Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside
Gear Guy

Which fleece weight—100 or 200—is best for late-summer hiking?

What weight of fleece (for a jacket) would you recommend for late-summer backpacking in the Pacific Northwest? I’m hiking the Wonderland Trail in early September and don’t know if 100 will be warm enough or if 200 will be overkill. Steve Puyallup, Washington


I’m half inclined to answer, “neither." By far, my preferred lightweight-but-warm piece these days is a down sweater. It packs up to the size of a softball, weighs next to nothing, and is comfy down to freezing—perfect for early autumn on the Wonderland Trail. And if it rains, well, just throw a shell over it. Patagonia makes a wonderful down sweater called, not surprisingly, the Patagonia Down Sweater for $200. MontBell’s Light Down Jacket ($150) is very similar.

Patagonia Down Sweater

Down Sweater

So I’d take that, a shell, and probably a mid-weight long-sleeve T-shirt (Marmot Midweight Crew, $40), and a light short-sleeve tee. That would give you several combinations to wear when hiking or loafing around camp.

If you’re set on fleece, get something 200-weight, as that offers the most versatility. Mountain Hardwear’s Monkey Man Jacket ($140) is an excellent piece—comfortable, warm, and stretchy. On the bargain side, L.L. Bean’s Super Fleece 200 ($60) is plenty of mid-weight jacket.

I hope the hike goes well for you. I know the park lost a lot of trails last winter, but I think the route is in pretty good shape now. Early September is the ideal time of year to do it.

The 2008 Summer Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online. From riding to trail-running to camping, get reviews of nearly 400 gear must-haves.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Lead Photo: courtesy, Patagonia