View Full Version : About Polartec and Fleece

10-27-2009, 07:38
Fleece - mid layer in outdoor clothes

Mid layer provides your body with warmth. It keeps the warm air trapped near your body. Fleece coats, jackets and pants are good examples of mid layer outdoor garments. They are good at keeping the air warm and their polyester material fibers also transfer the moisture away. Wool and down are also known to be good insulators. Though, unlike synthetic fabric, these natural materials accumulate excessive moisture. Polartec® and Thinsulate® provide good insulation for different conditions while having the minimal weight.

The down is superlative for extreme low temperatures but can only be used in dry air. The fleece clothing due to its great insulation and breathability is the most widespread layered clothing now. These clothing goes on keeping its insulation functions even after it becoms wet outside, and it also dries faster than the wool. In order to avoid overheating when doing hard physical activity (sports like cycling or running) it is recommended to use lighter kinds of fleece, such as Polartec® Micro. For colder weather use the thicker fleece materials - like Polartec® 200, Polartec® 300 or Polartec® Thermal Pro. Also you can put on clothing with wind protection membrane materials: Gore® Windstopper® и Polartec® Windbloc®.
Fleece clothing (likewise thermal underwear) doesn’t need any special care. Yes, there are liquids specially intended for washing fleece materials, but you can easily wash them with detergent for a delicate wash and water not hotter than +104°F (+40°C). If you wash Soft shells, though, use ONLY SPECIAL DETERGENTS which are usually liquid. Don’t be greedy and buy only these special care detergents, otherwise after two washings your clothing will lose all of its functions!

Fleece and Polartec what's the difference?

Both they are - 100% polyester but Polartec have more positive reviews
Expert opinion "There's the distinction between fleece and polartec. Fleece - is the fleece and polartec is fleece made by USA company 'Malden-Mills Industries. Polartec is't more than a trademark and brand for Malden-Mills' fleece fiber materials. The main point is that 'fleece' - is common name for materials made acorrding to specific manufacturing technology. The technology itselfs (fleece) was researched long time ago, but Malden-Mills innovated Polactec technology in 1970 and made world first product under POLARFLEECE label and after than fact 'fleece' term became so popular around the world."

About Polartec material

http://outdoor-equip.com/media/_cat/fleece_jacket1.jpg http://outdoor-equip.com/media/_cat/fleece_jacket2.jpg
Polartec is not natural material, from technological aspect Polartec is 100% polyester sometimes with addition of lycra, cotton, wool, nylon, artificial silk elements. Nevertheless polartec beats natual wool and other natural fibers materials due to it's versatile,odors resisting, soft feel, high breathability and warm insulation qualities. For this issue Polartec materials named "Climat Control Fabrics" and used as primary insulation choice amount experienced outdoor enthusiast for three decades.
Polartec performance mechanism: dry-warmth body effect guaranteed due high ventilation level and small moisture absorption rates. Main Polartec properties: warmfull, lightweight, durable, long lasting, have water resisting and breathable qualities.

Clothes made of polartec provides outstanding warm insulation without the weight and bulk of traditional insulating fabrics are, lasts longer and are more lightweight than traditional fleece. Polartec win high marks from outdoor enthusiasts for their moisture wicking and quick-drying qualities and even being very wet outdoor clothes made of polartec reserves its insulation properties. Polartec isn't so perfect as wind resisting material though (exception is Polartec Wind Pro), so you can use your hardshell jackets to prevent wind chill.
Windstopper. Fleece covered with windproof membrane that allows internal moisture to move to outer surface. There are 2 types of Windstopper: 2 layers. Membrane is padding (underlining) for fleece. 3 layers. Memrane placed between 2 fleece layers

Is good fleece worth buying more than polartec?

Expert opinion "I'd rather buy myself a Polartec than a 'good' Fleece in case that it's real Polartec with Polartec® label and pink mountains logo. I still wearing 2 original Polartec (100-200) jackets bought in 1988, so they perform without any problems, but fleeces i changed many from that times."
"I have no idea what is 'good fleece' probably it is 'thick fleece'. Polartec has simpler gardes - maximim is Polartec 500, Polar 100 is not used any more in practice, polar 200 and 300 is the new standart for good fleece. "

Polartec and 'fake' fleece

Dirrerence between polartec and fleece under other brands are not noticeable. Because polartec and freece manufacturing has common issue: manufacturing not a material but a fiber. Special fabrics properties received due to fiber that made by Dupon company. In case then the company makes fiber with same as Dupon's fiber quality, the fabric (cloth) should to be closely by quality or same quality.

The main problem is to differ real Polartec from fake or general cheap fleece. The solution is to buy clothes in proven shops or train eyes for fake-detection. Its' hard to detect polartec made by Malde Mills from other fleece but 'fake' fleece has worse thermal insulating and long-lasting properties .

Types of Polartec

The different types of Polartec fabrics include varying fleece weights, textures and composition.

Underwear - Polactec 100 Polactec 100: Thin fuzzy (fluffy) material are ideal for warm underwear base layer

Power Dry Thin eleastic material has two-layer structure ideal suited for thermal underwear. Designed to keep your skin dry when you sweat. Dry Power dryers two times faster than cotton.

Power Stretch Polartec® Power Stretch® fabrics feature body-hugging 4-way stretch and are very breathable. Its elastic and soft 4-way stretching material. The durable smooth outer layer and soft inner layer pulls moisture away from your skin. Power Stretch fabrics have their dry-away-moisture properties at least 25% more than same base layer materials.

Polartec 200-300 Double-sided fluffy fleece material. Maintains good anti pile properties. Ideal for mid insulation layer. Doesn't get wet during light rain.

