Flannels are the unofficial cold-weather uniform of the outdoors. Suit up with picks that span the gamut from performance to fashion.
Nothing says fall like a flannel. Crisp nights by the campfire, brisk mornings chopping wood, and chilly days in town all pair perfectly with the warm and stylish shoulder-season staple.
Today’s flannel evolved from lumberjack roots to include shirts made with an array of fabrics, upgraded technical features, and even heavy-duty jackets. Best of all, there’s an option to fit every budget and style.
Read on to get equipped for the colder days ahead.
Best Flannel Shirts for Women
Best Everyday Flannel: Patagonia Fjord Flannel
Made of 100% organic cotton, the Fjord Flannel ($89) is an updated take on the classic flannel. Once you put this buttery-soft flannel on, you’ll never want to take it off. Luckily, it comes in a range of colors and washes up nicely, so you can wear it day after day.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, but that’s what we like. It’s simple, classic, and comfortable. Day after day it’s the flannel we reach for first.
And you can even get the Fjord Flannel in a baby size. That’s right, you can match your adventure mini, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing around.
It’s also available for men, boys, and girls. Because the family that flannels together stays warm together.
Material: Organic cotton
Best for: All-day, everyday wear
Check price at REI
Best Budget Flannel: Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel — Straight & Plus
This Carhartt shirt is a classic — and for good reason. It’s impressively durable for the price without wading into scratchy, uncomfortable territory. A blend of cotton and spandex, it has just enough stretch to allow for full range of motion. You can confidently chop firewood without feeling like you’re going to blow out the shoulders.
We like that it has a relaxed but slightly tailored fit. The sleeves can feel a bit shorter for women with long arms. But we tend to roll our sleeves up when working, so it wasn’t an issue for us. This shirt may not be the most technical on the list. But for only $40, it could be your perfect campfire companion.
Material: 97% cotton, 3% spandex
Best for: Splitting wood, hanging by the campfire
Check straight-size price at CarharttCheck plus-size price at Carhartt
Best Active Flannel: Kitsbow Icon Shirt
This shirt manages to check all the important boxes. It’s impressively breathable, comfortable against bare skin, durable, and made in the USA. We’ve worn it nonstop for the past 6 months, and it still looks as good as it did on Day 1.
And being wool, it will keep you warm even if wet. Quality wool only has one downside, and that’s the price ($220). But given its durability, this is a shirt you’ll own for many years.
The Icon shirt combines the awesomeness of Pendleton wool with Kitsbow’s performance-focused design. The articulated shoulder vents and stretch gussets allow for full range of movement and dump heat when you need it. The abrasion panels on the elbows provide extra protection but also add a fun dash of style.
Yes, this shirt is an investment, but it’s worth it for a shirt that performs on the trail, looks good in town, and is built to last.
Material: Pendleton merino wool
Best for: Crushing the singletrack, hiking, everyday wear
Check price at Kitsbow
Best Classic Wool Flannel: Fjallraven Canada Shirt
If you think “wool” when you hear the word “flannel,” this shirt ($150) is for you. Made of 70% recycled wool (and 30% polyamide), this is a long-lasting classic. Considered a midweight flannel, you can easily wear this as a jacket in warmer weather and an insulating layer when the temps drop.
The wool provides good odor protection, and the polyamide makes it that much more durable. This shirt offers plenty of room in the hips and is made to layer. We like the heavy-duty press buttons and the two-pocket design.
Material: 70% wool, 30% polyamide
Best for: Making s’mores, cool autumn days
Check price at Backcountry
Heavyweight Flannel: Topo Designs Mountain Shirt
Looking for a heavy-duty flannel? Check out the Topo Designs Mountain Shirt ($89). Its twill material feels burly and is oh so warm. It’s slightly heavier than a traditional flannel and makes a good layer under a puffy. Our tester found the medium fit as expected, and it was form-fitting but sufficiently stretchy. We recommend you size up if you have a larger bust.
The thick, “oversized” buttons feel like they won’t come off easy. And each cuff has three buttons instead of the usual two, giving them a more tapered look. The deep, rich green with black buttons looks great, but some testers weren’t a fan of the brand name printed on the pocket. Beware that twill is more prone to pilling.
This isn’t the absolute lightest or softest on the list, but if you want a long-lasting, heavier-weight flannel, the Mountain Shirt is a winner.
Material: Organic cotton twill flannel
Best for: Hiking, crushing it at the office, grabbing a beer, repping that mountain mama life
Check price at Topo Designs
Best of the Rest
Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel
There are a lot of great reasons to love this flannel. Engineered to be a “cold-weather favorite,” OR’s Feedback Flannel ($85) is a great option for fall or winter. For our tester, the polyester fabric is the perfect thickness, although it’s a bit wide in the shoulders.
The flannel is also easy to layer either with a jacket over or a shirt underneath, which we love. The attention to detail on this shirt with the hidden zip pocket on the torso is great, and the quick-drying feature means it can withstand light exercise. And thanks to its polyester material, it’ll dry much faster than cotton flannel.
Best for: General wear (in the office, lounging by a fireplace), fall hiking, layering
Check price at Outdoor Research
REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt — Straight & Plus
REI’s Wallace Lake flannel ($60) is breathable, so it’s well-suited for outdoor activity. This one’s got thinner material and feels lighter than a traditional flannel. We recommend wearing it in temps above 45 degrees or wearing a shirt underneath for added warmth.
There was plenty of room in the shoulders — extra, even — in the medium size. It’s a solid pick for those with wider hips, broader shoulders, longer arms, or larger busts. We recommend sizing down if you like a more form-fitting feel.
As a coal miner’s granddaughter, our tester digs the pickaxe accent on the top snap closure. The buttons on the two chest pockets are reinforced, as are the shirt’s side seams (with gussets where they meet the hem).
Best for: Stacking wood, active pursuits
Check straight-size price at REICheck plus-size price at REI
Duluth Trading Free Swingin’ Flannel Tunic
When you need a bit of extra coverage, reach for this flannel tunic ($60). The longer cut and drop-tail hem mean it pairs well with leggings and won’t ride up during the day’s work. Most of all, though, I like how this shirt doesn’t restrict movement. With hidden underarm gussets and a bi-swing back, you can easily chop wood or reach up high without feeling like you’re about to Hulk out of this shirt.
It’s faded slightly over a year of washing and wearing, but that could be avoided if you hang to dry. Otherwise, it’s held up very well, and we haven’t had any problems with shrinking. This is a solid, hardworking flannel that gives an extra bit of coverage.
Best for: Chopping firewood, farmhouse chores, everyday wear
Check price at Duluth Trading Co
Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape
In need of an extra campfire layer one weekend, we grabbed this shirt on a whim. Surprisingly, it became a mainstay. It’s a fun option if you’re excited to jump on the flannel train and are looking for a classic look and budget price.
It doesn’t have any bells or whistles and probably won’t last a lifetime, but for less than $35 it’s a good, basic flannel. It’s available in several classic color combos and fits as expected.
Best for: Casual campfire outings, backyard barbecuing
Check price at Amazon
Have a favorite flannel we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments for future updates to the article.
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