For year-round versatility, there’s nothing quite like a fleece. Whether you need an extra layer of warmth for a summer’s evening stroll, or you’re combining as many layers as possible to stay warm as you climb a mountain, we love the protection and practicality a fleece offers. From half-zip and full-zip to hooded, there are so many different types of fleece available. We’re going to look a little further at our different options, talking you through how fleeces are made, and what makes Craghoppers’ fleeces a little different…
Fabric Facts: How Are Fleeces Made?
What kind of material is fleece? Unlike their woollen counterparts, fleeces are 100% man made, so natural materials aren’t used in their production. Traditionally, fleeces are made from polyester which has been woven into a light fabric and brushed to achieve greater volume. It’s amazing how soft fleeces are to the touch, considering how tough polyester can be.
To make polyester fleeces, a chemical reaction needs to take place for polyester to bond. It needs to be heated so that it forms a thick syrup. When this forms, it needs to be left to harden before spinning, which is when it forms polyester threads. Then, the fleece’s fabric is ready for use.
Doing Things Differently: Recycled Fleeces
In the UK, billions of plastic bottles are thrown away each year. It’s great to see more emphasis placed on recycling in the last few years, making sure that our waste doesn’t go to waste. At Craghoppers, we’re committed to warming you not the planet. We’re going down a different path when it comes to making fleeces – in fact, we’re making them out of recycled bottles. One of our recycled fleeces contains eight plastic bottles, and we still maintain the same soft feel and classic designs across our range.
Here’s how our recycled fleeces are made:
- Plastic bottles are shredded: when bottles are thrown away, there’s often a small amount of liquid still in the bottle. Shredding bottles releases all of the liquid, so it doesn’t affect the quality of the plastic.
- Melted down to liquid: it’s tricky to produce cloth from tiny bits of plastic. The bits of plastic are heated so that they bond together as a liquid.
- Pulled into fibres and threads: once the plastic forms a liquid, it is left to harden and then pressed through a sieve to form threads. The threads are combined, heated and stretched to bond the fibres together again.
- Threads turned into fleece: your old plastic bottles can be turned into cloth! Sheets of cloth can now be turned into your brand new fleece.
By recycling plastic water bottles, this reduces energy consumption by 30% compared to making brand new polyester. By choosing a Craghoppers’ recycled fleece jacket, you’re actively helping to do your bit for the planet.
Fleece vs Wool
Fleece material draws a lot of comparisons with wool. They are both very popular materials for outdoor clothing, and there are advantages and disadvantages of both materials:
Easier to care for
|Cons||Doesn’t insulate when wet
Harder to care for
We find that fleece material is better for your outdoor adventures than wool. The lighter weight offers greater freedom of movement, and the fleece’s softness is generally considered more comfortable. Since wool is completely natural, it may seem more environmentally friendly, but with advances in recycled fleece its rapidly catching up.
And that’s what goes into a Craghoppers fleece. Whether you’re in the market for a new layer to keep you warm outdoors or are interested in products made from recycled plastic, Craghoppers’ selection of fleeces could be ideal for you.