Fleece is commonly used all over the world, mainly in jackets and blankets as an insulating material during cold weather. Fleece jackets are fantastic for outdoor activity, especially when there is a chance of rain because fleece does not soak up much water. Not all fleece jackets are created equal. Knowing how to buy a fleece jacket can help you score the perfect style for Fall 2011.
Choose your fleece material. Fleece is thought to be a singular term that describes a type of fabric, but there are actually multiple types of fleece. For the best quality, choose Polartec which is created by the originator of fleece, Malden Mills.
Choose the fleece jacket weight. Fleece jacket weights are divided into 3 distinct categories: lightweight, midweight and heavyweight.
- Lightweight fleece is great for insulating heat while remaining ventilated, allowing air to breathe through the material for improved comfort. Lightweight fleece works great as an inner layer of clothing during the colder months. The lighter weight makes it easy to perform physical tasks, making it a smart choice for athletes.
- Midweight fleece is the most popular of the 3 weight categories. Midweight fleece jackets are commonly used to bundle up during the cold, worn between the base and the shell layers– between a t-shirt and an outercoat. The midweight is also useful as a simple jacket during the spring and fall seasons when the temperature hesitates between hot to cold.
- Heavyweight fleece is used when warmth and insulation are the most important concerns. Because heavyweight fleece insulates so well, it can keep you warm even when you are being stationary. This makes the heavyweight jacket a good choice for activities such as camping and picnics.
Consider extra features that might improve convenience. Here are some of the features to be found on modern fleece jackets.
- A snug collar around the neck. A snug collar–whether it can be folded down or not–can substantially reduce the amount of body heat lost through an exposed neck.
- Front chest and side pockets. If you are participating in an outdoor activity–hiking, camping, etc.–you may find that a pocket or 2 will come in handy more often than you think.
- Windproof fleece. Even the heaviest fleece materials will allow wind to flow through the fabric, so fleece often loses its insulation value in high-wind areas–unless you windproof it. Some fleece jackets are designed to block out wind by inserting a thin windproof membrane into the fleece material.
Choose whether you want a zip-up or pull-over fleece jacket. A zip-up jacket allows you to wear the jacket open, which can help regulate your temperature more precisely when you get too hot. A zip-up jacket is also more convenient when you find yourself putting on and taking off your jacket frequently. Ultimately, the choice is up to your personal preference