Last updated: August 10, 2021

Our method

15Products analysed

45Hours spent

24Evaluated articles

87User reviews

Welcome to our big hiking jacket test 2021. Here we present all the hiking jackets we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best hiking jacket for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a hiking jacket.




Summary

  • Hiking jackets allow you to spend time in nature despite bad weather conditions without getting cold or wet.
  • Basically, hiking jackets are differentiated by their materials and the associated functions.
  • Hardshell jackets are particularly suitable for severe weather conditions and protect you from snow or rain storms, while softshell or fleece jackets are particularly suitable for moderate weather conditions and protect you from sweating thanks to their breathability.

The Best Hiking Jacket: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a hiking jacket

Who is a hiking jacket suitable for?

In principle, a hiking jacket is suitable for anyone who spends time in nature and wants to protect themselves from the weather. With its many advantages, the hiking jacket is one of the most popular among functional jackets.

Hiking jackets are also suitable for excursions in unfamiliar areas due to their functionality. (Image source: unsplash.com/ Khamkhor)

Since hiking jackets are usually made of a certain material, it is important to find a jacket that adapts to your body's needs. If you sweat a lot, you should avoid certain materials when buying.

However, there are also different models that are breathable and moisture-regulating and thus contribute to the right function. The health aspect of the hiking jacket should also not be underestimated. Because hiking jackets prevent you from getting sick by protecting you from the weather through their high insulation, waterproofness and heat regulation.

The hiking jacket is great for people who want to protect themselves from wind and weather in the great outdoors

Hiking jackets are some of the most feature-rich jackets you can buy today. However, it may take you some time to find out which one is most suitable for you. This is because the materials and their different features have different functions.

What material should a hiking jacket be made of?

The material your hiking jacket should be made of depends on your preferences for fit and body feel. When buying a hiking jacket, you need to distinguish between different materials to find the right outdoor jacket for you. The different fabrics offer you different levels of comfort when wearing the jacket.

Hiking jackets are just as individual as your personal preferences for outdoor activities. It makes sense to look at the different types to find your perfect functional jacket. (Image source: unsplash.com/ Jeremy mcknight)

The fleece jacket is made of polyester, which makes it very soft and comfortable to wear. It adapts well to your body due to its crease resistance and is particularly light, which makes it easy to carry.

The softshell jacket is light and elastic, which makes it a real all-rounder. When running, the outdoor jacket makes you very mobile without rustling. A hardshell jacket is multi-layered, which usually makes it feel a little stiffer and heavier than a softshell jacket. This makes the hiking jacket robust and tear-resistant for severe weather conditions.

What function should my hiking jacket have?

The preferred functionality of your hiking jacket depends on the weather conditions you want to wear it in. If you are looking for a hiking jacket that you can wear in warm summer temperatures, it is important that your hiking jacket is breathable and heat-regulating so that you do not get sweaty.

If, on the other hand, you want to wear your hiking jacket in winter, you should make sure that your hiking jacket is windproof, waterproof and isloriented to protect you from the cold. If, on the other hand, you are not sure which function you want your outdoor jacket to fulfil, you should go for an all-rounder that fulfils several purposes.

How much does a hiking jacket cost?

There is a wide price range between different hiking jackets. The cost varies depending on the quality and material. The range can go from around 25 to 450 euros. If you spend a lot of time outdoors and want to protect yourself from the weather, the prices seem reasonable to us.

Type Price range
No name product 25-90 euros
Brand product 80-450 euros

Products from the online shop start at just 25 euros, although no-name products are usually cheaper than hiking jackets from big brands.

Decision: What types of hiking jackets are there and which is the right one for you?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 3-in-1 jacket?

The big advantage of a 3-in-1 jacket is that you can wear it in different weather conditions. It covers a wide range of protection mechanisms with its functionality, so you can use it all year round.

