To bring you the best fleece jacket review, we first selected the top-selling and highest-rated models out there. We focused on technical models designed for active use in the outdoors and also tested a few non-technical options. We've tested all the way from the cold climates of Canada to the warm deserts of Nevada, and many places in between. We rated each on six different metrics, assigning scores based on both subjective and objective performance. Each fleece was worn for at least three months, with our award winners being continually tested throughout the year. Many women test each jacket, with our main tester gathering data and providing you with our results.
This test is simple. After evaluating the materials, fabrics, and features, we wear each in cold weather. We wear them on their own and in a layered system, noting which option provides the best overall warmth.
Comfort and coziness are key to wear all day. We look at the plushness and thickness of fabrics, note great features (like thumb loops), and wear each for many days. We note any odd areas of fit and how the fleece feels for wearing, many days on end. We also sleep and lounge in each one to see which our testing team prefers.
We snowboard, hike, bike, and run in each of these fleeces. We also look at the fabric composition and porosity to determine which offer the best and worst in breathability. They are testing in both a layered system and on their own.
We simply layer clothes over and under! We try each fleece with many different types of base layers and jackets. We also look at the relative friction of face fabrics, and which are smooth, and which are rough.
Ease of Movement
How well can you move? We take the time to climb, hike, and move in each one. We note if the fleece moves with the body, or stays rigid, requiring constant adjustments while tackling adventures.
Yup! We wear these in stormy, nasty weather, in addition to objective tests done at home. To test water resistance, we spritz each with water to see how long it takes the fabric to absorb the water. When we can't find a mountain to climb (which is hardly ever), we simply stand outside in windy conditions (with a thin base layer) to see how well the jacket protects us.