ArcWear™ Polartec® FR Hi Vis Protective Fleece Technical

Polartec FR LogoBefore the arrival of Polartec®, FR garments all but ignored the need for breathability, four way stretch, moisture management and next-to-skin comfort. Polartec, LLC of the US spent the last decade working with the United States military to develop state-of-the-art FR apparel. Together, they reinvented the category by combining the protection of modern FR with the best characteristics of outdoor apparel. The Polartec® FR layering system is now used extensively by all branches of the United States military, as well as top work wear manufacturers around the world.

Weather conditions change during the day and a cornerstone to effectively maintaining comfort in a changing environment is by effectively dressing with the right combination of fabric layers for the situation.




Property Summary

The Concept of Layering - Merging Performance Fabric with FR Capabilities

Polartec® FR fabrics are designed to work together creating a layering system that has less bulk, better mobility, greater comfort and more breathability. Polartec® is the only brand to offer a full layering system. Polartec’s® patented next-to-skin base layer fabrics wick away moisture to keep the body warm and dry. The thermal insulation layer allows for warmth and traps heat to keep the body warm. When an FR weather protection layer is added, workers are truly protected from the harshest of environments. Polartec® FR fabrics offer premium protection against electric arc flash and flash fire hazards and are designed for high performance as a stand-alone garment or part of a layering system.

The Polartec® FR layering system consists of three levels of protection:

  1. Comfort (next-to-skin): base layer from lightweight to heavyweight fabric keeping the body warm and dry; superior wicking action to move moisture away from the skin; patented technologies, odour resistant and UPF protection.

  2. Warmth (insulation): thermal layer traps heat to keep the body warm; breathable to allow moisture transfer; warmth without weight.

  3. Shelter (weather protection): protection from the elements (wind/rain/snow); lightweight and permeable for true breathability; Polartec® FR shelter fabrics range from water repellent to waterproof.

The Base (Comfort) Layer

The Polartec® FR protection starts with unequalled next-to-skin comfort; the base layer. Polartec® Power Dry® FR and Polartec® Power Grid™ FR are the fabrics used for this layer, offering enhanced breathability, excellent moisture management and comfortable stretch.

Polartec® Power Dry® FR

Polartec® Power Dry® FR pulls moisture directly from the skin and transfers it to the outer surface to quickly dissipate. This continual evaporation process helps to keep you cool (as your body heat increases) and warm (when temperatures begin to drop).

By physically embedding these wicking capabilities into the fabric structure, Polartec® Power Dry® FR doesn't rely on chemical treatments to transfer moisture. Chemical approaches to handling saturation only provide a temporary solution that can wash away and leave you with a base fabric that doesn't perform. 

Polartec® Power Dry® FR benefits include:

  • Flame resistant, moisture wicking, next-to-skin base fabric.

  • Inherently flame resistant.

  • Superior wicking action.

  • Fast drying.

  • Highly breathable.

  • Easy care and available in multiple styles and weights.

  • Polartec® Power Dry® FR – Tested and Certified ASTM D6413, ISO 14116 (EN 533), ISO 11612 (EN 531), NFPA 70E (ASTM F1506) and ASTM D6603 (UPF 15). 

Polartec® Power Grid™ FR

Open air channels surrounding each individual segment of grid allow Polartec® Power Grid™ FR to easily release all excess body heat as it builds during activity. These breathable air channels also serve to free up space for greater compression capabilities when needing to pack or store materials with limited room.

Providing maximum warmth from minimal weight enables your body to reduce its overall exertion during movement. This composite engineering approach wicks faster than traditional base fabric materials and avoids using chemical wicking agents that fade away with time.

Polartec® Power Grid™ FR benefits include:

  • Flame resistant, lightweight, moisture wicking, performance-fit base fabric.

  • Grid channels reduce weight and increase warmth.

  • Fast drying.

  • Lightweight.

  • Easy care.

  • Available in multiple styles and weights.

  • Warmth without weight.

  • Polartec® Power Grid™ FR – Tested and Certified ASTM D6413, ISO 14116 (EN 533), ISO 11612 (EN 531), NFPA 70E (ASTM F1506) and NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930).

The Thermal (Warmth) Layer

Polartec® Thermal FR® has a lofted fibre structure that creates thermal air pockets to prevent convective heat loss and regulate core warmth. This breakthrough design construction provides the highest warmth per weight ratio for insulating materials while still remaining highly weather resistant and durable.

