When you’re out in the wilderness exposed to torrential rain in a deep gully or powerful gusts on a high peak, you’ll want to be properly protected so that you can comfortably continue your journey. In most cases, a windbreaker or winter coat simply won’t be the right fit for the kind of active environment when you pit your personal willpower and stamina against the almighty power of nature. In order to get the most out of your experience in the great outdoors no matter what the weather may be, you’ll need the best hiking jacket round your shoulders.
Picking Out the Best Hiking Jacket
Hiking jackets vary widely in both price and quality. If you’re only an amateur hiker, you may only need a simple and lightweight jacket that you’ll wear once or twice a year. But if hiking is more of a lifestyle for you than a hobby, investing in a high-quality and durable hiking jacket might not be a bad idea. Remember that, no matter what jacket you’re considering, many have come this way before you. Reading reviews and customer testimonials for jackets you’re considering can be an instrumental aspect of picking the right piece of outerwear. Hiking jackets also differ greatly in terms of features offered, and a full understanding of the pros and cons of different jackets will provide you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.
Scouting the Best Features
Almost all hiking jackets are equipped with some form of weatherproofing. Gore-Tex membranes are the industry standard when it comes to wearable waterproofing technology, but some jackets will use a different substance to keep you high and dry. Some hiking jackets are lined with fleece for comfort and warmth, but others focus more on breathability and use mesh instead. While many hiking jackets are composed of 100% polyester, others are made with a cotton/polyester blend, and each fabric has benefits and detractors that you’ll want to weigh carefully.
Almost all hiking jackets are equipped with a hood, but some hoods are detachable while some aren’t. Detachable hoods are more convenient, but they are prone to leakage. Some hiking jacket models are designed to be as lightweight as possible while some are heavier to provide extra thermal protection. To pick the best hiking jacket that’s right for you, you’ll want to consider all of these features carefully and select accordingly.
Hiking Jackets Keep the Elements at Bay
If you want to be prepared for any type of conditions that nature may bring, only the best hiking jacket will give you the kind of protection you need. These outerwear solutions are specifically designed to give you the edge over the cold and wet while still remaining breathable enough to be comfortable on long hikes when your cardio starts to spike. Striking the perfect balance between total insulation and lightweight style, hiking jackets are the perfect outerwear options for anyone who likes to kick it in the great outdoors, from amateur trail hikers to professional glacier trekkers.
Ten Best Hiking Jacket Reviews
This offering from legendary manufacturer Arc’Teryx is a hiking jacket par excellence. Arc’Teryx pulled out all the stops when designing the Beta LT Jacket and chose to use high-end N40p-X 3L GORE-TEX Pro for the entirety of the outer shell of this jacket. This quality offering features a #3 WaterTight Vislon central zipper, a helmet-compatible Stormhood, and e3D Ergonomic 3-Dimensional patterning that allows the wearer to move comfortably in any direction. The brim of the hood is laminated and the underarms are gusseted. The chin guard is lined with brushed microsuede for enhanced comfort and the sleeves end in laminated DryCuffs. Everything about this jacket seems well-thought-out and expertly executed. The only problem is the price.
The Arc’Teryx Men’s Beta LT Jacket might not be the best choice for the type of hiker that only goes out for short day hikes a few times a year. But if you’re an avid mountain climber or off-trail alpine exploration wizard, this expensive jacket will be well-worth the investment. While there aren’t many reviews of this product on Amazon, the overwhelming majority of the reviewers have nothing but good things to say about this jacket. The solitary negative reviewer complained about the zipper breaking off on the first usage.
The Sitka Coldfront Jacket is a heavy-duty shell that’s perfect for glacier hopping or snow hiking. Featuring a triple-layer Gore-Tex outer shell and Lofted Micro Grid fleece backing, this jacket keeps the cold out and keeps your body heat in. The folks at Sitka even go so far as to say that this jacket “hermetically seals out moisture and cold”, but we’ll overlook that blatant instance of marketing hype since this jacket does seem to be very well constructed.
The zippers on the Sitka Cold Front are watertight and welded for maximum moisture protection. There’s a DWR finish on the outer layer for extra waterproofing and this jacket features articulated patterning for flexibility and comfort. This is a very high-end jacket that probably would be wasted in the hands of an amateur hiker. But it holds its own with the best of them for a veteran peak-summiter who is looking for the perfect upgrade.
Reviews of this product on Amazon are sparse but overwhelmingly favorable. One reviewer docked a single star from their rating because the fit of their Sitka Cold Front seemed a little tight. Keep in mind that owning this jacket requires a significant financial investment.
This mid-range hiking jacket is constructed from Fjallraven’s own G-1000 Eco material, which contains a large amount of recycled polyester, some organic cotton, and a few other materials. The Fjallraven Men’s Keb Jacket features a storm hood complete with a brass wire at the lip that can be used to flip the end of the hood back up over the head. There are plenty of pockets, each equipped with a waterproof zipper, and extra fabric has been added under the sleeves for enhanced comfort and mobility.
Compared to some of the other hiking jackets that are out there, the design of the Fjallraven Men’s Keb Jacket is relatively unattractive. There is no mention of a waterproofing outer coat or any other weatherproofing measures. However, the overwhelming majority of Amazon reviews for this product are favorable.
