The Best Fleeces of 2021
Warm, cozy tops for every kind of happy hour
Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Helly Hansen Power Air Heat Grid ($200)
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.
The North Face Cragmont 1/4 Snap ($139)
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.
Mountain Hardwear Southpass ($175)
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.
Ortovox Fleece Plus Classic Knit Hoody ($330)
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.
Montane Women’s Tundra ($100)
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.
Rab Capacitor Full Zip ($140)
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.