Hiking in the cold poses many challenges for hikers, professionals, and nonprofessionals, including hypothermia and frostbite. However, that shouldn’t stop you from going on a hike and enjoy being outdoors.
You just need protective gear, such as the best hiking jackets for cold weather with insulation that keeps you warm and dry as you’re outdoors.
Now, we are more than happy to show you how to choose such a good hiking jacket.
Here are the best hiking jackets for cold weather (Sep 2023 Update):
- Best Overall (Men’s Hiking Jackets): Wantdo Men's Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket
- Best for Large-Framed People (Men’s Hiking Jackets): The North Face Men's Gotham Jacket III
- Best for Mild Coldness (Men’s Hiking Jackets): RAB Microlight Alpine Jacket - Men's
- Best Overall (Women’s Hiking Jackets): Diamond Candy Women's Rain Jacket
- Lightweight (Women’s Hiking Jackets): Wantdo Women's Hooded Packable Jacket
- Best for Heavy Fog (Women’s Hiking Jackets): CAMEL CROWN Women’s Waterproof Ski Jacket
|6 Best Hiking Jackets For Cold Weather|
|Wantdo Men's Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket|
Best for Large-Framed People
|The North Face Men's Gotham Jacket III|
Best for Mild Coldness
|RAB Microlight Alpine Jacket - Men's|
|Diamond Candy Women's Rain Jacket|
|Wantdo Women's Hooded Packable Jacket|
Best for Heavy Fog
|CAMEL CROWN Women’s Waterproof Ski Jacket|
Best Overall (Men’s Hiking Jackets): Wantdo Men's Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket
- Very warm – highly insulated 240 g polyester fiber & water repellent coated, fuzzy lining
- Good weatherproof properties – wind-resistant softshell, windproof hood, stretchable glove, loop fastener cuffs, and adjustable hook
- Keep things neat and well-organized – 5 pockets
- Wish the outer shell was more quality
This hiking jacket meets everything we need to survive cold weather and even more.
It's thin enough that we can wear it for rain without feeling too heavy, but still quite warm in winter.
There are 5 pockets – three zippered ones on the outside and two on the inside with one zippered and one Velcro. All are very secure and easy to reach to not just carry but also organize your stuff.
During snowy weather, you can take advantage of the additional bottom inner layer to prevent the snow from getting inside.
The hood, on the other hand, is very protective and when not in use, you can unzip it.
|Wantdo Men's Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket Specifications|
240 g polyester fiber
highly insulated 240 g polyester fiber & water repellent coated, fuzzy lining; wind-resistant softshell, windproof hood, stretchable glove, loop fastener cuffs, and adjustable hook; 5 pockets
If you are seeking the best overall hiking jacket for cold weather, the Wantdo is a real bargain.
Best for Large-Framed People (Men’s Hiking Jackets): The North Face Men's Gotham Jacket III
- Extra warmth - goose down inner layering RDS certified by Control Union & snap closure, a rib-knit hem, and inset rib-knit cuffs
- Good ventilation – a DryVent shell
- Give a custom look – a hood with a detachable faux-fur trim
- Not recommended for people allergic to goose down
- The pockets are not insulated at all
More than just a warm hiking jacket to wear during cold weather, The North Face Men's Gotham III is one of the most favorite choices of large-framed hikers, all thanks to the ultra-wide size chart.
Here, you can find the best fit for your body shape, height, and weight as it provides from X-Small to 3X-Large.
The best thing is its goose down inner layering with RDS certification by Control Union. Don’t worry, there is a DryVent shell for air ventilation to keep you from sweating.
Along with that, you’ve got a storm flap with snap closure, a rib-knit hem, and inset rib-knit cuffs for extra warmth during harsh weather. We also like the added hood with a detachable faux-fur trim for a more custom look.
On the go? This jacket gives you lots of storage space to accommodate your stuff. There’s even one large pocket fitting enough a smartphone.
|The North Face Men's Gotham Jacket III Specifications|
goose down inner layering RDS certified by Control Union & snap closure, a rib-knit hem, and inset rib-knit cuffs; a DryVent shell; a hood with a detachable faux-fur trim
If you're willing to put up the cash for the best large-framed jacket to hike during the winter, this The North Face model is excellent.
