Why I Stopped Backpacking In Fleece (and what I use instead)

Affiliate Disclosure:When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Why I Stopped Backpacking In Fleece

I spent a lot of years hiking and even backpacking in fleece, but I was never comfortable. I eventually found Merino Wool and never looked back.

In this video I dive into why I no longer hike in fleece and the benefits of switching to Merino Wool.

Links to great Merino Wool Brands:
Darn Tough Socks:
First Lite:


This channel is dedicated to helping you get better at backpacking. I hope these videos leave you feeling inspired and encouraged to pursue that backcountry adventure you鈥檝e been dreaming of!

Emory, By Land



Jetboil Flash –
Long Handled Spoon:
Kuiu 30 degree bag –
Klymit Pad –
Fingerless Wool Gloves –
Altra Lone Peak Shoes –
First Lite Kiln Hoody –
Hunting Pants:
Sun Hoody –
Hiking Socks –


Backcountry –
Garage Grown Gear –

Why I Stopped Backpacking In Fleece (and what I use instead)
Why I Stopped Backpacking In Fleece (and what I use instead)
Show all Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating Add your review
  1. Prices have changed over time. It's no mystery why people wore fleece instead of wool. When I went to college a new shirt was a big deal; now I can buy one from the change in my couch.

  2. Absolutely Agree.

    I love my smart-wool merino base layers, though they do ware holes in them after only a dozen washes. That brands socks are fantastic, low ankle socks up to heavy hikers all work great. I ware their plain wool hikers for work in heavy industry daily, 14-15hrs most days. I bring an extra pair for the rare occasion i stand in water and soak my leather Redwings.

    A fleece pullover and fleece joggers for a mid-layer works great in conjunction with Merino base layers and a light weight wind breaker jacket and pants.

    Or used under snow pants/winter coat for skiing & snowboarding, or under a rain coat for those soaking spring and autumn days.

    All i can say is avoid denim jeans and cotton T-shirts or underwear for pretty much all activities that involve outdoors. Stick to Merino Wool next to the skin top, bottoms and socks. And use whatever fleece or non-moisture saturating insulation material such as thicker wool for the mid layer.

    Top it off with a lightweight to heavy weight wind breaking material that sheds water but also breaths.

    Can also add an additional mid layer for a total of 4 layers which brings your comfort threshold down to -40F/-40C and with proper wind breaker will keep your core warm with a -55F wind chill. (Not your fingers, eyes, nose, lips).

  3. I have THE answer for people who WANT to go wool, but can't because of the price. If you go to your local thrift store (Goodwill), you will commonly find wool clothing. Sweaters, both thin and thick can be used as a base layer. Many are 100% wool, and blends. Many are merino. Many synthetics can be found also. You could spend 100 dollars at a thrift store that would cost 1 to 2 thousand dollars at REI, Cabelas, or Bass Poor…

  4. I've always know wool is good.
    But you explained why its good.
    I went to a couple of your websites you linked and I could not find Merino Wool blends….all were 100% Merino Wool.

  5. ALPHA DIRECT FLEECE THOOOOO….hundred percent agree with you 馃挴 on all of this except midlayer ….AlphaDirect fleece hands down on Midlayer it breathes where regular fleece doesn't but only while moving so no "coat on coat off" while hiking ……

    If you try it you won't go back ….excellent vid

  6. Merino wool. Smart man ! Been doing that for 50 years now. OTHER wools,, that you will find, Cashmere,,, especially for sleeping out. I normally, winter, spring, fall have a cashmere sweater in with my sleep gear. Annnnndddd socks can make all the difference in the world. How about buffalo down and merino wool socks. They keep your feet warm even if soaking wet (I canoe),, or bone dry,,, OR summer or winter. I have been out on the river for as long as 6 weeks (March, April, May) feet wet nearly every day,, just 2 pair of socks. One on my feet,, the other pair taking the day off and drying out in prep for going to bed.
    Merino, lambs, musk ox down, angora (warm but not always durable), Wool is da bomb !!

