How do you choose the best hiking jacket when there are so many options? It depends on the type of hiking you do.
Having the wrong gear can really wreck your trek and one of the most important items of clothing for hiking is a jacket. So here’s what to look for so you get to purchase the best hiking jacket for your trip.
We’ve included information on jackets for men and women, plus tips on finding the right fit and style. We hope you find our guide helpful.
The Best Hiking Jackets for Women on an Outdoor Adventure
Women’s Rain Jackets for Hiking
Having a good waterproof jacket is really important, especially when hiking in tropical and rainy areas. Keeping dry is really important as it can save you a lot of discomforts, including saving you from getting sick, which is something you really wouldn’t want while hiking.
Rain jackets have to be resistant and durable and have to offer you good protection from the elements. They should also fit well and be lightweight enough to easily keep with you no matter where you are hiking.
I found this Rain Jacket very functional and versatile. It does a pretty good job during the rainy season while being very resistant and durable.
The Resolve II is very light, packable, and comfortable. This is a great rain jacket to invest in no matter what type of hiking you prefer.
This was one of the first rain jackets I bought myself when I started hiking. Marmot Precip is great for seasonal hikers.
This rain jacket is reliable, resistant and easy to pack. It will keep you dry while hiking under moderate rain and is a great windbreaker. This is also a really affordable jacket so it won't break the bank. This is a great jacket to keep with you in any weather. On the downside, this is not the jacket you want for heavy rain.
The Arcadia II is basically the same as the Watertight II but for women. This rain jacket is the best value option. It works perfectly for every day as it can make the transition from urban environments to natural ones very smooth.
I wouldn't recommend this jacket if you're planning to explore the Amazon rainforest or the Appalachian Trail, but for shorter day hikes or longer ones with moderate conditions, this rain jacket is the perfect addition to your hiking gear. A huge plus is that the Acadia II comes in a wide variety of colors and the fit is perfect, so the style is not a problem with this one.
Women’s Softshell Jackets for Hiking
Softshell jackets are a great addition to your hiking gear. They are ultralight shells, made with durable material and easy to pack. They are also really comfortable and easy to pack and carry with you on your travels.
These are great for backcountry trips. Softshell hiking jackets are really versatile and I usually choose ones that are more stylish so that I can wear them in my downtime and even when I am doing other activities such as cycling.
They are perfect for most frigid conditions, either worn as a layer on their own. Depending on the type of hiking that you are doing, you want to make sure to choose an ultralight jacket that is easy to pack and durable to take on any hike in any weather.
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When the weather gets cold and windy, the Bionic II is one of the best items you can be carrying in your backpack. Combine it with a hard shell, and you can endure the harshest weather while on a hiking trail.
This softshell will keep you very warm and dry, it can deal with moderate rain but it won't work very well if you're under heavy rain. The Bionic II is the most versatile and budget softshell on this list. You'd probably want to use this one when it's too windy for a windbreaker or too cold for a fleece.
If you plan on climbing high peaks, the Patrol is a wonderful choice. Not precisely for mountaineering, but reaching base camp or thru-hiking during the autumn months is what this softshell was designed for.
This is the perfect jacket to transition from moderate conditions to the harshest ones up there in the mountains. The Patrol is also very easy to pack, so it won't take much of your valuable backpack space. This is the kind of jacket you buy for a long hike or a mountaineering expedition.
The Tempo is a great jacket for high-performance activities such as trail running, rock climbing and cycling. This jacket offers you great mobility and is made with breathable material, perfect for hiking.
The jacket is made out of material that uses quick-dry technology. It is also really effective as a layer and is quite warm. This jacket has very long sleeves, great for tall people with longer arms.
Women’s Hardshell Jackets for Hiking
Hardshell jackets are an excellent addition to your hiking gear if you hike in extreme terrain. They are designed to offer protection from the most extreme weather conditions and are perfect for mountaineering and similar types of hiking.
They offer you great protection without taking away your mobility. These jackets are also really breathable, which makes them perfect for high-intensity activities. The Hardshell jacket is the perfect hiking jacket to layer under so make sure you have the right size, you don’t want to purchase one that is too snug or too baggy as it could get uncomfortable.
