Hiking Jackets are hiking essential…there are thousands of them to choose from, and it’s very important to make sure you get the best hiking jacket and the one, that is right for you! There are a lot of the waterproof jackets available on the market but not all of them are good.
In my list, I picked only the best ones that have positive customer reviews and have the rating not lower than 4 stars. First, there is a quick summary and then there is information about how to choose the right one.
Best Hiking Jacket No.1: Columbia Watertight 2 | Waterproof Jacket for Men | Price Under $100-150
If you are looking for an inexpensive jacket from famous brands then the Columbia Men’s Watertight II might suits you the best. In this jacket, there is almost everything a hiker needs. Breathable and waterproof fabric Omni-Tech, adjustable hood, zip-closed pockets for storing your hiking essentials and drawcord adjustable hem. This jacket has the storm flaps and velcro straps at the cuffs.
The Columbia Watertight 2 hiking jacket has a huge amount of customers reviews and most buyers are really happy with their purchase. The price for this jacket depends on the size of the jacket and color so you can find the right price tag for you. I should mention that this jacket is available in many different colors so you can find the one you will like.
The only downside of this jacket is that it has no lining so it’s not perfect for a winter time. Ah, and the last one, this jacket is ultralight and can be folded and stuffed into a special pocket inside this jacket.See More Jacket Colors
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Best Hiking Jacket No.2: Columbia Women’s Arcadia II | Inexpensive Waterproof Hiking Jacket for Women
For women, there is a very good alternative to the aforementioned jacket from the good brand Columbia. Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Jacket is ideal for those, who are hunting for a inexpensive jacket that is available in beautiful color variations.
Features of this jacket are Omni-Tech waterproof breathable fabric, adjustable hood, zip-closed pockets, storm flaps, velcro straps at the cuffs and of course this jacket can be stuffed into the own pocket. This jacket is lightweight and won’t take to much space in your backpack. This jacket has a high rating and more than 1000 happy buyers so you can’t go wrong with this one.See More Jacket Colors
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Best Hiking Jacket No.3: Marmot Precip | Lightweight and Waterproof Jacket for Hiking | Available for: men/women
The Marmot has a very good waterproof jacket for women’s and for men’s that has all hiking essential features. Like waterproof and breathable fabric, adjustable hood that rolls into a collar, velcro straps at the cuff and this jacket can be stuffed in the own pocket.
Available in many colors and what is most important, this jacket has a really low weight at around 11.4-ounces (depends on the jacket size of course). Marmot Precip Jacket has an additional features such as PitZips underarm for venting, DriClime for protecting your face from zippers. This jacket doesn’t have a fleece lining inside so “out the box” it’s not good for really cold weather.See More
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Best Hiking Jacket No.4: Jack Wolfskin Men’s Amply 3-in-1 | Shell Jacket for Hiking in Cold and Wet Weather
For those who are looking for a best “universal” hiking jacket, I can recommend the Jack Wolfskin Men’s Amply 3-in-1 Jacket. Available in 4 different colors and has many features for hiking in wet and cold weather.
This jacket has the detachable fleece lining for cold weather and the main shell made of the waterproof, windproof, breathable fabric. And another good thing about its fabric is that is abrasion-resistance so your backpack won’t damage that fabric very quickly. The hood of this jacket is detachable and the cuffs have the velcro straps.See More
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Best Hiking Jacket No.5: Adidas Outdoor Gore-Tex | Available for: men/women
Gore-Tex jackets provide the best weather protection and best breathability so you won’t find yourself soaked because of the wet weather and physical activity. In the price range of under 200$, there are three best variations available. For women’s there are Adidas Outdoor Women’s 2 which has all necessary features that hiking jacket should have. For men’s there are the Adidas Outdoor Men’s 2 jacket and, also, available for both the NIKE ACG Gore-tex jacket.
There is nothing to write about these jackets because they have no detachable hood, nor does they stuffed into their own pocket. But they provide the best weather protection and suitable for every time of the year. For winter time you can use this jacket in the combination of the thermal gear and the fleece jacket and you are good to go. Overall, the best hiking jacket you can buy is the one that made of gore-tex but this comes with 2 downsides – they are expensive, not lightweight and not compact. But if you are ok with the price, weight, size then you should buy a Gore-Tex jacket.
Choosing the Best Hiking Jacket – The Basics
Firstly make sure that its waterproof, windproof and breathable. It is the one garment you will always need, just like your boots or shoes. The jacket must be light enough to carry when not needed and tucked away in your backpack. The size of the jacket should be big enough to handle a base layer, shirt, and fleece without it being tight and restrictive.
I would advise not buying an over-the-head type jacket as your main weather protection. You may need to get out of your jacket quickly and if you have a backpack on it would make it difficult and time-consuming. You don’t see many these days, but they’re fine if the weather forecast is good and some have large pockets at the front to carry your map in. But if the forecast is changeable, I would leave well alone and go for the zipper fronted jacket.
Zippers and the Pockets of the Jacket
The zipper is also an important factor in a jacket. Try to get a waterproof one that zips from top to bottom and bottom to top. You should also make sure the jacket you want has storm flaps that protect the zipper and pockets from the elements. Pockets on your jacket should be big enough to carry a map and compass easily and not be restricted by the position of your backpack. The inside of the jacket should have pockets to carry your mobile phone, notebook, hiking GPS and keys. Don’t leave your keys or phone in your outside pockets…you’ll never find them in all that wilderness if dropped!
Drawstrings and Jacket Hood
Hoods can be detachable or fitted. If you have the fitted type hood, I would suggest getting a jacket with a hood that can be rolled up back into the jacket. A detachable hood can be rolled away into your backpack. The length of the jacket should be not long enough to feel awkward when delving into pockets or fiddling with the zip, nor should it be short enough to expose your back when stretching.
If you can sit down on the damp grass on your jacket tail and not get your backside wet or reach for a rock well above your head without feeling the cold smack of a draft, then you’ve picked the right jacket.
If your jacket has to have drawstrings at the waist, make sure they are in the comfortable position that you can get to without fumbling for the ties. Cuffs should be able to be tightened with Velcro, and collars should reach up to the nose and just below the eyes. I think everyone should realistically aim for a weatherproof and breathable jacket. A waterproof breathable jacket is well worth the investment. These can, of course, cost a small fortune, but they are your first line of defense in wet & windy weather. A lot goes into a jacket to make it waterproof and anything with Gore-Tex in the title going to be the best choice but will cost more.
Another feature to aim for is its breathability. An inner lining of a mesh is also a good way to circulate the air inside. Some jackets offer zippers under the armpits to give the user more air to get into the jacket as well as letting some of the moisture out. Also to consider are interactive jackets that allow an inner fleece to be attached and detached as the mood takes you. This can give you 3 ways to wear the jacket. Either with both attached, jacket only or fleece only. These are an excellent way of insulating yourself against colder hikes.
When purchasing a hiking jacket, make sure they are marked as waterproof and not just showerproof. If they are the latter, you may as well just buy a fleece. Showerproof is just what it says it is a quick 5-minute shower is really what they’re just about good enough for. If you get caught in a proper downpour, you will be soaked to the skin. Only buy these if you only intend on doing light summer hikes.
One last basic suggestion is the color. You never know when you will need to be spotted quickly, and a bright color may save your life if you are unlucky enough to have the need to be rescued. Having a gray, black, green, or dark blue colored jacket can sometimes act as a camouflage, not good when people may be looking for you!