Best Hiking Jacket for Women During Any Season

Home » Camping » Apparel » Best Hiking Jacket for Women During Any Season


If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best hiking jacket for women is, we recommend the Arc’teryx Women’s Atom LT insulated jacket.

Whether for warmth or for protection from the elements, hikers should care a lot about the clothes that they wear. Not only is it your first line of defense against harsh (and potentially dangerous) environmental hazards, but it can also keep you from becoming your own worst enemy. For example, the breathability of your outfit will determine how steamed you get as you work up a sweat.

So, as we review some of the best hiking jackets for women, keep some of these factors in mind. We’ve listed off some of the most important ones to consider below, and we made sure to base our selection of products accordingly.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best hiking jackets for women:

Material

woman standing in the woods with a fluffy jacket

Most clothing nowadays is made from a hodgepodge of different materials. When it comes to the best hiking jacket for women, you’ll find that the material is mostly synthetic (either polyester or nylon), perhaps with a little bit of elastane to give it some stretch. It makes sense, considering synthetics are often cheap, lightweight, and waterproof.

For a more “real” feel, on the other hand, you may consider getting a jacket with a liner. Something like wool, fleece, or even poly-cotton can provide warmth and softness to you jacket, giving it a much cozier sensation.

Fill

Not all women’s hiking jackets have a fill, especially if you just need something lightweight and waterproof for the warmer months. However, once you start looking at some insulated options, you have a couple different fills to pick from.

Synthetics like polyester are going to be the cheapest, and they have ability to stay insulative even when wet. However, they also tend to be heavier and aren’t as warm as your other option…

…which is down. Goose and duck down are pretty common, and they’re the best fills that you’ll find in a jacket. Lightweight and very warm, the only downsides are how expensive they are, and the fact that they lose their insulation properties when wet.

Waterproof Vs Water Resistant

woman in yellow jacket standing on mountain in rain

Hiking jackets don’t have to be waterproof, but it can be helpful if they are. Sudden showers can pop up unexpectedly, especially in the mountains, and sometimes your only option is to hike in the rain. On long backpacking trips, in particular, you may have a mix of sunny and rainy days.

However, it’s worth noting the difference between waterproof and water resistant, since they’re two terms that are often used interchangeably by mistake. If a material is waterproof, it means it won’t leak when exposed to water. There are different waterproof ratings that a material can have, measured in terms of “mm,” with the higher ratings being more waterproof. For example, a rating of 3,000mm is considered to be the lowest end of “waterproof” that you can get, though it won’t hold up well in anything more than a light drizzle. It’s more ideal for you to find something with a rating of 8,000mm or higher for the best results.

Water resistant material, on the other hand, acts just as the name implies. It will keep you dry for a short amount of time, but eventually it will become so oversaturated that it will be useless in the rain. That’s not to say that it’s all bad though. Water resistant material is a lot more breathable than fabric that’s waterproof, giving you more comfort overall.

Length

My mom won’t buy a jacket if it doesn’t cover her backside, and I know plenty of you feel the same way. Unfortunately, when your jacket is that long, it can restrict your movement while you’re hiking, making it more difficult to conquer the task at hand.

With that being said, all of the jackets listed in our review below are considered “hip-length” to give you the maximum amount of protection without impeding your mobility.

Quality

woman in red jacket tying boots on a log

We value items that are high-quality. In the world of women’s hiking jackets, that means you want something that suits the environment you’re in, something that’s comfortable, and something that’s stylish. With that being said, it’s hard to find a product that checks all those boxes along with one important one that we haven’t mentioned yet – price.

The age-old adage tells us “you get what you pay for,” and hiking jackets are no exception. Are there some good, cheap options? Absolutely. But they’re hard to find, and they’re still found lacking in a few key areas. Expensive doesn’t always mean better quality, but you’ll still need to spend close to 3 figures to get something worth wearing.

Best Hiking Jackets for Women – Reviewed

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Kor AirShell Warm Insulated Jacket

  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Weight: 12.3 Ounces
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: No
  • Hood: Yes

You’ll notice that we have a variety of insulated jackets, rain jackets, and fleece jackets in our review. That’s because we recognize that there is no “one size fits all” hiking jacket, as your needs will vary depending on your location and the season. The Mountain Hardware Kor AirShell is one of the few insulated jackets that we felt was good enough to make this list. While not waterproof, it does an exceptional job at keeping its wearers warm in cold, blustery weather.

It’s also pretty lightweight, and can easily be shoved into a day pack when it’s not needed. Considering how thin it is, you’d think that it wouldn’t do a good job of keeping you warm, but that’s just not the case. The soft, fleece lining is all you need to stay warm in temperatures that dip into the 40’s (and colder, depending on your base layer). Not to mention, fleece is so cozy, you’ll likely prefer it over something synthetic like polyester.

The jacket comes with 4 very usable pockets on the outside, as well as an internal drop pocket for extra storage. Overall, the fit is true to size, and the hem of the jacket will come down to your hips. However, if you want something that will cover your backside, consider going up a size from what you’d normally wear. It will feel baggy in other areas too, but not enough to cause discomfort.

