As I continue to Pin the Planet, I have also continuously grown my passion for adventure travel and hiking. Hiking and backpacking are some of my favorite things and with that comes shopping for jackets for hiking and testing them on the trails, and trust I’ve done a lot of testing, and as usual, I’ll be sharing the best hiking jackets for you!

If you love to get out sometimes to explore the outdoors with a good hike, then you understand how important it is to invest in a good hiking jacket for your adventures. And with different seasons and changing climates, hiking jackets are never one size fits all.

Finding the perfect jackets for hiking is a lot like finding the ideal hiking backpack because there is just so much to consider and so many options available which can pretty much get anyone confused very fast.

With jackets, you have to think of the weather, your hiking style, weight, comfortable fit, waterproof fabric, pocket placement, hood attachment and adjustability, jacket portability, insulation, ventilation, zippers, durability, layering ability, etc.

There is simply so much to consider in order to find your ideal jackets for hiking in different weather conditions, and thankfully you have me here to help.

Hiking and backpacking are some of my favorite things and with that comes shopping for jackets and testing them on the trails, and trust I’ve done a lot of testing, and as usual, I’ll be sharing my findings with you.

Enjoy this Hiking Jackets guide, and safe travels!

Jackets for hiking is a must packing item

Hiking backpack 2

In this guide for best Jackets for Hiking + The Best Hiking Jackets, you will find:

⇒ Buying Guide & Expert detailed review on the Top Jackets for hiking in the market today

⇒ Find the best hiking jacket for you: Hard Shell, Rain Jacket, Down Jacket, Windbreaker, Fleece hiking jacket

⇒ My top 5 Best Jackets for Hiking

⇒ Expert Verdict on each backpack for hikers to help you to find the perfect hiking backpacking 

The Best Jackets for Hiking

BUYING GUIDE: THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HIKING JACKET

TYPE OF HIKING ACTIVITIES

There are several things to consider when shopping for a hiking jacket, but the very first consideration should be your hiking style. This is a no-brainer, but it’s certainly worth mentioning because it’s one of the major factors that determine the type of jacket for hiking you need.

Your hiking style here includes a number of things; the climate you most often hike in and how easy or challenging the trails are.

For instance, if you tend to enjoy summer hikes, then you should be looking for a that’s both waterproof and light enough for summer use.

And if you prefer to hike in spring or winter, then you’re better off with a weather-proof hardshell jacket and a well-insulated soft shell mid-layer for absolute protection from the elements.

Hiking jackets are a necessary item for when you go hike in the mountains

MATERIAL

When it comes to hiking jackets, the quality of the material is what determines how effective and durable the jacket will be. The most common label you’ll likely see on many hiking jackets are Gore-Tex, Nylon, Polyester, Canvas, etc.

Any of these materials can be a great option depending on your needs. Before deciding on the materials you need in a jacket, consider the need to layer. Gore-Tex or canvas are excellent for an outer shell waterproof jacket, Nylon with DWR finish is also a good option for a waterproof shell while a polyester fleece is perfect for a mid-layer.

Rain hiking jackets are a must gear for hiking in Peru

WEATHER RESISTANCE

Jackets for hiking are generally designed to be wind and water-proof and different materials and methods are used to achieve these features.

The most common method for water-proofing jackets is the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment. This is basically the process of applying a thin layer of hydrophobic material over the jacket for waterproofing.

The DWR coating is applied to polyester and nylon and doesn’t last for very long because every wash will make it less waterproof. A more durable wind and waterproofing method is the Gore-Tex laminate technology in which a microporous membrane with thousands of holes is worked into the jacket.

These holes are too tiny for water molecules to penetrate but big enough for air molecules to pass through, this feature makes Gore-Tex jackets 100% waterproof, highly breathable, and very durable. They can literally last for decades.

FIT AND FUNCTIONALITY

A good hiking jacket should have a good fit and not restrict your movement in any way, it should neither be too bulky, too heavy, nor too tight.

When selecting a jacket for hiking, make sure you think of how you intend to use it and also consider how well it will fit when you layer.

For instance, if an outer shell fits too snugly when worn alone, it may be too tight and uncomfortable when you wear a fleece underneath.

down jackets for hiking is a must pack item for a trip to Iceland

DURABILITY

Buying a hiking jacket is an investment that should serve you for a good number of years which is why durability should never be overlooked.

The best hiking jackets are able to take some beating from continuous use on the trails and still maintain their fabric quality and weather-proofing ability. A less durable or thin fabric may be easily snagged which will ruin the jacket.