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This Little Donkey Andy women’s waterproof rain jacket is perfect for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and any outdoor adventure where you need protection from the elements. This lightweight jacket features a water-repellent coating, an adjustable hood, two front pockets, and a drawstring waist. The durable high-tech fabric is 100% polyester ripstop nylon, making this jacket durable enough to withstand heavy use. Choose your pick from 49 different colors.
With 42 different colors to choose from this jacket is ideal for any outdoor adventure while looking stylish and protected against wind and rain. The Columbia women's Switchback III jacket features a waterproof breathable fabric, two front pockets (one zippered), a hood, an adjustable drawstring waist, and a removable fleece liner. This jacket is a great value because it comes at a very reasonable price.
Odlo Women's 2.5L Waterproof Hardshell Jacket is a great hiking jacket. It's lightweight, comfortable, durable, and waterproof. The Odlo Women's 2. 5L Waterproof Hardshell features a hood, two front pockets, a zippered chest pocket, and a drawcord hem.
What makes this jacket unique is its ability to be worn over another layer. So whether you're going out for a hike, skiing, or just hanging out at home, you can wear this jacket underneath whatever you're wearing.
It's also extremely lightweight, weighing only 1 lb., so it won't weigh you down. It's also machine washable, so you can easily clean it after each use.
Women’s Fleece Jackets for Hiking
The fleece is a must-have for hiking. You won’t necessarily only use it for hiking. If you’re planning a multi-day hike you will want a fleece jacket for hanging at the campsite in the evenings. Fleece jackets are great as layers because they are comfortable and offer you great mobility.
If you are into hardcore hiking though, make sure to check whether the fleece-lined pockets you choose are breathable and not too dense. You should also keep in mind that they are not waterproof, so before you pack them for your chosen hike, check the weather for extremely cold conditions.
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This fleece is incredibly versatile and cozy. You can wear it whenever it gets chilly and you won't be disappointed. The Benton comes in a wide variety of colors and is very affordable.
This is a very basic fleece that works well whether you are hanging at the campsite or on the move. It is so versatile that you can wear it on a day-to-day basis or specifically for hiking.
Fleece jackets such as this are not water-resistant and are not great for sweaty activities. These are perfect for the leisure hiker as they are comfortable and warm.
The Marmot Norhiem is a light weight fleece that offers stye and comfort. It is also really light and easy to pack. This is the perfect fleece jacket if you are planning an easy hike or a leisurely urban walk
The style and comfort make it a great choice for wearing at the campsite. I would not recommend using it for strenuous hikes though as it does not offer very good breathability.
The TKA Glacier is another basic classic fleece by The North Face. If you're looking for a basic fleece jacket, versatile, reliable, affordable, and designed for hikers this is one of the best options. Unlike the Essential Fleece, this one has better breathability and can work as a layer despite it having a hoodie which can become a nuisance.
This fleece has good abrasion resistance and durability, with proper care, it can last for years. I'd say this is a good fleece to carry with you on hikes due to its reliability, but always keep in mind it has limitations and it won't work well under harsh weather.
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The TNF Denali is a jacket designed to work as a layer in harsh weather conditions. It is very light and easy to pack.
It also offers great resistance, breathability and works perfectly on its own or as a layer. The hoodie also gives you extra protection in case you're wearing this jacket by itself but it's not deep enough to be worn with a helmet.
If you're planning a mountaineering or climbing trip, I'd recommend the hoodie-less version. What I loved the most besides all the amazing features this jacket has, it's the many functional pockets this fleece offers. This is not the cheapest fleece jacket on this list but it is a great investment if you are an avid hiker.
Women’s Down Jackets for Hiking
What I consider the best thing about purchasing a down jacket is that it is super versatile. To be honest, when I purchase a down jacket I always look for something that works for hiking but still looks great for everyday wear.
That way I get more out of my investment, especially since these don’t come cheap. Like most jackets, there are many different options and you will have to consider what type of weather conditions you will be hiking in.
