A good jacket is an absolute requirement for any adventure. Winter or spring, mountain or rainforest, jackets are your home away from home.
Starting with keeping you warm then moving to keeping you dry, here are six of the best adventure jackets you can get this year to survive in the worst weather. Don’t worry — we’re not going to subject you to photos of those wearable sleeping bags.
LoftTek Adventure Jacket
Whether it’s a mild day in the middle of winter or a cold day in the mountains during summer, a good puffy jacket is worth its weight in gold. They’re perfect for walking the dog, packing for trips, and setting up camp.
The LoftTek Adventure Jacket from Outdoor Vitals is perfect for all those situations. The brand solves the problem of heavy non-compressible synthetic insulation with a new fiber called LoftTek; it’s hollow structure puffs up and packs down, allowing you to stuff the jacket into its own pocket.
The 500 fill down but is warm when wet and dries faster than the real stuff, just like synthetic. An insulated hood helps keep heat in the jacket. Pit zips, rarely used on a puffy jacket, help you dump heat when you get too toasty.
The jacket ($150), which retails for less than some of its competitors, is available for pre-order after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Shipping is expected to begin in April 2019. Double-check the sizing when you order as pre-production sizes ran a bit small.
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody
For the lightest and most packable jackets, down is still the way to go. The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody has over three ounces of 800 fill Traceable down, meaning you can find out exactly where the down was sustainably sourced.
The jacket has a 100-percent recycled polyester ripstop shell that’s light but strong. It also boasts a Durable Water Repellency (DWR) coating to help water bead off. It looks great when it’s own and it packs down into its own pocket to easily fit in your pack.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hooded Jacket
When you’re moving hard, breathability is the prime factor for comfort. Hard shells and puffy jackets will just be too warm. This is soft-shell territory.
Softshells are thin, water-resistant jackets that breathe extremely well. They keep light rain and snow off but keep you comfortable when you’re sweating. The ultralight Ferrosi Softshell jacket from Outdoor Research fits that definition exactly.
The thin fabric is full of spandex, moving with you as you do. Low-profile thumb loops keep the sleeves down where they should be. When it’s time for something thicker, it packs down into its left pocket. The Ferrosi is also UPF 50+ for those bright days when you need to stay protected from the sun.
Mammut Alvier Hard Shell Jacket
Now we move from insulation to waterproof hard shells. Thin, light jackets don’t have thick, abrasion-resistant fabrics on the outside or waterproof membranes on the inside. But when it’s snowing or raining hard, that’s exactly what we need to stay dry.
The Alvier Hard Shell Jacket from Mammut is most at home in rough conditions. The highly breathable Gore-Tex Pro Shell membrane is sandwiched between a tough face fabric and a wicking inner layer. Though the Pro Shell membrane is highly breathable, sometimes it takes pit zips under the arms to really dump the heat. Four pockets outside and two inside keep all your essentials at the ready.
The collar is ready for any kind of weather and tall enough to go over your nose when it’s fully zipped. A second zipper expands the collar in case you need extra room for helmet straps or insulation around your neck. Hand gaiters with thumb loops and a removable snow skirt keep all the snow on the ground instead of in your jacket
Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket
Not content with just being immensely waterproof, Fjällräven makes the Keb Eco-Shell jacket very environmentally friendly as well. The jacket is 100-percent polyester, a combination of new and recycled, which makes it easier to recycle for its next life. The Durable Water Repellent coating on the outside is free of perfluorocarbons (PFC), nasty little chemical compounds that don’t break down in nature and are building up in ecosystems around the world. In addition to the actual materials in the Keb Eco-Shell, all emissions during production and transport of the jacket are climate-compensated.
The outer fabric is soft to the touch and very durable. Adjustments on the hood and hem make it easy to find the right fit. Fjällräven opted for no pit zips in this piece, instead using side zips lower down that dump heat just the same and also give you access to inner pockets on your mid layer. Now you can have a premium jacket but not destroy the environment you’re trying to enjoy.
Norrøna Lyngen Gore-Tex Jacket
Softshell jackets are ideal for moving fast and can withstand a little bit of rain or snow, but they soak through at some point. With a new material from Gore called Gore-Tex Active, you get a very breathable jacket while maintaining waterproof protection.
Norrøna from Norway has built this new Gore-Tex Active waterproof membrane into its Lyngen Gore-Tex jackets. The shoulders get stretchy, durable Gore-Tex C-Knit while the torso is covered in Active for high breathability. When even that’s not enough, you can zip the main front zipper to a second zipper revealing a large mesh vent. Hand gaiters with thumb loops keep the jacket tight in bad weather. A helmet compatible hood and multiple adjustments keep you protected from the weather.
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