What is Polartec Fleece? What is it made of? What are the differences in Polartec fabrics?
Polartec fleece is an insulating textile that was originally manufactured by Malden Mills Industries (now Polartec LLC). Originally starting out as a manufacturer of wool outfits for soldiers in the US Military, Malden Mills went on to develop the Polartec fabric in 1979, and in 1981 this synthetic fabric was named "One of the 20th Century's Greatest Inventions" by Time Magazine. Patagonia worked with Malden Mills to produce their Synchella Fleece Top from this new textile fabric.
Polartec fleece is a soft sythetic fabric made from polyester fibres that provides warmth without weight and is hydrophobic (absorbs less than 1% of water), making it ideal for use in the outdoors. It can be made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, and recycled fleece. The fabric was not patented, so many other companies now produce the fabric. Lower quality polyester fleece is prone to pilling, and sheds more microfibres that cause water pollution.
There are over 400 different types of Polartec fabrics the most well known ones are:
- Polartec Classic Micro Series: the original synthetic insulation fabric technology, invented by Polartec in 1981. Polartec Micro Fleece fabric provides versatile thermoregulation that sustains lightweight, breathable and fast-drying conditions. It provides optimal warmth without weight, is highly breathable, pill resistant and durable, fast-drying and easy to care for.
- Polartec 200, 300
- Polartec Power Dry: this versatile open-knit grid fabric technology moves moisture and keeps you warm, dry and comfortable.
- Polartec Power Dry High Efficiency: this baselayer fabric is made with an open-knit grid structure, optimised with a bi-component knit construction that uses different yarns on either side of the fabric: it moves moisture quickly, dries fast and is exceptionally warm without bulk.
- Polartec Hardface Technology: an application that's used on outerwear to increase abrasion resistance and enhance water repellency for greater performance.
- Polartec Power Stretch: warmth without the weight in a breathable 4-way stretch wicking fabric that dries fast.
- Polartec Thermal Pro: stretchy, warm, breathable, compressible and fast-drying fabric
- Polartec Alpha
- Polartec Wind Pro: warm, lightweight technical fleece that's four times more wind resistant than traditional fleece. It's also highly breathable and water-repellent.
- Polartec Windbloc: full stretch laminate between the face and interior fabric that provides warmth and protection from wind.
- Polartec Power Shield: highly breathable, abrasion-resistant soft-shell fabric for weather protection
- Polartec Power Shield 02
- Polartec Power Shield Pro: highly breathable, abrasion-resistant soft-shell fabric with a membrane for greater wind-resistant protection.
- Polartec Power Shield Stretch Wovens:
- Polartec Power Wool
- Polartec NeoShell: next generation membrane technology that creates a waterproof barrier with unprecedented airflow - dynamic 2-way air exchange
- Flame Resistant Fabrics and Layering Systems