One of the few positives from the pandemic is a heightened awareness about getting outdoors. Whether you’re experienced in hiking or just getting started, a solid jacket is necessary for your adventures going forward.
A trusted hiking jacket needs to be waterproof and wind-resistant. If it lacks these features, then you’re out of luck. It should also be breathable and functional. Durability is key, as it won’t do much good if you’re wearing a fabric that tears as easily as your uncle’s shorts at the 4th of July barbecue. Lastly, they should be comfortable. You don’t want a jacket that feels like plastic and is too tight at the cuffs. These picks below check all the boxes while offering something unique for every type of hiker — including style points.
Best for Rainy Weather: REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket
REI Co-op brand is doing everything right when it comes to offering great, sustainable gear at a lovable price. This jacket carries the bluesign seal of approval—a certification that proves REI took steps to minimize manufacturing and production processes to help the overall health of the environment. If you don’t like getting wet, the Rainer has you covered — literally.
Best for the Environment: Nike ACG “Tough Nuggets”
Nike ACG is at the head of the camping-inspired style we’re seeing in pop culture at the moment. The trend even has a name, Gorpcore — a term coined from the crunchy granola mix that’s often associated with the hiker’s lifestyle. “Tough Nuggets” is as fashionable as a jacket as it is versatile. Resistant to all weather conditions and made with sustainable materials, this jacket is ahead of the curve.
Best Value: Columbia Men’s Watertight II Jacket
The Watertight II is a bestseller for a reason. It’s packable, and it offers the ability to adjust the hood, cuffs, and hemline so you can get a custom seal from the elements. Affordable and available in a wide array of colors, Columbia makes it easy for those that don’t want to think too much about their hiking jacket.
Best Long-Term Investment: Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody Men’s
Arc’teryx makes some of the best outdoor apparel known to humankind. The Squamish Hoody is named in homage to the unique coastal mountains of Squamish, British Columbia — a place where hikers, climbers, and skiers all are present at any given time. promises a high-performance jacket for under $160 — a steal when you factor in cost per wear. Wind resistant and flexible, this is a long-term piece that will be ready for those mild but ever-changing environments.
Best Lightweight Windbreaker: Vuori Outdoor Trainer Shell
If you’re looking for the ultimate lightweight hiking jacket, Vuori has got you covered. Their Outdoor Trainer Shell features DWR technology to ensure 4-way stretch and water resistance, as well as a UPF 30 rating to deflect ultraviolet rays and keep the wearer’s body cool. Pair it with a clean platinum colorway, and you’ll want to wear this jacket as much off the trail as you will on it.
Best for the Most Active Hiker: Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Jacket
Outdoor Research made their AscentShell as light as possible while also protecting you from whatever weather is on the horizon. The cuffs and hood are crafted with a cinched binding to seal the wind out while also providing comfort. And the company uses an electrospun process to create a unique 3-layered fabric that breathes faster, weighs less, and stretches more. The Motive is for the most active hikers.
Other Hiking Jackets We Love
L.L. Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket
L.L. Bean is known for durable, functional products across the board. Their rain jacket gets the job done for under $100 — plus, they have multiple great colorways to choose from.
Carhartt Men’s Dry Harbor Jacket
If you want a rain jacket that you know will stand the test of time, then you can’t go wrong with this Carhartt. Their Dry Harbor Jacket offers strong rainstorm protection with seam-taped construction and dual storm flaps — did we mention it’s affordable, too?
Cotopaxi Teca Cálido Hooded Jacket
Cotopaxi is known for its lightweight puffers — their diehard fans swear by them. However for warm weather, this Teca Cálido will suit you much better while still giving you a taste of what this brand is all about.
North Face 1994 Retro Mountain Light
In terms of having both functionality and style, this jacket hangs with the best of them. A peak purple colorway and oversized logo show bystanders you can employ a little street style without looking too much like a hypebeast. The Mountain Light also has zip-up compatibility with its cold weather-ready sibling, the Retro Denali, so you can get the pair and never have to worry about your seasonal hiking jackets for years to come.
Simms ExStream Hooded Jacket
This ExStream is an option for those who want a quilted puffer that won’t overheat the wearer. Its Primaloft technology works best in conditions where the weather is wet and dreary.
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