For the 50+ Traveler

1
Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Classic Fit Full Zip Soft Fleece Jacket

Top Pick
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This fleece has an average 4.6-star rating from over 8,500 Amazon reviewers. One of the obvious things it has going for it is its name brand. Columbia makes clothes that are known to last and to exude a streamlined, active vibe.

This particular fleece has a full zipper, elasticized sleeves, and deep, zippered pockets. Not so obvious: the elasticized cord-and-toggle system that lets you cinch up the fleece’s bottom hem to keep you warm and the wind out.

Obviously, the majority of reviewers love their fleece jackets, raving about the structure and quality of the materials. As one reviewer points out, “Columbia never disappoints.” Of course, not all reviewers are so enthralled. Some note that the sizing runs small and that the material is just too warm and fuzzy, causing them to overheat and sweat, which, since the jacket doesn’t have a wind-proof layer, can result in a cold chill when the wind gets going.

Finally, not everyone is satisfied with the representation of the colors in the photos; a few people report that the fleece they got differs in shade from the one they ordered.

Key Features

  • Comes in regular and petite sizes
  • Available in 42 different colors
  • Full zipper

Specifications

  • Brand: Columbia
  • Material: Polyester
  • Available Sizes: Women’s Petite XS to 3X

Pros

  • Name brand fleece with a classic look
  • Deep, zippered pockets
  • Elastic cord-and-toggle system to cinch up the bottom of the jacket

Cons

  • May run small
  • Too warm and fuzzy for some wearers, who say it makes them sweat
  • Photos on Amazon may not accurately represent jacket colors

2
Amazon Essentials Men’s Full-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket

Honorable Mention
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This is a classic-looking jacket for a fantastic price, and its average 4.5-star rating represents the opinions of over 4,000 reviewers. It comes in nine classic solid colors plus five attractive prints.

The jacket has a full zip, plus zippered pockets and elasticized cuffs. Reviewers say it has very long sleeves (one of the pictured models is 6’2” and wearing a Medium, so that lines up).

People say it’s true to color and appreciate that it doesn’t have logos or patches. At least one compares it to Cabela’s and L.L.Bean’s fleeces, but another says it’s thinner than Columbia’s fleece jackets, which makes sense given the lower price point. Unfortunately, multiple reviewers say the fleece pills and note that the jackets run small.

Key Features

  • Extra long sleeves
  • Available in 9 solid colors and 5 prints
  • Full zipper

Specifications

  • Brand: Amazon Essentials
  • Material: Polyester
  • Available Sizes: Men’s XS to XX-Large

Pros

  • True to color
  • Zippered pockets
  • Elasticized cuffs

Cons

  • May run small
  • Fleece might pill after washing
  • Fleece is thinner than Columbia’s

3
Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain Full Zip 2.0

Also Consider
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Like our top pick, which is a women’s fleece, this men’s sized Columbia jacket has an average 4.6-star rating. Over 5,000 reviewers have rated it.

The Steens Mountain Full Zip 2.0 comes in regular and tall sizes and is available in 23 color combinations. Like the women’s Benton Springs Classic Fit Full Zip, it has zippered pockets, elasticized sleeves, and a cord-and-toggle system that cinches the bottom of the jacket tighter to prevent the wind and elements from cooling your core.

Reviewers appreciate that this jacket comes in 23 color combinations, and many call it a bargain given its price point, but a few note that the fleece is not as high quality as some more expensive Columbia products and say the photos on Amazon may not accurately represent your color options (at least one reviewer ordered black and received a jacket that they call dark gray). Also, note that buyers have had an array of experiences with jacket sizing, some noting it’s too small, too big, or fits awkwardly in certain areas.

Key Features

  • Comes in regular and tall sizes
  • Available in 23 color combinations
  • Full zipper

Specifications

  • Brand: Columbia
  • Material: Polyester
  • Available Sizes: Men’s Small to 6X

Pros

  • Name brand fleece with a classic look
  • Zippered pockets
  • Elastic cord-and-toggle system to cinch up the bottom of the jacket

Cons

  • No consensus on whether the jacket runs large, small, or true to size
  • Photos on Amazon may not accurately represent jacket colors
  • Not the highest quality fleece

4
Jjyee Fleece Sherpa Pullover Womens 1/4 Zip

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This Jjyee fleece jacket diverges from those we’ve reviewed so far in that 1) it’s made of fluffier sherpa-style fleece and 2) it has a 1/4 zipper, meaning it’s a pullover.