Care and maintenance will also affect the durability of a jacket for hiking. Your jacket should be washed with a mild detergent since a build-up of dirt and grime can affect its waterproofing ability.

WEIGHT & PORTABILITY

The ideal jacket for hiking and backpacking should be lightweight and easy to stuff into your backpack. A minimalist jacket that is highly compressible and tucks into its own pocket is a great option for hikers and backpackers.

Hiking jackets for a trip to Nepal
Nepal Travel Guide

PRICE

Hiking jackets come at different prices, and you can spend over $500 or less than $100, but of course, this will depend on your budget.

There are budget hiking jackets with decent quality and feature-rich designs. However, the most durable hiking jackets with a high-quality construction that will last for decades tend to come with premium price tags.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Here are extra features you should look for in a jacket for hiking:

  •  Sealed/taped seams to ensure the jacket is 100% waterproof
  • Adjustable velcro cuffs and hem drawcord will trap warmth and seal off cold weather
  • Bonded zips and storm flaps will ensure water doesn’t get in through the zip
  • Pit zips for added breathability and proper ventilation, an essential feature in trekking jackets
  •  Adjustable hood to achieve a good fit and a stiff brim for complete coverage
  • Zippered hand pockets for securing small personal essentials
Hiking jackets from North Face are great options

My Top 5 Jackets for Hiking

Based on the considerations above, I browsed through the endless list of jackets for hiking/backpacking on the market to find my top 5 recommendations based on weight, breathable and fabric quality, comfort, portability, customizable designs and additional features.

⇒ BEST LIGHTWEIGHT HIKING SHELL JACKET: The Arc’teryx Zeta SL is the perfect full-feature jacket for emergency protection from a heavy downpour. It’s comfortable, warm, ultralight, and highly compressible, plus it comes in gender-specific designs; Arc’teryx Zeta SL Men’s & Women’s Gore-Tex Jacket.

⇒ BEST GORE-TEX RAIN JACKET: If you want a hiking jacket with robust construction for braving unfriendly weather conditions, look no further than the Marmot Men’s Minimalist & Women’s Minimalist Lightweight rain jacket. The Gore-Tex waterproof quality is unquestionable and a feature-rich design makes it an excellent rain shell.

⇒ BEST ULTRALIGHT HIKING JACKET:  Arc’teryx Zeta LT Men’s & Women’s Lightweight Jacket are excellent options for extended summer hiking/camping in mountainous regions with unpredictable weather. They are both warm, comfortable, easily compressible, with a minimalist design.

⇒ BEST INSULATED DOWN FOR SPRING AND FALL: mountaineering or high alpine adventures require a well-insulated jacket to comfortably hug your body and keep you warm. And my top choice here is the North Face Thermoball Eco Men’s & Women’s Insulated Hooded Jacket

⇒ ULTRALIGHT AND QUALITY FLEECE HIKING JACKET: the Columbia Benton Springs full zip fleece jacket is a great choice for when you need an added layer of warmth on the trails. It’s a soft fleece that comfortably warms up your body like a blanket.

North face hiking jackets are my number one choice for when I travel
amzn.to/3hQDVmY
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Best Hard Shell Jackets for hiking

1) Arc’teryx Zeta SL Men’s & Women’s Gore-Tex Jacket

TOP PICK Best Hiking Shell Jacket 5/5

If you want a compact and lightweight jacket for hiking during summer and spring in mountainous regions with erratic weather, the Arc’teryx Zeta Gore-Tex for men and the Women’s Gore-Tex Jacket are an excellent choice. It’s highly compressible and won’t take up much space in your backpack. It’s the ideal full-feature jacket for emergency protection from a heavy downpour.

  • BEST FOR: extended jacket for hiking/backpacking in unpredictable weather
  • MATERIAL: N40r GORE-TEX fabric with PACLITE
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric
  • DURABILITY: well-constructed and durable jacket
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: weights 9.5 oz. to 10.9 oz., and packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: features a watertight front zipper, adjustable hem draw-cord, adjustable velcro cuffs, and two zippered hand pockets with watertight zippers

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PROS

  • Lightweight, comfortable and compact jacket for hiking with a water-proof shell
  • Adjustable cuffs and hem, and the hood has a halo adjuster to direct water and snow away from your face.
  • The fabric on the inside is comfortable, and the jacket doesn’t restrict movement in any way.

Top Pick

CONS

  • This hiking jacket is expensive
  • It would be nice to have a small carryng bag to easily transport it

EXPERT VERDICT: Arc’teryx jackets are known for their impressive quality, this doesn’t disappoint. The Zeta SL is an excellent jacket for all-year round weather, this is a jacket for hiking that will also have a space in your backpack. It’s comfortable, warm, ultralight and highly compressible.