A soft double-sided face gives the versatility to integrate with layered systems, whether worn directly against the skin or on top of other fabrics. The hydrophobic properties of Polartec® Thermal FR®  fleece further enhance the ability to repel water, resist saturation and dry quickly. 

Polartec® Thermal FR® benefits include:

  • Warmth without weight.

  • Highly breathable.

  • Pill resistant.

  • Durable with easy care.

  • Polartec® Thermal FR® – Tested and Certified ASTM D6413, ISO 14116 (EN 533), ISO 11612 (EN 531), NFPA 1975, 1977 and 1951, NFPA 70E (ASTM F1506) and NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930).

The Weather Protection (Shelter) Layer

The weather protection layer consists of Polartec® Wind Pro® FR and Polartec® Power Shield® FR and together, both fabrics offer exceptional lightweight warmth and FR protection.

Polartec® Wind Pro® FR

The lightweight warmth of Polartec® Wind Pro® FR allows it to function both as a high performance outer layer or a comfortable thermal piece worn under a protective shell. This allows for dependable versatility when used in calm to inclement weather conditions.

The durable nature of synthetic fleece ensures its thermal properties last the life of the fabric and don't fade after heavy use. This fabric is engineered to resist fibre pilling and fraying that often results from numerous cycles through the washing machine. Polartec® Wind Pro® FR has become regarded by many as a type of "super fleece" for its ability to limit wind permeation, repel water and resist intense sources of heat.  

Polartec® Wind Pro® FR benefits include:

  • Flame resistant, wind and water repelling insulation.

  • Inherently flame resistant.

  • Warmth without weight.

  • Highly breathable.

  • Easy care and abrasion resistant.

  • Water repellent surface sheds rain and snow. Moisture beads on the surface of the fabric and simply rolls off.

  • Available in multiple styles and weights.

  • Polartec® Wind Pro® FR – Tested and Certified ISO 14116 (EN 533), ISO 11612 (EN 531), NFPA 70E (ASTM F1506) and NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930).

Polartec® Power Shield® FR

The stiff structure of traditional hard shells not only made them uncomfortable, but caused excessive noise from friction during movement. The inherently soft and pliable construction of Polartec® Power Shield® FR allows it to easily drape and fit to any underlying form without restricting movement or flexibility.

Providing a relaxed, yet resiliently strong fabric core provides the ability to stretch and recover for a full range of motion during activity. By further bolstering abrasion resistant characteristics Polartec® developed a higher industry standard for performance soft shell work wear materials. To this day the innovative properties of Polartec® Power Shield® FR remain the pinnacle of high performance flame resistant protective fabrics. 

Polartec® Power Shield® FR benefits include:

  • Flame resistant all weather protection with FR soft shell.

  • Inherently flame resistant.

  • Weather resistant and sheds rain and snow.

  • Highly breathable.

  • Comfortable stretch.

  • Easy care.

  • Durable and extremely abrasion resistant.

  • Polartec® Power Shield® FR - Tested and Certified NFPA 70E PPE CAT 2 (ASTM F1506), NFPA 1977: Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighters and NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930): Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire.

Electric Arc Rating

In the event of an electric arc, protection is measured by the ability of a product to keep second-degree burn injury to a minimum. An arc rated product will not further the extent of an injury, nor will it melt, drip or ignite. In comparing arc rated products, higher arc ratings (ATPV) are more protective.

Flash Fire Rating

Unlike limited flame retardant products which simply self-extinguish within 2 seconds, a flash fire rated product minimises the predicted burn injury from an engulfing hydrocarbon flash fire. Both textile and garment design play a role in protection. Here, protection is measured by minimising the percentage of overall body burn, with an emphasis on limiting second and third-degree burns.

How ArcWear™ Polartec® FR Protects




3M™ Scotchlite™ personal reflective materials make you extra visible when it's dark and the view is bad. The material reflects bright white when lit up by vehicle headlights and also when the wearer is stationary beside the road. 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective materials for protective garments exceed the highest reflective category of the European standards for reflective protective garments, EN 471, as well as all strict, standardised tests.

Breathability and the Moisture Wicking Process

Moisture wicking fabric is commonly used in industrial work wear and sports wear because the material is designed to draw moisture away from the skin and out to the exterior of the fabric. It is much easier for the moisture to evaporate on the surface of the fabric than when it is trapped between the garment and the skin. Wicking fabrics are woven in such a way that the moisture is forced into and through the gaps in the weave so it can find the outer shell of the material. The weave itself makes the material highly permeable.