Windbloc Combines warm insulation, wind-wet resistant and breathable features of outer layer. Offer maximum protection from the cold and the elements.Blocks wind at 50 km/h speed. Inner-side layer of material have good body-feel and pulls moisture away from the body to keep you dry. Outer layer sprayed with a waterproof material.

Windbloc ACT ACT stands for Air Control Technology (shorter single-sided windbloc). Polartec® Windbloc-ACT® blocks 98% of the wind at 50 km/h wind speed. By combining several features in a single fabric, they eliminate the need for a windbreaker or additional shell. Pulls moisture away 3 times faster than Windpro and it's lighter and thinner than Windbloc.

Wind Pro Double-sided structure and tight nattering provide high thermal insulation properties for this material yet provide 4x more wind resistance than traditional fleece.

10-27-2009, 10:39
must translated another maybe language for making my brain hurts

11-06-2009, 02:27
How about the fleece sweaters sold at Wal-Mart? Would they work?

11-06-2009, 03:35
Fleece jackets are starting to go the way of wool sweaters for general outdoor use.

Heavy, bulky and best for around town.

Soft shells, lined wind shirts and Primaloft type jackets have replaced fleece for most people who are in the outdoors on a regular basis. Among my backpacking friends, climber friends, canyoneering friends and all spectrum of outdoors people, I do not know anyone who wears fleece..except around town.

Mittens, hats and some base layer use is where fleece is usually worn now (very much how wool is being used by most people too..now that I think about it).

As for cheapy fleece..hey, I hiked the AT on a K-Mart fleece and was fine. Same fleece pull over was also used on the LT.

However, I switched to a lined windshirt in 2000 and it has been my go-to item of choice for all my backpacking and hiking.

A fleece jacket will still work (esp if you are on a budget. The thrift stores always seem to have them for cheap!), but there are lighter and less bulkier items you can use for a warm layer.
(Even on a budget... The army field jacket liner is a dirt bagger favorite at $10. )

Fleece is not going away anytime soon for outdoor use but more and more people are opting for a different warm layer.

Tipi Walter
11-06-2009, 07:41
Here's my take on it: midlayer: Icebreaker merino tops. Outer layer: Arcteryx Delta SV polartec fleece jacket. See fotog. I've had several fleece tops over the years, but Arcteryx takes it to another level. (And it also makes a great pillow at night in the tent).

11-06-2009, 07:49
I've been thinking about getting a Arc'Teryx soft shell jacket, once I get over the sticker shock.:eek:

Been looking at the Arc'Teryx Gamma AR Jacket. Wondering if it's worth it?

11-06-2009, 16:05
I've recently purchased a First Ascent fleece (the one with a hood), Marmot softshell (with hood), and an ArcTeryx Venta SV jacket. I plan on taking the two I dont like back. I have been wanting to move into the Softshell Realm but am not completely sold on them, thus the reason I just ordered the fleece hoodie.

Mags response to this thread was interesting. Anyone else feel that fleece is anitquated? Also, how crucial do you all feel pitzips are? I think pretty crucial. I ask b/c the fleece does not have pitzips but the two softshells I mentioned do.

11-06-2009, 16:47
Among my backpacking friends, climber friends, canyoneering friends and all spectrum of outdoors people, I do not know anyone who wears fleece..except around town. . .

Hey . . . I wear fleece. Does this mean we're not friends?

11-06-2009, 17:22
Hey . . . I wear fleece. Does this mean we're not friends?

I thought you disowned me?

Mags response to this thread was interesting. Anyone else feel that fleece is anitquated? A

I don't think fleece is antiquated per se..it is just being used less and less. Notice I said most and not all active outdoors people as well. :D The 100wt fleece still seems to be fairly common..but more as a heavy base layer or augmenting a layer while moving than anything.

As I said, fleece is not going away as a warm layer any time soon..BUT, I think you'll see it used even less as the years go on.

Some reading if anyone is curious:

These are "bleeding edge" and are starting to trickle down to people who don't post 6000 posts on an Internet outdoor forum. ;)

As for soft shells, they are more popular with people on the go constantly putting out high heat. Trail runners, Nordic skiers, and a few hikers who move at a fast clip all day. Keep that in mind for your personal hiking style. They do not seem as popular for overnight trips. They work well...but in a limited role IMO. They seem to work best for colder, drier climates with moderate rain for the most part (e.g. Colorado!)

FWIW, I like a lined windshirt as it is more versatile for my outdoor needs.

Like all gear, it really doesn't matter in the end. Just use what works for you.

Wise Old Owl
11-06-2009, 18:36
There was a news interview years ago and walk trough of the mills that make Polartec... The owner never took the time to "patent" the breakthru fleece that they manufacture, if it were not for the military contracts that keep them in the business, China knockoffs would have drained them out of business.

11-21-2009, 06:34
I've been thinking about getting a Arc'Teryx soft shell jacket, once I get over the sticker shock.:eek:
Been looking at the Arc'Teryx Gamma AR Jacket. Wondering if it's worth it?

I like fleece for it's pretty on-touch feeling)

best freece jackets (http://outdoor-equip.com/clothing/jackets/mens/fleece-jackets.html)

11-21-2009, 17:20
fleece breathes extremely well. a feature often overlooked by buyers

11-21-2009, 17:54
must translated another maybe language for making my brain hurts

My head is literally spinning, and I couldn't even read it- I just saw all the print and almost fell over.

11-21-2009, 17:57
I've been thinking about getting a Arc'Teryx soft shell jacket, once I get over the sticker shock.:eek:

Been looking at the Arc'Teryx Gamma AR Jacket. Wondering if it's worth it?

Sticker shock is the word! I splurged a bit on my patagonia down jacket for my thru, so I think I'll be getting a lighter fleece, probably from land's end or l.l.bean, just as a midlayer. (Also got some good long underwear). Looks like a nice jacket though.