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I’m partial to the cold seasons. I don’t necessarily relish navigating through five feet of snow or squalls, but I do revel in the beauty of crisp, sunny days. From my perspective, it’s the optimal time for outdoor activities, particularly trekking through the wilderness. I find solace in the tranquility and freshness of the cool air. Still, I make sure I’m equipped with the right gear. Enter the best hiking jackets

Whether I’m exploring the hilltops in upstate New York or taking a robust walk in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, my hiking jacket is indispensable. It allows me to move freely while protecting me from the elements. This is why the style resides in a category all its own. 

Unlike, say, fleece jackets, toppers ideal for sitting cozy by a campfire, or heavy-duty parkas, which are better suited for snow storms, hiking jackets are specifically engineered for coursing through winding trails in the cold for hours on end. Their outer shells are made of advanced tech materials that are waterproof and windproof, while simultaneously being breathable—the result of carefully placed vents. And they also feature design details such as an attached hood, a number of pockets (for essentials like a Swiss army knife, compass, or a flask), and adjustable drawcords. 

The ability to perform in inclement weather is at the core of the best hiking jackets, for sure, but brands have steadily been investing in the style’s overall aesthetic appeal, too. The silhouettes have become more refined, the panels are much more fashion forward, and the color options are infinitely sleeker. Form and function now go hand in hand. And as someone that’s been covering menswear for well over a decade, I definitely relish this evolution. 


What to Consider Before Buying the Best Hiking Jackets: 

Material: The shell of hiking jackets should be made of performance fabrics that are both waterproof and wind-resistant. Think nylon, polyamide, or a combination of both. But for real impenetrability from rain or snow, Gore-Tex or a membrane coated with durable water repellent (DWR) serve as the ultimate barrier. These tightly woven materials will also mitigate gusts, which, even in the mildest cases, accelerates heat loss and lowers body temperatures. And if you want to go a step further, look for styles with sealed seams—another design feature that helps shield against the various moods of Mother Nature.

Fit: Pieces made of waterproof and wind-resistant materials usually feature a fitted silhouette, but hiking jackets tend to have more wiggle room, particularly around the chest. Additionally, the length of the arms and the circumference of the torso, though slender at a glance, are cut to allow for maximum mobility. In fact, many hiking jackets come with adjustable sleeves, waist, and hood, allowing you to customize the fit according to your comfort level.

Breathability: Hiking is a physical activity, generating body heat naturally, so the best hiking jacket should allow your body to breathe as much as it insulates. Membrane technologies (such as Gore-Tex) provide a barrier against rain and snow while maintaining breathability. This is particularly crucial in colder climates to prevent the accumulation of condensation and ensure a dry interior to prevent a clammy, damp feeling. Underarm vents will also help with excess heat. Proper ventilation not only keeps you dry but also helps maintain a consistent body temperature throughout your hike.


Best Overall Hiking Jacket

Aether is renowned for seamlessly blending form and function, creating high-quality technical garments that’s also extremely stylish. Case in point: Its Endeavor jacket, which features an innovative three-layer Schoeller C_Change fabric that adapts to the wearer’s temperature and moisture levels, providing breathability in all types of weather. Equipped with seam-sealed construction, waterproofing, wind-resistance, numerous pockets, and stretch for maximum comfort, the stylish and high-performing jacket fits all the criteria needed to brace the most adverse trails. 

Material: Polyamide, polyurethane, and elastane.
Fit: Slim.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 6.
Colors Available: 3.


Warmest Hiking Jacket

My Arc’teryx parka is one of the warmest coats I’ve ever owned, so it’s little surprise that the brand’s Beta jacket is equally up to snuff. The Coreloft synthetic insulation retains heat even in damp conditions, as well as ensuring a quick dry. The adjustable Stormhead hood enhances coverage, and the added safety of the Recco system serves as a valuable feature in case of emergency. With a waterproof, windproof, and breathable Gore-Tex shell, this jacket not only keeps you dry but also very warm on the most frigid days.  Cold be damned!

Material: Gore-Tex, Corelift, and nylon.
Fit: Regular.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 4.
Colors Available: 4.