Top Tip: Make sure to check whether a down jacket is waterproof or not before purchasing. This is especially helpful if you live in a wet or humid area.
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This is a stylish, warm, and comfortable 650 fil-down jacket designed for backpackers and casual hikers. This jacket works great when it's starting to get cold and when you're hiking with a light daypack. It also works well with windy conditions but be careful because the down gets ruined if it gets too wet.
The Transcendent is very light and easy to pack; I think this is one of the best options for backpackers due to its versatility and style, but it's resistance and durability are not the best. I would recommend this jacket for day hikes rather than longer multi-day hikes or hikes on rough terrain.
This classic fit jacket is not the warmest on the list but it is incredibly water-resistant. This jacket is perfect for hikes in wet weather and forested winter hikes. Columbia's heavenly jacket also comes in a variety of colors and zippered pockets.
I wouldn't pack this jacket if I'm planning on climbing a high summit, but for wet cold winter weather in the forests, I'm definitely relying on this one.
This lightweight puffy jacket is perfect for hiking, skiing, and any outdoor adventure where you need protection against wind chill and rain. The waterproof fabric keeps out water and snow, and the breathable mesh lining lets air flow through the jacket.
This jacket is great for women who hike alone because it doesn't weigh down her pack and she won't be overheated. It's also ideal for women who backpack solo because this jacket is light enough to carry comfortably.
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This lightweight down jacket is perfect for hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowboarding, and any outdoor adventure where weight matters. It's made of 100% polyester microfiber fleece, making it super warm and breathable.
The hood features a drawstring closure, adjustable cuffs, and two front pockets. It weighs only 2 pounds, yet provides warmth when temperatures drop. This women's short-down jacket comes in three sizes (S/M/L) and in 23 vibrant colors.
Women’s Wind Jackets for Hiking
I honestly believe that everyone should have a good quality windbreaker (wind jacket). This is the perfect jacket to have in any season and I love using mine to not only protect against windy conditions but also to protect against sunburn.
These jackets come in incredibly lightweight and breathable options that won’t break the bank and can be used anytime on any type of hike. They are also so easy to pack, you can roll them up and put them in your backpack without losing much space.
Avoogue is perfect against the elements. You can rely on this one for intense activities. It offers amazing protection against strong wind and moderate rain.
It is also really lightweight at 142 grams (5oz) and won't be a problem to pack no matter where you're off to. This hiking jacket is also really affordable.
OTU designed one of the most innovative alpine windbreakers that features both fashion and function incredibly. The hoodie features adjustable cuffs and detachable hoodies. Getting one of these will make a perfect addition to your winter hiking closet.
If you're a runner or a fast-paced hiker who doesn't like carrying much weight, Adidas manufactures this versatile, resistant, one-does-all kind of jacket. While focusing on protecting you from strong winds, this jacket will also do its best to protect you from getting wet and retain your body heat to keep you warm when the weather is starting to get rough.
The Best Jackets for Men on an Outdoor Adventure
Men’s Rain Jackets for Hiking
This Rain Jacket is pretty awesome when going hiking, it will keep you totally dry as it has Gore-Tex insulation technology. It is also great with condensation, meaning you won't be getting wet inside the jacket with your own corporal heat.
Breathability is also great, you won't be sweating inside it while exploring any kind of rugged terrain during the rainy season. I would say this is the perfect Rain Jacket for multi-day hikers. This item is light, but not light enough for trail runners. The bad news is that all these amazing things come with a cost. This is one of the more expensive hiking jackets out there.
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Acadia is one of the most comfortable rain jackets on the market. This jacket is extremely lightweight and packable, one of the lightest jackets I own. It works great with harsh weather, from moderate rain to hurricane wind, you can rely on this jacket. It is the perfect hiking jacket no matter what type of hiking you prefer.
If you like exploring narrow trails with dense vegetation, Acadia has you covered. For an affordable price, Mountain Hardwear will give you lots of features: ventilation zippers, an adjustable hood, velcro cuffs, soft chin guard, zippered pockets, etc. The company is also environmentally sustainable and manufactures most of its items with recycled materials.