Pros:

– Warm
– Lightweight
– Plenty of storage
– Cozy
– True to size

Cons:

– Not waterproof

Icebreaker Women’s Affix Anorak

  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Weight: 12.3 Ounces
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Hood: Yes

The Icebreaker Affix Anorak is a pull-over that does a great job of keeping its wearer warm and protected from the biting wind. With an outer shell of waterproof nylon, nothing will be passing through this material. On the other hand, the merino wool lining works to regulate your body temperature, wick moisture away, and provide a comfortable layer for your skin to touch.

It is a very form fitting jacket, so if you have any hesitation about how it will fit you, I’d suggest going up a size. Just bear in mind that the sleeves run long, so if you purchase a size larger than what you normally wear, the sleeves will likely cover most of your hands.

Speaking of sleeves, you won’t find the traditional elastic wrist bands that are standard on most jackets. Instead, there are zippers that allow you to tighten or loosen the fit on your arms. It’s a divisive feature, as some people don’t seem to like the weight of zippers on their wrists. However, others like the style and novel design, especially since they’re easy to use.

Pros:

– Merino wool liner
– Water and windproof
– Stylish
– Warm
– Comfortable

Cons:

– Very long sleeves
– Zippers on the wrists

REI Co-op Women’s XeroDry GTX Jacket

  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: 10.6 Ounces
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Hood: Yes

If you want a hiking jacket with some serious wind and water protection, look no further than the REI XeroDry GTX jacket. You probably noticed the “GTX” in the title of this product, which means that it makes use of Gore-Tex in its design. And if you know anything about Gore-Tex, you’re aware that it’s one of the best ways to stay protected against the elements without compromising on breathability.

And breathability is such an important quality to have in a hiking jacket. As you move around, there’s no way around it – you’re going to work up a sweat. If you’re wearing a breathable jacket, most of the sweat moisture will escape through the material without letting any rainwater in. But if the jacket isn’t breathable? Enjoy the experience of nylon sticking to your skin.

On top of that, the adjustable hood will likely be a game changer for many of you. Gone are the days of having your hood blow off your head because it’s way too big. Just pull on the two adjustable straps until you’ve got the desired fit, and you’ll be good to go no matter where you’re hiking.

The pockets are lined with mesh to act as vents for your core. There are several for you to choose from, allowing you to keep your belongings close by without running out of storage space.

Pros:

– Breathable
– Waterproof
– Adjustable hood
– Core vents
– Plenty of pockets

Cons:

– A little short

Arc’teryx Women’s Atom LT Insulated Jacket

  • Fabric: Nylon/Polyester
  • Weight: 10.2 Ounces
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: No
  • Hood: No

Incredibly lightweight and breathable, the Arc’teryx Atom is great when you need something warm and mobile. The generous amount of fleece used in the lining will keep you comfortable in chilly weather, and the high neckline works well to trap heat. At the same time, the Atom is so breathable that you won’t get steamed when you start to work up a sweat.

While the jacket isn’t waterproof, per se, it does have a coating of DWR (durable water repellent). You’ll stay dry in short rain showers, but don’t push your luck in extended downpours. While it makes for a great single layer in dry environments, it’s thin enough where you can easily throw a waterproof shell over the top of it.

The hoodless design is smart and casual, allowing you to wear this jacket pretty much everywhere, not just outside. It dries fast when wet, and can easily be cleaned by tossing it in a washing machine. Overall, it’s one of the best grab and go jackets that you’ll find, as it’s suitable for a wide variety of activities and environments.

Pros:

– Warm
– Comfortable
– Versatile
– Can be used standalone or with layers
– Machine washable
– Fast drying
– Breathable

Cons:

– Price

The North Face Women’s Antora Jacket

  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Weight: N/A
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Hood: Yes

A rain jacket through and through, The North Face Antora is a great waterproof shell to wear in wet and dreary weather. The attached, 3-piece hood provides an articulated fit that rests comfortably on almost any head, especially after it’s been adjusted using the drawstring. With it, you’ll be thoroughly protected from the rain, even if it’s being blown right at your face.

Made using recycled materials, this jacket isn’t just comfortable and effective – it’s ecofriendly. The nylon is both waterproof and breathable, allowing your skin to stay ventilated as you work up a sweat. And if you like to layer, the Antora fits loosely enough where you could squeeze a fleece in underneath it in colder temperatures.

The sleeves might feel a little long if you’re a short person, and the material does create that swishing sound that can become irritating after awhile. However, if you’re on a budget, the Antora is a reliable rain jacket that will do its job well in strong wind and pouring rain.

Pros:

– Water and windproof
– Inexpensive
– Can be worn with layers
– Made from recycled materials
– Breathable

Cons:

– Makes a swishing sound when you move

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium Rain Jacket

  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Weight: 5.6 Ounces
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Hood: Yes

You’ll have a hard time finding a women’s hiking jacket that’s lighter than the Outdoor Research Helium. At a staggering 5.6 ounces, you won’t even know it’s in your pack until you pull it out after the clouds start gathering overhead.

