For hikers, finding the right outdoor jacket is one of the toughest decisions to make, especially for those people that tend to travel to different locations. While one jacket may be perfect for a hike through the winter countryside, its benefits may be unnecessary or even hamper you if the terrain and weather change.
That becomes even trickier when you're the type of hiker that likes to tackle mountains – when the weather and temperature at the bottom can be vastly different from that at the top.
For most people, the key to picking up the right jacket comes down to versatility. The ideal jacket should offer a good balance between protection from the elements without being too bulky or difficult to stow away when needed. Get your layering game on point and you can combine two jackets together and switch between them at the drop of a hat.
Jump to the jacket you want:
- The best waterproof hiking jackets for women
- The best waterproof hiking jackets for men
- The best insulated hiking jackets for women
- The best insulated hiking jackets for men
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 is also a range of hiking jackets, from packable windproofs to mid-layers and waterproof hard shells.
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 waterproof hiking jackets for women
Quechua NH500 Waterproof Jacket
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 stop 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.
Marmot Precip Eco Hardshell Rain Jacket
This jacket has been one of the most popular outdoor options in Marmot's range for a good few years now. Considering the price and the functional features it includes, it's not hard to see why.
Designed to take on whatever the wind or rain can muster, the Precip Eco Hardshell incorporates NanoPro Eco, a coating that helps protect against the elements whilst ensuring that it's still breathable for more physically taxing activities.
For the price, you'd be hard-pressed to find an outdoor jacket that has the same level of protection, whilst still offering impressive freedom of movement.
As well as a generously comfortable fit, there's an adjustable hood that can be stowed away and ventilation zippers under the arms for when you need to cool off.
Best insulated hiking jackets for women
Columbia Powder Lite Hooded Jacket
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 the mountains.
Best lightweight hiking jackets for men
Picture Wailer Jacket
For hikes in changeable conditions, you need a jacket that won't take up too much space in your backpack when you're not using it. This option from Picture is a great choice if you're not quite sure what the weather has in store and can be easily stowed away in its own front pocket when you don't need it.
Made from ripstop fabric, the Wailer Jacket is designed to protect you against the worst the wind can throw at you with a Teflon EcoElite DWR finish to keep you dry.
The large front pocket can be used to store the essentials you need to hand and it features an elasticated hood and wrist cuffs to keep you warm and dry whatever the conditions.
We've found it's a great option for spring/autumn hikes as well as a good choice for trips where you're going from ground level to high elevation when the temperature and wind can change quickly but you don't want to lug unnecessary clothing around all day.
Thanks to Picture's focus on sustainability, the jacket is also made from 100% Recycled Polyester, which means you're not only getting a fantastic piece of kit but you're buying responsibly as well.
Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody
A great lightweight option that works as an insulated standalone jacket or a warm mid-layer in wet, windy conditions, the Atom LT Hoody is a popular jacket due to its versatility across multiple conditions.
The fabric incorporates a Tyono 20 denier shell with DWR treatment which makes it a hard-wearing and durable piece of kit which, along with the compressible Coreloft synthetic insulation, means this surprisingly lightweight jacket punches far above its weight.
The fit is slightly on the snug side but the breathable Polartec Power stretch panels on the sides mean that mobility isn't an issue, allowing for it to be used for hiking to technical climbs where enhanced movement is a necessity.
Other features include a fully adjustable and helmet-compatible hood, articulated elbows, gusseted underarms for mobility and comfort, a full front zip with wind flap, stretch-knit cuffs, two pockets and an internal chest pocket. It can also be stored in its own packet when not needed.
The North Face Athletic Outdoor Full-Zip Midlayer Hoodie
The key to smart hiking is getting your layering game on point, especially if you do most of your trips in a changeable climate. The Athletic Outdoor Full-Zip Midlayer Hoodie is the perfect piece of kit to wear when you want a good balance of comfort and protection. On mild days, it's all you'll need to stay warm, then, when the rain hits you can stick a lightweight waterproof over the top.
Made from a warm and breathable knitted polyester, it can be worn for most trips comfortably without needing to be stuffed into your pack every time the temperature changes slightly. The lean design and stretchy material also mean it won't limit movement or slow you down.
Features include a stretchy hood which holds comfortably to the head even on windy days, two zipped hand pockets for essential items or to keep your hands warm and thumbholes in the sleeves.
Best waterproof hiking jackets for men
Columbia Mazama Trail Waterproof Jacket
If you want complete protection from the rain as you clamber up the side of a mountain, look no further. The Mazama Trail Waterproof Jacket ticks all of our boxes when it comes to protection from the elements without sacrificing comfort and performance.
Columbia has used something called Omni-Tech 3D technology, an impressive feature that balances waterproofing with breathability so you don't get hot and sweaty when powering through a tough hike in the wet. It also has underarm zips so you can easily open up large vents to let the air in when you need it.
Our favourite aspect of the Mazama Trail Waterproof Jacket is the material used. Unlike some heavy-duty waterproof outer layers, there's a softer feel to the fabric that makes it incredibly comfortable when worn for long periods of time. It also has a two-way stretch design, so it will allow you to move freely without limiting movement.
Other features include coated zippered pockets to keep your valuables dry, a comfortable drawstring hood, a chin guard and a drawcord at the hem. For anyone that doesn't want to lose performance for protection, the Mazama Trail Waterproof Jacket is one of our top picks.
