Patagonia Better Sweater Review: A Great Eco Friendly Fleece

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The Patagonia Better Sweater range includes some of the most popular products in the entire Patagonia catalog. When it comes to outdoor gear, Patagonia is one of the biggest players in the game – and with the ranges like the Better Sweater, you can see why.

Fleeces make up a big part of many outdoor enthusiasts’ collection of kit. They make for adaptable additions to your outdoor attire as they can provide warmth with less bulk than fully waterproof jackets.

While fleeces aren’t the best choice for wet weather, they fit perfectly into the gap between hot summer days and cold winter days. If you are heading out into the wild during dry cold conditions, a fleece could be exactly what you need to be as comfortable as possible on your adventures.

The Better Sweater Range is full of very impressive fleeces that offer far more than just a bit of extra warmth.

In this article, we look at the different styles of Better Sweater products you can get to help give you a better understanding of why they really are very cool additions to your kit.

Patagonia Better Sweater Review: The 1/4 Zip, Jacket, & Vest

Patagonia Better Sweater
The Patagonia Better Sweater is a versatile fleece

The three garments in the Patagonia Better Sweater range are the 1/4 zip, the jacket, and the vest. Each one has slightly different features and styles that will match a range of outdoor needs.

There are some common features that stretch throughout the entire range and all styles of Better Sweater fleeces, and some of these are explained below.

Material

Whether you prefer the Better Sweater Fleece Jacket, 1/4 zip, or vest, they are all made from recycled materials – in this case, recycled polyester.

Patagonia have become known for using large quantities of recycled materials in their products so it makes sense that the Better Sweater range fits in with this. It’s worth mentioning too that if recycled materials aren’t able to be used in certain products, Patagonia does a great job in making sure any materials they use instead are sourced sustainably, fairly, and ethically.

The Patagonia Better Sweater range is made to a very high standard using high-quality recycled polyester. This makes it not only great outdoor gear but also environmentally friendly gear too.

Warmth

When it comes to keeping you warm, the Patagonia Better Sweater range does a good job as a warm mid-layer or a suitable outer layer for mild to slightly colder conditions. The fact that Patagonia called it a sweater sums up its purpose pretty well – it’s a fleece style sweater rather than a thick arctic jacket.

If you are heading out into extremely cold weather, you may find that the Better Sweater range isn’t quite enough. However, for mild or chilly days, any of the Better Sweater products will keep you warm and comfortable while you enjoy your time out in the wild.

Durability

As well as being a very environmentally conscious brand, Patagonia is also known for using thorough testing processes before putting any product up for sale. The tests all Patagonia products have to go through make sure they will last a long time and perform exactly as you need them to throughout their life.

The Better Sweater range is tough, durable, and can handle taking a bit of a beating from rocks, branches, walls, and paths. Outdoor life isn’t always gentle or smooth and Patagonia understands this very well. That’s why they have made the Better Sweater Jacket, 1/4 Zip, and Vest highly durable and long-lasting.

Waterproof?

When it comes to wet conditions, there will be much better options out there than the Patagonia Better Sweater range.

While some styles have moisture-wicking technology and a water-resistant shell, none will perform particularly well in anything more than a light rain shower.

They aren’t designed to be wet weather gear though! That’s worth keeping in mind when looking through the Better Sweater range. Each one of the styles has been designed to be worn in cold, dry conditions and they perform extremely well in those.

Environmental Impact

Most people know Patagonia for being a very environmentally conscious brand. They put lots of time and effort into working in sustainable ways and do a great job in ensuring everything they do and everyone they work with treats workers and animals fairly and ethically.

All versions of the Better Sweater are Fair-Trade certified sewn which means the people who actually made them have safe and fair working conditions.

Anyone who loves the outdoors should support brands that look after our planet wherever they can. That’s why Patagonia is one of the most popular outdoor brands out there.

Patagonia Better Sweater: Styles & Options

Patagonia Better Sweater Close up
The fleece fabric is really nice to wear

The Patagonia Better Sweater range offers lots of practicality as well as style in their design. The polyester fleece makes them a bit more durable than a wool alternative and they can fit into a range of environments (and not just outdoor environments).

As all three variations of Better Sweater have a knitted sweater kind of style to them, they can be worn in everyday life as well as out in the wild. This is a very good thing when you think that Patagonia products tend to come with a premium price tag. Being able to wear your outdoor gear more often makes it a much more worthwhile investment and actually offers good value for money.

While having stylish outdoor clothing isn’t a priority for some outdoor lovers, for some, it can make all the difference wearing multi-use attire that can cope with the rigors of outdoor life while still being suitable to wear when meeting friends for a coffee.

One of the best things about the Patagonia Better Sweater Collection is that it is ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities. From hiking to camping to fishing to walking the dog, all the fleeces in the range are warm enough for outdoor life, light enough to be extremely comfortable, and adaptable enough to fit in with everyday life too.

Patagonia Better Sweater ¼ Zip Review: Less Zip, More Warmth

Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip
Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip
Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip
Our Score

Made from recycled polyester with micro polyester trims, the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip Fleece is warm, comfortable, and lightweight. Men get a zippered chest pocket while women get a sleeve pocket for storing essentials while out and about. The short zipper extends all the way up the collar allowing the collar to stand up to offer even more protection from the cold.

