The perfect gilet is warm but not too hot. It's comfortable but smart-ish at the same time. Definitely needs to be washable.

If you aren’t already a convert to fleece gilets then what are you waiting for? They are ideal for layering. Wear them on their own over a shirt, or over a sweater, or if it’s really cold under a coat and over a sweater. As well as for shooting, the best fleece gilets are made for gardening, exercising the dog, sitting outside the pub having a beer… (Take a look at our list of best Tattersall check shirts here.)

They are such an essential we’ve compiled this list of the best fleece gilets, having talked to shooting friends and companions to see what they favour.

Why you should own a fleece gilet

  • They keep you snug without feeling too hot
  • They are supremely comfortable and let your arms move freely
  • Most of them are easy to wash in a machine
  • They dry quickly after a downpour
  • They’re hardwearing and moths don’t appear keen on fleece
  • They come in all shapes, sizes and colours
  • They look quite smart
  • You can wear them under a jacket and with a tie
  • They come in all different price ranges – from budget to blow-out

While you’re at it, look at our suggestions for the best shooting wellies and the best waterproof shooting jackets. 

Our list of the best fleece gilets for shooting

1. JACK PYKE Countryman Fleece Gilet £28.50

Best for low price

+ 300g thermal fleece

– Order a size up to wear over a sweater

  • Sizes: S-3XL
  • Colours: Anthracite, charcoal, dark olive, pheasant, deep aqua, light olive, burgundy
  • Fabric: 100% polyester
  • Machine washable: Yes

The Jack Pyke Countryman fleece gilet makes a cosy extra layer and is very competitively priced. Soft faux leather piping along the edges and two lower pockets that are zipped to hold in essentials like handy baler twine. It has a full length double puller zip and an elastic corded bottom for an individual fit. It’s good value, so had to be on our list of best fleece gilets.

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2. Laksen Mens Norfolk Fleece Gilet £64.95

Best for price

+ Robust

– Just two side pockets

  • Sizes: XL – XXL
  • Colours: Green as shown
  • Fabric: 100% polyester
  • Machine washable: Yes

This is a real working companion. You’ll find yourself wearing it all year round, on chilly summer mornings and nights as well as layered under coats and over sweaters in the winter. It’s lightweight, warm and robustly made with a faux suede trim to keep the edges looking tidy.

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3. Aigle Mens Redulvesta Fleece Gilet £45 

Aigle Redulvesta

Best bargain

+ Polartec 200 weight fleece
+ Internal zipped pocket and two external pockets
  • Sizes: XL
  • Colours: Bronze as shown
  • Fabric: 100% polyester
  • Lining: 100% polyester
  • Machine washable: Yes
The Aigle name shows smartly on a leather badge on this elegantly coloured fleece. You can move the hem around to adjust your warmth zones and if a muddy lab jumps up never fear, it’ll come up beautifully again in the washing machine.

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4. Musto Glemsford Polartec® fleece gilet £110.00

Best for value

+ Warm yet highly breathable

+ Pill-resistant

  • Colour: As shown
  • Fabric: 100% polyester 200g Polartec fleece
  • Machine washable: Yes

Easy to wash and fast to dry, this gilet will make the difference between chill and comfort in all weather conditions. It’s an ideal mid-layer. Useful zipped pockets keep things safe and brass trims and detail add that extra smartness.

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5. Schöffel Mens Oakham Fleece Gilet £139.95- £149.95

Best for popularity

+ Classic

+ Hardwearing

– Price

  • Colours: Aubergine, dark olive, fig, gunmetal , kingfisher, navy, claret, cedar green, cobalt blue, dark teal, bark
  • Sizes: 32-54
  • Fabric: 100% polyester 200g Polartec fleece
  • Machine washable: Yes

Go to any type of country event and you’re likely to see somebody wearing one of these. The Schöffel Oakham fleece might be at the more expensive end of the market but it is a classic and beautifully made. Think about cost per wear and it’s certainly seem worth it. The Oakham is available in a whole selection of  different colours,  including classic navy and dark olive.An adjustable drawstring at the hem ensures a snug, draught-free fit, it has two zipped security pockets, is machine washable and quick drying and can be zipped into Schoffel’s Ptarmigan coat.

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6. Schoffel Womens Lyndon Fleece Gilet £111.96 – 149.95

Best for female Guns

+ Zippable pockets

-Price

  • Colours: Aubergine,  fig, gunmetal , kingfisher, mocha, navy, ruby, cobalt blue, pomegranate, camel, cedar green, duck egg
  • Sizes: 6-22
  • Fabric: 100% polyester 200g Polartec fleece
  • Machine washable: Yes

This is the Schoffel fleece cut for women. Like the Oakham it’s available in a host of colours and created from fleece which is soft, warm and anti-bobble. It also has an Alcantara® trim – a suede-like material along the collar, zip and sleeve edges.

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7. Harkila Mens Polar Fleece Waistcoat £109.95

Best for stretch

+ Super-soft Polartec® Thermal Pro fleece

+ Fits under coat

-Price

  • Colours: Willow green as shown
  • Sizes: S-XXXL
  • Fabric: 100% polyester super-soft Polartec® Thermal Pro fleece
  • Machine washable: Yes

When the wind bites, raise the collar on this fleece to keep out the cold. Or on milder day wear zipped further down over a shirt. Warm and practical, created from machine washable polyester. It has a two way zip and size zipped pockets.

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8. Schoffel Mens Gunnerside Shooting Vest £189.95

Best for recoil

+ Reinforced shoulder patches
+ Removable recoil pad
-Price
  • Colours: Dark olive as shown
  • Sizes: 36-52, depending on stock
  • Fabric: 100% polyester
  • Machine washable: Yes

When it’s too warm for a shooting jacket, the Gunnerside fleece shooting vest is a good alternative. Quick access to cartridges is given by the large, reinforced bellow pockets and there’s an internal zipped pocket for your wallet. It has Cordura® reinforced shoulder patches to protect you and your gun, with a recoil pad which is fully removable

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9. Musto Fenland Polartec® Vest £90

Best for pockets

  • Sizes: L to 3XL
  • Colours: Deep green, navy
  • Fabric: Shell 100% polyester Polartec® fleece
  • Lining: Recycled Lining 100% Polyester
  • Machine washable: Yes

Musto garments have an army of fans and this fleece is sure to become a favourite. It is comfortable, stylish, pill resistant and give you warmth without weight. It also has a zipped chest pockets as well as zipped hand pockets.

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10. Harkila Mens Sandhem Fleece Waistcoat £119.99

Best for wind resistant lining

  • Sizes: M-XXXL
  • Colours: Navy, olive green
  • Fabric: Shell 100% polyester Polartec® fleece
  • Machine washable: Yes

The Harkila Sandhem gilet is a smart one – you can wear it in the field, around town or to work. It also features a wind-resistant lining. It has faux suede trims and zipped side pockets.

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Top tips for buying a shooting gilet

A gilet, waistcoat or vest is an essential part of a shooter’s wardrobe. They are highly versatile, coming in a variety of styles and materials, be that tweed, fleece or cotton. They can be used as effective layering – whether as an outer layer or a mid-layer worn under a jacket or coat – and always make you look smart. A fleece gilet will take you from the shoot breakfast out into the field to the shoot lunch and back again.