Both Scotland and Wales are countries of natural beauty, with terrain that makes for the most amazing hikes, regardless of whether you are looking for an easy-going route that a whole family will enjoy or something that only a more seasoned hiker should tackle.
One essential piece of clothing when hiking, particularly in Scotland or Wales is a good fleece. Both countries are known for their highly changeable weather and a fleece can provide a brilliant layer of protection against the elements for hikers.
This article will look at fleeces for the whole family, with 2 of the best fleeces currently available highlighted for men, women and children but before delving into the details of these fleeces, let’s examine what it is you should be looking for in a good fleece:
With all hiking equipment, you do not want anything to be too big and bulky when you are going to be wearing it for an extended period. Fleece jackets are typically very lightweight and are intended to be worn in moderately cold weather. They can also be utilised as a mid-layer and worn underneath a thicker jacket, to provide more protection against the elements.
All fleeces are made out of polyester fleece. This is a very soft and cosy feeling material, very pleasant to touch. It is also a highly breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, great if you are perspiring while tackling a tough climb! A great plus point to note is that fleece can be made from old plastic bottles and more and more companies are utilising this eco-friendly method of making their fleeces.
Fleece tends to have good water resistance, it has often been treated with a water repellent, meaning moisture will bead off. However, this repellent will only go so far and in a heavy rainstorm, the fleece would soak and just become a soggy mess. In these circumstances, a rain shell would definitely be necessary. Fleece jackets are frequently described as breathable, this can mean though, that in windier conditions, you will feel that cold air. Some companies are attempting to combat this by creating fleeces with panels that are made of alternative fabrics to attempt to keep you warmer. Otherwise, if you know it is likely to be windy on your hike, another layer would be advisable.
So, there we have it, some key features to think about when making the decision to purchase a fleece. Now let’s delve right into our pick of the best fleeces, starting with our two choices for men. All of the below choices can be easily found and bought on Amazon and the URL’s will be included to provide direct access to any product that takes your interest!
First up is the Patagonia Men’s R1 Air Zip Neck Sweatshirt available at:
- Men's fleece sweatshirt
- Breathable technical fabric
- Left chest pocket with vertical zip
This is a slightly pricier option ranging from £76 – £132.68, depending on size. Sizes available range from XS – XXL. This fleece is 100% recycled polyester, so a great option for the environmentally conscious, it is machine washable and quick-drying. It is great on its own during warmer weather but also lightweight and streamlined so that it can be easily utilised as a mid-layer under a jacket in colder weather. Patagonia is a very well known brand and also one that is very conscious and open and honest about its carbon footprint.
The second men’s option comes from the well know brand Berghuas. It is their Men’s Prism Micro Interactive Polartic Fleece Jacket, available at:
- ALL-DAY WARMTH: Lightweight and breathable, the Paclite Micro InterActive Polartec Fleece Jakcet is a mighty contender when it comes to the warmth to weight ration. It is made from Polartec Classic micro fleece and incredibly soft and comfortable
- INTERACTIVE DESIGN: This outdoor essential looks good as new for longer thanks to the durable fabric with a great soft feel. Find the perfect fit with an adjustable single, side hem drawcord and keep essentials safe in the 2 zippered hand pockets
- WEATHER PROTECTION: Highly durable, this year round coat is also part of our InterActive range, so you can zip it into any Berghaus waterproof InterActive jacket for a little extra weather protection when you need it on your next adventure
- PLANET FRIENDLY: We are proud to be the first British brand to join the bluesign system, the industry leader in working with suppliers & manufacturers to ensure that products are safe for consumers, workers and the environment
- OUTSTANDING INNOVATION: Since our founding in 1966, Berghaus, "Mountain House" in German, has been committed to making proper gear. Today, we're still the world’s leading outdoor brand for quality, long-lasting products. Some things will never change
This is a slightly cheaper offer than the Patagonia fleece at £44.99 – £60.00, available in sizes XS – 3XL. The Polartec fleece will provide brilliant warmth without adding a lot of weight or bulk to this fleece, meaning that it can still be layered up as required. This fleece actually features an interactive zip, meaning that compatible waterproof jackets can be attached even easier.
