A fleece jacket or pullover is a versatile, temperature-regulating garment that can be worn during activity or at the end of the day. Look for garments with recycled content to minimise the product’s environmental impact.
Fleece jackets and pullovers are made from polyester fabric and should be anti-pilling. Many manufacturers now source their material from post-consumer waste and recycled products.
Heavier-weight fleeces are thicker and warmer and suited to very cold conditions. They may have reinforced areas to better cope with abrasion and wear and tear. Lighter fleeces are better as a shoulder-season garment or mid-layer where a more robust insulated jacket or raincoat is worn over the top.
Most fleeces don’t block wind, though some colder-weather garments may have a windproof lining to help trap warm air next to your body.
A loose fit will allow layers to be worn underneath. A tighter-fitting fleece is used as a mid-layer.
Jackets and heavyweight pullovers will most likely have hand warmer pockets. Lighter garments designed to be worn as a mid-layer may just have a Napoleon chest pocket or no pockets at all.
The front zipper should flow freely and have a storm flap running behind the zip to help block wind and prevent heat loss.
Earth Sea Sky Heat Trap $329
The BiPolar fabric used is 15% warmer than standard Polartec fabrics, shag pile inner, 94% recycled polyester, durable low pile non-pill outer, internal pockets, two zipped hand warmer pockets, made in New Zealand. 630g (m), 510g (w). www.earthseasky.co.nz
Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket $229.99
100% recycled polyester fabric, full-zip with stand-up collar, flatlock seams, zippered hand warmer pockets, chest security pocket, shape-holding cuffs and hem. 638g (m), 451g (w). www.patagonia.co.nz
The North Face Women’s Shelbe Raschel $260
Wind-resistant hoodie with a non-PFC DWR finish, fleece lining, attached hood, exposed reverse-coil centre front zip, covered zipped hand pockets. 840g. www.thenorthface.co.nz
Patagonia R2 TechFace Jacket $299.99
High-loft double-weave fabric, DWR finish, Fair Trade Certified sewn, 77% recycled polyester fabric, chest pocket, two pack-friendly handwarmer pockets, partial hem binding. 380g (m), 312g (w). www.patagonia.co.nz
Macpac Mountain Fleece Jacket $199.99
Heavyweight polyester fleece fabric with underarm stretch panels for mobility, internal chest pocket, zipped hand pockets, thumbhole cuffs, three-panel hood, adjustable hem. Available in extended sizes. 620g (m), 530g (w). www.macpac.co.nz
Rab Alpha Flash $199.95
Made from Polartec Alpha fabric with lifted knit fibres for temperature regulation, YKK front zip, internal zip flap and chin guard, anti-bacterial odour control, zipped chest pocket, flat locked seams, half hem drawcord. 273g (m), 201g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
Macpac Nitro Fleece Pullover $169.99
Versatile mid-layer for high-exertion activities, made from Polartec Alpha Direct fabric (78% recycled content), discrete elastic thumb loop, slim fit, packs into hood, breathable and quick-drying. 140g (m), 110g (w). www.macpac.co.nz
Rab Superflux Hoody $199.95
Quick-drying Thermic fabric provides warmth and stretch, flatlock seams, brushed grid backer for comfort when worn next-to-skin, large chest pocket, hand warmer pockets, under-helmet hood, soft-touch chin guard, thumb loops. 402g (m), 339g (w).www.outfitters.net.nz
Rab Filament Hoody $189.95
Quick-drying Thermic fabric provides warmth and stretch, full-length YKK front zip, secure zipped chest pocket, under-helmet hood, thumb loops, low-profile seams. 274g (m), 225g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
The North Face TKA Kataka $180
Relaxed fit, 100% recycled polyester fabric, non-PFC DWR finish, zipped hand pockets, woven overlay patches on back of sleeves, exposed centre front half zip, binding at sleeve cuffs. 360g (m), 330g (w). www.thenorthface.co.nz
Pinewood Tiveden Light Sweater $139
High elastic powerfleece fabric for mobility, full-length front zip with an internal zip flap, chin guard, single chest pocket, two zipped hand pockets. 190g. www.pinewoodnz.co.nz
Montane Protium Hoodie $99
Thermo Grid fleece with brushed grid back to manage moisture and regulate warmth, snug-fit under helmet hood, full-length YKK Vislon front zip, external concealed zipped chest pocket, low profile flatlock seams, hem and cuffs. 390g (m), 320g (w). www.furtherfaster.co.nz