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This rain jacket is a great value choice for hiking. This rain jacket is perfect for seasonal or urban hikers who prefer wider trails. Thick vegetation usually found in narrower trails can permeate the jacket and you'll end up a little moist; the Watertight II will do a great job otherwise.
The Omni-shield technology works great at repelling liquids while also making it extra resistant to stains and abrasions. The Watertight II works better in mild weather since it is a little warm for hot environments. The thing I love most about this packable jacket is that is a really easy and lightweight jacket so you can easily take it anywhere.
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Men’s Softshell Jackets for Hiking
The Summit is the perfect choice for those slow-paced hikers who like lots of pockets for power bars, extra cash, and anything else that you may need. The Condor Summit is versatile, resistant, and durable; it works great in moderate weather conditions, and it will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
As with most softshells, it will fail if it's raining or snowing too heavily but will do a good job otherwise. The jacket is not as breathable as I would prefer, so you may not want to use it for fast-paced hiking or trail running.
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The Canyonwall is another great outdoor gear by The North Face. This jacket is very resistant and sturdy while also granting a lot of mobility and breathability making it great for warmer weather.
I wouldn't use this jacket for a thru-hike but it will do great for a multi-day hike or a climbing trip during the chill months. This hiking jacket will repel rain and wind and will keep you warm and protected.
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The Amazon Essential is incredibly light and its heat transfer technology allows it to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable while performing intense activities under extremely cold weather. The versatility, resistance, and functionality of this jacket are simply astonishing. If you're a winter runner, hiker, or cyclist, this jacket is a great buy.
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Men’s Hardshell Jackets for Hiking
This is one of the best jackets for mountaineering. 100% Polyester fabric provides good breathability and is very light. This lightweight rain jacket can packs away into bag effortlessly. In favor of convenience, and compact storage.
Superior water-resistant shell fabric feature with Watertight Ⅳ. This softshell rain jacket for men performed well in windproof and waterproof, keeping you all-day dry in overcast and rainy. Lightweight mesh lining is used in the core body to wick sweat away from the body.
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The Westcomb Shift LT can be easily confused for a windbreaker because it's surprisingly light. You get all the features you expect from the best hardshell from this super light and easy to pack jacket. This jacket is the perfect addition to your multi-day hiking gear.
The breathability of this hardshell feels amazing as well; you can perform the most intense activities, and the Shift LT won't condensate a single drop. This hardshell feels very sturdy while granting you a lot of mobility.
Nonetheless, if you plan to wear this one during an intense winter, I have to tell you that this is not the warmest hardshell out there. This is a great jacket for hikes in less extreme weather conditions.
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This hardshell jacket is breathable and offers great weather protection without taking away your ability to move comfortably. The most popular feature of the jacket is that it offers a great fit and magnetic pocket closures.
The frontal pocket should be a good feature, but when you're carrying a large backpack it just stops being functional. This hardshell was designed for mobility under harsh weather, and for that, it does a perfect job. This is one jacket for hiking that offers value for money.
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The Ghost Whisperer is a heavy hardshell designed for alpine climbing. If you don't mind carrying one of the bulkiest hardshell jackets on the market, I'd say this one is the best choice. I hated this jacket when I was packing it, but I loved it when I was wearing it.
Despite its weight and sturdiness, this hardshell still grants you a lot of mobility. The hood is deep, so you won't have any problems when wearing a helmet. The pockets look great but become just an ornament when wearing a large backpack; otherwise, they're perfect. If you're into mountaineering you should really consider this jacket as a serious option.
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Men’s Fleece Jackets for Hiking
The Granite Mountain is not just a casual fleece, this one was designed for committed adventurous hikers, but if you're an urban hiker, it works great too. This fleece does an amazing job as a layer and since it has very good breathability, it is a good option for any kind of hiking trip.
The pockets work great while carrying a large backpack. Despite its lightness and packability, its fabric technology will manage to keep you warm even when the temperature is starting to drop below 0C°. The mobility this fleece allows is amazing.
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This one is similar to the Benton but for men, and with a hoodie. With the Amazon Essential Fleece, you will feel warm, comfortable, and very well protected; all while looking good.
