10 Best Wind Jackets Tested and Reviewed

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Wind jackets are designed not only to be used as protection during those blustery days, but they are also ideal for the changing seasons when it starts to get cooler and warmer after the winter. They are also great for when there is a light rain since many options include water-resistant fabric and hoods.

Adventure seekers, runners, cyclist, hikers, trailblazer, mountain climbers, and more can benefit from a wind jacket. That’s because they will protect against harsh conditions, while still being light and breathable to prevent the wearer from getting too hot and sweaty. And don’t assume that these are the unstylish and obnoxiously colored windbreakers from back in the day. There are plenty of trendy and high-quality options that are known for their performance.

Don’t know where to start when it comes to looking for a good buy? Keep reading to find out which wind jackets made our top 10 list!

Last Updated: July 5, 2018
By Tess Bercan:

Our updated buying guide for wind jackets brings you updated product information for the existing list and a great new addition by Mountain Hardcore and. Check out the Information section below the reviews to see our most current evaluation criteria and FAQs.

Colombia Switchback II
  • Colombia Switchback II
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stain Repellant + Color Variety
  • Price: See Here
Columbia Glennaker Lake
  • Columbia Glennaker Lake
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Hideaway Hood + Water Repellant
  • Price: See Here
North Face Resolve II
  • North Face Resolve II
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 100% Wind-proof
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Wind Jackets

 

1. Columbia Switchback II

Made from omni-shield water and stain repellent material, this jacket is thin and great for using as a light rain jacket for outdoor activities like when hitting the trails. The fit is flattering, and has a comfortable range of motion. It has a back venting system, a hideaway hood and can fold up to be stored in the chest pocket.
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Features

With its zippered front and side pockets, this wind jacket has adjustable cuff tabs, a back venting system for added airflow, and a stow-away hood for when its raining.

Style & Fit

This is another stylish option for women, with is “Classic fit” that is relaxed and comfortable. It is available in many different color options such as Bright Rose, Whitened Pink, and Miami.

Durability

Made from nylon, polyester and fine mesh, this wind jacket has waterproof omni-shield water and stain repellent properties. Plus it is machine washable, making it easy to care for. The jacket can be packed into the hand pocket, making it easy to take on-the-go.
Pros
  • Stylish with many color choices
  • Light and ideal for traveling
Cons
  • Fabric not as comfortable as other options
  • Lacking in breathability

2. Columbia Glennaker Lake

Ideal for running, cycling, fishing and other adventure seeking activities, the Glennaker Lake rain jacket is a versatile option that comes at a very affordable price. It is lightweight, with wind breaking protection and is water repellent. It also has a hideaway hood, zippered side pockets, adjustable cuffs and comes in many color options.
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Features

This wind jacket includes a front zipper to keep it closed, as well as zippered side pockets located at the hips for carrying the consumer’s wallet, keys, or even a snack for the trails. It’s also equipped with adjustable cuffs that add to ventilation and a hideaway hood.

Style & Fit

This option has a drawcord hem and a relaxed fit. Some report that the size runs a bit big, great for layering. But it is light and stylish enough to wear alone, and comes in many color options.

Durability

This jacket is made from nylon, and is machine washable. It includes waterproof fabric that offers protection, but won’t keep the consumer completely dry during a down pour. Instead, it’s more reliable for its windproof properties.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and great for windy days
  • Side pockets
Cons
  • Runs large in size
  • Not as breathable as other options

3. The North Face Resolve 2

Made from 100% windproof fabric, this jacket is waterproof with its seam-sealed DryVen 2L shell with mesh drop liner. It’s breathable, with a relaxed fit, has elastic-bound cuffs, an adjustable stowed away hood and comes in multiple color options.
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Features

This wind jacket is lined, making it slightly warmer than other thinner options. However, it’s still lightweight and breathable. It has a mesh lining and is waterproof. It zippered in the from with a storm flap with velcro closure. It also has zippered hand pockets, elastic cuffs, a hem cinch-cord, and an attached adjustable hood that hides in its collar.

