Fleece Warmth Ratings: Is Fleece Warm Enough For Winter?

What to wear. That is the question so many people ask when looking at a closet full of clothes. In winter it becomes even harder to decide as you need warmer fabrics but they do not always come in the right colors. It is a tough decision and maybe fleece can help out.

Is fleece warm enough for winter? It will depend on the thickness of the fleece, the quality of the fabric, and the weave but fleece is warm enough for winter if you get all three requirements in one go. Thinner fleece provides an excellent source of inner insulation while keeping soft fabric next to your skin.

To see if a fleece is warm enough for winter, just continue to read our article. It gives you the information you need so you can start planning your winter wardrobe now. Staying warm during those cold days and nights helps keep you healthy.

Is Fleece Warm?

The answer to that question is yes. There is one caveat though. The tighter the weave the less warm it becomes. The reason for that switch is that the tightly woven fleece material does not include those vital air pockets that trap body heat inside its fibers.

That means when you are looking for a fleece jacket or blanket for the winter season, you need to look for those fabrics that are not tightly woven but have those air pockets. These pockets add a little more insulation and make sure the cold air doesn't get through to your skin.

Of course, the quality of the fabric will play an important role in keeping you warm. Go for the highest quality you can afford as the lower levels are not as good as they should be when it comes to insulating your body.

Is Fleece Warm Enough for Winter?


One thing about fleece, what it lacks in weight it makes up in keeping you warm throughout the winter season. It is one of the best fabrics to wear when you want to go outside and enjoy the cold weather or snow.

Made from cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers, fleece is durable, lightweight, and very soft. One reason you stay nice and warm is that polyester fleece wicks away the moisture very quickly. That helps you stay dry and doesn’t allow the wind to chill you to the bone.

Using thinner fleece material underneath your exterior clothing helps your body maintain a comfortable temperature that remains on the warm side. Thicker fleece also blocks out the colder temperatures and still allows your body to breathe easily.

Is Sherpa Fleece Warm?

Yes, it is. It carries the same properties as other fleece options. Because sherpa fleece is made from petroleum and plastic products, it is spun and then woven in such a way that warm air gets trapped inside the fibers.

This quality prevents the cold air from finding its way through your clothing protection and stops it from cooling your body. Another aspect going for sherpa fleece is that is is very fluffy. That construction also helps block the cold from getting through to your skin.

That fluffy design also feels good against your skin when you are trying to sleep and stay warm at the same time. That is important when you have a vital appointment the next day that you need to be fully awake to handle.

Is Cotton Fleece Warm?


If it is made in the right quality then yes, cotton fleece can be very warm. It is one of the materials used to make some great robes that help fend off any morning chill you may feel when you first get up.

Cotton fleece is also used for baby towels and possibly other baby clothing items so you know it has warming power. Sweatpants and sweatshirts are also made from this fabric to keep you from catching a cold after a hard work out.

When you choose any fleece product, you are not shortchanging yourself and keeping that warmth you want away from you. You are making sure your body remains at a constant temperature that is not too hot and not too cold.

Is Fleece Warm When Wet?

No, fleece is not warm when wet. While the fleece fibers repel water, they are not waterproof. There is a saturation point that when reached will make you cold, have you shivering, and then reaching for some other fabric to get warm.

The moisture absorption rate is about 1% for most fleece fibers. That means once that level has been reached expect to get wet and uncomfortable. If you are out in alight rain, then yes fleece will keep you warm, up to a point.

But do not think that fleece makes a good cover from the rain. This is one of the biggest drawbacks that fleece comes with. Have a nice waterproof, yet light, raincoat handy when you wear fleece outside in the rain.

How Much Warmth Does a Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner Add?


The good news here is that a top-quality fleece liner can add about 25 degrees more warmth inside your sleeping bag. If you are a winter outdoor camper then this added liner makes sure you can have a great time in the cold and not get sick.

The good news is that these liners are made in several sizes. You do not have to be average height or smaller to enjoy the comfort and warmth this type of liner brings to your camping time.

The degree of warmth you experience may be greater or smaller than what has been noted here. That experience will depend on the quality of the fleece lining, the quality of your sleeping bag, and how warm you keep your cabin or snow tent at night.

Make sure to shop carefully and know what purpose the liner will serve before you buy. There are lots of liners to check out.

