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The Best Windbreaker Jackets Fully Reviewed

last updated May 12, 2019

One accessory every adventurer needs is the windbreaker. No matter if you are hiking a mountain, going for a walk in the woods, or just running your errands on a windy day, the windbreaker jacket can make the difference between being comfortable and warm or falling victim to the elements. The major advantage of having a windbreaker jacket is that it conserves your body heat and keeps you warm, as the stronger the wind, the more likely it will be sweeping that body heat away from you. So, if you will find yourself in some windy situations this season, it may be time to invest in a proper windbreaker. We have not only listed the best windbreakers for you but also explained why they made our list and what gives them the advantage over all the other options.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research

icon
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
98.5/100 our score
Materials
98
Breathability
99
Features
98
Water Resistance
99
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Why is it better?

Very breathable

Affordable

Lightweight

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Test Winner: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.5k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
16
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
18
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for windbreaker jackets has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products that conserve your body heat and keeps you warm. A great windbreaker jacket to keep your eye on is the Marmot PreClip. We love this windbreaker jacket because it is known for high-quality zippers and adjustable cuffs.

Sorting Options
Materials Breathability Features Water Resistance By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.5
Materials
98 %
Breathability
99 %
Features
98 %
Water Resistance
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$55.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Materials
97 %
Breathability
98 %
Features
97 %
Water Resistance
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.3
Materials
96 %
Breathability
96 %
Features
97 %
Water Resistance
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$124.79
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Materials
95 %
Breathability
96 %
Features
95 %
Water Resistance
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$69.93
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Materials
93 %
Breathability
93 %
Features
92 %
Water Resistance
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$159.00
Backcountry Link
$159.00
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#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Materials
91 %
Breathability
92 %
Features
91 %
Water Resistance
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Materials
90 %
Breathability
89 %
Features
90 %
Water Resistance
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$100.00
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Materials
89 %
Breathability
88 %
Features
90 %
Water Resistance
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$75.95
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.5
Materials
87 %
Breathability
86 %
Features
86 %
Water Resistance
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Materials
78 %
Breathability
79 %
Features
79 %
Water Resistance
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$36.00

Top 10 Picks

1. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.5
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
Amazon Link
Materials
98
Breathability
99
Features
98
Water Resistance
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$55.00
Pros:

Very breathable

Affordable

Lightweight

Cons:

Loud material

Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Lite jacket is made to offer you a very thin, lightweight jacket that comes with minimalist features and protects you well from the wind. You will get decent wind protection from this easy to carry jacket but you won’t get the same amount of wind protection as some of the other options on our list. Also, the fit could be better, but the jacket is stylish and very packable, so it all depends on what you are looking for in a jacket if you decide to purchase this one.

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Materials
This jacket is comprised out of as 15-denier face fabric and is manufactured to be both water and wind resistant. While the materials in this jacket are decent, the fabric is loud when you move, and the fit is a bit odd with this jacket. Also, the wind and water protection isn’t as strong in this jacket as it is with some other options. This jacket weighs in at 5.4-ounces.

Breathability
The 15-denier fabric that this jacket is comprised out of is very breathable, so you’ll get a lot of great ventilation with this jacket. The jacket’s material offers plenty of ventilation, which helps keep you comfortable on your outdoor adventures. Given how thin and windproof the material in the jacket is, this jacket features excellent breathability.

Features
This jacket comes with some great features. First, you’ll get a jacket that can compress down easily and stow it away in your pocket to help you pack your jacket down easily. You’ll also get a single zippered chest pocket, which can securely hold all of your important items. Plus, you get a hood stow system at the back collar. The hood is very low profile and includes elastic bindings to seal out the cold and moisture more easily. This jacket is offered in four different colors.

Water Resistance
This Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite jacket is known for featuring a 15D fabric which is water resistance as well as wind resistance and increases its longevity and durability. This jacket has a wicking mesh liner that increases its functional temperature range on both sides as well.

2. Marmot PreCip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Marmot PreCip
Amazon Link
Materials
97
Breathability
98
Features
97
Water Resistance
97
best offer for today
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Pros:

High-quality zippers

Adjustable cuffs

Affordable

Cons:

High maintenance fabric

The Marmot Precip Jacket brings you good water resistance and excellent wind protection because of the high-quality materials designed into this jacket. With the jacket, you’ll get a great ventilation system and a lot of comforts. Plus, this jacket includes several extra features that help make it an excellent decision for anybody that decides to purchase it. You’ll love everything you get out of this one-of-a-kind, affordable jacket.

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Materials
The newest PreCip has been updated with NanoPro Waterproof/ Breathable Fabric and Nylon Ripstop. All of the seams are taped for weather repellency. You’ll get a lot of great weather protection plus a lot of ventilation and breathability whenever you wear this high-quality jacket. The new NanoPro fabric is a higher maintenance fabric, the pores are susceptible to clogging with sweat and/or dirt, and provided care instructions should be followed carefully to ensure longevity. This jacket weighs 9.6-ounces. Hood storage options are always a plus, the storage of this hood is on the collar of the jacket which can be hard to access while wearing the jacket. This hood is not simply easy on and off with the added difficulty of the storage area, a simple buckle is much easier to manage while cycling, climbing, etc.

Breathability
Micropores in the fabric allow for air permeability and to be able to exchange more air. The awesome breathability makes it great for more aerobic or sweat-inducing activities like running or biking.

