For backpackers, hikers and anyone else who is unfortunate enough to have to carry their gear around with them, the prospect of a lightweight fleece jacket is definitely appealing. More appealing, certainly, than the prospect of a heavy fleece jacket is. A lightweight fleece jacket will, in all likelihood, but a smaller, less bulky fleece jacket as well, which is another feature of outdoor gear that everyone who packs things in to a backpack can really appreciate.
Lightweight Fleece JacketWhat to look for when you're trying to find a lightweight fleece jacket.
- Thickness – When it comes to a lightweight fleece jacket, the thickness of the fleece itself is important. Thicker fleece will, obviously, weigh more and take up more room. Thinner fleece will weigh less, but the trade off is that thinner fleece wont generally be as warm as the thicker stuff.
- Windproof – One way to significantly improve the performance of a fleece jacket without adding much weight or bulk to it is to make it windproof. Some fleece jackets come with a hardened outer surface, which helps to cut down on wind chill and doesn’t add all that much weight to the jacket.
Best Lightweight Fleece JacketA few of the best lightweight fleece jackets for men and women.
Men's Lightweight Fleece Jacket
- Mountain Hardwear Mountain Tech Jacket - A fleece jacket with a soft shell exterior, to help make it windproof. This despite the fact that it's actually quite thin. It comes with quite a few features too, like pit zips and a few pockets, that do add weight, but still the Mountain Tech Jacket is relatively lightweight, at 1 pound 6 ounces, or 623 grams.
- Patagonia R1 Hooded Fleece Pullover - At a very impressive 11.5 ounces, or 326 grams this is lighter than even the women's fleece jackets below, and it manages that with both a hood, a hip length design and sleeves that are extra long, for the thumb holes to reach the proper spot. How it gets down to that impressive weight is with a slim fit, and tiny lines cut out of the inside of the 100 weight fleece, in a grid pattern, which helps to let the fleece breath. This is not an especially warm fleece, but it's perfect if you like to stay active outside.
Women's Lightweight Fleece Jacket
- Mountain Hardwear Pyxis Fleece Jacket - A good, basic fleece from Mountain Hardwear. It weighs just 14 ounces, or 396 grams. It doesn't have much in the way of features, but does have a few zippered hand pockets, and a fairly plush design, that will definitely keep you comfortable. But no hood and no extras like a chest pocket, are what help to keep the weight down.
- Norrona Lyngen Warm 2 Stretch Fleece Jacket - The Lyngen jacket is surprisingly warm, with fairly heavy 250 weight fleece keeping warm. It also has a hood and extra long sleeves with thumb holes on the ends. It's also wind resistant, and has a zippered pocket on one sleeve, in addition to the two zippered hand pockets. All these features add up to a surprisingly lightweight package of just 14.8 ounces or 419 grams. So if you want a lightweight jacket that will keep you warm, this is it.