Style & Fit

This jacket is described as having a “standard fit” which means the fit is relaxed. The cuffs are slightly fitting around the wrist. Overall, it’s a stylish option from a popular brand that comes in many color options.

Durability

The North Face Resolve 2 is made from nylon, polyester, polyurethane and mesh. It has DryVent™ 2L technology that helps made it 100 % windproof and is water-resistant. It also is machine washable and comes with a lifetime warranty.

4. Arcteryx Incendo

4. Arcteryx Incendo
Lightweight and water-resistant, this is a great option for wearing during a light rain or when the cooler weather starts to creep in. The open mesh underarm panels provide ventilation, so its breathable. The hem drawcord can be adjusted, and its equipped with reflective blades on the sleeves for night running.
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Features

This is a wind-resistant option that includes mesh underarm panels for ventilation, a hood that has a brim, a drop back hem with an adjustable drawcord for keeping the cold out, and a zippered security media hip pocket for keeping the consumer’s phone dry in the rain. It can also be stored inside its side pocket.

Style & Fit

With its streamlined designed, the Incendo Hoody is stylish because it does resemble the look of a hoody, but with a zippered front. It’s ultralight, yet made its breathable material that aids in regulating temperature while increase comfort levels when running, mountain training or working up a sweat. It fits close to the body, and its fitted hood further adds to its wind protection.

Durability

The Incendo Hoody is made from Lumin fabric that helps make it light and wind resistant. It also has a DWR finish for added water resistance. It is compact, weighs only 4.6 oz, and performs well. This is makes it a durable, high quality product, but it comes at an expensive price.
Pros
  • Stylish, resembling a hoody
  • Performs well against wind
  • Enough movement for running
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Wrinkles easy

5. Outdoor Research Helium II

5. Outdoor Research Helium II
Highly rated among consumers, the Helium II is a weatherproof jacket that is light and stays dry in the rain. It has an adjustable hood, chest pocket and reflective trim on the hood. Although it’s more expensive that other options, it’s worth the money spent. It’s a durable, high quality wind jacket that is great and for changing seasons—just order a size larger when wanting to layer.
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Features

This jacket is wind and waterproof fabric, with a fully taped seam. It is a compressible jacket that that fold up into its internal pocket. It is YKK AquaGuard zippered with its single-separating front zipper and a zip chest pocket. It also has reflective logos for visibility at nighttime, elastic cuffs and an elastic drawcord hem.

Style & Fit

Lightweight at 6.4 ounces with ample air flow for comfort, the Helium II is made to withstand heavy wind and storms, while still looking great. It’s available in multiple colors for both men and women.

Durability

Made with Pertex Shield+, 2.5L, nylon and ripstop fabric, this wine jacket is build to last. It’s so easy to pack and keep with the consumer when on the go or in their bag when hiking.
Pros
  • Compact, lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Water and wind proof
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Hood covers the eyes when running

6. Marmot Precip

6. Marmot Precip
Great for hiking on the mountain trails and sleek enough to wear out on the street, Marmot’s Precip jacket is known for being light, breathable, and waterproof with moisture-wicking fabric and venting. It’s features include armpit zippers to regulate temperature, a roll-up hood to wear in serious weather, and taped seams prevent leak. It’s a mid-range option that has a lifetime warranty, and is available in multiple colors.
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Features

Featuring fully taped seams and waterproofing NanoPro technology, the Precip Rain Jacket has an draw-cord adjustable attached hood that the consumer can roll into the color when it’s not raining or windy. It also has PitZips, which are ventilation zippers at the armpit that help perspiration out and add to air flow. It has pack pockets, and the jacket can be stuffed into its own pocket, a lined chin guard, adjustable velcro cuffs and elastic drawcord hem.

Style & Fit

This wind jacket is lightweight, being perfect for activities like biking, hiking, and to wear outdoors when it starts raining. The fabric is breathable, so the consumer won’t be sweating. And since it is waterproof, there is no concerns here about being wet which adds to its overall comfort. This is a regular fit option with relaxed shoulders and a straight hem. It is also available in multiple colors.

