A soft shell windproof fleece jacket is a must-have for anyone who camps in frigid temperatures. These jackets will keep you warm and protect you from the biting wind that can make you feel even colder.
What is Fleece?
Fleece in the most basic terms is a type of material derived from wool shorn from a certain grouping of animals, including goats, sheep and llama. Fleece is most commonly made from sheep wool.
What is Polar Fleece?
Polar fleece is a synthetic version of fleece created in the 1990s in response to some concerns about regular sheep fleece. While most people believe that shearing sheep is harmless to the animals, some people have concerns about the cruelty it may impose on the sheep. Polar fleece is made from PET instead of natural wool. PET is a type of plastic found in plastic bottles, and polar fleece can be made from recycled versions.
Many people prefer the feel of this synthetic material to natural wool. Polar fleece tends to be softer than regular fleece. It also has more variety in terms of texture and thickness than natural fleece. Some people point out that that polar fleece is not as porous as natural fleece, and so does not absorb moisture as easily. Because of this, some people feel as if they are sweating profusely when wearing polar fleece.
Which Type of Fleece is Better?
Either type of fleece jacket will help keep you warm during your camping adventures. Whether you get animal or vegan fleece really does not matter in terms of how your jacket will protect you. Even from an environmental standpoint, you are not necessarily better off using the polar fleece. Some people consider their concerns over the PET used in the polar fleece more important than the animal rights issues associated with shearing sheep.
Selecting the Right Fleece Outerwear
Beyond deciding whether or not to choose organic or artificial fleece, you should consider a couple of other factors when choosing a soft shell windproof fleece jacket. The thickness of the fleece lining is an important consideration. Thicker fleece will protect you from the elements better, but it can be too bulky for some situations. If you will be moving in and out of tight areas, you may want to consider a thinner lining.
It's also important to consider how well padded the important areas of the jacket are. A jacket is most likely to break down in places where the it moves the most, such as the elbows. Watch for the type of material covering these areas.
Aesthetic appeal also may matter to you. Some people will want an interesting color while others may look to blend in.
The Soft Shell Windproof Fleece Jacket
People often prefer fleece for their winter jackets because it feels great to wear. It also is very snug and warm. The downside is that it is not as durable as other materials.
Manufacturers, such as Columbia Sportswear, have remedied this situation by offering the soft shell, or softshell, version. This type of jacket combines two different types of materials. The first is fleece, and the section is an overlay of synthetic nylon-type material. This material typically covers the torso and arms. It allows the jacket to retain the advantages of wearing fleece without some of the hassles.
The soft shell overlay also helps make the fleece jacket windproof. One of the things that manufacturers have been unable to do when it comes to fleece is to make it less susceptible to wind conditions. The nylon material is able to keep the wind at bay, which gives an added layer of comfort to the wearer.
Fleece jackets come in all price ranges and varying degrees of quality. Making sure you have selected the right jacket is a personal preference, but given that these jackets can get expensive, you should make sure you are selecting one that will suit your camping and other outdoor needs for years to come.