2) Helly-Hansen Odin 9 Worlds Men’s & Women’s Waterproof Shell Jacket

THE BEST extreme weather jacket for hiking 5/5

The Helly -Henson Odin 9 for men and the Helly-Hansen Women’s Odin 9 Worlds Jacket are heavy-duty high-performance winter shell hiking jackets. The highly breathable fabric and mesh lining keep you warm and comfortable in freezing cold weather while the waterproof exterior ensures you stay dry and warm even when it’s pouring. It’s certainly made for extreme weather.

  • BEST FOR: cold, windy, rainy weather.
  • MATERIAL: a 3-layer waterproof/breathable fabric 100% polyamide 70D X 70D face & 100% polyurethane back
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Waterproof and weather-resistant
  • DURABILITY: made with quality materials to last for years
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: weighs 1 lb 4 ounces and compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: fully adjustable hood with a stiff brim, large zippered hand pockets, adjustable hook-and-loop wrist closures

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PROS

  • Very heavy and warm jacket, perfect for unfriendly icy weather
  • Hand pockets are roomy and comfortable, hood is stiff and effectively defects rain drops from the face
  • Chin guard keeps your neck, check and chin safe from extreme weather, and you won’t feel like you’re being choked.

CONS

  • The jacket is too heavy and if you’re looking for a lightweight jacket, then this isn’t for you.

Expert Verdict: the Odin 9 World’s 2.0 is certainly a durable hardshell waterproof and weather-resistant jacket for hiking designed for very bad weather. It’s comfortable and leaves plenty of room underneath for multiple layering and unrestricted movement.

3) Mammut Convey 3 in 1 Hooded Hard shell jacket

BEST Hiking Jacket for long Hikes 5/5

The 3-in-1 Mammut Convey hiking jacket, features a removable down liner and a waterproof shell for protection from any type of bad weather. This can be your hiking, camping, biking, or backpacking jacket on cold and rainy spring, fall, or summer days. And with proper layering, the Convey also makes a great winter jacket.

  • BEST FOR: long hikes in extreme weather
  • MATERIAL: GORE-TEX 2.5-layer polyester
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE:  the jacket is both wind and waterproof
  • DURABILITY: solid 2.5-layer construction and very durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 1lb 11.7oz and highly compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: a full-length water-resistant front zipper, underarm zippers for ventilation, two zippered hand pockets, adjustable cuffs and an adjustable hem for customizable fit.

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PROS

  • Great jacket, balances weight, comfort and durability. Provides all year round protection from inclement weather
  • The 750-fill duck down with DWR coating provided the perfect insulation and warmth, while providing reliable year-round performance
  • A multipurpose 3-in-1 jacket for hiking in cold weather and highly compressible for portability
  • Underarm vents allow ample flow of air, hood is adjustable for better fit during a downpour

CONS

  • The inner jacket has no adjustment options and the jacket isn’t windproof

Expert Verdict: This hiking jacket will keep you warm and comfortable whether it’s snowing, pouring, or just a mild rain with cold air. You can wear the Mammut Convey alone or with a fleece underneath and still be comfortable.

4) The North Face Thermoball Triclimate Jackdet

BEST Versatile Hiking Jacket for extreme weather 5/5

The Women 3-in-1 North Face Themoball & the Men Thermoball Triclimate hiking jacket features synthetic insulation and removable layers for versatile wear. This jacket is not only great for hiking, but also for skiing, snowboarding, and all of your winter sports activities. Made with a DryVent shell, this jacket features a Durable Water-Repellent.

  • BEST FOR: long hikes in extreme weather
  • MATERIAL: Dry-Vent Shell and ThemoBall
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE:  the jacket is both wind and waterproof
  • DURABILITY: solid 2.5-layer construction and very durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 1.71 lbs and highly compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: This 3-in-1 waterproof jacket features synthetic insulation and removable layers for versatile wear. Two secure-zip hand pockets and a zip chest pocket keep your valuables safe

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PROS

  • 3-in-1 waterproof jacket features synthetic insulation and removable layers for versatile wear
  • Made with a DryVent shell, this jacket features a Durable Water-Repellent (DWR)
  • A multipurpose 3-in-1 jacket for hiking in cold weather and highly compressible for portability
  • Underarm vents allow for ventilation so you can keep warm and covered without overheating.

