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The Best Toasty-Warm Tops to Take You From Trail to Town

Photo: Icebreaker

Depending on where you live, fall is in the air. Aspen leaves are changing color and warm afternoons are giving way to brisk evenings with a chill that lingers all night. There is no doubt about it: fall is coming.

For outdoor lovers, this means a wardrobe swap is on the way. Gone are the tanks and shorts of July hiking adventures. In their place, we’ll be subbing in cozy sweaters and fleece-lined hiking pants. Insulation is a huge component to keeping outdoorists toasty on the trail, but it can be tough to find warm pieces that look stylish, too. I’ve culled through the options and found my favorite trail-to-town pieces, highlighted below. Not only will these items perform admirably when you need them, but they’ll fit right in at your fave restaurant during an après ski session.

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Toad & Co. Wildwood Sherpa Hoodie

The Toad & Co. Wildwood Sherpa Hoodie is made from sustainable materials, and is both cozy and moisture wicking at the same time.
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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This womens-only zip-up hoodie is made from 35% recycled wool, 30% polyester, 20% nylon, and 15% wool. What does that mean? You get a cozy-yet-cute options that is sustainable too. Sherpa fleece lines the arms and the hood for warmth, and the entire piece is moisture-wicking. Bonus: The entire hoodie is made in an old-school Italian mill that has been making mechanically upcycled fabric (no chemicals) for years. Pretty cool.

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Icebreaker Descender Hybrid Jacket 

The Icebreaker Descender Hybrid Jacket features a touch of lycra throughout for added flexibility, and the back and the arms are built from nylon wrapped in merino wool for extra durability.
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Icebreaker is known for classy-yet-functional pieces, and the Descender Hybrid Jacket is no exception. The front panels and shoulders boast MerinoLoft, the brand’s wool-based insulation. The back and the arms use a corespun fabric (nylon wrapped in merino wool) for breathable durability. Finally, a touch of lycra adds a hint of stretchiness for flexibility and movement. I like all of the color options, but think the black and gray choices look exceptional with a pair of jeans.

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Smartwool Spruce Creek Tunic Sweater

The Smartwool Spruce Creek Tunic may look less technical than the other options on this list, but its merino wool construction is as moisture wicking and breathable as anything else.
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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This is a sweater the ladies will love. Constructed from nylon, merino wool, and a little lycra, the Spruce Creek boasts all the moisture-wicking and breathable properties that merino is known for. But, Smartwool added a touch of style with the funnel collar neck and the side vents with tie details. Slip it on with a pair of ski tights for a great look on and off the piste.

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Dahlie Half Zip Comfy (Men | Women)

The Dahlie Half Zip Comfy features a quilted panel in the front for added warmth, and it looks great.
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Haven’t heard of Dahlie? I hadn’t either until I tried this Half Zip and fell in love. All-around wool offers warmth while the added insulation (via a quilted panel) in the front ramps up the heat just a bit more. It’s basic, but it does the trick—and looks good too.

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Cotopaxi Cubre Pullover Fleece (Men | Women)

The Cotopaxi Cubre pullover rocks that classic high contrast, Cotopaxi look, and 1% of the company’s profits go towards addressing poverty and supporting community development.
Photo: Cotopaxi
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For those that prefer retro styling, consider the Cubre. PrimaLoft shearling fleece is cozy warm, and a front quarter-length snap system makes it a cinch to pull over your head. A snap chest pocket and two kangaroo pockets add to the functionality, but it is the contrasting colors that up the style game. Also: Cotopaxi is a certified B-corp that donates 1% of profits towards addressing poverty and supporting community development. Not only will your purchase look fashionable, but you’ll be doing the planet some good.


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About the author

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather Balogh Rochfort is an outdoor expert and full-time freelance writer and author in the outdoor industry.