Best Packable Hiking Jacket

Patagonia is a tried-and-true brand that everyone trusts, not only for its sustainable ethos, but also because it makes excellent technical and lifestyle garments. If you are ever caught in a torrential downpour, this hiking jacket, with its PFC-free DWR finish, will handle it. It also meets H2no performance for waterproofing and breathability. The coolest feature, however, is that the jacket also self-stuffs into its pocket, allowing the wearer to pack it at a moment’s notice. 

Material: 30-denier NetPlus 100 percent recycled nylon. 
Fit: Regular.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 3.
Colors Available: 6.


Best Designed Hiking Jacket

Snow Peak is a Japanese brand known for crafting highly functional gear with a keen focus on design. This windproof, waterproof, and insulated hiking jacket is made from recycled polyester and features Velcro wrist straps and a reflective logo. With its diagonal zipper design and streetwear influence, the style resembles something you might see on the fashion runway. Indeed, it is as stylish for hiking a trail as it is for walking along a city street. 

Material: Recycled polyester.
Fit: Regular.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 3.
Colors Available: 2.


Best Adjustable Hiking Jacket

Adjustable cords on the hood? Check. Waist? Check. Velcro-adjustable cuffs? Check. Dual zippers? You get the idea. This Goldwin Gore-Tex Pro jacket is equipped with customizable trimmings, enabling you to land on a fit according to your preferences and adapt to changing wind or rain conditions. Additionally, it has zippered underarm vents designed for greater sleeve mobility and ventilation.

Material: Gore-Tex and nylon.
Fit: Slim.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 4.
Colors Available: 1.


Best Retro-Inspired Hiking Jacket

This Ibex hoodie is insulated with a proprietary ultra-thin merino wool filling, ensuring optimal regulation on body temperatures while also remaining exceptionally lightweight. It also features an elasticized hem and cuffs to help block gusts. In addition, the bluesign-certified fabric provides extra water- and wind-resistance, plus it’s made using eco-friendly practices. I love the scuba hood and color blocking, which gives this hiking jacket some seriously cool retro flair.

Material: Nylon, merino wool, and polyester.
Fit: Slim.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 3.
Colors Available: 6.


Best Lightweight Hiking Jacket

Leave it to the folks at the respected outdoor brand Mountain Hardwear to craft a highly technical shell that weighs as much as a pack of pencils. The 2L Gore-Tex Minimizer Paclite Plus is also waterproof, breathable, windproof, and packable. If your hiking involves moderate weather environments where a feather-light shell is ideal, this is the topper for you.

Material: Nylon and Gore-Tex
Fit: Regular.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 2.
Colors Available: 2.


Best Cult-Classic Hiking Jacket

Helly Hansen’s award-winning Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 hiking jacket features a professional-grade three-layer hardshell that is waterproof, breathable, and windproof. Additionally, the Recco rescue system transponder adds an extra layer of safety, particularly useful for navigating rugged and remote terrains. It definitely caters to serious outdoor enthusiasts, the types of folks that spend most of their time in the great outdoors.

Material: Polyamide.
Fit: Regular.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 3.
Colors Available: 3.


Best pERFORMANCE hIKING jACKET

Canadian luxury outerwear brand Nobis crafts garments that blend technological innovations and textiles with very stylish and wearable silhouettes. Its Alta hiking jacket, for instance, features water-repellency, seam-sealing, four-way stretch, a DWR treatment, and Primaloft insulation. It is loaded with all the trimmings needed to brace all kinds of bad weather. It provides all the comfort and protection needed for those extended outdoor activities, especially during the in-between seasons.

Material: Premium 3-Ply Micro Denier and Primaloft Gold insulation.
Fit: Regular.
Waterproof: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 4.
Colors Available: 5.


Best Anorak-Style Hiking Jacket

I’ve always admired the effortlessly cool style of Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher as he rocked anoraks with a swagger few others could replicate. This hiking pullover from Fjallraven not only looks the part but also delivers in performance. Crafted from the robust G1000 fabric, it is designed to endure the elements, offering water- and wind-resistance. AIt also features side zippers for ventilation, numerous drawcords, and a high collar. Whether you’re launching a Stone Roses-inspired band or embarking on a challenging hike, this anorak will have you feeling Supersonic.

Material: Polyester and cotton.
Fit: Relaxed.
Water-resistant: Yes.
Wind-resistant: Yes. 
Number of Pockets: 3.
Colors Available: 4.



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