CONS

  • The inner jacket has no adjustment options

Expert Verdict:  I absolutely love my North Face Themoball Triclimate jacket for my hiking trains in extreme conditions, such as the Himalayas hiking I have done. This hiking jacket will keep you warm and comfortable whether it’s snowing, pouring, or just a mild rain with cold air. 

Best Rain Jackets for Hiking

5) Marmot Men’s Minimalist & Women’s Minimalist Lightweight rain jacket

TOP PICK Versatile Rain Jacket 5/5

The Marmot Minimalist is a hiking jacket with the premium build quality for braving unfriendly weather conditions. The thick Gore-Tex waterproof fabric makes it a great choice for occasional backpacking and hiking. The quality of this hiking rain jacket is unquestionable and its feature-rich design makes it an excellent rain shell.

  • BEST FOR: hiking jacket in unfriendly weather
  • MATERIAL: Gore-Tex PacLite 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: weather-proof and breathable fabric
  • DURABILITY: very strong fabric and feature-rich design for durability
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: weighs 15 oz., designed to be light and packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: it has a hood and chin guard for facial coverage, a drawstring hem for good fitting, zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket.

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PROS

  • It’s generally warm and comfortable, and the zippered underarms is great for ventilation
  • The hood offers enough protection and has a stiff brim to deflect water from the forehead and face. And a chin guard protects the sides of the face and the chin.

top pick

CONS

  • This jacket has a heavy shell and certainly not ultralight or minimalist

Expert Verdict: if you want a rain jacket for hiking that will effectively shield you from a rainstorm, the Marmot Minimalist is a great choice, and the price tag is just right. It’s waterproof, windproof, and breathable, excellent for a spring/fall backpacking trip.

6) The North Face Men’s & Women’s Resolve Waterproof jacket

Best hiking rain jacket & wind breaker 5/5

North Face Jackets are known for their superior quality, and they almost never disappoint. The North Face Men’s Resolve and the Women’s Resolve Waterproof Jacket are excellent windbreaker jackets with a DWR finish that repels water to keep you dry and warm when caught in a rainstorm. Although this isn’t your ideal winter jacket, the lightweight design and loose-fitting make it great for winter layering and a great jacket for hiking.

  • BEST FOR: hiking in rainy and windy days
  • MATERIAL: 100% nylon ripstop DryVent fabric
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: 100% water-proof jacket with 2-layer waterproof breathable laminate
  • DURABILITY: This jacket for hiking is very well-made and should last a long time.
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 16 oz. and packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES:  comes with an adjustable hood that stows in the collar, hem cinch-cord for better fit, storm flap with a hook and loop closure for added protection in harsh weather, and secure zippered hand pockets.

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PROS

  • Comfortable, lightweight and stylish windbreaker with a breathable fabric
  • It certainly keeps you warm during cool conditions
  • The fabric dries very quickly
  • It has a loose fit which makes it great for winter layering

CONS

  • Has poor ventilation and restricts movement
  • Not a winter jacket because it doesn’t come with a thermal lining or padding

Expert Verdict: the North Face Resolve is a lightweight windbreaker jacket designed for hiking, camping, and backpacking. It is an excellent choice for spring and fall, but you’ll need a fleece jacket underneath for winter usage.

7) Arc’teryx Zeta LT Men’s & Women’s Lightweight Jacket

TOP PICK Osprey Day Pack backpack 5/5

When going for extended summer hiking/camping in mountainous regions with unpredictable weather, you need a reliable windproof rain jacket to protect you from the elements. The Arc’teryx Zeta LT Men’s & the Arc’teryx LT Jacket Women’s are the exact jackets for such a situation. For an easily compressible and emergency rain jacket with a minimalist design, it does have a warm and comfortable fit.

  • BEST FOR: summer hiking in unstable mountain weather
  • MATERIAL: 3-layer GORE-TEX fabric with GORE C-KNIT™
  • WEATHER RESISTANT: weather-resistant and waterproof breathable laminate
  • DURABILITY: robust and durable 2.5 layer design
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: weighs 11.8 oz. and packs up small.
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: has a watertight front zipper, adjustable velcro cuffs, two hand pockets with water-resistant zippers, and an internal chest pocket with laminated zipper

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PROS

  • The ZETA LT is a lightweight and durable hiking jacket that offers full protection from unfriendly weather
  • The material is waterproof, windproof and breathable
  • It has enough room to fit a fleece underneath in freezing weather
  • An adjustable hood with a stiff brim keeps the rain out of your face.

