Fleece Wear Guide
Montbell fleeces are made using a wide variety of fabrics, offering a rich selection for any season and activity.
Our lightest, thinnest fleece fabric, Chameece, is knitted using very thin (less than 1 denier) micro polyester thread. As its namesake, originating from the soft leather of the Chamois Antelopes, Chameece has a luxurious feel. We produced this exquisite softness through high fiber count, tight weaves, and a brushed face. Weighing only 160 grams per square meter, this micro-fleece is light, compressible, and quick to dry.
With excellent stretch, low volume loft, and a smooth face for better layering and increased durability, these garments are designed for an active lifestyle.
This fabric is specially knitted to provide a “sweater-like” exterior, while maintaining the warmth and versatility of our traditional mid-weight fleece. Weighing in at 255 grams per square meter, this fabric helps balance function and style. Clothing made with CLIMAPLUS Knit function well as an inner insulating layer during the day on the mountain, but never looks out of place when relaxing at the lodge late into the evening.
Our go-to-classic fleece, CLIMAPLUS 100 weights 220 grams per square meter and easily satisfies the role of an inner layering piece or lightweight outerwear without breaking the bank.
Our tried and tested fleece, double-faced with 2-way stretch, CLIMAPLUS 200 tips the scale at 270 grams per square meter leaning on the heavier side to our lineup. Garments made with this comfortable fabric are ideal as cold weather middle layers or as an outerwear in shoulder season.
Our long fiber fleece excels in breathability, drying quickly, and offers high “pack-ability” despite its impressive loft. The soft, fur-like fibers trap air to yield incredible warmth at a minimal weight. Garments made with CLIMA AIR fabric maintain their insulating ability by resisting pilling and clumping after washing.
Shearling is leather from a recently shorn sheep with the soft wool left intact. A shearling garment usually has the leather on the outside to protect from the elements, while the soft wool provides warm insulation. Our CLIMAPLUS Shearling on the other hand is a synthetic version of this of traditional garment. By utilizing synthetic fibers, the fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly. The other advantage of synthetic fibers eliminates the bulk and weight compared to the leather on real shearling. At the same time, CLIMAPLUS Shearling does an excellent job of mimicking the insulating abilities of shearling wool due to its thickness and fluffy air trapping loft.
Chameece and CLIMAPLUS 100 products feature our patented Slan-Tec Cuffs. By orienting the seams of the cuff at an angle, the sleeve can easily be pushed up the forearm with minimal effort and increases comfort in the process. In addition, all of our fleece garments feature zipper “pockets” to shield the user’s skin from the metal zipper slider. These pockets protect the user’s sensitive neck and chin from cold metal in freezing temperatures. Finally, we incorporated articulated patterns and controlled fiber thickness in all of our fleece line-ups to promote greater freedom of movement, comfort, and maximize insulation.
The secret to breathable warmth
The most important properties when in search of a garment for a middle layer are breathability and insulating ability. In many ways fleece clothing can strike the perfect balance of the two.
The chief ingredients in fleece are polyester and polyethylene terephthalate (or PET) which are hydrophobic. Fabrics made with fibers like these “hold less water” have the ability to hold more warmth, while drying more quickly. Also, by selecting ultra-fine filaments and brushing the finished material we can create many small spaces between individual fibers in the fleece. These gaps and spaces trap air, not allowing it to move freely, thus creating a high level of insulation. This trapped air is sometimes referred to as “dead air” and is exhibited in natural insulators like wool and down.
When compared with wool and down garments, fleece items can be superior because we can more closely control fiber length and diameter, along with fabric thickness and density to better tailor apparel performance to address seasonal weather conditions and activity level.
The open nature of the knit utilized in fleece can promote better garment breathability. By allowing air to easily pass thru the fabric fleece clothing can feel less “stuffy”, combating perspiration to keep you drier at a variety of exertion levels. The short dry time of fleece also keeps you safer and more comfortable than other insulators.
When paired with wind proof membranes or linings the thickest fleece can be highly efficient and can rival thinner low grade down garments in warmth.
Compared with down or wool garments, one of the advantages of fleece is the variation available in its hair length, fiber diameter and cloth thickness, which allow us to make suitable fleece garments for any weather condition no matter if it is summer or winter.
Fleece’s breathability helps keep you dry and it also releases just the right amount of built up heat during strenuous activities, such as when breaking trail in waist deep snow. Normally the inside of your clothing would feel “stuff” because the temperature difference inside your clothing is so much higher than your outside environment, but fleece allows this excess heat to pass through the fabric easily.
It is often compared to down for its insulating properties, but thicker varieties of fleece with a windproof lining can prevent heat from escaping between the fibers, allowing it to easily hold its own against such products.
What is "dead air"?
Dead air isn't a property that is exclusive to clothing materials like fleece or down. All physical objects have a property that makes the air a few millimeters around them difficult to move. This unmoving, static layer of air is known as dead air.
The reason we feel cold when the wind blows is the layer of static air that was covering the surface of our skin is blown away and is replaced by new air. Because air has a low thermal conductivity and is a good insulator of heat, an important strategy for protection against the cold is to keep as much dead air close to the body as possible.
Every fiber counts
Each thread is formed by twisting together several tens of fibers. Thread thickness is represented in deniers (d), and the long fibers that make it up are known as filaments (f). For example, a 75d/36f thread means "a thread with a thickness of 75 deniers made from 36 filaments." This is a common type of thread that is often used in synthetic T-shirts.
Montbell's CHAMEECE is made with 75d/144f threads. The thickness of the thread is the same, however by using 144 ultra-thin filaments in each thread the resulting material is more supple and traps more air in between the filaments, making it a better insulator.
Bring fleece back to life
After wearing a long-haired fleece garment for multiple years, the fabric in areas such as the elbows and cuffs begins to wear. This is due to the ultra-fine fibers in the fleece becoming entangled due to friction. Here, we introduce how to easily restore the fabric to its original state by brushing.
The best type of brush to use is a bristle brush for pets or a nylon brush for shoes. (Please note that a fine-toothed metal brush will damage the fabric.) Briskly brush the entire area so as to raise the hairs of the fleece upward.
Preventing static buildup
Since static electricity is easily moved by water, there is little opportunity for static electricity to build up when sweating during activities such as trekking. However, when worn for everyday warmth, polyester fleeces can become negatively charged. This effect can be lessened or avoided by wearing them together with wool or nylon garments, which can become positively charged.
Fleece garments can be machine washed. To protect the garment, we recommend turning the garment inside out, use a laundry net and to set the machine to a "hand wash" or "delicate" cycle to minimize wear on the fabric. Adding a fabric softener will help to prevent fiber entanglement. When drying, dry the garment in the shade, avoiding direct sunlight. If using a dryer, set it to a low drying temperature.