Best for Mild Coldness (Men’s Hiking Jackets): RAB Microlight Alpine Jacket - Men's
- Ideal for mildly cold weather – feature less goose down than others
- Give moderate warmth - mini-stitch through baffles & slim-fit design
- Extra protection & convenience - a polymer peaked hood, chin guard, down-filled hood
- The straight tight torso is a bit too long
This one is made of goose down, too but the amount is much lighter than the previous, meaning that it works best on mild cold weather.
The shape is also a bit different from others. It’s slim fit to hence hug more to your body and provide more warmth, and there are mini-stitch through baffles throughout the jacket design.
Although it’s only suitable for mild coldness, we do appreciate the added chin guard, the down-filled hood which is helmet-compatible, and a polymer peaked hood.
One big advantage of a slim-fit winter hiking jacket is it doesn’t look bulky as many other counterparts.
|RAB Microlight Alpine Jacket - Men's Specifications|
750FP European Goose Down
mini-stitch through baffles & slim fit design; a polymer peaked hood, chin guard, down-filled hood
While a bulky, toasty warm winter hiking jacket isn’t for everyone, if your living area just has mild cold weather during this time, this thinner version is worth considering.
Best Overall (Women’s Hiking Jackets): Diamond Candy Women's Rain Jacket
- Creative & functional - collar and chest label techniques, enlarged pockets and new collar hook
- Toasty warm, soft, and lightweight - thick fuzzy cotton padded lining, windproof water-propellant softshell, adjustable cuffs
- It has an unpleasant smell right out of the box
- Not for wide hips
Talking about this hiking jacket, a big compliment is their manufacturer really knows how to listen to their customers’ feedback.
There have been lots of improvements in its functionality, such as enlarged pockets and new collar hook. One of the key features making this jacket more creative is the collar and chest label techniques.
Regardless of the slim-fit construction, this unit is toasty warm, soft, and lightweight, which is a big thank you to the thick fuzzy cotton padded lining and windproof water-propellant softshell.
Cuffs are adjustable to seal warmth inside better. Last but not least, its hood is removable for a custom look.
|Diamond Candy Women's Rain Jacket Specifications|
collar and chest label techniques, enlarged pockets and new collar hook; thick fuzzy cotton padded lining, windproof water-propellant softshell, adjustable cuffs
Diamond Candy Women's Rain Jacket is the overall performer in this realm. It’s stylish, really warm, soft, and lightweight – what’s not to love?
Lightweight (Women’s Hiking Jackets): Wantdo Women's Hooded Packable Jacket
- Lightweight and packable – a weight of 220g-320g
- Allow you to listen to podcast or music while hiking - media port for earphone line
- The hood doesn’t have a tie
- Not smell good
The Wantdo Women's Hooded Packable Jacket is incredibly lightweight and packable, which is suitable for frequent winter hikers or travelers.
It is slim-fit as well, but don’t worry, the jacket still keeps you warm for most cold-days. And for those female hikers with broad shoulders and big-chested body shape, the good news is you still can find the right size fitting right to you. Its size chart is super-wide.
The best part is the media port for earphone line. It’s actually an internal pocket and a petite loop on the left shoulder for extra support if your earphones are corded type.
We find this small improvement is like a life-changer, especially when you hike alone or want to listen to the podcast.
|Wantdo Women's Hooded Packable Jacket Specifications|
80% Duck Down, 20% Feather & 100% 20D*400T Nylon with a DWR finish shell and lining
a weight of 220g-320g; media port for earphone line
If you’re finding a lightweight female hiking jacket for cold weather, we highly recommend this Wantdo.
Best for Heavy Fog (Women’s Hiking Jackets): CAMEL CROWN Women’s Waterproof Ski Jacket
- Exceptional weatherproof properties - 5000mm- level military-grade Teflon materials
- Lots of storage space throughout the jacket – 5 inner pockets and 4 inners
- Allow for listening to music or podcast - a secure pocket with supporting fixture hole
- A bit pricey
We’re pleasantly surprised by the weatherproof properties of this winter hiking jacket.