A 3-in-1 jacket is based on the so-called onion principle and consists of two layers. An inner jacket and an outer jacket. This means you only need to wear one jacket instead of dressing in layers of clothes to keep warm.

Advantages
  • High functionality
  • All-rounder
  • Suitable for summer
  • Suitable for winter
  • High-quality products with removable inner jacket
Disadvantages
  • Unsuitable for extreme temperatures
  • Unsuitable for extreme weather conditions
  • Unsuitable for exact requirements

The 3 in 1 jacket is highly functional and can be recommended as a year-round companion for all out door activities. As an all-rounder, it is suitable for every season. The material of the inner jacket, which is mostly fleece, stores heat well and the coating of the outer jacket insulates from rain or wind. This means you are optimally protected.

What are the characteristics of a summer hiking jacket and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A summer hiking jacket is usually made of softshell material, as this is particularly light and elastic. In warm weather, the jacket is not too bulky and is very comfortable to wear. Summer is characterised by light weather influences, which makes the softshell outdoor jacket with its several layers quite water-repellent in light rain but not waterproof in a major storm.

Thanks to its breathability, the softshell jacket is ideal if you tend to sweat in warmer temperatures. Another material for a summer hiking jacket is the fleece jacket. Its light weight makes it easy to stow in your luggage and its fit makes it comfortable to wear. As the fleece jacket is hardly water- and windproof, it is only suitable if you assume clear weather conditions.

Advantages
  • Specificity
  • Lightweight
  • Elastic
  • Breathable
  • Comfort
Disadvantages
  • Specificity
  • Not waterproof
  • Not windproof

When it comes to summer hiking jackets, it's important to decide between the different materials and listen to your needs. If you are sure that you will only wear the jacket in very good weather conditions in warm areas without a lot of wind, a jacket made of fleece is perfectly adequate for spending time in nature.

If, on the other hand, you are sure to encounter rain or wind during your activities, you should opt for a more robust softshell jacket

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a winter hiking jacket?

A hiking jacket that is especially suitable for winter is usually made of hardshell material. This is characterised by the fact that it is particularly strong and water-repellent. It protects against snow and serves as a perfect rain jacket.

Winter is known for its severe weather conditions. With a hardshell jacket, you are also prepared for unexpected snowfall or rain showers. It also offers great insulation against the cold. This counteracts a rapid drop in body temperature.

Because of the hardness of its material, a hardshell jacket is often worn as an all-round overjacket over a softshell or fleece jacket. However, if it is lined, it can also be worn without an additional underjacket.

Advantages
  • Wind resistance
  • Water resistance
  • Insulation
  • Severe weather
  • Thermal regulation
Disadvantages
  • Hard material
  • Heavy
  • Rusty material

The winter hiking jacket is specially designed for severe weather conditions such as snow or rain storms and offers good protection. It is the perfect jacket for winter holidays or as an additional jacket to your summer jacket if you do get caught in a shower. It is important to listen to your needs and choose a jacket according to your requirements.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate hiking jackets

In the following we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible hiking jackets. The criteria you can use to compare the different hiking jackets include:

  • Material
  • Lining
  • Hood
  • Number of pockets

In the following paragraphs we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Material

Depending on the intended use, the material of your hiking jacket plays an important role. This determines the fit, function and weight of your jacket. Hardshell jackets function as a defence mechanism.

To protect you from heavy snow or rain storms, their material is somewhat harder and also heavier than other models. This makes the fit a little stiffer.

In severe weather conditions, the type of material of your hiking jacket is especially important to protect you from snow and cold. (Image source: unsplash.com/ John O'Nolan )

Softshell jackets, on the other hand, are softer and lighter due to the material they are made of. They protect you in moderate weather conditions, but do not offer protection against storms. A fleece jacket is very comfortable to wear and its material is particularly light and soft. However, it is only suitable for very good weather conditions.