Moisture wicking fabric is popular for the construction of work wear clothing because it keeps workers comfortable and dry while performing hard physical work. In addition, moisture wicking fabric can also be important in the prevention of hypothermia. When workers work outdoors in cold weather they have to wear warm clothing, often in layers. Once they begin working however, their bodies heat up and they may begin to perspire. In low temperatures, it can be dangerous for perspiration to collect on the skin.

When a worker begins to ‘slow down’, perspiration cools or in very low temperatures, freezes on the skin, leading to the worker becoming very cold, very quickly. Imagine, for example, wearing a soaking wet undershirt in below-freezing temperatures. Not only would it be very uncomfortable, but it could also cause serious illness or perhaps even death. When moisture wicking fabric draws the perspiration to the surface of the material, this problem is largely avoided.

Moisture wicking garments are often more expensive than garments manufactured from more common fabrics because of the technology that goes into creating the fabric. However, they are not prohibitively expensive and in addition to work wear, they are commonly used for fitness and the outdoors.

The Polartec® FR Moisture Wicking Process


ArcWear™ Polartec® FR Care Instructions

Polartec® FR fabrics are known for their easy care and lasting durability. Most Polartec® FR fabrics can be washed in warm water and tumbled dried and in most cases this will deliver the best post washed feel and performance. However, every single Polartec® FR fabric can be machined washed cold and line dried, which is the most gentle for the fabric.

General Tips

  • Always refer to the care instructions label on the garment in addition to the following suggestions.

  • Front loading washing machines are preferred if possible. They are gentler on Polartec® FR fabrics and use less water generally than top loading agitation style washing machines.

  • Turning a fleece garment inside out prior to washing can help preserve its appearance.

  • Detergents and machine washing in general gradually degrade the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment on fabrics. To achieve the best performance, run an extra rinse cycle and tumble dry low if garment care instructions allow.

  • Fabric treatment products such as Polartec® Power Care™ DWR require warm water and sometime in the dryer to be activated. Follow the specific instructions on the container when using a fabric treatment product.

Polartec® Next-to-skin Fabrics (Polartec® Power Dry® FR and Polartec® Power Grid™ FR)

  • 100% Polyester: machine wash  warm (40° C / 105° F), tumble dry low. Blends of polyester, nylon, polypropylene, wool and/or spandex or where the garment care instructions indicate: cold wash (30° C / 85° F), followed by line dry.

  • Next-to-skin Polartec® fabrics, Polartec® Power Dry® FR and Polartec® Power Grid™ FR, rely on mechanical wicking to draw moisture away from the skin. Using too much detergent in the wash cycle or fabric softener in the dry cycle can inhibit the wicking action. Be sure to use light detergent (Polartec® Power Care™ Base Layer Wash) that rinses completely clean and avoid fabric softener for these fabrics.

Polartec® Insulation Fabrics (Polartec® Thermal FR® and Polartec® Wind Pro® FR)

  • As a general rule, these fabrics can be machined washed warm (40° C / 105° F) and tumbled dry on low.

  • Blends of polyester, nylon, polypropylene and/or spandex or where the garment care instructions indicate: cold wash (30 C / 85 F), followed by line dry.

Consider reducing environmental impact with a cold wash and line dry on all these fabrics. Note that a few minutes in a dryer on low can improve the softness/fluffiness of the fabric. Use a clean-rinsing detergent, Polartec® Power Care™ Outerwear Cleaner™. Fabric softener can be used to reduce static cling but this will also reduce the effectiveness of the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) treatment. If you would like to increase the DWR, it is recommended that Polartec® Power Care™ DWR is used.

Polartec® Weather Protection Fabrics (Polartec® Power Shield® FR)

Polartec® Power Shield® FR is a laminate and when washing is necessary, it is recommended that a front loading washing machine, cold wash (30° C / 85° F) and a light detergent such as Polartec® Power Care™ Outerwear Cleaner™ are used. Always refer to the garment care instruction label for drying instructions. To increase the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) fabric treatment, it is recommended that tumble dry low together with Polartec® Power Care™ DWR is used.

End User Intended Use

ArcWear™ Polartec® FR meets the requirements of ASTM D6413, ISO 14116 (EN 533), ISO 11612 (EN 531), NFPA 1975, NFPA 1977, NFPA 70E (ASTM F1506) and NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930). End users must use this product ONLY for protection against inclement weather (rain, cold and wind) and electric arc and flash fire exposures.