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6 Best Fleece Vests for Working Outside This Fall

Adding a work-friendly fleece vest to your wardrobe is a smart choice that pays off all year long.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Women’s R65™ Sweater Fleece Vest Ecomm Orvis.comVIA MERCHANT

Adding a cozy fleece jacket or fleece vest to your wardrobe is a practical choice that lends casual style to every season of the year. They’re easy to coordinate with your best winter cabin clothes and cold weather workwear, offering fuss-free maintenance and easy layering.

What to look for in the best fleece vest

First, it’s important to choose a style that offers wide arm holes. That’s because working outside requires comfortable, lightweight workwear and gear that moves with your body. Much like fleece jackets, fleece vests for men and fleece vests for women are typically layered over other items like shirts and sweaters. You’ll want to leave plenty of room for thick layers below, plus enough space for a comfortable range of motion.

Next, check to see that the vest closes with a rugged zipper. Delicate zippers, narrow pieces of metal and designer buttons won’t cut it for construction workwear. The fleece should also be made of a sturdy, pill-free synthetic fiber or poly blend that is designed to repel moisture and lock in warmth. It should also be easy to machine wash, because construction clothing and gear takes a beating with dirt, mud, dust and other debris.

How we chose the best fleece vest styles

We looked at hundreds of top-selling fleece vests and narrowed our list down to the most comfortable, low-maintenance styles that stand the test of time. Each fleece vest on our list is made of rugged, easy-to-care-for materials and features a durable zipper. We also looked at overall value and price and real customer ratings. We especially loved styles with expanded size ranges to honor a variety of men’s and women’s body types.

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Carhartt® Yukon Extremes® Wind Fighter® Fleece Vest Ecomm Carhartt.comvia merchant

Best Overall for Men

Carhartt Yukon Extremes Fleece Vest

The wind-fighting Carhartt Yukon Extremes fleece vest tops our list as the best style overall thanks to an expansive size range and classic appeal. Made with abrasion-resistant material and a snuggly sherpa-lining for warmth on the coldest days, it layers like a dream over everything. Top your favorite tees on warmer days and then buttoned flannel shirts as the weather gets crisp. It’s thick enough to keep you warm, but thin enough to layer below bulky parkas on the most frigid days of the year.

We also love all the included safety features. Reflective details make it a workwear essential, plus inner and outer pockets store phones, tissues and work gloves with ease. Droptail hemming, easy machine washing and zippered built-in compartments prove that no detail was overlooked. This customer-favorite style comes in a classic black shade and both regular and long/tall sizes up to 3X.

Pros:

  • Most versatile design overall thanks to worksite and day-to-day wearing
  • Available in regular sizes small through 3XL
  • Tall sizes large through 2XL
  • Reflective details for added safety
  • Durable zipper closure
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Zippered compartments
  • Cozy sherpa and abrasion-resistant material combination

Cons:

  • Only available in a classic black color, but what more do you really need?

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Find more of the best heated vests to keep your core toasty and warm.

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Women’s R65™ Sweater Fleece Vest Ecomm Orvis.comvia merchant

Best Overall for Women

Orvis R65 Sweater Fleece Vest

Recycled materials and gorgeous nature-inspired hues make this eco-friendly sweater-knit Orvis R65 fleece vest a top women’s pick. Wear it over tees for for a long walk, with women’s workwear when you’re getting your hands dirty or layered below a casual blazer for a sophisticated look. Cozy recycled sweater fleece keeps you warm, while rugged YKK zippers help divert make the most of post-consumer plastic. This fleece vest for women keeps landfills from and waterways from overflowing with garbage while helping you get all your jobs done.

We also love the expanded arm holes that leave plenty of room for movement and breathability. Two zip pockets add protection and warmth, while figure-flattering princess seams add style to this utilitarian essential.