Best Warmth to Weight Ratio Fleece

Fleece is warm but it doesn't beat out down-filled clothing or sleeping bags. 700 fill down is by far the best for staying warm when the temperatures hit extreme levels. A good R3 fleece rating equals a 550 fill down if you understand the warmth levels between the two ratings.

In other terms, a good quality fleece fabric will beat out merino wool for warmth but falls very short of goose down fills or high-end synthetic fills. A jacket or bag using top quality synthetic fill is three times better than a fleece that rates at 300 grams per meter squared.

Goose filled jackets will be 5 times warmer than that same fleece jacket. In other words, while the fleece is warm, it is better when the temperatures don't hit extreme levels. If they do, you have better options available to stay warm.

Is Fleece Warmer Than Cotton?


The bad news for cotton lovers is that cotton is not warmer than fleece. There are several reasons for that failure. One, cotton is not good at wicking away moisture. That moisture can combine with the wind or cold temperatures and cool down making you cold as a result.

Other reasons are those aforementioned air pockets that just block the cold by trapping the warm body heat inside. That extra protection is absent from cotton. One advantage that cotton has over fleece is that it breathes better.

That may be a good thing when you are inside a nice warm and cozy home and not outside braving the elements. Of course, a lot will depend on the weave, the thickness of the fabric, and the quality of the material. There may be some cotton fabrics out there that will outperform fleece when it comes to warmth.

Fleece or Wool for Warmth

The one advantage that fleece has over wool is that it is a man-made fiber. What that means is that if the material is not warm enough, changes can be made to the formula to produce a fabric that is warmer than wool.

Wool doesn't have that capability. This fact allows the fleece to be warmer than the average wool sweater, including those made from merino wool. If it is raining or snowing then you may have better luck staying warm by wearing wool.

Fleece is not good when it comes to fighting off moisture. Although fleece dries quicker than wool so you stand a better chance of being warmer wearing fleece than wool if you are going inside a lot. Wool will provide better protection from the wind so the choice is yours to make when winter comes.

Fleece vs Flannel Warmth


The winner of this competition will depend more on your preferences than anything else. Fleece will trap the heat better than flannel making it a warmer fabric to have on your bed but fleece also makes you sweat so you may not be as comfortable as you would like.

Flannel doesn’t trap the heat while you sleep but it also does not make you sweat. This means that you will be more comfortable at night and can sleep more peacefully. The final decision between which style of sheet or blanket to use will depend on if you prefer natural fibers or synthetic ones next to your body.

Also, you need to determine if you are a hot or cold sleeper. That factor will play a role in your decision. Hot sleepers do not need to get any hotter and need to be able to release that heat. Fleece may not be the answer for hot sleepers.

Fleece vs Polyester for Warmth

The majority of fleece is made from polyester fibers. So this is like comparing which apple is better when both apples come from the same tree and branch. The naturally made fleece may not be warmer than polyester made fleece because polyester does not breathe as well.

A lot will depend on how tight the weave is when the two styles were made. A tight weave lacks those air pockets that help keep you warm. Thus a cotton or wool loose weave will be warmer than a polyester tight weave and vice versa.

Then the quality of the fabric will play a significant role as lesser quality materials are not a match for higher quality ones including keeping you warm.

Fleece vs Sherpa Warmth

The arguments of the previous sections will apply here but in the long run, sherpa fleece is warmer than regular fleece even if they are made from the same materials. The reason for that is the fluffiness of the sherpa style material.

The problem with sherpa fleece is that it may be harder to clean than regular fleece.

Best Fleece Fabric for Warmth


This may be a hard decision to make as everyone’s experience is slightly different. But if a decision had to be made, we would go with sherpa fleece if it is of good quality.

All brands of fleece are good at keeping you warm except the tightly woven options. If you want to stay nice and warm this winter, go with a loose weave so the air pockets can provide an extra layer of insulation

Does Fleece Lose its Warmth?

It is possible that the wear and tear that comes from using fleece often, the friction it endures as well as other hazards that fleece will lose its warming ability. How you care for your fleece material will play a large role in that loss as well.

Stretching of the fabric will also contribute to this loss of warmth.

Some Final Words

Fleece is a good material that has a lot of positive characteristics. Keeping you warm and comfortable is just one of them. The only thing you have to do is avoid tightly woven fleece and material that is of low quality.

Other than that, you should stay nice and warm this winter wearing fleece.

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