiast looking for the best in outerwear. Browse the websites of any outdoor clothing brand (including ours!), and you're sure to find several options. It's not just a coincidence—there are many reasons why fleece is a popular choice.
When searching for outdoor gear, many overlook clothing as a necessary investment. But when you're wearing the right apparel, you can keep safe and comfortable while prolonging your time outside. Fleece is an essential part of that mission, as it's an excellent insulator.
Outerwear = Safety
When spending time outdoors, safety is one of the essential components to consider. There's a lot of advice out there, but a proper adventure always starts with a plan, and that plan includes packaging the right equipment, including outdoor clothing. The two most relevant articles to remember are raingear and insulation. Why? Being wet and cold outside is a dangerous combination. Raingear will keep you dry while proper insulation will protect you from the cold. Most fleece isn't water-proof or water-resistant, but it's great at insulating the body.
The idea of insulation is relatively basic: you can use an insulating garment to trap air (warmed by body heat) around your skin and body. The best clothing keeps as much warm air as possible. Proper insulation is vital to outdoor safety, so fleece is a piece of outdoor gear that everyone should own.
When you choose insulating outerwear, you want to consider the environmental conditions, weather, and activity. It's excellent for wicking away sweat and moisture, but on its own, most fleece isn't durable enough to keep warmed air inside. It works best when worn under raingear or softshell and down jackets.
How is Fleece Made?
Fleece is a synthetic material that's most often made from polyester. Manufacturers weave the fibers together and brush them to create volume. On occasion, some brands include some natural elements into the process, such as wool and hemp, or use recycled materials to create the product.
When manufactured, most brands leave small breathable pockets amongst the weaving, which enhances the functionality of this particular outdoor gear. Because of this method, fleece becomes extra insulating when worn under other clothing because it's breathable. In warmer conditions, fleece can help keep the body temperature because of its breathability. At the very least, it's the perfect layer to have on hand when the temperature fluctuates.
When to Pack a Fleece
Fleece is a staple piece of outdoor clothing for all activities—it's completely versatile. It can keep you warm, dry, and insulated when hiking, camping, and hunting in colder temperatures, but it's also a breathable layer for warmer temps. You can use it when fishing, biking, and running because you can quickly put it on and take it off when needed.
Remember that it's not wind- or water-proof, so in more tumultuous conditions, it's best as an insulating layer. (Although, some fleece is lined on the outside with fabric that is then water-proofed.)At the same time, nothing quite beats the feeling of a cozy fleece when you get chilled after a long run or bike ride. So, indeed, it's just a great piece of clothing to keep on you at all times.