 If you are looking for warmth, the Better Sweater 1/4 Zip Fleece is a fantastic choice as its thick fleece keeps you warm and comfortable on your adventures. Despite being very good at keeping you warm, it is not bulky and can be worn comfortably for extended periods of time.

 Stand up collar protects your neck from the wind and cold conditions

  • Machine washable on a cold wash for easy cleaning
  • Fair Trade Certified sewn
  • Patagonia Better Sewn

Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket Review: Most Versatile

Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket
Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket
Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket
Our Score

The Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket is a very versatile jacket that has a full-length zipper allowing it to be put on or removed quickly and easily. If you are a fan of pockets, then the Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket will be a great choice as it has a zippered chest pocket (men's) and a sleeve pocket (women's), as well as 2 zippered pockets on either side that are ideal for keeping your hands warm.

The fleece lining adds another layer of warmth to the Better Sweater Fleece Jacket, while the thick fleece shell protects you from the cold wind. It is made from 100% recycled polyester so is as environmentally friendly as it is stylish and warm.

Interior drop-in pockets give you even more storage space for your essentials and additional outdoor accessories.

  • Lots of storage options thanks to all the pockets
  • 100% recycled polyester fleece so it is sustainable and kind to the environment
  • A thick fleece jacket with a fleece lining to make sure you stay as warm as possible on your outdoor adventures

Patagonia Better Sweater Vest Review: For Moderate Climates

Patagonia Better Sweater Vest
Patagonia Better Sweater Vest
Patagonia Better Sweater Vest
Our Score

If you like having complete freedom of movement in your arms while out in the wild, then the Patagonia Better Sweater Vest could be just what you are looking for. It has all the pockets of the Better Sweater Fleece Jacket with the obvious exception of the sleeve pockets on the women's version. The chest pocket remains on the men's version as do the 2 zippered pockets on either side of the vest.

 The Better Sweater Vest is designed to be worn in moderate climates where a full jacket may not be required but you still need some protection from the weather. It is comfortable to wear, warm, and allows you to keep your arms out of the fleece to help with breathability and comfort.

  • Armored trim makes sure that the armholes keep their shape and are protected from general wear and tear
  • Ideal for light outdoor activities in mild conditions where you need breathability but still require some protection from the cold
  • Full zipper for practicality and ease of use

Final thoughts on the Patagonia Better Sweater Range

The Patagonia Better Sweater Collection covers pretty much all the bases when it comes to fleece jackets that can be worn as a mid-layer or a light outer layer.

All three styles in this article offer good levels of warmth, comfort, style, and adaptability.

The Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece 1/4 Zip is probably the warmest of the three styles as it only has a short zip preventing the cold air from making it inside through larger openings. It’s well suited to chilly days in the wild where you don’t plan on taking it off. The 1/4 Zip Fleece is a great option for hiking in chilly conditions.

The Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket is the most versatile of the styles discussed here. Its full zip and range of pockets offer practicality, convenience, and all-around adaptability. If you are heading out into the wild and plan on adding or removing layers depending on the weather, the Better Sweater Fleece Jacket is a good option.

The Patagonia Better Sweater Vest offers a light layer of warmth while still providing lots of breathability and freedom of movement. The Better Sweater Vest still has lots of pockets despite its smaller size and it still offers tremendous warmth while you are spending time outdoors. It can be just what you need for camping trips or hikes in milder conditions.

The Better Sweater Fleece Jacket, 1/4 Zip, and Vest are all machine washable, highly durable, well-made, and perform exactly as you need them to in the wild.

Other Options in the Patagonia Range

If our Patagonia Better Sweater Review has still left you undecided as to which style of Better Sweater is right for you, there are also some alternatives in the Patagonia catalog that offer similar styles, features, and protection levels.

Patagonia R1 Air-Zip Neck

The Patagonia R1 Air-Zip Neck (buy direct here)is made from 100% recycled polyester. It is a technical fleece that is lightweight and breathable and ideal for more intense activities in colder weather. The large chest pocket gives you plenty of room for outdoor accessories while the structure of the fleece keeps you comfortable as you move around.

Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Jacket

Another Patagonia fleece made from 100% recycled polyester, the Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Jacket (buy direct here) is lightweight and very warm. It has a part mesh lining for increased breathability and comes in a range of colors and designs. Deep fleece-lined pockets keep your hands warm making it a great choice for cold days out.

Patagonia Shearling Fleece Jacket

The Patagonia Shearling Fleece Jacket (buy direct here) is another Patagonia fleece made from recycled polyester. It has ribbed cuffs and hem to help it fit snugly around the areas where cold air can get inside and make its way to you. Zippered pockets and a small Patagonia logo on the chest make it a very practical and very stylish choice of fleece for all of your outdoor adventures.

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AUTHOR
Rob Harvey is an experienced outdoor writer with a passion for using and writing about all the gear that makes camping, hiking and fishing fun. He's been a freelancer writer for more than five years and loves sharing his experiences with readers.