Durability

This jacket is made from polyester mini ripstop material that has a water-repellent finish. Its NanoPro fabric presents water from soaking through, while the drawstring hem and Velcro cuffs further provide leak prevention. This helps to make it a durable option.
Pros
  • Waterproof fabric to stay dry even in a downpour
  • Breathable with plenty of ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in multiple colors
Cons
  • Mid-range price point can make it expensive for some
  • No inside pockets

7. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite

7. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Made from 15D fabric that is water and wind-resistant, this jacket is ultra lightweight at just 3 ounces, and is thin enough to be compressed to fit into its chest pocket. It includes a hood that is stored in the back collar, which completely covers the ears and neck during harsher weather.
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Features

This wind jacket has a front zipper and a single zippered chest pocket to hold valuables when outdoors. It includes a hood that does a great job at covering the face, and has an elastic binding to make sure cold and rain stay out. The back collar has a hood stow system when its not raining. The jacket can then be folding up and stored in its own pocket.

Style & Fit

Ideal to be worn as a shell for running and cross training, this jacket comes in a few colors including Grey and Stone. However, the material gives it a plastic look, which means it’s not the most stylish out of all the options on this list.

Durability

While it won’t be the most stylish option for some, it does perform pretty well. It is made from 15D Z-Grab transparent ripstop fabric that makes it both wind and water resistant. It’s lightweight enough to take with, and does its job when a storm pops up.
Pros
  • Great against wind
  • Compact and packable
  • Mid-range price
Cons
  • Not so stylish
  • Runs small

8. Marmot Men's Trail Wind

8. Marmot Men's Trail Wind
A nice lightweight jacket fully resistive to the wind with high water repellant capability.

A comfortable FIT with lots of pocket space. This jacket has very good protection against chilly wet weather which ensures very nice comfort. Wear it on a trail run if the weather turns bad and feel confident that you are protected from the elements.

Produced by a brand which is popular due to the high level of quality which they produce, this jacket will hold a deserving place in your running gear.
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Features

Highly resistive to the chilly wind with very good protection against water penetration while also ensuring a comfortable level of breathability.

The construction is very light and allows a nice range of flexible body motion, pocket space is impressive with a nice sized sleep pocket with a secure zip, a chest pocket designed in clothing reflection tech, lycra cuffs, a user friendly draw cord which is elasticated, designed in cooling effective  ventilation and the material is a comfortable durable Polyester at 100%.

Style & Fit

A very stylish design which is tried and tested, the jacket sits comfortably on the body and incorporates a drawcord system for easily adjustable FIT. The jackets give a flexible range of motion while retaining a comfortable FIT.

Durability

Durability is assured through the use of highly protective and scuff resistant polyester.

Cost

This jacket is affordable and popular, be persistent when buying online. They sell out quickly and need to stock up again.

Pros

Good FIT

Weather resistant

Durable

Light to wear

Good amount of pocket space

Easy to adjust drawcord

Cons

Not for severe weather or snow

9. Nike Windrunner

9. Nike Windrunner
Durable with ripstop fabric, yet lightweight, this Nike jacket is ideal for windy days or for layering during cooler weather. It has a hood that includes a drawcord for optimal coverage and warmth, along with a vent at back yoke for breathability. Added bonus is that it looks stylish and comes in mutable color options.
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Features

This wind jacket features a front zipper and side zip pockets for storage during a run. It has a hood with a bill for optimum weather protection and warmth, with a drawcord that can be adjusted. The Windrunner also has stretch cuffs for a tight fit around the wrists, and a vent at back yoke for breathability and airflow.


Style & Fit

This jacket has a stretched fit to make body hugging, yet still relaxed. This is the most stylish option on the list, coming in multiple color options, including more neutral colors such as white, black and grey.

