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The Best Men’s Outdoor Jackets You Need for Summer

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause
Courtesy of Bettmann/Getty Images

Even though the dog days of summer are upon us, depending on where you might be quarantined — er, summering — some mornings and evenings may still be a bit on the chilly side. Whether you’re waking up to a mountain chill or enjoying cocktails with an ocean breeze, having a great lightweight summer jacket by your side can be a real lifesaver. We’ve taken a look at several options that we think are not only great looking, but also extremely practical. They’re all chosen with an eye towards fall 2020 trends, so you can maximize your investment.  

Descendant of Thieves Reversible Blind Spot Bomber

We couldn’t think of a better way to say “summer, meet fall.” This 100% polyester bomber provides a cheerful tropical print side (inspired by American pop art), that looks great worn with swim shorts and a tank top, perfect for that beach bonfire. Reverse it to a more sedate, classic varsity look that will look awesome with dark denim, khakis, or fall 2020s’ updated plaids. 

Nobis Mateo Bomber

A return to preppy is another key message for fall, and this bomber from Nobis combines clean, Ivy League style with a touch of Steve McQueen’s racetrack cool. It’s made from a super lightweight nylon fabric with a water repellent finish and seam-sealed construction. Throw it on with cut off denim jeans this season, but it’ll look great with corduroys next. 

Scotch and Soda Sporty Pinstripe Suit Jacket

Another key message for this coming season is a return to classic menswear patterns, but these white pinstripes on navy have a summery, nautical look. We particularly like its updated windbreaker silhouette, and those handy flap pockets. Wear it with white jeans now, then mix it up with dark joggers this fall. 

Tommy Hilfiger Check Suit Bomber

On a similar note, Tommy Hilfiger keeps this minimalistic bomber on-trend and sophisticated with a subtle white windowpane pattern on navy. It looks great with a simple T-shirt and bright shorts for now; but we’ll wear it with a lightweight cable sweater and chinos come September. It’s made from a stretch wool and poly blend that will breathe and keep you warm. 

Diamond Supply Co. Emerald Anorak

This anorak from Diamond Supply Co. practically shouts “Catch a Wave,” with its light pastel colors and shiny nylon accents (Turn around and the back is a purple hibiscus pattern), while the pinstripes have a sort of vintage baseball uniform appeal. These bright, poppy colors also translate well into fall, as brighter, unexpected hues take their places in our Autumn wardrobes. Wear it with elastic-waist “boxer” style shorts now; then pair with trim, tapered pants later in the year. 

Huf Neo Leopard Coaches Jacket

Okay, you could play it somewhat safe and get the black-on-black version of this leopard print, but this optically-bright “hot lime” hue is a dazzling expression for summer nights; while it, again, goes right into fall’s bright color palette. The slightly longer, fuller shape nails another trend, while the cotton twill fabric is crisp, but sure to mellow and get more comfortable over time.   

Todd Snyder Dock Jacket

This dock jacket is not only made from a water repellent technical fabric from Italy, it’s also made in New York and crafted for an updated seafaring style. The construction includes a zipper storm guard, and drawstring adjustments at the hood and hem; so it really will be able to handle an unexpected squall. It also includes a half-back mesh interior to keep things cool. Wear it with deck shoes and summer whites now; then layer it with cable-knit sweaters and denim come fall. 

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Whether hiking one of the Triple Crown Trails or just striking across town to the farmer’s market, Patagonia’s got just the thing. This super lightweight “Houdini” shell is made from 100% recycled nylon with a water-repellent finish. Why “Houdini?” Because it disappears into its own handy stuff sack, integrated into the zippered chest pocket. Pack it up and stash it in your backpack or glove box to be ready for a light rain or a morning chill at a moment’s notice. We like this always classic black-on-black camouflage pattern, but the mango option will also get a lot of mileage. Consider upgrading to the Houdini Air for an even more lightweight, breathable fabric that allows for increased airflow if you’re engaged in some serious outdoor activity. 

Proof Shift Packable Shell

The ultimate in clean, cool, classic design, Proof’s Shift jacket is built for efficiency. Available only in this crisp black, it looks to us like the windbreaker Q would be passing out to 007. The water-and wind-resistant, breathable shell is lightweight, packing down to a tiny package, stuffed into its own chest pocket. You’ll love it for early morning runs, extended mountain hikes, and evening cocktails-to-go. Shaken, not stirred, of course.  

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