10 Best Wind Jackets Tested and Reviewed
The best wind jackets are designed to be versatile , so using them in the months leading up to winter and after is ideal. Whether you’re an avid runner or a cyclist, a wind jacket is a perfect option for light wind and rain, thanks to their water-resistant features.
Check out our list of the top 10 best wind jackets below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
- The North Face Venture 2
- Arc’teryx Squamish
- Nike Windrunner
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
- Helly Hanson Seven J
- Arcteryx Incendo
- Marmot Precip
- Columbia Watertight II
- Outdoor Research Helium II
- Columbia Glennaker Lake
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Wind Jackets
1. The North Face Venture 2
With a 95% recommendation rate, The North Face Venture 2 wind jacket offers features geared toward an active lifestyle. Making it the #1 choice for our Top 10 Best Wind Jackets.
The North Face’s DryVent technology offers a waterproof shell that actually breathes while still offering one of the highest windproof ratings available at 100%. Furthermore, when looking for the best, we compared it against what consumers were saying and the FAQ’s.
To get a better idea of why we made the Venture 2 our top pick scroll through and be sure to check out the comparisons.Read more
The North Face Venture 2 isn’t just water and windproof, it is weatherproof and has an unlined design that packs easily into its own pocket.
This wind jacket was designed for hikers and outdoor enthusiast alike. The hood is adjustable, allowing it t work well with helmets or pulling in snug around the face when the weather picks up while running.
The Venture 2 is made from a seam-sealed DryVent 2.5 L shell, which has an inner later dry touch print that allows vapor to travel through to the outside of the fabric. All this maximizes the packability, breathability, waterproofing and all over performance of the wind jacket.
Built into the jacket are pit-zip venting, adjustable Velcro cuffs, and a sinch-chord for a more secure fit when needed . These small yet effective features keep you ventilated as well as free from sweat and wind.
Style & Fit
Relaxed, comfortable and light, the North Face Venture 2 is designed for outdoors and they offer many different color combinations and designs, making it a favorite among consumers.
The adjustable hood allows for a versatile fit for climbers, hikers, or runners and works great with other gear underneath such as helmets or layers. It also has a sinch-cord for added security or keeping it closer to the body when the weather is a bit more aggressive.
Designed with a polyurethane coating and multi-layer waterproof protection, the Venture 2 is virtually impenetrable. It was designed to be able to take extreme wind and rain and is why it ranks high in function as well as durability.
2. Arc’teryx Squamish
Lots of colors to choose from
Made in the USA
Outdoor enthusiasts find themselves reaching for the Arc’teryx Squamish over and over again. It has a minimalist design with a Durable Water Repellent -or DWR- finish, keeping the rain at bay while you run and play.
Its high end and high tech wind jacket design is also super light, fitting right into the front pocket when stored. Making this a perfect option for avid hikers and trail runners.Read more
The Arc’teryx Squamish makes running, or any outdoor activity in the wind, much more comfortable. Arc’teryx designed the Squamish to allow moisture to escape, using the vapor release to help regulate body temperature.
Adding a soft rim to the Storm Hood allows a more elevated comfort when tucked in from inclement weather. The hood can be cinched with one hand and fits snug, allowing more ergonomic motion with head rotation.
Another well-designed feature is the adjustable laminated die-cut Velcro. This is placed around the wrists to allow a fully customized fit without adding bulk. The lamination helps prevent the Velcro from catching and ripping off as well as providing added durability to the wind jacket.
Style & Fit
Ultralight and compressible, the Squamish is designed to fit in its own front stash pocket. You can use the pocket when you are utilizing the jacket and then roll it right up nice and snug for carrying when the weather subsides.
Ary’teryx made their windshell for those who like minimalist designs. Not only is it light at 5.5 oz, it is made to move in. It has a relaxed fit that can be adjusted with drawcords at the bottom to keep drafts out while also being designed with layering in mind. It works great over a fleece or other cozy material for those colder days while keeping you moisture free.
The nylon rip stop fabric offers resilience and durability. With the laminated cuffs and the patterning and gusseting for movement, the Squamish moves, breathes and protects against the elements. All this adds to the durability as well, all the way down to the No-Slip Zip.
This is a clever design with added “speedbumps” at the top of the zipper, preventing it from slipping down and getting snagged or just becoming annoying altogether. Every single ounce was well thought out to deliver the most efficient and durable design Ary’teryx could make.
3. 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. An added bonus is that it looks stylish and comes in mutable color options.Read more
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.
