One of the most important things to put on when you go hiking is a hiking jacket. However, choosing the best lightweight hiking jackets isn’t an easy task because there are several factors to take into account such as weight, waterproof ability, and fit.
With that in mind, we have compiled a complete guide to help you pick the perfect jacket for your hikes. Let’s get started.
Here are the best lightweight hiking jackets (Jan 2021 Update):
- Best Overall (Women’s): Columbia Women's Switchback Iii
- Best For Light Rain (Women’s): Hount Women's Lightweight Hooded Raincoat
- Stylish (Women’s): SoTeer Women's Waterproof Raincoat
- Best For Sunny Days (Women’s): Zeagoo Lightweight Windbreaker Women Packable Raincoat
- Best For Windy Days (Women’s): CAMEL CROWN Women’s Fleece Lined Softshell Jacket
- Best Overall (Men’s): BALEAF Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket
- Best For Moderate Rain (Men’s): Columbia Men's Watertight Ii Rain Jacket
- Best For Layering (Men’s): TEZO Men’s Rain Jacket
- Best For Large-Framed People (Men’s): Carhartt Men's Dry Harbor Jacket
- Best For Small-framed People (Men’s): Little Donkey Andy Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket for Hiking
|10 Best Lightweight Hiking Jackets|
|Columbia Women's Switchback Iii|
Best For Light Rain
|Hount Women's Lightweight Hooded Raincoat|
|SoTeer Women's Waterproof Raincoat|
Best For Sunny Days
|Zeagoo Lightweight Windbreaker Women Packable Raincoat|
Best For Windy Days
|CAMEL CROWN Women’s Fleece Lined Softshell Jacket|
|BALEAF Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket|
Best For Moderate Rain
|Columbia Men's Watertight Ii Rain Jacket|
Best For Layering
|TEZO Men’s Rain Jacket|
Best For Large-Framed People
|Carhartt Men's Dry Harbor Jacket|
Best For Small-framed People
|Little Donkey Andy Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket for Hiking|
Best Overall (Women’s): Columbia Women's Switchback Iii
- Stylish – 40 color options & modern classic cut
- Keep you dry in light rain – 100% waterproof nylon shell & an adjustable stowaway hood
- Breathable & moisture-wicking – polyester lining
- Some customers said that the arms were a bit tight to them
What do you expect in a lightweight hiking jacket? Stylish, durable, waterproof, or storage? Whichever of your expectation, the good news is this option has them all.
It offers 40 color options to choose from. The fabric is 100% machine-washable nylon applied advanced technology for waterproof, along with an adjustable stowaway hood, it can protect you from light rain.
The jacket is one of those rare options coming with an internal layer made of polyester for moisture-wicking and breathability.
|Columbia Women's Switchback Iii Specifications|
40 color options & the modern classic cut
100% waterproof nylon shell & an adjustable stowaway hood
For the best overall women’s hiking jacket, you shouldn’t skip the Columbia Women's Switchback Iii.
Best For Light Rain (Women’s): Hount Women's Lightweight Hooded Raincoat
- Handle light rains efficiently – waterproof yet breathable materials
- Easy to pack – include a carrying pouch
- Extra protection – a drawstring hood
- The zipper isn’t waterproof
- Not for women with big arms or wide shoulders
However, if you’re looking for a specialized hiking jacket for light rains, we highly recommend this option. Although this is a no-lined design, we believe its perfect material combination will never make you sweat nor feel damped wet, even in the midst of rain.
|Hount Women's Lightweight Hooded Raincoat Specifications|
98% Polyester, 2% Rayon
waterproof yet breathable materials
include a carrying pouch
a drawstring hood
After months of testing, we confidently assure you that the Hount Women's Lightweight Hooded Raincoat is best for light rains.
Stylish (Women’s): SoTeer Women's Waterproof Raincoat
- Stylish – dual-colored design & 25 color choices
- Waterproof & sunproof – made of 5% Spandex and 95% polyester
- Some people might like it if it was a bit thicker
- Not for women with broad shoulders
Why having to compromise between style and function while you can get both of them with this lightweight hiking jacket from SoTeer?
It is crafted from 5% Spandex and 95% polyester that’s not just lightweight but also waterproof and sun-proof that can well-protect you from light rain, heat, and other impacts. Meanwhile, its beautiful dual-colored design, along with 25 options, will never let you down.
|SoTeer Women's Waterproof Raincoat Specifications|
95% Polyester and 5% Spandex
dual-colored design & 25 color choices
made of 5% Spandex and 95% polyester
Some hikers not just love a lightweight jacket but also want it to express their taste. For them, we suggest the SoTeer Women's Waterproof Raincoat.
Best For Sunny Days (Women’s): Zeagoo Lightweight Windbreaker Women Packable Raincoat
- Ultra-breathable and moisture-wicking – non-waterproof, nylon material
- Good protection to your neck – stand-up collar design + drawcord
- Easy to pack
- Not for wide hips
If you’re going to hike under harsh sunlight, look no further than the Zeagoo. It is lightweight, well-protective, durable, and especially, the sun protection level is top-notch.
