Topo Designs Mountain Shirt Best Women's Flannel
Mountain Shirt; photo credit: Topo Designs

Best Women’s Flannels of 2019: A Shirt for Every Budget

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.

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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.

In this review, we compiled the best women’s flannel shirts of 2019-2020. Read on to get equipped for the colder days ahead.

Best Flannel Shirts for Women

Best Everyday Flannel: Patagonia Fjord Flannel ($89)

Patagonia Women and Kid Fjord Flannel

Made of 100-percent organic cotton, the Fjord Flannel 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.

New this year, 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

See the Patagonia Fjord Flannel

Best Budget Flannel: Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel ($40)

Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel

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 percent cotton, 3 percent spandex
Best for: Splitting wood, hanging by the campfire

See the Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel

Best Active Flannel: Kitsbow Icon Shirt ($220)

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 price. 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

See the Kitsbow Icon Shirt

Best Classic Wool Flannel: Fjallraven Canada Shirt ($150)

Fjallraven Canada Shirt

If you think “wool” when you hear the word “flannel,” this shirt is for you. Made of 70 percent recycled wool (and 30 percent 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 two-pocket design.

Material: 70 percent wool, 30 percent polyamide
Best for: Making s’mores, cool autumn days

See the Fjallraven Canada Shirt

Eco-Friendly Flannel: Toad&Co Cairn Long Sleeve ($90)

Toad&Co Cairn Long Sleeve flannel

You know what most flannels are missing? Pockets. We’re not talking chest pockets, but pockets at the waist. Something cozy to slip your hands into. That’s what the Cairn Shirt delivers, and it’s quickly become our favorite.

On top of that, this is a fantastically soft flannel. Made entirely from recycled materials, you can feel good knowing your flannel is doing good. The longer cut in the back is great for biking around town — so no more awkward plumber’s crack. And the third cuff button makes rolling up your sleeves a breeze.

It’s on the lighter end of the spectrum, so you may need to layer on top of it. But considering how good it feels against your skin, that won’t be a problem.

Material: 60 percent recycled cotton, 40 percent recycled poly
Best for: Biking to the brewpub, tailgating, everyday wear

See the Toad&Co Cairn Flannel

Heavyweight Flannel: Topo Designs Mountain Shirt ($89)

Topo Designs Mountain Shirt Flannel

Looking for a heavy-duty flannel? Check out the Topo Designs Mountain Shirt. 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

See the Topo Designs Mountain Shirt

Best of the Rest

Royal Robbins MerinoLUX Flannel: $100

Royal Robbins MerinoLUX Flannel

This flannel combines classic style with high-performance function. The merino wool is soft to the touch and naturally fights odors. We wore it hiking uphill and were immediately impressed with how breathable it is. It also dries quickly and has enough stretch for comfort through all manner of outdoor pursuits.

With a handy zip pocket at the waist, you can easily stash your keys, chapstick, or a snack. Best of all, it’s machine washable and hasn’t shrunk at all after several washes.

Material: 46 percent Sorona polyester, 43 percent polyester, 11 percent merino wool
Best for: Hiking, biking, aprés ski, relaxing by the fire

See the MerinoLUX Flannel

Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel: $85

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 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.

Material: Polyester
Best for: General wear (in the office, lounging by a fireplace), fall hiking, layering

See the Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel

REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt: $60

REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt

REI’s flannel 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 (or icepick?) 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).

Material: Cotton
Best for: Stacking wood, active pursuits

See the REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt

Duluth Trading Free Swingin’ Flannel Tunic: $60

Duluth Trading Free Swingin' Flannel Tunic

When you need a bit of extra coverage, reach for a flannel tunic. 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.

Material: Cotton
Best for: Chopping firewood, farmhouse chores, everyday wear

See the Duluth Trading Flannel

Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape: $30

Legendary Whitetails Budget Flannel - Best Women's Flannels

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.

Material: Cotton
Best for: Casual campfire outings, backyard barbecuing

See the Legendary Whitetails Flannel

Have a favorite flannel we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments for future updates to the article. 

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Mallory Paige

Gear Editor Mallory Paige credits a childhood exploring the Rocky Mountains for her love of the outdoors. She recently spent a memorable year motorcycle camping across North America (with her dog!) and is now enjoying introducing her baby girl to all manner of adventure.

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