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.
4. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Great against wind
Compact and packable
Not so stylish
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.Read more
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 it's not raining. The jacket can then be folded 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.
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.
5. Helly Hanson Seven J
Waterproof and windproof
Lots of colors to choose from
Bulkier than others
Helly Hanson is another great brand, and this jacket is one of the best wind jackets out there. It is waterproof, windproof, and looks great--so it is definitely worth taking a look at.Read more
This jacket is made of 100% Polyester and Polyurethane. It is treated by a DWR treatment to ensure it is water repellant while also being waterproof and windproof. The jacket is moisture-wicking and pretty durable. Its seams are fully sealed and the storm flaps ensure you are protected from the wind, rain, and cold.
Style & Fit
This jacket is loose and relaxed. It comes in several colors to choose from, so you can look great while wearing it too!
This jacket is incredibly durable and built to last. It is waterproof and treated with a DWR treatment to further protect you from the outdoor elements while also extending the life of your jacket.
Pricey but not as expensive as other selections on our list.
6. Arcteryx Incendo
Stylish, resembling a hoody
Performs well against wind
Enough movement for running
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 it's breathable. The hem drawcord can be adjusted, and its equipped with reflective blades on the sleeves for night running.Read more
This is a wind-resistant option that includes meshing 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 increasing 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.
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 makes it a durable, high-quality product, but it comes at an expensive price.
7. Marmot Precip
Waterproof fabric to stay dry even in a downpour
Breathable with plenty of ventilation
Comes in multiple colors
Mid-range price point can make it expensive for some
No inside pockets
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. Its features include armpit zippers to regulate temperature, a roll-up hood to wear in serious weather, and taped seams prevent a leak. It’s a mid-range option that has a lifetime warranty and is available in multiple colors.Read more
Featuring fully taped seams and waterproofing NanoPro technology, the Precip Rain Jacket has a draw-cord adjustable attached hood that the consumer can roll into the color when it’s not raining or windy. It also has pit zips, 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 are 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.
This jacket is made from a polyester mini ripstop material that has a water-repellent finish. Its NanoPro fabric prevents water from soaking through, while the drawstring hem and Velcro cuffs further provide leak prevention. This helps to make it a durable option.
8. Columbia Watertight II
Lots of color options
Some users have reported it isn't completely waterproof
If you are looking for a more affordable wind jacket that looks great and does a great job of protecting you from the wind, then this is a great jacket for you.Read more
This jacket features Omni-tech to ensure that it is waterproof, breathable, and that its seams are fully sealed. Its zippered pockets will keep your belongings secure and it is both lightweight and packable for those of you who need something you can take with you.
Style & Fit
The jacket has a classic fit and comes in several colors to pick from. Its hood is adjustable and helps you customize it to work for you.
Really durable thanks to the Omni tech it uses and it is abrasion resistant, so you don't have to worry about any snags coming between you and your runs while you are outdoors.
9. Outdoor Research Helium II
Water and windproof
Hood covers the eyes when running
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 than 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.Read more
This jacket is wind and waterproof fabric, with a fully taped seam. It is a compressible jacket that that folds 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 airflow 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.
Made with Pertex Shield+, 2.5L, nylon, and ripstop fabric, this wine jacket is built to last. It’s so easy to pack and keep with the consumer when on the go or in their bag when hiking.
10. Columbia Glennaker Lake
Lightweight and great for windy days
Runs large in size
Not as breathable as other options
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.Read more
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Features are an important thing to look for because there may be specific things you are looking for in your wind jacket--and there are also things you may not need, so why invest in them.
When we looked at features we looked at the jacket as a while and whether or not it had anything more than the standard jacket. From packability and compressibility to the overall fit, we took it all into considerations. There are lightweight jackets on our list that can pack into themselves and there are others that are little bulkier but will keep you a lot warmer as well. Some have zippered pockets while others have a single chest pocket that doubles as a packable pouch for the jacket,
You will also find that several of the jackets on our list are treated with DWR, this allows them to be water resistant--this will help you keep you dry on your runs. Many are abrasion resistant while others are a little less durable than others. Some jackets have liners while others don't. As you can see there are tons of features to look for when trying to find the best wind jackets--which is why it is important to take your own needs into consideration. In the end, there is no "one size fits all" option for everyone so the most important thing is that the jacket's features meet your specific needs.
Style is not the most important thing to look for in a wind jacket but, let's face it, it is important to a lot of us--after all you will be outdoors when wearing your jacket, for the most part. Most of the jackets on our list come in lots of color options, so color is something you don't have to be too concerned about.
