Choosing the Proper Hiking Jacket

Written By Alla Levin
September 14, 2023

Choosing the Proper Hiking Jacket

When choosing a hiking jacket, you want one that will work for the entire hike. You want to stay at just the right temperature and not get too hot or too cold. You want to be comfortable with the fit, as well. You want your hiking equipment to work well for you for the entire hike. Your hiking jackets are just as important as the other equipment that you will use. You need to ensure you are getting only the best for you.

This article will help you choose the right hiking jacket for you. It will help to answer some of the questions that you might have about them. You can also do more research to find information about them.

A Comprehensive Guide: Type of Jacket

There are different types of jackets for your hike: One type is the hardshell, which is made from stiff and rigid materials. They protect you from all the elements, including rain, snow, and wind.

A softshell is usually made from polyester or nylon and will protect you from the cold. An insulated jacket or down-filled one is better for your colder hikes. A rainshell will protect you better from the rain.

When and Where Will You Hike?Choosing the Proper Hiking Jacket

The different climates will require different jackets. If you are hiking in the rain, you will want your softshell jacket combined with your rain shell. If you will be hiking in the cold, you will want to use an insulated one along with an insulated one.

Different places that you choose to hike may also require different jackets. It depends on the temperature that you are expecting in those areas. You might want more than one if the temperature changes during the hike.

Size and Fitting

It is vital to get a jacket that will fit you the right way. You want one that will fit you a little larger than your regular ones because you want to be able to wear layers of clothes under it. You also want it big enough to allow air to move around it.

The jacket should fit loosely but not so loose that it will get caught up on branches or limbs as you walk by them. You want to be comfortable and not be in danger because it hangs too much. Also make sure that there are no untied strings that could get caught up.

Weight and Bulk

You want everything to be as lightweight as you can get it while you are hiking. This includes the clothing that you are wearing. You don’t need a jacket that has extra zippers and snaps because it will weigh it down. You want something light and airy.

You want a simple, lightweight jacket so that you don’t have a lot of extra weight to carry along with you. It will also be easier to pack in your bag. If the weather requires more, of course, you will want a heavier jacket.


You want it to be easy to pack into your bag. Learn more about packability here. This makes a lightweight soft-shell jacket the best bet for most of your hikes. Hardshell ones and the ones that are insulated will be more difficult to pack away.

You need to rely on the weather to provide you with the information on what jacket to wear. You don’t want something that is too light for you in colder weather. You want to be comfortable during your hike.

WaterproofingChoosing the Proper Hiking Jacket

When searching for any jacket, look for one that is waterproof. You can find many different waterproof soft-shell ones, but you may need to choose a hard-shell or rain-shell one. You want to stay dry during your hike.

Even if there is no rain predicted during the time that you will be hiking, you still want something that is waterproof. If it is warm, you will be sweating, and you want something that will wick away that sweat. You don’t to get wet and stay wet during the hike.

Additional Features

A removable or adjustable hood would be an additional feature that you might want to look for. This will help to protect your neck from different elements. Also, look for pockets to carry your compass, maps, and cell phone, among other items. You also want to look for zippered vents on your jacket so that you can zip or unzip it for your comfort.

Look for additional features that could help you during your trip. This could include drawing cords around your cuffs that can close them off to keep you warmer. It could help you to keep the warm air in and the cool air out.

Proper Hiking Jacket: Conclusion

You want the perfect outerwear for your hiking trip. You don’t want something that keeps you too warm or too cold. You want to be comfortable and safe during the hike.

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