Durability

With its ripstop fabric, the Windrunner is durable and lightweight. It made from polyester and is machine washable. Nike is known for its high quality sportswear, making it a great buy although it is a bit costly.
Pros
  • Extremely stylish
  • Great fit
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Slightly pricey

4. Arcteryx Incendo

4. Arcteryx Incendo
Lightweight and water-resistant, this is a great option for wearing during a light rain or when the cooler weather starts to creep in. The open mesh underarm panels provide ventilation, so its breathable. The hem drawcord can be adjusted, and its equipped with reflective blades on the sleeves for night running.
Expand to see more
Features

This is a wind-resistant option that includes mesh underarm panels for ventilation, a hood that has a brim, a drop back hem with an adjustable drawcord for keeping the cold out, and a zippered security media hip pocket for keeping the consumer’s phone dry in the rain. It can also be stored inside its side pocket.

Style & Fit

With its streamlined designed, the Incendo Hoody is stylish because it does resemble the look of a hoody, but with a zippered front. It’s ultralight, yet made its breathable material that aids in regulating temperature while increase comfort levels when running, mountain training or working up a sweat. It fits close to the body, and its fitted hood further adds to its wind protection.

Durability

The Incendo Hoody is made from Lumin fabric that helps make it light and wind resistant. It also has a DWR finish for added water resistance. It is compact, weighs only 4.6 oz, and performs well. This is makes it a durable, high quality product, but it comes at an expensive price.
Pros
  • Stylish, resembling a hoody
  • Performs well against wind
  • Enough movement for running
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Wrinkles easy

7. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite

7. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Made from 15D fabric that is water and wind-resistant, this jacket is ultra lightweight at just 3 ounces, and is thin enough to be compressed to fit into its chest pocket. It includes a hood that is stored in the back collar, which completely covers the ears and neck during harsher weather.
Expand to see more
Features

This wind jacket has a front zipper and a single zippered chest pocket to hold valuables when outdoors. It includes a hood that does a great job at covering the face, and has an elastic binding to make sure cold and rain stay out. The back collar has a hood stow system when its not raining. The jacket can then be folding up and stored in its own pocket.

Style & Fit

Ideal to be worn as a shell for running and cross training, this jacket comes in a few colors including Grey and Stone. However, the material gives it a plastic look, which means it’s not the most stylish out of all the options on this list.

Durability

While it won’t be the most stylish option for some, it does perform pretty well. It is made from 15D Z-Grab transparent ripstop fabric that makes it both wind and water resistant. It’s lightweight enough to take with, and does its job when a storm pops up.
Pros
  • Great against wind
  • Compact and packable
  • Mid-range price
Cons
  • Not so stylish
  • Runs small

 

The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Wind Jackets

There are so many different options available that it can become overwhelming for consumers to choose the right wind jacket for them. We did all the heavy lifting when it comes to research to narrow the choices down to the jackets that are comfortable, durable and that actually perform well.

Since these are most commonly worn when hitting the trails, cycling, running, or even when outdoors when the weather is changing, it’s important that they have great functionality. Wind jackets are made to be lightweight and portable, but there are many other features that we take into consideration to find the best option.  The criteria we used to find the best wind jackets are explained below.

Weatherproof

 How well does the jacket perform against weather conditions? Wind Jackets should be worn not to keep warm, but rather to protect against wind and rain. Does it feature a hood and how well does the hood protect the face? Is it water-resistant?

Comfort

 How comfortable is the jacket? What type of fabric is used? Does it feel stiff or have a “plastic-like” feel? Is it thin and lightweight? Wind jackets are designed to be light and airy, while still preventing from harsh winds to chill the body. Some may not want ultra-light options, or some prefer it to be able to layer.

Fit 

here are many different fits when it comes to jackets in general. Typically, wind jackets feature a front zipper, although there are options that are designed to look and fit like a hoodie. Many options feature a relaxed fit, which is ideal for many for movement when wearing. However, some may prefer more slim fit options which are also available on the market.