This fleece fits amazingly well. This fleece is recommended for winter temperatures above 5C°. Any colder and you should consider adding this as a layer rather than wearing it on its own.
I'd say this is a great option to pack when you're planning an easy multiday hiking trip during autumn or spring and you know you'll have a lot of spare time at the campsite or your mountain retreat.
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This Columbia Men's Steens Mountain Fleece Jacket is perfect for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and any outdoor activity where warmth and comfort matter most.
I love that this fleece jacket features a full zip front closure, two side pockets, a drawcord hem at the waistline, and a hood with a chin guard. These offer comfort and easy access. The Steens Mountain 2.0 Fleece Jacket is made of 100% polyester microfiber durable fabric with a brushed finish.
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Men’s Down Jackets for Hiking
This 800 file insulated down jacket is definitely one of the best an alpine climber or an extreme hiker can get nowadays. This down jacket features the most recent technological advances in down insulation.
Each down cluster inside the jacket is treated to be durable water repellent, which means this is a very durable jacket that can withstand humidity and bad weather way better than regular down jackets.
The Downlight Stormdown also has amazing breathability and grants you a lot of mobility, all while keeping you warm under the coldest conditions. The technology inside this jacket also allows it to be extremely light and packable. This stylish down jacket is one of the best options for your next winter expedition
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The Cerium LT 850 fil-down jacket is another great product by Arc'teryx. This jacket is incredibly warm for its low weight, 340 grams (12 oz), and works perfectly in cold open spaces. This ultralight pick jacket is great for travelers as it is easy to pack.
The jacket uses Coreloft panels to keep it dry, and it does a perfect job. However, the shoulders don't have this technology, so if the rain gets too heavy, the down in that area might get compromised. I would recommend this jacket for cold winter hikes but not necessarily in wet conditions.
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Men’s Wind Jackets for Hiking
I wasn't sure what kind of jacket this was when I first saw it. It looks like a windbreaker but feels like a softshell. While not very versatile, the KOR Preshell does a terrific job if you like moving light and fast on the trails.
It has perfect breathability and is astonishingly light, making this jacket the ultimate choice for fast-paced hikers and trail runners under moderate weather conditions. This is not a jacket you want to rely on if you're carrying a large backpack or are expecting harsh weather since it offers minimal protection against the elements.
This jacket's resistance and durability are also more than satisfactory, this is the one you want to wear when hiking in the tropics or in densely vegetated areas.
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This is another windbreaker that also features Champion's all-around protection and feel-good fabric. This jacket does a great job when the weather gets unpredictable. The combination of great breathability, water resistance, wind protection, and comfort, makes this item a perfect jacket for trail runners and fast-paced hikers all year-round.
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BALEAF Men's windbreaker provides protection against wind, rain, snow, and cold weather. It's lightweight and comfortable, making it ideal for hiking, running, and outdoor activities.
It features a hooded design, allowing you to wear it over a t-shirt or sweatshirt when temperatures drop below freezing. It also has a helmet-compatible hood feature meaning it comes with cool features like a deep hood. The jacket comes in several sizes, including small through extra large, and fits most men.
What you Need in a Hiking Jacket
First things first… What type of hiker are you? Do you hike in warm or cold weather? Is the area you hike in prone to light rain or is it perhaps known for being windy? The climate in which you hike. Tt makes a big difference in what you need and want from a hiking jacket.
For instance, I live in Europe and have several different hiking jackets. I have one good quality warm winter jacket for winter hiking.
And I keep one good lightweight, waterproof summer jacket that I will usually carry in summer. This not only protects against the rain but also wind.
I also have a lightweight down fleece for the in-between days (the one I’m wearing in the photo below).
Now if you’re hiking in Guatemala or another warm place, you may not need a winter jacket or even a lightweight fleece. So consider the weather and seasons before purchasing your gear. Also, check out our hiking gear guide for further recommendations to save you hundreds of dollars.
I always recommend buying jackets that are more durable, even if you aren’t planning on hitting rugged terrain. You never know when your jacket will be put to the test on a trail.
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