It is built with 5000mm- level military-grade Teflon materials so if the outside is heavily snowy, rainy, or foggy, you just need to adjust its hook and zip up the seamless zipper then you’re ready to go.
This design also features the most pockets out of a bunch, with 5 outers and 4 inners.
There is a secure pocket with a supporting fixture hole to use your earphone with more convenience and protection.
Finally, like others, the hood of this hiking jacket is removable.
|CAMEL CROWN Women’s Waterproof Ski Jacket Specifications|
military-grade Teflon materials
5000mm- level military-grade Teflon materials; 5 inner pockets and 4 inners; a secure pocket with supporting fixture hole
If the price tag doesn’t make you woozy, scoop up this gem of a winter hiking jacket.
How To Choose The Best Hiking Jacket For Cold Weather?
You should always read the weather forecast before going on a hike, but despite that, the weather could change suddenly and unexpectedly. Therefore, you need a hiking jacket that’s waterproof and windproof.
It’s best if your weatherproof jacket also has well-sealed seams against water so that whether you are caught in the rain or fall into the water, you won’t get wet.
Besides, a windproof jacket will keep you warm if the wind starts to cut through in the cold weather, especially if you're at high altitudes.
Goose Down Vs Synthetic Insulation
When choosing a hiking jacket, you will need to decide between synthetic and goose down insulation based on where you will wear it.
A down jacket is suitable for places without fierce wind or wet snow. However, when facing a more inclement condition, you need a tougher outer layer: an insulation jacket. A goose down jacket helps you stay warm but becomes useless if it gets wet.
On the other hand, a synthetic insulation jacket still insulates even if it’s wet, making it a better option in slushy or rainy weather. So, you should opt for a synthetic insulation jacket.
A good hiking jacket should release moisture and vapors from the inside to its exterior. Many jackets fabrics are made with polyester or nylon treated with a DWR. This way, the nylon fabrics are usually waterproof and more comfortable.
Which Brands Make The Best Hiking Jacket For Cold Weather?
For nearly a decade, this brand has been focusing on making you feel comfortable during your outdoor activities. And it does this by making jackets that fit you perfectly through more than a million pieces of feedback, adopting a 360-degree approach, and employing 3D dynamic pattern-making technology.
The North Face
Founded in 1966, The North Face has long been among the most trusted brands with the best gear for outdoor explorers. Its products give you not only high quality but also innovative designs, construction, and advanced materials.
Since 1981, from the sleeping bag, RAB has extended to making jackets also. Its products offer high performance, protection, freedom, and comfort, all at the same time so you can enjoy your hikes.
Over the past ten years, this brand has been committed to only making the most cost-effective products. So if you’re looking for an affordable hiking jacket, this could be your go-to brand.
With 15 years of experience in the business, this brand makes products that are perfect for both professionals and beginners in hiking.
At what temperature do you need a jacket?
You will need a jacket when the temperature is below 45 or 50 degrees F. This also depends on the overall environment, such as is it windy, is it sunny, is it humid, etc.
Is fleece warmer than wool?
Yes, it is. Fleece is also more durable and light to wear than wool.
Is Linen good for cold weather?
Yes, it is. The material is made up of hollow fibers and acts as a natural insulator that keeps you warm in the cold weather and cool in the hot weather.
How to wash an insulated jacket?
Method 1: using the washing machine
Run the unit through an empty cycle with hot water first to clean the drum.
Zip up the all jacket’s zippers then turn it inside out.
Place the jacket in the washing machine on the gentle cycle.
Add detergent and run the gentle wash cycle.
Method 2: hand-washing
Mix one teaspoon of fragrance-free detergent with water.
Soak the jacket for 1 hour.
Rinse it with clean water until it’s clean of detergent.
Drying the jacket
Place 4 clean tennis balls in the dryer.
Put the jacket in the dryer, choose low heat.
Tumble dry the jacket.
Are hiking jackets expensive?
In short, hiking jackets are expensive because they are a complex product that requires skills in every phase from designing to manufacturing.
We hope that through this complete guide, we have answered your questions on how to choose the best hiking jackets for cold weather. No matter how much you plan to spend on your jacket, remember to consider every factor carefully to be able to get the best product.