  7. Its a breed of sheep. Usually bred for superfine wool. Best is from Aus. or N. Z.

  8. Contact Natick Labs and ask about their research on military clothing. Lots of fleece. I think that people doing RECON missions are going to be putting their clothing through a lot more than the majority of hikers. Also lots of climbers I know don鈥檛 use wool because of the amount of moisture it holds.

  9. Merino wool is amazing but isn't cheap.

  10. Just bought an Eddie baur merino wool baselayer ended up being only 7% merino wool

  11. Love Merino products. 100% wool in cold conditions, except for some variations. One of the best T-shirts i tried for warm weather is Supernatural with 50/50 merino wool and polyester. It never gets smelly馃憤

  12. I wear a 80/20 merino every day not only mountaineering.i love it.with a thermoball over it as midlayer and a weather proof jacket on the top.this compo works perfectly together.even when I get sweaty after a while I don't even remember I was

  13. Lightweight 100% merino holds its shape and general integrity better if it鈥檚 not washed after every wear. Frequent washing isn鈥檛 necessary or helpful, just destructive. If you鈥檙e not washing too frequently and have issues I鈥檇 try another manufacturer.

  14. I'll stick with fleece thanks to how cruel Merino wool is. Don't believe me just look it up? Might be a wonderful product but at what cost?

  15. Give up wearing plastics

  16. I learned to wear wool in the army, and layers. Never once had problems with that approach. Can recommend.

  17. Wool n merino wool for movement, i.e., backpacking, hiking, walking, working(physical). Fleece for non-movement. Like when im going out to get in car n drive to store,,etc., or at work where its cool but not physical. Hanks for really nice video.

  18. Everyone is different I suppose but fleece everyday for me. Dries out quicker as well . As long as I鈥檓 regulating right for the activity or weather then I鈥檇 have nothing else . A lot off gimmicks out there nowadays to lure people to spend cash . Baselayer . Fleece . Outer shell and a spare down jacket in my bag . Never been let down yet .

  19. Thanks for the video. I've been working with 100% super fine merino wool in cycling and base layers, cycling for 6 years and it's been a stand out right along with hemp. The merino being a bit lighter and more warming.

  20. i wotn use animal products, but synthetic is toxic too,
    i always used cotton for skateboarding, and it was enough for that, in general with layering.
    but now i like walking i cant use cotton effectively, i feel i have to use synthetic because i dont want wool, or leather for shoes etc.

    hopefully in future there can be some kind fo hemp compound that can be durable, but stil biodegradeable over time.

  21. We always love to see people discovering wool and discussing what it can do. If we were not convinced the best fiber for All-Purpose Outerwear is wool, we would not have a company. It is important to remember that there are many kinds of wool and many ways to turn that wool into garments … Thanks for a great vid!! — Ralph for WeatherWool

  22. Thanks, I have the same problem regulating my body temperature. Will try out Merino Wool!

  23. I bicycle commute all year and on longer commutes of 18km I learned to experiment with layers. I was wearing merino base layer and was wearing a 100 percent lambs wool sweater from Ralph Lauren (polo). It was freezing so I took off my hard shell because my body temperature was too high and uncomfortable. I was cold at first, I felt the wind and cold blow through the fibers but then after 10 minutes my body temperature reached a sort of homeostasis and was neither too cold or warm. I could feel a bit of coolness but the wool fibers from the sweater kept my body heat constantly comfortable
    I noticed this with ortovox wool gloves , just wool, no membrane or shell and not merino. The wind blows through and is misleading at first because you might be used to wind stopping layers but the heat from the hands balances out and it is not noticeable and what's great is the hands don't get sweaty.
    All types of wool are great. Experiment with wool and be patient. I wear woolpower 400 socks at work with safety shoes and I wear one pair the entire week before washing. I just air them out after the shift. It also helps reduce blisters.

Leave a reply

Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Cameras (0)
  • Phones (0)