Tough, light and super-breathable. Here’ s the best men’s and women’s jackets for getting you hike on.
LITHIC COMP JACKET
This might be one of the cleverest jackets we’ve ever reviewed. Arc’teryx have used their own fabric, Trusaro, in back and underarm panels. As you ascend, it releases heat and moisture, but when you rest, it retains warmth and dries quickly. Elsewhere, Gore fabric panels are used to keep harsh winds and snowstorms out, whilst still maintaining breathability. Cooling can be aided further by opening the mesh backing of the hand pockets, allowing air to flow across the chest.
BALFOUR GORE-TEX PRO JACKET
With its weatherproof but breathable technology, Gore-Tex Pro has become the material of choice for backcountry manufacturers and it’s no surprise that Armada has used it in its top-of-the-range Balfour. Armada has backed it up with some equally impressive features, including Gore-Seam seals, a reactive hood system, water-repellent zippers and mesh-lined pit zips.
You can always rely on Marmot to perform with their backcountry garb, and this is no exception; weighing in at less than 660g, it offers lightweight, very breathable protection courtesy of Gore-Tex 3-layer stretch fabric, along with a helmet-compatible hood and integrated collar. Tricky ascents are aided by angel wing movement, which allows a full range of movement in the arms, while the zip-in gasket means you can integrate them with the matching pants for the ultimate touring set-up.
4. MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR
Mountain Hardwear collaborated with top alpinist Tim Emmet to design this elite jacket, and it shows. It’s packed with touring-friendly features, including a Pocket DrainPort system for wet gloves, single-pull adjusting hood, and two super-light vents for comfort. Stretch side panels and underarms give a customised fit for ultimate mobility and Dry.Q Elite provides breathability from the offset.
5. THE NORTH FACE
FREE THINKER JACKET
Built for backcountry antics from Antarctica to Alaska, it’s unbeatably waterproof, windproof, breathable and durable and is complemented by every other feature The North Face could think of.
RANDO AS JACKET
The clever thing about the Rando is that it works on the up and the down, shedding heat on those sweat-inducing climbs, while retaining it on blustery descents. Gore-Tex 3L Active allows for breathable waterproofing, and is backed up by reinforced DWR treated shoulders for extra protection. Ventilation is aided by durable and laminated pit zips and articulated sleeves increase mobility.
Light, breathable and tough. It seems this is the mantra Marmot stuck to when designing the Catapult. Durable, weatherproof but ever so breathable Gore-Tex 3L stretch is the membrane of choice. Mobility is another feature Marmot haven’t skimped on; they’ve used the ski-mountaineer-friendly ‘angel wing movement’ technology so that your jacket won’t ride up when you stretch your arms. Mesh goggle pockets, water-resistant zippers and a helmet-compatible hood complete the jacket.
Norrona have nailed it with the Lofoten jacket. Its removable powder skirt has a silicon grip to stop it shifting, while its helmet-compatible storm hood has a wired brim for extra protection. Plus there are sealed seams and underarm ventilation for those long climbs.
SOULQUEST BC DOWN JACKET
This jacket is made with down for natural warmth on chilly days and uses Smartskin construction to keep the right insulation in each zone. It is harness- and backpack-compatible, and Motion Fit technology allows the whole jacket to move with you.
EXPLORAIR NG JACKET
Scott’s toughest jacket for the toughest backcountry exploits. Made with 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro, it is super durable. Features include pack-friendly seamless shoulders, water-resistant zippers, venting and pockets in all the right places, and a riveted cord lock for easy one-hand adjustment on the hem and hood.