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Fleece Clothing Buying Guide
When the temperatures drop and the first cold gust of wind signals the beginning of winter, many of us instinctively reach for our polar fleece jumper or fleece pants. Fleece was first invented in the 1970s and was designed to mimic wool as a fabric that could offer the same warmth as wool but was also itch-free, comfortable and just as soft. Fast-forward a decade later to the 1980s and fleece had dominated the winter clothing market - and still continues to do so to this day.
But what exactly is fleece? Is it the best material for winter? Are the benefits of fleece clothing really that big of a deal? And how do you go about choosing the best fleece clothing for your wardrobe? Our expert team at Anaconda has created this fleece buying guide to provide you with all the helpful information you need to stay warm, comfortable and looking good this winter.
- Most Common Fleece Clothing FAQs
- What Is Fleece Made Of?
- What Are The Different Types Of Fleece?
- What Are The Main Features Of Fleece Clothing?
- What Is The Best Fleece Jacket?
- How To Wash Fleece Clothing
- Shop The Best Fleece Clothing At Anaconda
Most Common Fleece Clothing FAQs
How can you tell the quality of fleece?
One of the biggest factors in telling the quality of fleece clothing is the type of fleece it is, for example, if it's microfleece or heavyweight fleece, which we will go into detail later on. Other factors include the types of features it has, such as a hood or zip pockets, as well as how soft it is to the touch.
What is the difference between cheap and expensive fleece?
The biggest difference when it comes to cheap and expensive fleece is the amount of stretch the fleece clothing provides. Simple fleece fabrics are built upon a base fabric which doesn't allow the material to stretch. However, more expensive fleece clothing is woven in a way that allows them to stretch, allowing them to provide a closer fit and follow the wearer's movements.
What is the softest fleece called?
The softest fleece is known as microfleece. Microfleece is used to make a wide range of clothing and accessories such as clothing, blankets, scarves, hats, socks, jackets and much more. In fact, microfleece is so soft that it is also widely used in clothing, beds and blankets for pets as well.
Should a fleece be tight or loose?
The right fit completely depends on your personal preference. Most of fleece clothing is used as a mid-layer, which means that your fleece jacket needs to be loose enough that it can comfortably accommodate the thermal or baselayer you are wearing underneath. But remember, it should never be too baggy that an outer layer like a jacket can't be worn over the top of it.
What Is Fleece Made Of?
Because fleece is so good at mimicking the benefits of wool, you would be forgiven for thinking that fleece was actually made of wool (not to be confused with the other definition of fleece, which is the wool covering of a goat or sheep). Fleece is a synthetic fabric that is typically made out of polyester and is perfect for sustaining warmth by trapping in heat while also being breathable - just like wool. And because polyester is man-made, it can be made using petroleum products such as recycled plastic which is a big plus. Another benefit of fleece (which we will go into more detail later on), apart from providing a large amount of warmth, is that it is incredibly moisture-resistant and extremely durable.
What is sherpa fleece?
Sherpa fleece is a fabric made from polyester and acrylic and has a curly piled structure. It is commonly used in fleece jackets to resemble the piled side of sheepskin and wool. For example, our Cederberg Women's Retro Sherpa Fleece Top is made from recycled polyester sherpa fleece, has a 300gsm fabric weight and features a fixed hood with handwarmer pockets, making it one of the best fleece jackets to have in your wardrobe this winter.
What is polar fleece?
Polar fleece is used in a wide variety of outdoor clothing as well as pyjamas, activewear, sweaters, hats, jackets, blankets and even nappies. First invented in 1979 by manufacturer Malden Mills Industries, the main benefit of polar fleece is that it can stretch in one direction more easily than other types of fleece. It is also very easy to wash, is incredibly soft and very light. For example, our Cape Women's Storm Polar Fleece Pants are made from recycled 180gsm polar fleece, allowing it to keep you incredibly warm while also being stunningly soft to the touch.
What Are The Different Types Of Fleece?
When it comes to fleece there are three different types of fleece, all with their own advantages. And as these advantages completely depend on factors such as the temperature and the type of activity you are doing, here is a breakdown of each type of fleece:
When you are looking for the top of the range fleece, heavyweight fleece is what you want, featuring over 300gsm. Heavyweight fleece is what you will want to wear when it is extremely cold outside. For example, our Gondwana Women's Kilmore Pullover Sherpa Fleece is made from heavyweight fleece and features 300gsm. With fully zipped pockets and a half zip at the front, this is one of the best fleece jackets when you need to stay warm in incredibly cold temperatures. However, heavyweight fleece isn't as flexible as other types of fleece, so it isn't the best type of fleece to wear when you are doing physical exercise.
Whether you want to stay warm from chilly weather or want something to keep you warm when going out for a walk, mid-weight fleece is a perfect option that balances in the middle. Mid-weight fleece is known for being incredibly breathable, comfortable, and has the highest insulating properties than other types of fleece, ranging between 200 to 300gsm. For example, the Helly Hansen Men's Daybreaker Half Zip Fleece Jacket features YKK® zipper flatlock seams for low bulk and is perfect for wearing in winter when you want to stay warm, whether going for a walk or staying inside.