Top Pick

CONS

  • The only downside for me is the price

Expert Verdict: The Arc’teryx Zeta Jacket is very lightweight, it can go into your day pack or suitcase and won’t take up much space. This is a hiking rain jacket that will dutifully accompany you on your travels or backpacking trips, and the fabric is pretty comfortable on the skin.

8) Columbia Women’s Arcadia Casual Jacket

Best women’s hiking rain jacket 5/5

The Columbia women’s Arcadia is the ideal casual jacket for fall and summer hiking. If you’re unsure of the weather, take the Arcadia with you, it’s lightweight and easy to pack, plus it’s 100% waterproof and guaranteed to shield you from drizzle to downpour.

  • BEST FOR: summer hiking and camping
  • MATERIAL: Nylon with fine mesh polyester lining
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Waterproof and breathable fabric
  • DURABILITY: high-quality durable jacket
  • WEIGHT& PACKABILITY: 11.2 oz. and easy to stuff down
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: adjustable hood and velcro cuffs help keep the rain out, drawcord adjustable hem for custom fitting and 2 zippered pockets on each side helps secure your small items.

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PROS

  • Lightweight rain jacket with breathable feature-rich design to keep you dry and comfortable during the heaviest of downpours
  • Adjustable velcro cuffs at sleeve opening and adjustable hood help to keep the rains out
  • Comfortable and warm, 100% waterproof

CONS

  • The waterproof fabric makes noise when you walk.

Expert Verdict: the Columbia Arcadia is not just a hiking jacket, it’s stylish and versatile. It’s the perfect jacket for ever-changing fall weather, but not the best option for super-cold winter.

Best Down Jackets for hiking

9) Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown DS Hooded Jacket

Best comfortable down jacket for hiking 5/5

The Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown DS is a combination of soft, stretchy, and comfortable. It’s made with a stretchy fabric that offers great flexibility which doesn’t restrict your movement in any way. You may find the Stretchdown a bit bulky, but the compromise is worth it for the warmth and comfort it brings. It is one of the best jackets for hiking in the market today.

  • BEST FOR: day hikes
  • MATERIAL: 100% polyester
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: not great for windy weather
  • DURABILITY: Made of high-quality material
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY:  1 lb. 1 oz. ounces. Bulky and not very packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: a dual-sided adjustable hem, zippered hand warmer pockets, zippered left chest pocket, and two easy-access interior drop pockets.

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PROS

  • It’s very warm, comfortable and offers great mobility
  • The fabric repels dust and dirt very well
  • This jacket looks good, with a stylish appearance

CONS

  • The hood has no drawstring, and it doesn’t stay put in windy weather
  • This jacket runs small, so you may need to get a size up

Expert Verdict: the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown DS is a stylish hiking jacket with enough insulation for wet weather conditions, but not enough warmth for freezing temperatures. Good for casual and light outdoor use.

10) North Face Thermoball Eco Men’s & Women’s Thermoball Eco Insulated Hooded Jacket

BEST isolated down jacket for shoulder season 5/5

With its smooth shell and impressive loft, the Thermoball Eco for men’s & the ThermoBall Eco Isolated Hooded for women’s provides enough insulation to keep you warm in cold conditions. It’s certainly not an ultralight jacket for hiking at almost 16 oz., but synthetic down fill comfortably hugs the body to ensure you stay warm. These jackets stow in the hand pocket for portability.

  • BEST FOR: day hiking or trekking
  • MATERIAL: 100% Polyester, ThermoBall Eco synthetic insulation fibers
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: The shell has a DWR coating that works well in a drizzle, but the fabric is not water-proof.
  • DURABILITY: well-made with quality materials for durability
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY:  at 15.9 ounces, it’s not ultralight but packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: has an internal elastic-bound cuffs, a hem cinch-cord, two generously-sized zippered hand pockets and a small internal zippered chest pocket.

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PROS

  • This jacket can be both a comfortable outer layer in cool weather or mid-layer when it’s freezing cold. It’s certainly a jacket for different seasons
  • The fabric is DWR-treated which provides enough shield for a drizzle. And the hood blocks of biting wind to keep the head warm
  • Well-positioned secure-zip pockets for storing small items

CONS

  • This hiking jacket is not an ultralight jacket, it’s actually much heavier than most of its counterparts
  • Not very breathable

Expert Verdict: the Thermoball Eco for men’s & the ThermoBall Eco Isolated Hooded for women’s aren’t jackets for mountaineering or high alpine adventure, but an excellent companion for spring/fall hiking and backpacking. It works great as an outer layer when the sky is gray, but in icy weather, you’ll need a hard shell over it.