Pros:

  • Versatile and wide arm holes use makes it an overall winner for women of all lifestyles
  • Warm, recycled poly material keeps landfills from overflowing
  • Rugged zippers
  • Zippered pockets
  • Available in six nature-inspired colors
  • Machine washable
  • Modest price point

Cons:

  • No plus-size offerings right now

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Amazon Essentials Women's And Men's Classic Fit Sleeveless Polar Soft Fleece Vest Ecomm Amazon.comvia merchant

Best Budget-Friendly

Amazon Essentials Polar Fleece Vest

Choosing this Amazon Essentials Polar Fleece vest is a budget-friendly choice that serves you well on crisp days. It comes in dozens of neutral and bright colors at an affordable price that easily allows you to stock up with a few. The thinner format polyester layers well over and under other articles of clothing, and comes in both standard and recycled material options. We also love women’s version of the Amazon Essentials Polar Fleece vest, which layers nicely women’s work overalls and other durable wardrobe pieces.

“I like a fleece vest when I want the warmth, but I’m working around abrasive or messy material and don’t want to trash the sleeves,” explains verified Amazon purchaser, Dave S., who gives it a full five stars. “This fleece vest is a great as an insulating layer under a shell when a full jacket would be too much.”

Pros:

  • Affordable price point around $25
  • Available in dozens of colors
  • Comes in both men’s and women’s styles
  • Expanded size range fits XXS through 4XL (depending on the color)
  • Durable full zipper design
  • Zipped pockets
  • Machine washable
  • Regular or recycled polyester options

Cons:

  • Low-frills option doesn’t offer reflective safety taping or multi-layer design

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Outpace Flex Fleece Vest Ecomm Eddiebauer.comvia merchant

Best Flexible Style

Eddie Bauer Outpace Flex Fleece Vest

The four-way stretch of this Eddie Bauer Outpace Flex fleece vest makes it a clear winner for heavy-duty construction and athletes. That’s because it’s made from a polyester-spandex blend that moves, shapes and re-shapes as you go. Odor controlling fibers keep you smelling (and feeling) fresh for longer. The chest pocket also features a secure zip that’s ideal for smartphones and important items. We love that it’s machine washable, air dries in minutes and comes in both regular and tall sizes.

Pros:

  • Four-way stretch material offers ultimate flexibility
  • Athletic fit sits close to the body without restricting mobility
  • Odor-controlling fibers keep you smelling fresh for longer
  • Secure zipped chest pocket for essentials
  • Modest price point
  • Machine washable
  • Regular and tall sizes through XXL

Cons:

  • Only available in black

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Ecoloft Vest Ecomm Tentree.comvia merchant

Best Eco-Friendly

Tentree EcoLoft Vest

Available in both men’s Tentree EcoLoft fleece vest styles and women’s versions, this versatile essential is an eco-friendly wonder we can’t stop raving about. Organic cotton combined with recycled materials keep this cool-weather piece Earth-friendly and soft against the body. The fabric offers a subtle stretch and a medium weight that’s ideal for heading outdoors on crisp days and layering beneath bulkier coats when the dog days of winter come barking. A zipped woven chest pocket adds utility and character.

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly organic cotton and recycled plastics blend
  • Natulon durable zippers
  • Available in both men’s and women’s styles
  • Neutral color offerings
  • Designed with high-end fashion in mind, these pieces work just as well in the yard as they do on casual Fridays
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Standard sizes only, and we suggest sizing up
  • Limited color range

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Women's And Men's Mountain Classic Fleece Vest Ecomm Llbean.comvia merchant

Best Reviewed

L.L. Bean Classic Mountain Fleece Vest

Shoppers have loved the L.L. Bean classic mountain vest for years thanks to careful design, an expanded size range and an affordable price point. It comes in both men’s styles and more tailored women’s cuts to please every type of outdoors enthusiast.  The women’s version comes in regular, petite and plus sizes. The men’s style comes in regular and tall sizes through 3XL, making this one of the most size-inclusive offerings for all sorts of body types.

The slightly fitted, mid-weight fleece material is perfect for yard work and DIY projects all season long. It’s brushed for softness and warmth, yet offers wider arm holes and breathable fabric to keep you refreshed. Wear it under a coat on cold days or as a top layer over your favorite Handyma’am Goods overalls when the weather is just a bit brisk.

Pros:

  • Thousands of realuser reviews call this fleece vest “the best”
  • Available in both men’s and women’s styles
  • Most expansive size range we’ve seen of any vest style
  • Plenty of colors to choose from
  • Moderate price point
  • Brushed texture
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • On the lighter side in terms of thickness, though that makes it an excellent choice for winter layering

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