To be on the safe side, you can combine the different jackets or go for a well-made 3-in-1 jacket where you can remove the inner jacket. This way you can vary the weight and function of the jacket.

Material Features
Fleece lightweight, high wearing comfort, highly insulating, versatile underjacket
Softshell lightweight, water-repellent, wind-repellent, breathable, thermoregulation
Hardshell repellent, waterproof, windproof, solid material

Lining

Depending on the conditions in which you intend to use your hiking jacket, it is important whether your functional jacket is lined from the inside. Whether your jacket has an inner lining depends mostly on the material or the function of your jacket.

Jackets that have as their primary function to keep you warm are often lined from the inside. Jackets whose primary function is to keep you warm are often lined, whereas jackets whose primary function is to keep you out of the rain and wind do not need to be lined.

If you are looking for an overjacket that already has a warming underjacket, it makes sense to choose a jacket without a lining. This category includes hardshell jackets, which are often only protected on the inside with a very thin carbon film. If, on the other hand, you need a jacket with a lining to keep you warm, you should go for a lined softshell or 3-in-1 jacket.

Hood

There are functional jackets that have a fixed hood, a detachable hood or no hood at all. Depending on your personal requirements, you should choose a variant. If your favourite model has a detachable hood, you have the most flexibility.

In summer you can simply take it off in good weather and put it back on in winter. This feature also helps if you just want to keep your hood or jacket free of dirt. If you choose a jacket with an integrated hood, the material is often stronger than with a detachable one. This ensures great stability.

You are always protected from wind, rain or snow and the hat also works well as a thermal insulator. If you choose a jacket without a hood, you should be sure that you will only use it in moderate weather conditions without much wind.

Number of pockets

Hiking jackets are divided into internal and external pockets. The number of pockets plays an important role if you want to be able to carry items. The number of jacket pockets varies on average between 2 and 5 pockets. If you don't carry a lot of luggage while you're out and about, you can opt for a jacket with two hip pockets.

You can easily reach into these from the outside and carry your most important items. If you want more storage space in your jacket, you should either choose a model with more inner or sleeve pockets or invest in a practical hiking backpack.

From the inside, your items are better protected from wind and weather by the outer layers and you can also protect your things from possible theft.

Facts worth knowing about hiking jackets

How do I wash a hiking jacket?

If you want to wash your outdoor jacket, it is best to first read the washing instructions on the label of your functional jacket. Below we show you a common method for washing your hiking jacket.

  1. First, prepare your jacket for the wash cycle by closing all zips and turning them inside out.
  2. In your washing machine, you should select a gentle spin cycle (30 degrees Celsius) to avoid damaging your jacket. Do not use fabric softener when washing and use a liquid detergent to avoid leaving any detergent residue in your jacket.
  3. Remove your jacket from the washing machine as soon as possible after washing and dry it by hand. Be careful not to expose the jacket to UV rays, as this will damage the material.

Caution: Not all jackets are suitable for washing Not all jackets are suitable for washing in a washing machine or tumble dryer.

If your jacket is not machine washable, you should carefully remove dirt by hand and air dry it.

How do I properly waterproof a hiking jacket?

When impregnating your outdoor jacket, you should first pay attention to any instructions from your seller or the manufacturer on the jacket label. You will usually find this on the inside. There are two ways to waterproof your hiking jacket.

You can use a waterproofing spray or a waterproofing detergent. In the following we explain how to impregnate by hand washing.

  1. If you have just washed your jacket, you can put it in a bowl of lukewarm water and add the specified amount of waterproofing agent.
  2. Wash your jacket by hand in the solution and let it soak in for a short time.
  3. After washing, rinse your jacket again with water.
  4. Dry your jacket in the fresh air.

It is best to impregnate your jacket after you have washed it. This saves you time and work steps.

Another plus: Even with the impregnation spray, the jacket can be impregnated best when it is slightly wet.

Image source: unsplash.com / Patrik Michalicka

Why you can trust us?

Reviews