GearApparel
2021 Winter Buyer’s Guide

The Best Fleeces of 2021

Warm, cozy tops for every kind of happy hour

(Photo: Courtesy the Companies)
winter buyer’s guide

Helly Hansen Power Air Heat Grid ($200)

Fleece
(Photo: Courtesy Helly Hansen)

Not every situation calls for fuzz. The Heat Grid looks like a hard-faced zip-up, but the key to its greatness lies inside the material: a layer of recycled polyester and elastane is double knit to create small yarn-filled pockets, which trap heat without shaggy external loft and also reduce microfiber shedding. Our testers loved the sweatshirt-style cuffs and simple full-zip styling.

Men’s Women’s


The North Face Cragmont 1/4 Snap ($139)

4R41_TJ8_OTW_altfront_FA20
(Photo: Courtesy The North Face)

A modern take on the classic après pullover, the Cragmont combines soft midweight pile with a slightly cropped silhouette. It wears like a traditional fleece, with an elastic cord to cinch the hem when the wind kicks up or the sledding hill turns rowdy. But its simple lines, metal snaps, and muted colors are classy enough for the bar.

Buy Now


Mountain Hardwear Southpass ($175)

Fleece
(Photo: Courtesy Mountain Hardwear)

When we crave teddy-bear vibes, we reach for the Southpass. Its fluffy polyester is snuggly, warm, and sturdy enough to stand up to rocks and tree branches. Large chest pockets and stay-put elastic cuffs lend campsite practicality. But the pièce de résistance is the boxy cut, which, paired with a high collar, makes the sweater feel like a wearable blanket.

Men’s Women’s


Ortovox Fleece Plus Classic Knit Hoody ($330)

Fleece
(Photo: Courtesy Ortovox)

The technical, the cozy, and the stylish—together at last. With its chunky wool knit across the front and hood, this snug fleece-sweater hybrid has the hygge feel of something your grandmother made. But it also has technical chops for mellow adventures: warm, wicking, odor-resistant merino against the skin; a polyester exterior for durability; and a chin-high collar that blocks the wind. It’s our pick for winter travel, when versatility is paramount.

Men’s Women’s


Montane Women’s Tundra ($100)

Fleece
(Photo: Courtesy Montane)

If you like sherpa fleece but prefer slim jacket-style layers to baggy pullovers, the Tundra (or the corresponding men’s Chonos, $120) is your answer. It’s made of thick, durable, high-loft polyester and has three zippered pockets (two outside, one inside) and an adjustable hem cinch. The result is a piece that fits in around the fire and slides unobtrusively under your shell to keep you warm on frigid resort days.

Buy Now


Rab Capacitor Full Zip ($140)

Fleece
(Photo: Courtesy Rab)

Rab’s Capacitor is a technical fleece to the bone, but it doesn’t look it—ideal for cold mornings on the skin track followed by a mad dash to the office with no time to change. The body features recycled polyester that’s knit on the outside and brushed on the inside and thin poly-­elastane stretch panels under the arms. All that adds up to a layer that’s far more breathable than its coziness suggests and is also surprisingly subdued.

Buy Now

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
Filed To: StyleWinterClothing and ApparelJackets
Lead Photo: Courtesy the Companies

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. Outside does not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.

More Gear