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Hiking jackets—whether it's a Gore-Tex raincoat, a fleece pullover, or a down jacket—exist to provide the utmost comfort for you in various locations, climates, and weather. While it may seem easy to choose a good hiking jacket, there are many factors and features to consider before narrowing your selection. (Same goes for hiking pants—see our top picks for the best women's hiking pants here.)
The climate where you intend to hike is likely the most crucial aspect to take into account when choosing a jacket for hiking. You should seek materials molded for each environment, like a robust and tear-free hardshell fabric with a waterproof membrane for colder, wetter trails, or an ultralight design that might only have a DWR finish for muggy and hotter conditions. Or, you may need an adaptable and compact jacket you can easily stow away when the weather forecasts aren't reliable at all.
You get the point: it's a lot to consider and it all depends.
Luckily, there's an endless selection of hiking jackets made specifically for women, whether you're a dedicated trailblazer or weekend warrior. To help you sift through the lot, we've narrowed it down to the nine best women's hiking jackets for everyday and occasional wear. Read on and dig in.
Our Top 9 Picks for the Best Women's Hiking Jackets
Best Insulated Jacket for Hiking: Arc'teryx Atom Heavyweight Hoody
This insanely adaptable hiking jacket is warm, breathable, and windproof. Its synthetic Coreloft insulation provides practical warmth that works in nasty weather, unlike down. Worn as a water-repellant outer layer, this heavyweight hoodie can provide cold weather warmth and light weather protection. As midlayer, it pairs nicely with a parka for winter day hikes or even snowboarding and skiing. It has a fairly roomy fit and an adjustable hood for use without or with a helmet.
Weight: 395g / 13.9oz
Waterproofing: Water resistant
Sizing: XXS - XXL
Best Packable Women's Hiking Jacket: Cotopaxi Teca Calido Hooded Jacket
A synthetic colorful statement piece for any trail, the Cotopaxi Teca Calido hooded jacket packs down easily to stow away in its own chest pocket. It's stuffed with a light amount of synthetic insulation for some light warmth that you can quickly deploy whether you're hiking, biking, or trail running. The adjustable hood has a collar that keeps in warmth, and the side hand pockets ensure toasty fingers. The Teca Calido has added room for extra layers, and it's reversible when you want to change your style on the go.
Waterproofing: Light DWR
Sizing: XXS - XXL
Best Lightweight Women's Rain Jacket: Janji Rainrunner Pack Jacket
Janji recently updated its well-reviewed Rainrunner with three times more waterproof protection and breathability than its previous iteration. That's good news for runners (this is a running jacket, technically) but it's great news for hikers, too. The Rainrunner's lightweight ripstop and cape design provide an impressive balance of water-resistant protection and breathability. The jacket's long sleeves are cut loosely for freedom of movement and layering too, which is another example of a running feature that's perfect for alpine trekking and backpacking in variable weather conditions. As a bonus, you can fold it up and pack it inside its own mesh carrying case for convenience and accessibility.
Weight: 204g / 7.2oz (size small)
Waterproofing: 30k/30k waterproof/breathability rating
Sizing: XS - XL
Best Ultralight Hiking Jacket for Women: Houdini Come Along Jacket
Weighing in at 3.5 ounces in a women's medium, the Come Along Jacket is an ultralight and minimalistic shell that will provide safe harbor from wind or light rain. Think of it as a beefed up, water-resistant windbreaker that you can stash in a pocket for any just-in-case situations. Its Japanese ripstop is sleek and made from recycled nylon—Houdini also omits all nasty chemicals or substances frequently used in synthetic material production, ensuring this jacket is a clean, sustainable option. It's not as heavy-duty as the other options on this list, but equally worthy of a place in your daypack with the rest of your hiking gear.
Weight: 100g / 3.5oz
Waterproofing: PFAS-free DWR
Sizing: XXS - XL
Best for Travel: Prana Othello Falls Jacket
Prana is well-known for its stylish apparel for outdoor enthusiasts, and the full-zip Othello Falls Jacket is something of a catch-all hiking and streetwear piece. Loaded with features, this bad boy keeps Earth’s turbulent elements out while keeping your torso warm and dry. Fully taped seams will keep downpours from seeping through stitches while a ventilated yoke ensures it stays breathable while you're on the go. This softshell jacket also has solid wind resistance, and it's made with 100% recycled materials. The Othello offers a standard tailored and chic-looking fit, making it a versatile choice for trips that involve exploration via city streets as well as hiking trails.
Waterproofing: PFAS-free DWR, taped seams
Most Versatile Insulated Jacket: Patagonia’s Nano Puff Hoody
Patagonia's wildly popular Nano Puff is a best seller for a reason. Actually, for many: This famous hoodie is as durable as they come, and it's ultra-warm, windproof, lightweight, water-resistant, and packable. The latest iterations also use post-consumer recycled polyester. It's a multi-hyphenated beast that you'll spot on hiking trails the world around because it just works. The Nano Puff fits true to size, and while serving the torso with fitted seams, it does offer extra room for midlayers and base layers. Given Patagonia's Worn Wear repair or replace guarantee, the price point is pretty good, too.
Weight: 306g / 10.8oz
Waterproofing: PFC-free DWR
Sizing: XXS - XXL
Best Fleece Pullover: Senchi Designs Merlin Hiloft Hoodie
This unisex fleece pullover hoodie is anything but typical with its woven fibers, mega-cozy waffled pattern, and meticulously designed sleeves for comfortable anatomical shaping. The Polartec Alpha fabric is super-technical, moisture-resistant, breathable, and quick-drying, and despite a performance balaclava-style hood, it looks cuter than the average performance fleece. Pull it over a t-shirt or base layer when the weather cools, or wear it under a puffy jacket as a midlayer. The Merlin also features a large kangaroo pocket to rest the hands comfortably while sipping a cold one around the campfire, and is available in 2XL and 3XL plus sizes.
Note: Senchi Designs makes each piece by hand in Portland, OR and releases new fleeces in limited quantities that sell out fast.
Weight: 269g / 9.5oz (size small)
Sizing: XS - 3XL
Best Waterproof Rain Jacket: Outdoor Research Women's Helium Rain Jacket
The Helium Rain Jacket is a grab-and-go winner for anywhere from the cold weather high alpine to the drizzly lowcountry. It's fully waterproof, windproof, seam-taped, and durable but also breathable, lightweight, and packable. Features include an adjustable hood and hem for full protection in wet weather, plus a chest pocket that the jacket can squish down into when the storm subsides and you can enjoy the backcountry in the sun. The jacket has a regular fit and is available in a full run of plus sizes.
Weight: 159g / 5.6 oz
Waterproofing: Pertex Shield
Sizing: XS - 4XL
Best Budget Option: Columbia Women's Earth Explorer Shell Jacket
Even with a $120 price tag, Columbia's Earth Explorer Shell Jacket is fully waterproof, seam-sealed, and breathable i.e. ready for outdoor downpours. It has underarm pit zips for extra venting for more comfortable for all-day wear, and its offset cut covers your entire torso to keep you warm and cozy while avoiding backsplash.
Sizing: XS - XXL and plus sizes