Berghaus Deluge Pro 2.0 Waterproof Jacket
The Deluge Pro 2.0 is a great option if you're looking for protection from the weather without unnecessary weight being added to your pack. The two-layer Hydroshell fabric can fend off the worst of the wind and rain whilst still being thin enough to easily stow away when not in use.
In addition, the jacket features a hood and hem that can easily be adjusted for a snug fit when the weather is at its worst. There are also two handy zipped pockets at the front for storing essentials like a phone or a compass.
In testing, we found the jacket did an impressive job at balancing comfort with performance. The lightweight design makes it a great option for those hikes where the weather can change on a whim, as well as mountain routes when the higher altitudes require the quick addition of an extra layer.
We also found the fit was comfortable, offering enough room to add a couple of base layers underneath or a mid-layer jacket.
Adidas Terrex Myshelter Gore-tex Rain Jacket
The Myshelter Rain Jacket is designed to give an impressive level of protection from the elements without being too thick or bulky. The Gore-tex shell can tackle the worst that the wind and rain can throw whilst still feeling light and breathable; something that makes it a great option if you want to stay dry in milder conditions.
In addition to the breathable active Gore-tex membrane, there are also handy underarm vents to help keep you cool, which, in addition to an oversized fit that promotes a good range of motion, makes things a lot easier when you're tackling tougher terrain or need to do some scrambling.
If you're planning on heading into lower temperatures, the jacket works well as a top layer, offering enough space to fit additional layers underneath, and includes an adjustable hem and hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs so you can tighten it up to keep the rain out.
Features include a two-way full zip with a high collar, side pockets and an inner chest pocket, a helmet-compatible hood for climbing, and reflective details to keep you visible.
Columbia Ampli-Dry Waterproof Shell Walking Jacket
There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the Ampli-Dry Waterproof Shell Walking Jacket aside from the fact it's a solid and reliable piece of kit that you can use all year round. The traditional fit and style make it a great option for occasional walkers or seasoned hikers alike, and the good quality build means it can tackle the worst the weather throws at you.
The waterproof outer layer is more than enough to handle downpours out on the trails without limiting breathability, so you don't need to take the jacket off every time you start sweating as you clamber up a hill. The material is also designed with a four-way comfort stretch, which means you can comfortably move around even if the terrain gets a bit tricky or you need to operate your phone/camera.
As well as a thick adjustable hood, there are also zipped hand and chest pockets, underarm vents for comfort and drawcord adjustable hem and cuffs.
Haglöfs Grym Evo Jacket
A weather-beating three-layer jacket 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.
Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Shell Jacket
They don't come much more formidable when it comes to the rain than this little number from Columbia. The outer waterproof membrane will handle the worst the weather can throw at you without the unwanted bulk of most extreme jackets out there.
When you first get your hands on the jacket it can feel slightly plasticky to the touch, which can be off-putting before you try it on, however, inside is a softer mesh fabric to ensure it sits comfortably against the skin.
There's a nice amount of room available as well, so it's a good option for hikers that like layer up throughout the day, offering plenty of space for insulated garments to keep you warm in a storm.
Features include zippered hand pockets, a chin guard, an adjustable hood, cuffs, and you can neatly pack it away into its own pocket when it isn't being used.
For a jacket that offers so much protection against the rain and wind, we were surprised at how small it packs down. It's a great option if you want a high level of protection but don't want to sacrifice space in your rucksack – especially if you're in a climate where the weather can go from mild to extreme at the drop of a hat.
Patagonia Houdini Jacket
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.
Fjällraven Keb Jacket
This 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 features 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 into 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 the snow will have to work hard to get inside.
Best insulated hiking jackets for men
The North Face Belleview Strech Hooded Down Jacket
Although the Strech Hooded Down Jacket has everything you need to stay insulated on colder hikes, the lightweight feel and stretchy fabric mean that it's one of the most versatile pieces of kit we've tested.
When the weather is at its worst, the 600-fill down and Heatseeker Eco insulation ensure that you're protected from a drop in temperature, and the water-repellent treatment that covers the external layer means that you don't need to add a shell layer over the top – unless things get really bad.
Our favourite aspect of the Strech Hooded Down Jacket is by far the clever two-way stretch design that allows you to move around comfortably without movement being restricted. On tougher hikes where you need to do a bit of scrambling, it allows you comfortably grab rocks and branches around you without worrying about tight fabric.
Other features include an elasticated hood, raglan sleeves and elasticated drawcord, so your extremities are safely tucked away from the cold. The jacket also neatly packs down into its own pocket, which means it can easily be packed into a stuff pocket in your rucksack.
Berghaus Ronnas Reflect Insulated Jacket
When it comes to keeping yourself warm whilst clambering up a mountain in the winter, you can't go far wrong with this beast from Berghaus.
This chunky insulated jacket is made with Berghaus' Hydrodown material, which is designed to prevent it from getting soggy when you're in damp conditions. In addition, it's covered in NikWax, so although it's not an all-out waterproof jacket, it'll still keep you warm and dry in most conditions. Want more? There's also a Pertex Quantum outer which helps to protect you from the wind.
When you put on the Ronnas Reflect it feels a bit like you've stepped into a cosy sleeping bag, complete with some rather nice hand-warming pockets in the front and an extremely snug-fitting adjustable hood. Perfect for long walks in the winter months when you want one jacket to fight off the elements. If you're a fan of layering, however, you'll need a much larger waterproof to cover it.
If your focus is to buy responsibly, the Ronnas Reflect contains Bluesign-approved fabrics and RDS Certified down.