11) Mountain Hardwear Men’s & Women’s Ghost Whisperer hoody

BEST compact and lightweight down hoodie jacket 5/5

The Mountain Hardwear Men’s Ghost Whisperer and the Mountain Hardwear Women Ghost Whisperer are ultralight fully featured hooded down hiking jackets. The Q.Shield™ DOWN 800-fill insulation provided the right amount of warmth while also resisting moisture. With this jacket comes an adjustable hem and zippered hand pockets, plus it can be compressed with ease and stowed in a pocket.

  • BEST FOR: backcountry day hikes
  • MATERIAL: 100% recycled, ultralight ripstop shell fabric with DWR finish
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: certainly not weather resistant
  • DURABILITY: Made of high-quality durable material
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: weighs less than 8 oz. and highly packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: two zippered hand pockets, elastic cuffs, and drawcord hem adjustment

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PROS

  • Very comfortable, warm, and lightweight
  • The soft fabric seems delicate but surprising warm and effectively blocks wind and small rain
  • Very compact and portable jacket, easy to pack and carry

CONS

  • This jacket is an expensive buy
  • It has a slightly boxy fit, especially around the torso
  • The hood doesn’t have a drawcord cinch and the cuffs are not elastic

EXPERT VERDICT: if you want a feature-rich ultralight down Jacket for hiking, trekking, biking, and backpacking, you’ve got it here. Despite weighing less than 9 oz., the Ghost Whisperer jacket for hiking, is very warm, soft and comfortable. You’ll certainly need a hard shell in extreme weather.

12) Outdoor Research Illuminate Men’s & Women’s Down Jacket

BEST outdoor sports jacket 5/5

The Outdoor Research Illuminate Men’s & the Outdoor Research Women’s Illuminate down hiking jackets are a great choices If you want an all-around weather sporting jacket with the good build quality and excellent fit. The soft fabric comfortably hugs the skin, while the elastic cuffs and drawcord seal off cold with a layer of warm air trapped beneath for insulation.

  • BEST FOR: spring/fall day hikes
  • MATERIAL: material shell: 100% nylon; insulation: 100% goose down
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: slightly weather resistant
  • DURABILITY: it’s delicate but durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY:  11.8 ounces., and very compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: adjustable hood, 2 zippered hand pockets, zippered chest pocket, elastic cuffs and drawcord hem for custom fit and more warmth.

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PROS

  • Great lightweight sporting slim fit jacket
  • Very soft fabric, comfortable and provides enough warmth
  • You can wear a fleece jacket beneath it without an added bulk
  • Can act as an outer shell in mild weather and a mid-layer in freezing temperatures

CONS

  • The nylon shell is very thin and delicate, and may not be very durable.

Expert Verdict:  The Outdoor Research Illuminate Men’s & the Outdoor Research Women’s Illuminate are down hiking jackets and backpacking. You can also wear it for winter skiing or mountain climbing, but you will need a hard shell over it to keep warm.

Best Windbreaker Jackets for Hiking

13) North Face Men’s & Women’s Apex Bionic 2

BEST windbreaker for fall/ early spring hiking jacket 5/5

The North Face Apex Bionic 2 is a breathable and stretchable windbreaker jacket for hiking. The soft fabric is comfortable and keeps you warm in very windy conditions. When it’s a bit chilly and breezy, the Apex Bionic 2 is a great jacket to cut the wind and stay warm. And when the weather is freezing, this can also act as a good mid-layer. It’s a versatile wind jacket with a good fit.

  • BEST FOR: day hikes in windy and cold weather
  • MATERIAL: 100% Polyester With Non-PFC DWR Finish
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE:100% windproof fabric but not waterproof
  • DURABILITY: high-quality jacket
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 1 lb. 7.9 oz. and compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: breast pocket with a secure zip and two hand pockets with zippers

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PROS

  • This jacket is very effective at blocking wind, and it feels much warmer than it looks
  • Great for cold spring/fall days, and light enough for windy but not-so-cold days.

Top Pick

CONS

  • The material is loud and makes an annoying noise when you swing your arms.
  • Feels a little boxy, and sometimes the zipper sticks on the jacket
  • The sleeves do not have cuffs to block out drafts, so you have to wear it with gloves to help keep your wrists warm in cold weather.

Expert Verdict: the Apex Bionic 2 is an excellent windbreaker for very windy weather, and it’s capable of handling fairly cold conditions. It is a great hiking jacket, but it’s not a jacket for extreme weather.