When you want a thin and lightweight fleece to wear underneath your top layer when doing physical activity in winter such as hiking, then microfleece is the best option. Anything up to 200gsm is considered microfleece and this type of fleece offers the highest level of flexibility when doing a physical activity in cold temperatures. For example, our Columbia Men's Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Jacket is made from microfleece that resists piling (as well as the cold) and will keep you toasty and warm with zippered chest and hand pockets while also not restricting your movement.
What Are The Main Features Of Fleece Clothing?
It's very adjustable
Fleece clothing can be very adjustable, with features such as adjustable hems to make sure that your fleece jacket is fastened properly and keeps you warm. A great example is our Columbia Women's Fast Trek Full Zip Fleece, which features an adjustable drawcord at the hem around the bottom of the jacket. This enables you to tightly adjust the jacket when the cold chill of winter starts blowing.
It keeps you incredibly warm
It has been mentioned throughout our guide but we will say it again: fleece clothing is incredibly warm! If fact, many types of fleece jackets come with features such as raised collars, like our Gondwana Men's Quarter Zip Knit Fleece Top, which is an absolute lifesaver when cold temperatures and strong winds start creeping in.
It's incredibly lightweight & breathable
Fleece clothing is known for being incredibly lightweight and very breathable. Apart from the obvious benefit of wearing warm clothing that doesn't weigh down on your shoulders, fleece is also awesome at packing down into rucksacks and backpacks when hiking or camping. A quality polar fleece jumper will give you maximum warmth with only half of the weight.
It's moisture wicking & fast-drying
As mentioned before, fleece is a synthetic fabric that is designed to mimic wool, so it is of no surprise that it also has moisture-wicking and fast-drying properties. A major benefit of fleece fabric is that it can lock in heat while regulating body temperature, but also wick moisture away from the body so you don't end up sweating in the cold when doing physical exercise. On top of that, fleece is fast-drying, making fleece clothing very easy to maintain.
What Is The Best Fleece Jacket?
When looking for the best fleece jacket to buy, it completely depends on personal preference combined with how you will use it. For example, our Cape Women's Storm Full Zip Fleece Jacket is made from recycled 145gsm fleece, making it incredibly versatile and lightweight. With thumb holes in the sleeves and raised collar, it's perfect for keeping you warm and dry when doing physical exercise during winter. However, if you are camping somewhere really cold and are looking for maximum warmth, then the Gondwana Women's Corinella Hooded Sherpa Fleece is going to be a better choice. Made from 300gsm fleece and featuring a fixed hood with an adjustable drawcord, this is one of the best fleece jackets for keeping you warm and comfortable during the cold and bitter nights of winter.
How To Wash Fleece Clothing
The first step to washing your fleece clothing is to turn it inside out. This is important because this will make sure that the outer fleece fabric will stay completely protected as it washes. Another important step before putting it in the washing machine is to make sure all of the pockets are empty.
Once you have placed your polar fleece jumper or fleece pants into the washing machine, ensure you are using a mild soap powder and not liquid detergent. This is because a mild powdered detergent will ensure that the fleece fabric stays soft and water-resistant. For exactly how much to use, simply refer to the instructions on the back of the soap powder you are using.
Another important step is to prevent the possibility of any soap residue, which is never a good thing. To do this, simply pour the mild soap detergent you are using into a bowl along with five to ten drops of water, then mix with a spoon. This is because adding it straight into the washing machine can result in the soap becoming too concentrated.
This step is only required if you haven't washed your fleece in a long time or you are noticing an odour emitting from your fleece clothing. Pour your powdered soap into a bowl and then add in about 30g of baking soda and mix it together with a spoon. Baking soda is a perfect trick for removing embedded odours out of clothes.
When turning on your washing machine, make sure to only use the lowest temperature setting, as this will avoid any damage occurring to your fleece jacket. Always make sure you are using the cold setting as using the warm setting can make the fleece pill and a hot setting can actually melt the fabric.
Once you have added in your powdered soap detergent and selected a cold wash setting, the next step is to simply hit the start button and let the washing machine do its thing, which should take approximately anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes to complete.
Now that the washing machine has finished, it is time to dry your fleece clothing. The best way to dry a fleece jacket or jumper is to simply hang it up to dry on a coat hanger for anywhere between one and two hours to fully dry. Air drying is a better method because using a machine dryer will use heat which will cause the fleece to pill.
Shop The Best Fleece Clothing At Anaconda
With a massive range of men's fleece, women's fleece, kid's fleece and more, it has never been easier to find all the right fleece clothing you need at Anaconda. Explore our entire fleece range and also remember to check out our Adventure Centre for more exciting camping tips, exciting hiking destinations and more, such as: