The best hiking jackets for men and women: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

These outdoor jackets and coats won’t let you down when you’re out on the trails
The ultimate outdoor jacket guide

Where to start when looking for a new hiking jacket? So many brands, so many technical terms, so little time. Well, this list will help. We’ve narrowed the field down, from insulated mid layers to waterproof shells – choose one of these top hiking jackets and you can stride out onto the moors confident that if the weather turns apocalyptic, you’ll still be protected.

Sustainability and environmentally-aware options are playing an increasingly important role in brands’ development and consumers’ purchasing priorities, so this is reflected in the choices. There are also a range of hiking jackets, from packable windproofs to mid-layers and waterproof hardshells.

The key is to wear one and pack another for when the weather takes a turn south. Beware the difference between ‘water resistant’ and ‘waterproof’ too – water resistant means the jacket will withstand light showers but not prolonged downpours; for that you'll need a fully waterproof model, ideally with taped seams.

Here's our pick of the best hiking jackets you can buy right now.

Best hiking jackets for women

Arc'teryx Zeta Lightweight Jacket

Buy now: Arc'Teryx (UK) / Arc'Teryx (US) /Amazon | $425

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

Arc'teryx are famed for its high-end, high performance outdoor apparel. If you're heading for serious hiking holiday somewhere with unpredictable weather, this Zeta lightweight jacket is a solid investment. Weighing under 300 grams, the jacket is made with triple layer Gore-Tex fabric to protect against wind and rain.

The hood is the brand's signature StormHood design, which cinches at the back for a personalised fit and is cut to maximise your peripheral vision. The slim-fitting design helps trap in extra heat with enough room for a few layers, while gusseted underarms help you move freely in the upper body. You can safely store a smartphone or other tech in its laminated internal pocket, plus the Velcro cuffed sleeves will stop moisture sneaking inside.

While this is a big price tag for a casual hiker, this is a brilliant choice if you make regular trips and want a reliable, lightweight piece of kit.

Sizes: XS to XL

Quechua NH500 Waterproof Jacket

Buy now: Decathlon (US) / Decathlon (UK) | $39.99

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

At just £29.99, this jacket by Quechua is an absolute steal. As part of quality testing, it was put through an hour long water test which replicated the conditions of a rain shower, something it passed with flying colours thanks to its water repellent fabric. Its seams are taped too, to prevent any water creeping in, plus its mesh lining helps avoid condensation gathering inside on humid days.

The crossover detail on the collar with a draw cord around the face will keep you well-covered in case of wind. It can also be turned into a shoulder bag for storage. Quechua suggest it's best for one-day walks, so it probably wouldn't stand up to a long adventure, but if you're an occasional hiker or just need extra protection on a bad weather dog walk, it's ideal.

Sizes: XS to XXL

The North Face Printed Fanorak Jacket

Buy now: The North Face (UK) | £115

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

Super lightweight and in two colourful prints, this jacket from The North Face is a must for hikes in changeable weather. The anorak-style design is made from durable fabric which provides protection from powerful winds, plus offers protection from rain thanks to its waterproof properties.

The loose fit allows for ventilation and its hood can be worn loose or pulled in tight with the draw cord. The jacket is cut longer than most, sitting over the top of the legs, so it provides a touch more warmth and protection than shorter, traditional designs. It can even be packed up and tucked into its own kangaroo pocket, which leaves it stored as a handy over-shoulder or bum bag – perfect for when the weather perks up.

Sizes: XS to XL

Columbia Powder Lite Hooded Jacket

Buy now: Columbia (UK) / Columbia(US) / Amazon | $109.99

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

If you're heading to cooler climes or want to prep for the winter, this hooded jacket from Columbia is a smart-looking option. The padded shell exterior is resistant to water and features a reflective lining to magnify body heat for maximum warmth, while its hood is cleverly structured for a snug fit around your head.

There are pockets with zips for storage (or for tucking cold hands away) plus an internal zipped pocket for valuables. Coming in 11 different designs, you can opt for bold colours like turquoise or pomegranate, or a more subtle monochrome look that will be just as well suited to city-wear as in the mountains.

Sizes: XS to XL

Rab Kinetic Alpine Jacket

Buy now: Rab (UK) / Rab (US) | $280

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

British-born mountainwear company Rab has been on the scene for nearly 40 years and remain frontrunners in the outdoor clothing industry. This jacket is made with Rab's own Proflex fabric, which features a waterproof outer layer and breathable inner layer with a comfortable amount of stretch. At just 340 grams it's incredibly lightweight - which, combined with its sweat-wicking lining, makes it ideal for hikes in any weather.

The front zip features a YKK AquaGuard internal storm flap to keep you dry in case of sudden downpours, with the same material at the pockets to protect whatever you have stashed. If you're looking to invest in a reliable, durable jacket that will suit you in all weathers and all seasons, the Kinetic Alpine is an excellent option.

Sizes: 8 to 16

Best hiking jackets for men

Haglöfs Grym Evo

Buy now: Haglöfs (UK) /Amazon | $233

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

A weather-beating three-layer jacket that was created with the environment in mind, with the outer of the three layers constructed from 100% recycled materials. This is one tough piece of kit – it won’t fail you in an unexpected storm, and the shell is robust and feels like it could handle anything that it encounters and come away victorious.

It also moves away from a PFC waterproof coating, which can result in fluorocarbon entering our environment when the coating wears, to a more environmentally friendly DWR coating. It’s available in three colours. Our favourite: the ‘desert yellow’ – we like something that makes us stand out on the trails.

Sizes: XS to XXL

Patagonia Houdini

Buy now: Patagonia (UK) / Patagonia (US) | $99

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

An absolutely essential piece of kit and one that every hiker should own. Firstly, it tips the scales at just 102g: the weight of a newborn kitten. It packs down small enough to fit in the tiniest pocket, or you can attach it to your belt or bag loop so it’s there if you need it.

It’s also 100% recycled nylon ripstop with a DWR finish, which means it’s water repellent rather than waterproof. A perfect option for when the temperature drops and the wind picks up, maybe with a little moisture in the air. Unpack it, throw it on and you’ll stay warm.

Sizes: XS to XL

Rab Nimbus

Buy now: Rab (UK) / Rab (US) | $215

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

An insulated jacket that comes into its own on cold days out on the heaths, this is stuffed with synthetic insulation that mimics the effects of a down filling, which means it’s less expensive and, at 502g, not too heavy. It’s water-resistant rather than waterproof, so can withstand showers, but if you get caught in a downpour, you’re going to end up getting wet.

The design has one zipped internal security pocket, and two zipped handwarmer pockets, the left side of which doubles as an integrated stuff sack that can be clipped to your belt or bag. The benefit of that being that you can take it with you with minimal effort even if there’s just the slightest change of cold weather.

A great option for people that want a versatile jacket that can be used as a mid-layer under a hardshell, or as an outer layer on its own. Definitely one to file under ‘necessity’.

Sizes: S to XXL

Fjällraven Keb

Buy now: Fjällraven (UK) / Fjällraven (US) / Amazon | $275

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

The Swedish outdoor brand is a big deal in fashion-focused hiking jackets, and the Keb is at the very top of its output. The Keb is designed to allow for more movement while trekking via stretchable panels on the shoulders and under the arms, so will cover whatever type of hike you opt for, whether that's a leisurely stroll or a heart-rate rising climb.

The hood, shoulders, front and lower back also feature the company’s G-1000 Eco, which, with regular Greenland waxing, will keep the water out. It has an abundance of pockets – from big ones to fit OS maps in to tiny ones to stash loose change. The hood, when on, also extends out to Kenny-from-South Park-levels – you can roll the trim back, or if the weather is full-on blizzard, disappear inside it, meaning snow will have to work hard to get inside.

Sizes: XS to XXL

Finisterre Borealis

Buy now: Finisterre (UK) / Finisterre (US) /Amazon | $298

The best hiking jackets: North Face, Patagonia, Quechua and more

Increasing numbers of outdoor clothing manufacturers are beginning to produce sustainable goods, and Finisterre has been at the forefront of this movement for a while. Its new Borealis waterproof jacket is made from regenerated fibres (which come from recycled polyester and nylon), is FC-free, meaning no chemicals are leached into the environment and is down-free, instead filled with the company’s S-form insulation made from 92% recycled polyester.

Aside from these admirable sustainable qualities, the jacket looks incredible, with the orange lining contrasting stylishly with the dark-navy outer. The warming insulation means it’s perfect for winter, and raindrops simply roll off the two-layer laminated outer surface.

Tags:    Trekking
Tagged    Trekking