This relatively-affordable hiking jacket option from Bear Grylls is constructed from AquaDry waterproof fabric which is composed of Polyamide that is PU Coated. It features abrasion-resistant patches on the shoulders to provide protection from backpack straps and is equipped with waterproof zippers. The hem of the jacket is adjustable with a drawcord and there are a number of pockets in the interior and exterior of the jacket. The Bear Grylls Men’s Mountain Jacket is made in China and is completely machine washable.
This is the perfect jacket for an occasional backpacker who doesn’t want to invest heavily in a high-end jacket. There are still plenty of features and the construction seems sound, but the Bear Grylls Men’s Mountain Jacket won’t break the bank by any means. Amazon reviewers seem to be in love with this jacket, with the most negative review simply complaining that the jacket was loud while in motion. Definitely a solid buy.
This jacket from the oddly-named manufacturer Wantdo is constructed from 100% polyester. It features a profusion of pockets near the hands, by the chest, and on the inside of the jacket. In terms of pure economics, this jacket is a steal. But the manufacturer’s claims that the Wantdo Men’s Hooded Hiking Jacket is completely waterproof seem to be unfounded in fact. Since polyester on its own is not particularly weather-resistant.
This jacket features a waterproof front zipper and is machine washable. Though the country of origin isn’t listed, based on the marketing material, it’s safe to hazard a guess that this product is made in China. It’s also marketed by a Chinese company. There is a mix of very positive and negative reviews on Amazon for this product. Some reviewers note that this jacket runs small so be aware of this when ordering the right size. If you’re working with a tight budget, the Wantdo Men’s Hooded Hiking Jacket might be right up your alley, but this jacket is a perfect example of the old adage, “you get what you pay for”.
This affordable option from GIVBRO comes in a variety of colors and is pretty stylish to look at. The manufacturer claims that the GIVBRO Waterproof Jacket is completely waterproof and windproof. However, no indication of the materials used in the construction of the outer shell is given. It is stated that microfleece is used to line the interior for breathability and comfort and there are certainly plenty of pockets to go around. The cuffs on this jacket are elasticated to admit different sizes of wrists and there’s an extra-large hood to keep out the wet.
Plenty of Amazon reviewers praise the bright colors and quality construction of the GIVBRO Waterproof Jacket. But others bemoan this jacket’s lack of water resistance and poor quality. Many reviewers comment that a second layer is required when wearing this jacket in order to keep warm. So while it is a great budget option, be mindful of these things. For the price, it’s a good choice for a casual hiker, but not for full on winter explorers.
This relatively inexpensive hiking jacket is equipped with a weatherproof Texapore shell that’s designed specifically by Jack Wolfskin to keep wet out and keep heat in. The Jack Wolfskin Men’s Cloudburst Smock Jacket is designed to be lightweight while still keeping you warm on long hikes. One of the distinctive features of this jacket is that the zipper only goes halfway down the jacket, leaving space for a large central pocket that spans the width of the abdominal area.
There are plenty of pockets available for stashing snacks and smartphones and the overall design is simple and aesthetically pleasing. There are only three reviews of this product on Amazon, which isn’t much to go off of, but the reviews that are available are glowingly positive. Made in Europe.
From prestigious outdoor products manufacturer Columbia comes a simple and straightforward hiking jacket that won’t break the bank. The shell is constructed from Omni-Tech Full-Dull Rip-Stop 100% nylon that is advertised as being waterproof and windproof. The hood can be zipped into the neck area when not in use and the underarms are vented for maximum breathability. The inner lining is made of fine polyester mesh and the pockets are zippered and waterproof. The entire jacket can be packed into the hand pocket for portability.
While this jacket might not be perfect for a night out on a glacier, it looks great for low-intensity trail hiking. Amazon reviewers seem to agree, with over 100 positive reviews that seem to confirm Columbia’s claims that this jacket is waterproof. The majority of negative reviewers seem to have had unrealistic expectations for this jacket, with a few reviewers reporting less-than-expected materials quality.
This offering from Columbia is a heavy-duty option that’s perfect for snowy or icy conditions. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the materials seem to justify the cost. The outer shell is constructed from 100% nylon Omni-Shield Legacy Twill and the thermal lining is made of 100% nylon 210T taffeta with 100% polyester Microtemp XF II for insulation. There’s synthetic fur around the rim of the hood and the hood itself is adjustable. The Columbia Women’s Lhotse Interchange Jacket is equipped with a drawcord hem and the lining reflects heat back into the body while vented underarms allow for breathability.
There are nearly 50 reviews of this product on Amazon and every single reviewer gave the Columbia Women’s Lhotse Interchange Jacket either four or five stars. Reviewers praise the superior insulation and pleasing style of this jacket. This is a solid option for trail hiking in the winter.
This dirt-cheap option from Chinese manufacturer Udareit is more of a windbreaker than a full-on hiking jacket. But the jacket itself is attractive-looking and the construction appears to be sound. It’s made of 100% polyester and is at least somewhat water repellant. There’s an extra-large hood that’s adjustable with a drawcord and this jacket is equipped with mesh lining to provide better breathability.
There aren’t many reviews of this product on Amazon, but those that are there are positive for the most part. One negative reviewer said that the jacket arrived with a hole in it. The Udareit Women’s Hiking Running Jacket is definitely not the right choice for an overnight trip to a distant peak. But as an everyday jacket for light trail hiking or jogging, this lightweight option will do the job quite nicely.