Enter fleece. Its lightweight warmth and comfort have helped it earn high praise from outdoor enthusiasts, even those who might initially view it with reluctance. Veteran high-altitude mountaineer Ed Viesturs recalls his initial reticence to the material: “For the longest time, I was a wool sweater guy,” he says. “And when fleece came out I resisted and resisted and resisted. Then I finally switched to fleece, realizing how light it was, how warm it was, how easy it was to take care of.” In other words, the perfect fabric for the outdoor adventurer on the go.
Eddie Bauer makes it easy to face down the chill of winter with our fleece products, and here are two of our favorites: Cloud Layer and High Route.
Cloud Layer Fleece The first technical performance fleece developed by our guide team for the First Ascent mountaineering line, our Cloud Layer fleece works not only at elevation, but downtown running errands as well. “It’s really soft to the touch,” says Eddie Bauer Guide Caroline George, whose climbing expeditions have taken her to numerous colder locations, among them Iceland and Antarctica. “It feels really warm, and has a great range of motion.”
Ed Viesturs—he who reluctantly embraced fleece—adds, “The Cloud Layer is my go-to midlayer. It’s like a lightweight sweater. It’s just comfortable and it feels nice on your skin.” As a bonus, the Cloud Layer is also described by our guides as “very packable,” easily stashed into a bag during a trip or after you’ve peeled it off.
High Route Fleece The High Route Fleece is a basic piece, says adventure photographer and Eddie Bauer Alphine Climbing Athlete Cory Richards, “one we all want to have in our quiver.” He’d know: Richards has photographed some pretty cold places, including spots in the high Russian Arctic and Antarctica. Other traits the guides praised included the zippered neck, which allows the fleece to keep your throat warm, and a zippered chest pocket where you can stash a map or a snack.
Fellow Eddie Bauer Climbing Athlete Katie Lambert uses the High Route Fleece for trail running, hiking, and “even a little bit of backpacking.” The High Route exemplifies the defining characteristics of fleece—it’s warm enough to keep you cozy on its own, but can also act as a lightweight layering agent under a heavier jacket for those extra-cold outings.
So, when the mercury starts dropping, grab your High Route or Cloud Layer and head outside. Adventure doesn’t wait on the weather!
Our founder, Eddie, was an outdoor guide. That’s why, for 96 years, we’ve continued to work with guides to make gear to meet their rigorous needs. Here, learn more about Eddie Bauer and the team of guides and athletes that help design and test the latest innovations in outdoor gear and apparel.