Top 5 Ultralight Hiking Fleeces for Women (2023)

Hiking Midlayers: Mountain hiker with trekking poles in a hiking midlayer

In this post, we'll take a look at:

When choosing an ultralight hiking fleece, keep in mind factors like weight, insulation, breathability, fit, durability, and weather adaptability.

Our guide provides valuable insights to facilitate your decision-making process, ensuring you select the ideal midlayer for your comfort and performance needs on the trail.

Top Ultralight Hiking Fleece Picks

  1. Most Ultralight: Rab Womens Ascendor Light Hoody (6.84oz/194g)
  2. Best Overall: Arc’teryx Kyanite Hoodie (12.17oz/345g)
  3. Best Value: Montane Women’s Protium Hooded Fleece Jacket (11.46oz/325g)
  4. Warmest Option: Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece (15.9oz/451g)
  5. Budget Option: The North Face Canyonlands Full-Zip (12.98oz/368g)

1. Most Ultralight
Rab Womens Ascendor Light Hoody

Ultralight Hiking Midlayers for Women: Rab Womens Ascendor Light Hoody

Key Specs

Weight: 6.84 ounces (194 grams)
Material: 94% polyester (recycled), 6% elastane
Price: $


✅ Ultralight

✅ Relatively affordable


❌ Fits large

The RAB Ascendor Light Hoody is a versatile addition to your hiking gear. Its lightweight and flexible design offers an extra layer of warmth during high mountain pursuits.

With efficient insulation and breathability, this hoody is ideal for fast-paced ascents. Its snug hood provides added warmth in windy conditions, while its slim fit ensures comfort under other gear. This packable and adaptable midlayer is your companion for year-round adventures.

2. Best Overall
Arc’teryx Kyanite Hoodie

Ultralight Hiking Midlayers for Women: Arc’teryx Kyanite Hoodie

Key Specs

Weight: 12.17 ounces (345 grams)
Material: 53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane
Price: $$$


✅ Durable material


❌ Relatively expensive

The Arc’teryx Kyanite midlayer stands out as a reliable choice for your hiking needs. Its thermal performance, durability, and soft comfort make it perfect for various outdoor activities.

With its stretchy design and moisture-wicking interior, it offers freedom of movement and keeps you cozy on chilly days. The low-profile ScubaHood™ adds warmth, and its versatile fit layers well under a shell.

3. Best Value
Montane Women’s Protium Hooded Fleece Jacket

Ultralight Hiking Midlayers for Women: Montane Women’s Protium Hooded Fleece Jacket

Key Specs

Weight: 11.46 ounces (325 grams)
Material: 93% polyester, 7% elastane
Price: $$


✅ Good moisture control


❌ Relatively heavy

The Montane Protium Hooded Fleece proves its versatility for all your hiking needs. Whether as an outer layer in warm weather or a part of your winter layering system, this fleece excels in performance.

Its moisture management and heat regulation capabilities make it reliable for various activities, from walking to hiking. We can highlight its effectiveness in cold conditions. This fleece is a trusted choice for staying comfortable and protected on your outdoor adventures.

4. Warmest Option
Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece

Ultralight Hiking Midlayers for Women: Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece

Key Specs

Weight: 15.9 ounces (451 grams)
Material: 100% polyester (recycled)
Price: $$


✅ Comfortable

✅ Very warm


❌ A bit heavy

❌ Fits small

The Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket is a versatile and eco-friendly choice for your hiking adventures. Crafted from 100% recycled polyester fleece, it strikes the right balance between warmth and comfort.

Its thoughtful design includes features like a wind flap, raglan sleeves, and various pockets for convenience.

We can highlight its suitability for different seasons and layering purposes. This jacket proves to be a reliable companion on the trail, keeping you cozy and stylish while minimizing environmental impact.

5. Budget Option
The North Face Canyonlands Full-Zip

Ultralight Hiking Midlayers for Women: The North Face Canyonlands Full-Zip

Key Specs

Weight: 12.98 ounces (368 grams)
Material: 56% recycled polyester, 40% polyester, 4% elastane
Price: $


✅ Affordable

✅ Comfortable


❌ Relatively heavy

The North Face Canyonlands Full Zip Jacket is an essential addition to your hiking gear. Crafted from premium recycled polyester, this slim-fit jacket offers both comfort and durability.

It’s designed for outdoor versatility, featuring secure-zip hand pockets, elastic-bound cuffs, and a close-to-body fit for easy movement.

We can highlight its cozy nature, making it an excellent choice for various weather conditions during hikes.

How to Buy the Right Ultralight Hiking Midlayer

Midlayers play a vital role in maintaining the balance of warmth, breathability, and versatility in your clothing system. Warmth is the name of the game, trapping your body heat to keep you cozy in chilly conditions. However, they’re not just about warmth; midlayers also let moisture, like sweat, escape, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable.

There are various types of hiking midlayers to choose from, each with its unique characteristics:

  • Fleeces are like the Swiss Army knives of midlayers, offering different thickness options for various situations. Thin fleeces are perfect for active, cold-weather activities, while thicker ones excel in stationary cold environments.
  • Merino wool, known for its excellence in base layers, also shines as a midlayer, combining warmth, odor resistance, eco-friendliness, and breathability.
  • Softshell jackets strike a balance between waterproof outer shells and fleeces, making them great for intense, unpredictable weather adventures.
  • Insulated jackets act as your reliable companions in cold weather, utilizing either synthetic polyester or down fibers to provide substantial warmth without adding much weight. They’re also convenient to pack. However, it’s worth noting that they may be slightly heavier than some other options.

When shopping for a midlayer, it’s important to look for key features that ensure functionality and durability. Consider breathability, durability, flexibility, insulation, moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabrics, secure pockets, slick face fabric, style, thermal regulation, versatility, water and wind resistance, and weight.

If you want to learn more about becoming an expert in choosing the right hiking midlayer, check out our detailed post for all the ins and outs.

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