14) Fjallraven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket

BEST jacket for trekking in very cold weather 5/5

Made from recycled polyester, the 3-layers Fjallraven wind jacket with water-proof Eco-Shell gives maximum protection from the elements. It’s an excellent jacket for hiking or trekking through the woods with a backpack. This jacket has a snug warm fitting and a 3-way adjustable hood which is helmet-compatible making it a good choice for bikers.

  • BEST FOR: backpacking, hiking & camping
  • MATERIAL: 100% polyester, DWR treatment
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: wind and waterproof 3-layer jacket
  • DURABILITY: extremely durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 1 lb 4.1 oz., and very compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES:  2 massive zippered chest pocket and a zippered sleeve

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PROS

  • Fully waterproof and good windbreaker for hiking and backpacking
  • Zippered sleeve promotes ventilation, and large chest pockets for storing small items
  • Adjustable hem drawcord and velcro cuffs to seal out cold and lock in warmth

CONS

  • No hand pockets by the sides, the only pockets are two chest zipper pockets which can be a bit awkward and unnatural.

Expert Verdict: This 3-layers Fjallraven wind jacket is a great hiking jacket for backcountry and camping, it’s soft, comfortable, and warm. The lightweight and stretchy fabric make it an easy-to-pack jacket.

15) Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody hiking jacket

BEST lightweight windbreaker jacket 5/5

The Arc’teryx Squamish for Men & the Squamish for women are great jackets for hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. This jacket comes to as a little surprise that Arc’teryx’s namesake windbreaker is a great match for active adventures. This is one of the most capable jackets to cut harsh gusts and it is incredibly wind-resistant.

  • BEST FOR: backpacking, hiking & camping
  • MATERIAL: 100% stretch nylon
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Incredibly wind-resistant
  • DURABILITY: extremely durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 4.9 oz with compressible package
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES:  Ultralight minimalist constructions and stows in the chest pocket for maximum packability.

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PROS

  • one of the most breathable designs, making it a great choice for active use in a variety of environments.
  • Storage is fairly minimal with a single chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack
  • Great all-around performance, wind-resistant, breathable, and highly mobile with stretch in the fabric.

CONS

  • This jacket was build for wind but not water
  • ran a little larger than expected

Expert Verdict: The Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody is one of the best windbreakers for its excellent combination of wind resistance, breathability, and durability. This hiking jacket is extremely light and compressible made of minimalist construction.

16) Columbia Flashback Windbreaker jacket

BEST Value windbreaker jacket 5/5

The Columbia Flashback is the best inexpensive option for a windbreaker jacket, for only $40 on sale, but keep in mind that this is a very casual use jacket. The version for women is the Flash Foward, which applies a slightly different style to the similar fabric.

  • BEST FOR:  Hiking
  • MATERIAL: 100% polyester
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Incredibly wind-resistant
  • DURABILITY: Very durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 1 lbs.
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES:  Front zipper closure, machine wash, matte face wind-breaking material.

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PROS

  • Versatile jacket is an excellent outer layer to help take the edge off cool mornings
  • Very inexpensive
  • This jacket is water repellent and can handle most elements while keeping you warm.

CONS

  • This jacket doesn’t have DWR – Durable Water Repelent
  • This jacket has a baggy fit

Expert Verdict: The Columbia Flashback is the best windbreaker jacket on a budget and has clean styling with a large range of color options. But keep in mind that his jacket is a very casual jacket, and it doesn’t pack its own pocket. 

Best Fleece Jackets for Hiking

17) Columbia Benton Springs full zip fleece jacket

TOP PICK fleece jacket 5/5

If you’re headed for the trails and need an added layer of warmth, this Columbia Benton Springs full zip-closure fleece is a great option. It’s a soft, warm and comfortable jacket and locks in warmth with a drawcord hem and high neck full-zip closure.

  • BEST FOR: hiking in cool fall weather
  • MATERIAL: 100% polyester MTR filament fleece
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Not weather resistant
  • DURABILITY: Great quality
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY:  weighs 8.8 oz and very packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: drawcord hem, hand zipper pockets, and high neck provides extra warmth

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PROS

  • Very soft and comfortable lightweight fleece jacket
  • Drawcord hem and high neck gives better protection from cold
  • Very good quality and great price too

Top Pick

CONS

  • It’s an anti cold-weather but doesn’t block wind

Expert Verdict: This hiking jacket is certainly a cold-weather essential and the Benton Springs fleece is unbelievably soft and warm with a snug fit.