Next to our two top women’s choices. Firstly, we have a fleece by the popular brand Craghoppers, with their women’s Miska Fleecepullover Damen Fleece Jacket. Available at:
- Microfleece recycled materials Wash & Wear Light Length: 66 cm Half zip 100% polyester The model is 1.72 m tall, weighs 60 kg and is wearing size 10. Approximately 12 bottles have been recycled to produce this product. Designed in the UK Made with care in Bangladesh
- Recycled material
- Variety of fleece styles
- Variety of colours
- Blue Sign System Partner
This is brilliantly priced at between £22.49 – £38.99 dependent on size and colour (this is available in blue, lime and red). Sizes available are 34 – 46 inch chest. This fleece is machine washable, lightweight and quick-drying. Another plus is that Craghoppers states that approximately 12 bottles are recycled in the making of one of these fleeces.
Second for the women’s choices is an excellent option by TOG 24 with their Shire Womens Fleece Jacket, available at:
- LIGHTWEIGHT WARM MICROFLEECE Women's JACKET with full length zip; an ideal mid-layer under an outdoor coat or to zip over fitness clothes at the gym or stadium
- SUPERSOFT TO WEAR - Fleece is lightly brushed on the inside for a fluffed up feeling that's cosy and soft
- ANTI PILL FLEECE - designed to keep its good looks for longer and avoid pilling and bobbling
- SIMPLE CLASSIC DESIGN - with panelled sides and sleeves and a high neck
- ONE YEAR GUARANTEE by TOG24 the Yorkshire-based family company known for high performance, honestly-priced outdoor clothing since 1958
This is a budget buy at just £22.50 and it also ranges from UK size 8 – 24! It is lightweight and incredibly soft to wear – the inside fleece has been brushed up to give it an incredibly soft, fluffy warmth. This fleece is also machine washable and ant-pill, meaning that it will stay looking good for longer. TOG 24 also provide a one year guarantee with their products, but as this Yorkshire based company has been well known for its products since 1958, I doubt it would be needed!
Last, but not least, our children’s picks! First up is a great option from Regatta with their Kids Hot Shot Fleece. Available at:
- 170gsm Symmetry fleece
- 1 side brushed, 1 side anti pill
- 1/2 Zip Closure
- Perfect for any outdoor activity
- 100% Polyester
This ranges in price from £4.71 – £56.70 depending on size and colour. It is available in sizes 3 – 15. One side of this fleece has been brushed to provide a soft, warm fuzziness, that I’m sure children will fall in love with! The other side is anti-pill to keep it looking its best. The only slight downside to this fleece is that it states it is handwash only.
Finally, our last fleece is a children’s option from Mountain Warehouse. It is their Camber Kids Microfleece Hoodie available at:
- Microfleece - Very lightweight fleece, provides warmth without weight. Ideal layer in cold weather
- Quick Drying - Thanks to the fabric composition, water dries quickly making it great for holiday wear and washing
- Anti-Pill - Prevents the fabric bobbling due to rubbing and abrasion
- Breathable - The fabric allows perspiration to pass out of the garment, keeping you cool and comfortable
- Lightweight - Great for travelling, comfortable to wear and easy to pack
This is a great value fleece for kids, priced at £7.99 – £11.99, again dependent on size/colour. Sizes ⅔ – 13 are available. This fleece is lightweight, machine washable and quick-drying. It is also anti-pill to keep it looking its best and features an added bonus of UV protection!
So there we have it, regardless of whether you are looking for a man, woman or child, you now have great knowledge of what to look out for when purchasing a hiking fleece, along with two excellent suggestions for each. However, the most important thing, is simply to get out there and enjoy yourself!
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