The best fleece jacket only costs $50. USMC Polartec 300.

Started by Moab, April 19, 2022, 04:10:32 PM

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The best fleece jacket you can buy for (by far) an affordable price is the USMC 300 Polartec fleece jacket. It was one of the first fleece jackets to be introduced as part of the military ECWCS system. And was overbuilt to say the least.

(Available from many more ebay sellers and websites across the internet.)

300 Polartec is 300 weight polar fleece. Which is almost twice as thick as modern ECWCS fleece jackets. And about twice as thick as commercial fleece jackets. 

This jacket was made to wear under the ECWCS goretex rain jacket. The combination of the two make a hard to beat system for staying warm and dry on a budget. Or any other combination of fleece and goretex for that matter. 300 weight polar fleece is hard to find. And is almost overkill. As you would not want to hike in this thing. In anything except the coldest climates.

But for staying warm in the winter you won't find a heavier more durable fleece jacket. These are amazing for $50!

It is not only made of heavyweight fleece it is reinforced along the shoulders and elbows with an extremely durable nylon. It includes YKK zippers throughout. Including a bottom or top opening main zipper and pit zips that match the ones on the ECWCS goretex jacket (The goretex rain jacket meant to pair up with the fleece jackets.). For maximum ventilation. As well as velcro cuffs with the same nylon reinforcement.

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This is what a Gen 2 ECWCS goretex jacket looks like. The woodland or ACU runs around $50-$75(?). And are the least expensive. Newer USGI ones use different camo and I think are lighter weight. They all have pretty much the same design. But watch out for aftermarket ECWCS goretex rain jackets. As they are actually Dintex and much heavier. But not bad jackets.

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Several sellers on ebay offer these fleece jackets new and used for around $50-$65. I don't know how much an equivalent fleece jacket on the commercial market would cost you. I have not seen one in 300 weight fleece. But it would easily be in the few hundred dollars range.

My most recent one I purchased is made by Propper. I don't know who all the various manufacturers were. But I have not seen this jacket copied. As the heavyweight fleece is just to expensive. 

I originally wrote this review a few years ago on ZS. But I received a 3xl. Which I normally wear. But these are sized way to big. Buy at least one size smaller than you normally do. And be sure to ask your seller what the actual chest size is.The latest one I just picked up is 2xl, brand new, and was $50 delivered. It still has plenty of room.

They only came in black. So don't confuse them with newer coyote or green colored ECWCS fleece jackets. They are lighter weight. And I beleive the USMC version is the only one that came in 300 weight fleece. So only search "usmc polartec 300 fleece jacket" or similar.

These aren't the lightest weight combinations for backpacking or hiking. But nothing is in this price and durability range. But I would not hesitate to add this to my preps. Whether it be a bob, inch, ghb, bugging in or otherwise.

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