The Death of Fleece

That's my opinion anyway. I still see a need for a soft shell when abrasion or light precipitation is a factor. As for normal fleece nowadays though, simply not applicable anymore. The synthetics are just too good, too small, too light, and way warmer.

My go to mid layer now is the Dead Bird Atom LT. By itself it's good down to low 40s, combine it with a shell and a merino long sleeve and you're easily comfortable to around freezing.

Check out some of the best synthetic, insulated mid layers here

All of these jackets like the Atom pack up super small so I find myself taking them everywhere and especially on planes where space is a premium. I'm in the habit of shoving a nice beanie and pair of gloves in the pockets of the jacket so I'm a self-contained survival system. If you travel and work outdoors you know what a mess it can be when you get to a cold spot to work and the airline lost your luggage.

Parting with the cash for one of these is always a little scary because when you hold the jacket in the store it seems so delicate and almost not there. Trust me when I tell you that it is, it'll be the best investment in staying warm you can make, AND it'll work when completely wet.