There are no pockets, other than the one that you see on the chest. While it might be an inconvenience for some, it’s part of the reason why the Helium is so lightweight. However, I do understand that pockets are nice to have for hand protection, in addition to storage capability. With that being said, I may suggest you go a size up from what you normally wear. The extra sleeve length will cover your hands, and you’ll have more room to wear multiple layers underneath the jacket as well.

While your options are limited, the chest pocket that you do get can second as a stuff sack for the jacket itself. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have a package about the size of a tennis ball that can easily be shoved anywhere you have a little extra space.

It’s also one of the more stylish options, in my opinion, with a nice range of color options to suit your tastes. And despite the thin, lightweight material, durability was never something that was up for debate. It’s highly tear and abrasion resistant, so you can play rough with it without worrying about its ability to rise to the challenge.

Pros:

– Ultralight
– Abrasion resistant
– Waterproof
– Chest pocket seconds as a stuff sack
– Stylish

Cons:

– No hand pockets

adidas Women’s Terrex Tech Flooce Light Hooded Jacket

  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: N/A
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: No
  • Hood: Yes

If you’ve never heard of “flooce” before, it’s a type of fleece that hasn’t been brushed and is made out of loops. It’s a material that’s exclusive to Adidas, which is precisely why you’ll find it in the Terrex Tech hooded jacket.

While this isn’t a waterproof jacket, that’s okay – it works better as a base layer anyway. The fleece sports a honeycomb pattern that’s optimized for trapping heat and managing moisture (aka, your sweat), to keep you at a comfortable temperature. There are a number of different colors to choose from, and this particular style seems to have a slimming effect.

It’s perfect for hikes that you start early in the day, while the dawn chill is still in the air. Even after it warms up, the Terrex Tech doesn’t become suffocatingly hot, as it’s one of the most breathable products that we’ve talked about so far. Zippered hand pockets give you a secure place to store your phone or snacks, so you’ll always have what you need when you need it.

Pros:

– Slim fitting
– Breathable
– Warm
– Comfortable
– Zippered pockets

Cons:

– May need to go up a size if you’re larger

Outdoor Research Women’s Trail Mix Hoodie

  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: 12 Ounces
  • Back Length: Hip-Length
  • Waterproof: No
  • Hood: Yes

Another one by Outdoor Research, the Trail Mix hoodie differs from the Helium in one very distinctive way – it’s not waterproof. Or even water resistant, for that matter. Instead, it serves a very simple purpose as a fleece jacket, which is to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.

And I have to say, it does its job very well.

Especially when you consider the price (finally, something under 3-figures!), it’s almost shocking the level of quality that you get. The waffle texture is both breathable and cozy, making it feel like you’re being hugged by a warm blanket as you traverse the chilly hiking trails.

Though a little thicker than some of the other options we’ve discussed so far, it still layers wonderfully. If you really wanted to, you could wear the Trail Mix as a base layer and toss on the Helium as a waterproof shell if the weather decides to take a turn for the worse.

It has a slightly loose fit, but as I see it, the only real downside is the lack of color variety. I hope you like black as much as I do, otherwise you might be disappointed when you try to search for other styles.

Pros:

– Warm
– Very comfortable
– Breathable
– Stretchy
– Can be layered
– Affordable

Cons:

– Only one color option

FAQ

How to Choose the Right Hiking Jacket?

Environment and weather can play a big role in the type of jacket that’s best for you. Summer jackets are often lightweight and waterproof, helping you stay dry without making you too hot. But when the colder temperatures start to roll around, you’ll want something insulated to keep you warm.

We believe that the Mountain Hardware Kor AirShell is the best winter hiking jacket for women. It’s well insulated, lightweight, and has enough articulation to let you move your body comfortably.

Clothing layers can often be broken into three categories: the base layer, the mid-layer, and the outer layer. A good base layer will wick moisture away from your skin to keep you from getting chilled. The mid-layer acts as an insulator, which is why most people opt for a fleece jacket here. And the outer shell should be waterproof, preventing moisture from entering into your layering system.

Final Thoughts

As you’re preparing for your hike, remember the importance of staying safe on the trail. Do you carry bells or a whistle for bear safety? Do you bring plenty of extra water to stay hydrated, and lather up with sunscreen to protect your skin?

Hopefully you do all of these things, but among them, don’t forget to wear the proper layers. In particular, the best hiking jacket for women will be lightweight, comfortable, and effective at protecting you against the weather you expect to face – whether that be cold temperatures, rainy skies, or both.

With that in mind, the Arc’teryx Atom LT did it best for us. Warm and breathable, it’s good for hikes in all locations, with enough water resistance to get you by until you can find better shelter. On top of that, it’s a fairly stylish option that can be used for everyday tasks as well.


Spencer Yeomans

Spencer Yeomans

A lover of the outdoors, and especially the mountains, Spencer has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top