Breathability

 How well does the fabric breathe? Does it help regulate temperature? Will the wearer get sweaty wearing this option? It’s important for wind jackets to are some sort of ventilation system to increase airflow.

Packability

 How light is the jacket? Is it compressible, and how easy is it to pack up and take on-the-go? Many options can be folded into its own pocket, which is a great feature for those wanting to throw it in their gym bag, sling bag or backpack.

Value

 Do its features justify its price tag? Will the jacket last and is it easy to clean? Essentially we are looking at how much bang the consumer will get for their buck.

Other Important Factors To Consider

Being able to perform well against winds is the most important factor when selecting the best jacket for a consumer. Many jackets are both wind and water-resistant. So what is the difference?

Wind vs. Rain Jackets

Wind jackets are designed to be ultra-thin and lightweight. However, since some also double as rain jackets, it’s important to state the differences.

Wind jackets are typically made with a breathable single layer of fabric. This often includes nylon or polyester which are wind resistant fabrics. They are also designed to be compact. Sometimes options include water-resistant properties, but generally, wind jackets are not completely waterproof. Think of these of being ideal for windy weather or when it starts to drizzle, but not for full out storms. However, many wind jackets also do a great job at keeping the consumer dry in the rain.

Rain jackets in comparison are generally thicker and feature specially designed waterproof material. The whole point is to keep the wearer safe from posture. They are usually lacking on breathability, and not meant to be worn when running or exercising in cooler weather.

Both options may feature a DWR finish that further adds to its water-resistant properties.

Weather Conditions

With that said, it’s important to think about the type of weather conditions the consumer will be trekking out in. Although they can be used as a shell over other sportswear, windbreakers are best for running, cycling, hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing and camping when the weather isn’t too cold.

Features vs. Style

Some may just be looking for stylish options that can be worn during outdoor activities and for just running errands. This means they might be more willing to sacrifice some features for how well the jacket looks. Others may not really care about how it looks—as long as it comes in a wearable color for them. Instead, they want to make sure it can do things like fold into its pocket, or that it features an adjustable hood.

Longevity

How often will the consumer wear the jacket? Some options can be pretty expensive but might be a more worthy buy if a high-quality product than other jackets that might be cheaply made and rip easily. Consider whether or not its worth it to invest in a wind jacket from a reputable brand if it will be worn a lot.

FAQ

Q: Does wind jackets run true to size?

A: Sizing varies among brands, and this also depends on the fit. Relaxed, standard fits are typically more loose fitting, while slim fit is tighter. Most of the options on this list run true to size, without some exceptions. Always view the company’s sizing chart to ensure that the consumer is getting the right size.

Q: Do wind jackets have a lining?

A: Most of the wind jackets do not feature a lining. They are generally a ding layer of material to make them light.

Q: Is a wind jacket good for running?

A: It’s important for the jacket to have some form of ventilation features to prevent the consumer from getting too hot and sweaty if worn while running. The good thing is most of these options contain breathable material—plus they are all lightweight.

Q:  Can the hood be removed on a wind jacket?

A: Many options feature a stowaway hood that allows the consumer to roll it up and place it on the collar. However, this doesn’t mean that the hood actually comes off.

Q:  Can you use a windbreaker as a winter coat?

A: No, these are lighter and thinner jackets that can be worn on top of layers, but will not provide any warmth for winter.

Q: Are wind jackets water-resistant?

A: This depends on the jacket and its material. There are many wind jackets sold that are both wind and water-resistant. Even though it might be water-resistant, this doesn’t mean it is waterproof and can keep the consumer completely dry.

Q: How do I fit a wind jacket into its pocket?

A: Locate the pocket (sometimes its the one that has a label) and turn it inside out. Start folding until the jacket is compact and can fit inside.

Sources

  1. Lisa Maloney, Pit Zips: What They Are and Why They're Still Around, Website, Sep 27, 2017
  2. Andy Wellman, How to Choose the Best Wind Breaker Jacket, Website, Oct 20, 2016
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