Aside from the high-quality nylon shell, it is built with a stand-up collar and adjustable drawcord for extra protection to your neck. No lining so it dries out quickly. No waterproof so it’s breathable and wicks moisture pretty fast.
|Zeagoo Lightweight Windbreaker Women Packable Raincoat Specifications|
non-waterproof, nylon material
stand-up collar design + drawcord
A non-waterproof hiking jacket, like the Zeagoo Lightweight Windbreaker, is not a bad thing every time! For sunny days, it’s the best!
Best For Windy Days (Women’s): CAMEL CROWN Women’s Fleece Lined Softshell Jacket
- Windproof – feature an adjustable drawcord hem, hook & loop fastener, elastic cuffs, and a drawcord hood
- Extra warm - a polyester soft fleece lining & two zippered hand pockets
- Resist light rains - water-resistant shell
- Wish there were more color choices
- A bit stiff
Hikes on windy days usually make you feel chilled and cold.
If you’re preparing for such hiking trips, we highly recommend the CAMEL CROWN. It’s not only windproof (by featuring an adjustable drawcord hem, hook & loop fastener, elastic cuffs, and drawcord hood) but also comes with a polyester soft fleece lining.
Besides, the shell is water-resistant.
For extra warmth, it has two zippered hand pockets aside from the two insides for storage.
|CAMEL CROWN Women’s Fleece Lined Softshell Jacket Specifications|
96% polyester blended with 4% spandex
feature an adjustable drawcord hem, hook & loop fastener, elastic cuffs, and a drawcord hood
a polyester soft fleece lining & two zippered hand pockets
In need of the best lightweight yet warm hiking jacket for windy days? Try the CAMEL CROWN.
Best Overall (Men’s): BALEAF Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket
- Protect you from rains – waterproof materials & elastic cuffs and adjustable hem
- Safe to wear – reflective elements
- Easy to clean – machine-washable nylon
- Not as breathable as those jackets with lining
Start off with the BALEAF hiking jacket – one of the most popular options these days. It is waterproof, lightweight, easy to clean, and durable. Besides, the added elastic cuffs and the adjustable hem is a great combo that not only offers a relaxed fit but also dries out easily.
We do appreciate the additional reflective elements attached to this jacket so if you’re hiking in low light conditions, it’s a lot safer.
|BALEAF Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket Specifications|
waterproof materials & elastic cuffs and adjustable hem
Standing out for its overall performance, the BALEAF Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket is our Best Pick for 2020.
Best For Moderate Rain (Men’s): Columbia Men's Watertight Ii Rain Jacket
- Repel water super-well - advanced waterproof nylon shell technology & Omni-Shield
- Easy to clean – stain-resistant material
- Not for layering – snug fit
- Not as breathable as others
For optimum rain-protection performance, you should go for the Columbia Men's Watertight Ii because it’s built with advanced waterproof nylon shell technology.
This new design makes the apparel durable enough to handle from light rains to downpours or storms like a champ. Plus, it boasts Omni-Shield for unparalleled resistance to liquid absorption.
This feature also keeps your jacket from stains, meaning for ease of maintenance.
|Columbia Men's Watertight Ii Rain Jacket Specifications|
advanced waterproof nylon shell technology & Omni-Shield
Built with Omni-Shield and new advanced waterproof nylon shell technology, the Columbia Men's Watertight Ii not just keeps you completely dry from moderate rain but also downpours.
Best For Layering (Men’s): TEZO Men’s Rain Jacket
- Rain and water resistance - waterproof polyester shell, fully sealed seams, adjustable Velcro cuffs, windproof detachable hood, and TPU membrane
- Breathable - non-fleece mesh lining
- The zipper pull is on the left side
Unlike Columbia, this jacket is loose-fitting, which means it’s perfect for layering if you intend to go hiking during fall and winter.
Meanwhile, the unit itself is good at rain and wind resistance.
That’s a big thank you to the waterproof polyester shell, fully sealed seams, adjustable Velcro cuffs, windproof detachable hood, and TPU membrane. But rest assured that it’s still moderately breathable due to the non-fleece mesh lining.
|TEZO Men’s Rain Jacket Specifications|
Non-fleece mesh lining fabric
waterproof polyester shell, fully sealed seams, adjustable Velcro cuffs, windproof detachable hood, and TPU membrane
non-fleece mesh lining
Finding the most lightweight hiking jacket that still allows for layering during fall and winter hikes? The TEZO Men’s Rain Jacket is worth investing in.
Best For Large-Framed People (Men’s): Carhartt Men's Dry Harbor Jacket
- Great weather protection - 10K/5K protection rating
- Durable & waterproof - fully-taped waterproof seams, rain-defender dual-layered membrane, and storm-defender, waterproof nylon shell
- Ultra coverage and comfort – a hood with visor
- A bit expensive
- The polyurethane finish inside could be better
While most hiking jackets are designed for standard men’s torso, the Carhartt Men's Dry Harbor Jacket’s size chart is a bit larger, which is like a God’s bless for large-framed guys.