The wind jackets on our list also come in different fits--some are relaxed, others athletic, others are snug, and of course some are looser in comparison to other jackets. When choosing the fit make sure you pick something you like and that works for you. In the end, we know you want to look great--and we know you will probably end up running errands in your wind jacket as well--but we want to remind you that more important that the jacket offers the features you need before you pick one based on looks.
We just discussed fit in the style section, but there is so much more than style and looks when it comes to fit. Like the rest of your running gear, it doesn't just matter how you look in your gear but rather you need to focus on how you feel when you wear it--which is where the right fit comes in.
You might find a jacket that looks great on you but it might be too loose or too snug for your preferred comfort levels when you run. This can lead to discomfort and a shift in focus while you are running--which will diminish your performance and take away the benefits that come from running. On the other hand, you might like the way it fits and feels but getting the wrong size can prove to be a hindrance. Make sure your slips fit correctly and that the hood covers your head to your liking. If you get something too big or too small the jacket won't be as comfortable and you will end up unhappy with your purchase in the long run.
Lastly, a good way to narrow down some choices if by looking for jackets you already know you will probably like--we have relaxed fit jackets, snug jackets, athletic jackets, and all the options on our list, so make sure to take a look at them all.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While these are wind jackets, it is important that they have some sort of water-resistant or waterproof features. Keep in mind that water -resistant does not mean waterproof. If you need a jacket that is impermeable, make sure it is marketed as a waterproof jacket. Water resistant jackets can handle light rain, but they will not withstand a downpour.
You will notice some of the jackets on this list have a liner, while others don't. A liner makes them easier to slip on and provides and added breathable layer. Whether you get one with a liner is really up to you and your preferences.
Other Factors to Consider
There are so many different options available that it can become overwhelming for consumers to choose the right wind jacket. We did all the heavy lifting when it comes to research, narrowing the choices down to the jackets that are comfortable, durable and that can out-perform the competition.
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.
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?
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?
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.
Some of the jackets on our list can handle a lot more than others, so make sure to figure out what your specific needs are before narrowing down your choices. It is important you get a jacket that fits your need and if you need a waterproof jacket that can take on a downpour then you need to make sure you get a windproof jacket that is also waterproof. On the other hand, if you know a water-resistant jacket will work fine for your needs, then you can save some money by getting one that is water-resistant and not waterproof.
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? These are all questions you need to be asking yourself when trying to find out if a jacket while having the right amount of comfort levels for you. Since wind jackets are designed to lightweight, for the most part, then you won't have to worry about any of them to be too heavy or bulky for you.
If you want an ultra-lightweight jacket make sure to look for one of those--these are also easier to layer comfortable, so they are a great option if you want to have a jacket you can layer. On the other hand, if you don't need to layer your jacket then you will probably prefer a sturdier jacket. Some jackets also have adjustable hoods and waists, so you can cinch it just the way you like it and get a more customized fit. If this is something you know you want, make sure to prioritize as you look for a jacket so you can be sure to get the right one.
Do its features justify its price tag? Will the jacket last and is it easy to clean? These are just some of the questions we asked ourselves when putting together our list of the top 10 best wind jackets. It is important to remember that price is not the only indicator of the value of the product--a lot of people really believe that the more expensive something is the better it is. However, this isn't true and you need to outweigh the jackets price with what it brings to the table.
That is why we made sure to look at all of the features the jacket has--whether or not it has zippered pockets, if it is packable, how breathable it is, just to name a few. While our value considers all of these things, it is important that you also do this with the jackets provided on our list--if there was just one jacket that worked for everyone then we wouldn't have a top ten list.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Q: Do 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 fits are 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: Q: Do wind jackets have a lining?
A: Most of the wind jackets do not feature a lining as they are not meant for protection against temperatures so much as acting as windbreaker. They may include a thin layer of material inside to offer something soft against the skin but it’s not much of a liner at all. This is done to make them light.
q: 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 featured on our top ten listing all contain breathable material—plus they are all lightweight.
q: 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. Some brands do have wind jackets that have fully removable hoods. Chec the product listings to see which jackets have this feature.
q: 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. There is no insulation in these and while they can protect to some extent against chilly breezes, actual frigid temperatures will not be held off by these thin jackets.
q: 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, it means it will slow the process of getting soaked to the skin.
q: 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. This may take some practice but once it is done a few times, you should have no problem folding and packing up your jacket.