What are the Best Jackets for Hiking?
Hiking is definitely among the healthiest and most enjoyable outdoor activities, but less-than-perfect gear can ruin even the best trip. Every hiker is aware of the importance of using hiking gear of the best quality. To enjoy your trip, you need to pay attention not only to the boots, the tent, the stove, the shirts and the socks you are taking with you but to the jacket as well. It is the jacket that will provide the first line of defense against the elements.
Besides the obvious waterproof and windproof qualities, the best jacket needs to meet several other criteria as well. Read on and find out about the aspects you should pay attention to when choosing a hiking jacket, and we will also share our favorite picks currently available in 2017.
What Makes a Good Hiking Jacket?
In a nutshell, it is comfort and functionality – here are some features to pay attention to:
The material – the two major types of materials used for making hiking jackets are soft-shell and hard-shell. Soft-shell materials are relatively thin, soft and stretchy and they provide a fairly good, though not perfect protection against rain. Hard-shell materials provide complete insulation against the elements, making hard-shell jackets suitable to be worn directly over your shirt or in combination with a soft-shell jacket when the weather is cold. Nowadays you can easily find three-in-one jackets that have a detachable hard shell and can be worn as a soft-shell jacket, as a hard-shell piece, and as a combined jacket.
Closures, pockets, and adjustability – the best hiking jackets come with comfortable and easy-to-use pockets, high-quality zippers, storm flaps and Velcro closures and they also have adjustable draw-cords on the hood, the hem, the cuffs and the neck.
Weight – choose a jacket that packs small. If you usually hike in spring or in summer, you will probably not wear your jacket all the time, so you need a piece that is lightweight and folds into a very small pack to leave room for other important stuff in your backpack.
Easy maintenance – a feature provided by most modern hiking jackets. The special synthetic materials used for making these high-tech pieces of garment guarantee that the surfaces can be cleaned easily with a simple wipe and when washed in a washing machine (or in a fast mountain spring, if necessary), they dry very quickly.
Some of the Best Jackets for Hiking in 2017
Here are a few of the best choices, jacket models available in different color combinations and sizes for men and women alike.
Arcteryx Beta SL
Available for men and women as well, the Arcteryx Beta is lightweight, but provides excellent waterproof protection to the wearer. The Gore-Tex Paclite fabric makes sure that the jacket not only packs well, but it also provides maximum comfort – the material is breathable, too, so you will not experience any discomfort, not even when the terrain gets rough and the atmosphere is packed with humidity. The jacket is recommended not only for climbing and hiking but for trail running as well. Check Prices on Amazon.
Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody
Made from water-resistant, wind repellent and breathable material, this comes with a lining made from Marmot’s special soft, bi-component fleece material and it also features underarm mesh vents and a detachable hood that can be folded into its own pocket. The jacket comes with interior pockets with safely closing zippers. The piece also folds very small, so you can easily pack it away when the sun comes out and you don’t need a jacket. Check Prices on Amazon.
A parka-style jacket available for women and men as well, MontBell’s Storm Cruiser uses GORE-C KNIT technology that makes the jacket, lightweight, comfortable, versatile and very silent. The 3-way adjustable hood, the adjustable cuffs, the waterproof pockets and the high-quality zips make sure the jacket feels great to wear.
Outdoor Research Paladin
Made from Pertex Shield, a great, 3-layer, breathable, waterproof fabric and fitted with sealed seams for complete overall protection, this Paladin jacket is lightweight, durable, reliable and comfortable. The front zipper comes with a storm flap on the inside, so you can be sure that no weather will penetrate through it. The riff-and-stick style cuff closures and the draw-cord on the hem are also great, handy features when the weather turns foul. Check Prices on Amazon.
North Face Resolve
The Resolve is a stylish piece of hiking garment that provides the wearer with all the comfort and functionality that can be expected of a great outdoor jacket. Made from impenetrable, but breathable, completely water- and windproof material, fitted with mesh lining and an adjustable hood, this lightweight jacket will help you stay comfortable by regulating your body temperature while you climb mountains and descend from peaks after taking in the beautiful scenery up there. Check Prices on Amazon.
Element Altis Jacket from Jack Wolfskin
This softshell jacket comes with a water-repellent, wind-resistant exterior, and super-soft microfleece interior. All materials used in the jacket are eco-friendly and fluorocarbon-free and they are also breathable for maximum comfort. The stretchy fabric assures great mobility and freedom to move. The jacket also comes with a regular system zip that allows you to combine it with an outer jacket for trips taken when it is really cold outside. Rest assured, come rain, wind, or shine you will be equally protected. Check Prices on Amazon.
Patagonia Super Alpine
This jacket is a great choice for mountain explorers who are not deterred by the harsh weather. Water-proofness and durability are provided by the three layers of lightweight and resistant GORE-TEX fabric that is breathable, too. The hood is adjustable and comes with embedded cord locks that fix its margins into the desired size and the same goes for the hem, too. The hood is fitted with a laminated visor for improved visibility even in drizzling rain. The jacket is fitted with two large watertight pockets on the exterior and a zip pocket on the interior, allowing you to have all the small items that you might need during the trip within easy reach. Check Prices on Amazon.
Do you have a favorite jacket for hiking? Tell us about it in the comments below!Published in