Aside from the comfortable fitting, you'll benefit from its fully-taped waterproof seams, rain-defender dual-layered membrane, and storm-defender, waterproof nylon shell. The ultra-protection and durable design make the protection rating of this jacket up to 10K/5K.
Plus, it’s attached with a hood and visor.
|Carhartt Men's Dry Harbor Jacket Specifications|
10K/5K protection rating
fully-taped waterproof seams, rain-defender dual-layered membrane, and storm-defender, waterproof nylon shell
a hood with visor
We find the Carhartt Men's Dry Harbor Jacket to be the best choice for large-framed people.
Best For Small-framed People (Men’s): Little Donkey Andy Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket for Hiking
- Ideal for small guys - A wide size chart & adjustable fit
- Windproof and waterproof - full seam taped tech, DWR Finish, and Superior waterproof shell fabric
- Breathable - PU coated membrane and mesh lining
- Comfortable - lined chin guard and front storm flap
- Feel stiff
A wide size chart and adjustable fit design (include hook & loop cuffs, drawcord hem, and tuck-away hood with adjustable drawstring), we find no reason to deny this men’s hiking jacket. It fits everyone, regardless of their body torso and taste.
Although it’s stated to be windproof and waterproof efficiently, the jacket doesn’t make you sweat, thanks to the PU coated membrane and mesh lining. Meanwhile, it offers great comfort.
The lined chin guard and front storm flap are what we’re trying to talk about.
|Little Donkey Andy Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket for Hiking Specifications|
A wide size chart, 9 color options, and adjustable fit design
full seam taped tech, DWR Finish, and Superior waterproof shell fabric
PU coated membrane and mesh lining
lined chin guard and front storm flap
The Little Donkey Andy Men's Waterproof Rain Jacket brings home our Editors’ Choice Award for its great fit for small people.
How To Choose The Best Lightweight Hiking Jacket?
The reason why you should opt for a lightweight jacket is that it feels more comfortable to wear and keeps your packing light if you get warmer and don’t need to wear it anymore.
Besides, if it’s cold, with a lightweight jacket, you can wear extra layers without worrying about already carrying much weight on your body.
The waterproof ability of a hiking jacket is determined by the fabric it’s made of.
The best material known is GORE-TEX, which offers breathability so you won’t get the sweaty, clammy feeling when you heat up. This fabric is also durable and windproof.
The waterproof ability can also be indicated in ratings for different weather conditions.
For example, a jacket with ratings of 2 and 3 can keep your dry from 6-12 cm rainfall within 1-2 hours. A jacket with a rating of 4 can protect you from 30 cm rainfall for 3 hours. And a rating of 5 means the jacket can protect you from 1.8-meter rainfall for 4 hours.
You should go with a jacket that fits you well as it will make you comfortable and look good at the same time. It’s best that you try jackets on to see how they fit because a jacket that’s too big doesn’t do you any good.
On the other hand, a jacket’s too small may expose your skin or inner layers when you bend over to tighten your shoelaces, for example.
- Cuffs: They help minimize the amount of water wicking up your arm.
- Pit zips: They are placed under the arms to ventilate the jacket and limit the exposure to the rain.
- Zips: They can be protected by a flap or water-resistant. The zips often come with an extra flap inside to prevent water penetration.
- Pockets: Remember that more pockets mean less breathability. Opt for pockets lined with mesh to maximize breathability. Take into account the number and positions of the pockets so that they are enough and accessible.
- Hoods: Choose a hood that’s compatible with helmets and features a round-the-head cinch cord so you can secure the hood around your face.
Which Brands Make The Best Lightweight Hiking Jacket?
Founded in 1924, this brand specializes in jackets for men, women, and even children. It offers a wide range of styles and colors for you.
With over a hundred years of experience in the industry, this brand achieves success by focusing on quality. Its jackets are loved for great design and technology as well.
Since its establishment in 2015, this brand has paid a lot of attention to research and development to come up with the best clothing items for outdoor activities, featuring airflow tech, lightweight materials, and compression.
Over the past 130 years, this brand is trusted for making menswear that only satisfies its consumers.
What material is good for hiking?
The layers, the best material is either merino wool or polyester as they keep the skin dry, making you comfortable. For a jacket, GORE-TEX is the best.
Is nylon or polyester more lightweight?
These two materials are equally lightweight as they both feature polymer-based construction.
How do I know what size hiking jacket to buy?
To figure out the size, you can measure your hip and chest in inches or centimeters. Then, compare your measurements with the size charts depending on countries and brands.
Are hiking jackets good for layering?
Yes, a hiking jacket can let you wear another two layers under it. Hiking jackets are also often breathable so you can dress in layers without feeling uncomfortable.
Does water go through nylon?
Yes, nylon actually absorbs water and when it’s wet, it lets water pass through.
With this post, we hope that it has got a lot easier for you to figure out what to look for in the best lightweight hiking jackets. There are countless models on the market, but if you follow our guide and stick with reliable brands, you will be fine.