Perhaps the best thing about this fleece jacket: It’s reversible. And during long days of travel, I, for one, am not above dropping the itinerant snack on myself, then spot cleaning and turning a reversible garment inside out, so this seems like a big win! Plus, it has a big comfy feel to it, which makes even tense (and chilly) travel moments better.

A whopping 93 percent of this fleece’s reviewers have given it either four or five stars, calling it “warm, toasty, and cute,” and the perfect fuzzy pullover.

Note that not everyone is a fan of the elasticized bottom hem, which gives the fleece a bit of a bubble look. Also, the plush fabric will eventually show signs of wear. In my experience with this type of fabric, seatbelts can be major offenders!

Key Features

  • 1/4 zip
  • Available in 6 colors
  • Elasticized cuffs and bottom hem

Specifications

  • Brand: Jjyee
  • Material: Polyester
  • Available sizes: Women’s Small to XXX-Large

Pros

  • Super soft
  • Reversible

Cons

  • No pockets
  • Ultra plush fabric will eventually show signs of wear

5
Joe’s USA Lightweight Fleece 1/4 Zip Sweatshirt

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If you run warm or just want a more masculine-looking 1/4-zip fleece pullover, this is an excellent option. It comes in four cool colors (think black, royal blue, gray, and navy) and boasts a big front pocket. Also, it’s the only fleece jacket on our list that’s made of a poly-cotton blend.

The jacket comes in an extended range of sizes and has a metal zipper. Like the Amazon Essentials full-zip fleece jacket we awarded Honorable Mention, this fleece is free of logos and patches.

Key Features

  • 1/4 zip
  • Comes in 4 colors
  • Impressive range of sizes

Specifications

  • Brand: Joe’s USA
  • Materials: Cotton and polyester
  • Sizes available: Men’s X-Small to 4X-Large

Pros

  • Big front pocket
  • Made of a lightweight combed cotton + poly fleece blend that will keep you cozy, but not too hot

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a lot of reviews
  • Not a name brand product
Related:

Buying a fleece jacket seems simple enough. It’s supposed to fit well, keep you warm and comfortable, and maybe help you exude a certain sporty approach to life and travel. Even if you think you have buying a fleece in the bag, here are a few things we suggest you consider.

Material

The vast majority of fleeces are made of polyester. The thickness will vary, and this results in some fleece jackets being easily foldable while others are bulky and might even make you hot. If you run warm, you might want to consider a thinner fleece, or one that’s made of a cotton-poly blend like the Joe’s USA Lightweight Fleece 1/4 Zip we included in our roundup.

Closure

I’m a 1/4 zip kind of person. I’ve tried full-zip fleeces, and they never do it for me. But you might prefer something you don’t have to take on and off over your head, in which case a full-zip fleece jacket is ideal. Each has its own aesthetic, and odds are, you’ll wear your style of choice with pride.

Also keep in mind that some fleece jackets have other types of closures, namely elastic around the cuffs or bottom hem, or cord-and-toggle systems built into the hem that can be cinched shut to keep you warmer and prevent gusts of cool air from threatening your core warmth and coziness.

Pockets

Not all fleeces are created equal when it comes to pockets. Some have many; others, none at all. If pockets are important to you, consider whether you need them to be very deep or just want something that can fit a hotel room card and a lip balm. Should they zip? Do you need an interior pocket to keep important items close? Pocket structure can quickly help you rule out a fleece jacket that won’t suit your needs.

Label

We’re talking about brand names, people. If you enjoy sporting the logos of your favorite brands, clearly labeled fleece jackets aren’t hard to come by. Columbia, North Face, Eddie Bauer, the list goes on. Of course, there are also basic, logo-free options like the Amazon Essentials Men’s Full-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket, Jjyee Fleece Sherpa Pullover, and Joe’s USA Lightweight Fleece 1/4 Zip Sweatshirt included on our list.

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