18) North Face Osito Full Zip Fleece jacket

BEST fleece jacket for later summer/ early spring 5/5

The North Face Osito Fleece Jacket is a stylish high-pile zip-up fleece hiking jacket that can keep you warm as you hike through chilly mountains. It’s beautifully designed for everyday use; both at home and out on the trails. It has a soft teddy bear feel and warms your body like a blanket.

  • BEST FOR: camping in cool weather
  • MATERIAL: 100% Polyester
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Not weather resistant
  • DURABILITY: Not very durable since it sheds
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 1 lb. 3 oz. and compressible
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES:  2 zipper hand pockets

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PROS

  • Very soft fleece jacket, perfect for layering
  • Zippered hand pockets to securely hide your small items

CONS

  • The coat sheds severely, not sure about durability
  • Fleece gets stiff with cold-water wash

Expert Verdict: The North Face Osito Fleece Jacket is very soft and comfortable and surprisingly warm. It’s great for both home use and late summer/early fall camping.

19) Marmot Norhiem Fleece jacket

BEST classy hooded hiking fleece jacket 5/5

The beautifully made Norhiem fleece jacket is an incredibly soft and cozy hoodie for everyday wear. It’s a classy hoodie that snugly wraps your body like a blanket and keeps you toasty on a chilly day. The soft fleece also makes for a warm mid-layer, it’s essentially a hiking jacket for any weather.

  • BEST FOR: Long day hikes in cool weather
  • MATERIAL: 100% Polyester Fleece
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Not weather resistant
  • DURABILITY: the jacket sheds which raises questions about durability
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: weighs 1 lb. 1.9 oz. and packs small
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: it has 2 hand pockets for warmth

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PROS

  • Stylish and attractive jacket, the soft fabric is very warm
  • Has a good fit and the full-zip and hand pockets provide enough warmth
  • Excellent jacket for layering in icy weather

CONS

  • Great jacket but not worth the price, plus it sheds.

Expert Verdict: The Norhiem fleece jacket is very warm and cozy making it one of the best jackets for hiking. With a good fit and keeps you warm on the trails. It’s just perfect for late summer/early fall hiking.

20) Mountain Hardwear Polartec High loft jacket

BEST cozy fleece jacket for chilly days 5/5

This Mountain Hardwear fleece jacket is soft, flexible, and built to retain maximum warmth with its high loft. The fabric is stretchy and breathable, the jacket itself is ultralight and highly compressible. It’s perfect for backpacking and camping trips and works great as an early-season jacket for hiking.

  • BEST FOR: cool evening outdoors by a campfire.
  • MATERIAL: 97% Polyester
  • WEATHER RESISTANCE: Not weather-resistant, excellent for layering
  • DURABILITY: well-made and durable
  • WEIGHT & PACKABILITY: 14.8 ounces and very packable
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: 2 zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket provide plenty of space for storing small essentials

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PROS

  • Very warm, breathable and comfortable jacket
  • Has a cozy feel, nice fitting sleeves and full-zip closures
  • Lightweight and packable, excellent for layering

CONS

  • Great jacket but not worth the price, plus it sheds.

Expert Verdict: Mountain Hardwear fleece jacket offers dependable warmth while trekking outdoors in slightly chilly weather, this is a great choice. It’s lightweight and packs small, so you are not going to have problems stuffing it in your backpack, and it is a must-have hiking jacket.

The best jackets for hiking in the market

Final Verdict Jackets for Hiking

Every hiker knows the importance of great quality jackets for hiking. Or you simply cannot function properly let alone enjoy your hike when you’re freezing (if your jacket isn’t warm enough), or very sweaty (if the fabric doesn’t breathe), or struggling to move if the jacket is restricting your movement.

These are some of the biggest challenges you face when wearing the wrong hiking jacket on the trails, and I can tell you that it’s absolutely no fun—the wrong jacket can totally ruin your hike.

Finding the ideal hiking jacket also has a lot to do with your personal preference and in addition to that think of weight, breathability, and fabric quality, comfort, portability, customizable designs, and the additional features we mentioned above.

My top recommendation for a lightweight hiking shell jacket remains the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Men’s & Women’s Gore-Tex Jacket.

For a versatile rain jacket with very sturdy construction, check out the Marmot Men’s Minimalist & Women’s Minimalist Lightweight rain jacket.

And if you enjoy mountain climbing and alpine adventures, an insulated down jacket is a must and a good choice is this North Face Thermoball Eco Men’sWomen’s Insulated Hooded Jacket.

when you travel to Iceland it is important to pack jackets for hiking
A down hiking jacket is a great option for a trip to Iceland

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