Features
The zipper is very thick and is sleek and protected with Velcro covering. It also has pack pockets, can be folded and stored in its own pocket without getting too wrinkly and has a carabiner clip loop to attach to a harness or pack. Marmot is very proud of their coined Angel-Wing Movement, which allows for a full range of motion during activities and sports. Lastly, the cuffs are adjustable with Velcro, and the hem has an elastic drawcord. The PreCip is heralded as the best value on the market. This jacket has the most versatility, weather protection, and is the most reliable all for a very reasonable price. An attached Velcro-Adjustable Hood rolls into the collar for storage and is helmet-compatible.

Water Resistance
This Marmot PreCip jacket is known for made from a breathable, weather resistant and waterproof fabric. One great feature that helps the jacket really stay as weather resistance is the pre-clip that that has fully taped seams to prevent any leaks or openings for wind.

3. Outdoor Research Helium II

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.3
Outdoor Research Helium II
Amazon Link
Materials
96
Breathability
96
Features
97
Water Resistance
96
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$124.79
Pros:

Lightweight

Compresses to the size of a granola bar

Great color options

Cons:

Could have more pockets

The Outdoor Research Helium II is just as its name describes, a lightweight, easy to pack, almost weightless windbreaker jacket. It can be compressed so small, it resembles a granola bar!

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Materials
The Outdoor Research Helium II has a Pertex shield coating to ensure that the windbreaker is %100 waterproof. It also comes equipped with a reflective trim on the hood to ensure you are more visible during the night. This windbreaker is also one of the lightest and most travel-friendly windbreakers on the market, as it only weighs 6.4 ounces and can be compressed to the size of a granola bar.

Breathability
The Outdoor Research Helium II windbreaker is a great option if you are not only looking to block out the wind but also staying dry. This means that if you find you are in high winds, this jacket is able to keep you nice and toasty and not allow the wind to steal any of that heat.

Features
This jacket is offered in a few colors that will suit everyone's needs. While this jacket does feature reflective strips and is the most compact jacket on our list, it is lacking in other features. The hood features an adjustable drawcord and the wrists have elastic cuffs, but the elastic is only around half the wrist. Also, there are no armpit vents.

Water Resistance
This Outdoor Research Helium II windbreaker jacket has a full seam that is taped to help prevent from any water or wind leaks to help keep you warm and dry.

4. Columbia Flash Forward

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Columbia Flash Forward
Amazon Link
Materials
95
Breathability
96
Features
95
Water Resistance
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.93
Pros:

Lightweight

Variety of styles

Comfortable

Cons:

Can't handle a lot of rain

The Columbia Flash Forward is a windbreaker from Columbia and if you are not familiar with Columbia, they are a leader in the industry for outdoor apparel. This windbreaker is based on the design of the original windbreaker from two decades ago. If you're into retro wear, then this is definitely a windbreaker to check out.

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Materials
The Columbia Flash Forward is made from 100% polyester, which means it is a heavier windbreaker then others on our list. It also is water resistant, this means it can handle a little rain, but it is not waterproof. So be careful what you bring with you while using this jacket as there is a chance it can get wet. The zipper pockets that this windbreaker has, is a little extra protection, and a nice feature. This jacket is heavier than most on our list, weighing in at 2-pounds.

Breathability
The Columbia Flash Forward windbreaker is very thin and some have compared the jacket to be as thin as a plastic bag. This windbreaker provides excellent protection against the wind and on warmer days but is not recommend for colder or rainy days.

Features
This jacket is available in a few beautiful bright colors. The hood features a drawstring to keep the wind off of your neck, and there is also a drawstring around the bottom of the jacket to keep it from flying up with a big gust of wind. The wrists feature elastic cuffs. The back of the jacket is pleated, allowing more mobility. If only this jacket provided us with more water protection, it would be at the top of the list.

Water Resistance
This Columbia Flash Forward windbreaker jacket is known for its 100% Polyester material which is water resistant and wind resistant to help prevent any weather from damaging the jacket and from keeping you dry and warm as you wear it.

5. Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Breathability
93
Features
92
Water Resistance
92
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$159.00
Backcountry Link
$159.00
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Pros:

Athletic fit

Great for backcountry skiing

Durable

Cons:

Not a rain jacket

The Arc’Teryx Squamish Hoody offers you a great jacket that’s very lightweight and versatile, and it’s also very easy to pack down and compress while you are on the go. If you want something that has great weather protection and is still great to pack down and take with you, then this jacket is a great choice. It’s got a great ventilation system and is developed from several high-quality materials, so you’ll get a lot of use and great weather protection if you select this jacket.

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Materials
The Squamish hoody is considered a wind shell set up for any activity from rock climbing to trekking. The hoody is lightweight compressible and packable making it perfect for a backpack essential or to hang on your harness or pack as a precaution. It has 30-denier wind resistant fabric with a DWR finish to repel water. If you want something that is simple and easy to pack no matter what you plan to do while you are outside, then you’ll love everything that this jacket has to offer, including its lightweight at 4.9-ounces.

Breathability
This jacket was made for moving, the athletic fit also has articulated elbows, gusseted underarms, and great breathability so it won’t be clammy or turn into a personal sauna on your run. The sleek StormHood has adjustable drawcords for a customized fit, a soft hood brim, and is helmet-compatible. You’ll get plenty of great ventilation from the design of this jacket, so you won’t need to worry about overheating or feeling your sweat accumulate inside your jacket whenever you are active.

Features
The drop back hem will cover your butt if you are sitting on a wet surface, or standing for modesty. It also has an adjustable drawcord to be kept out of the way when it is not needed. Finally, the jacket features a full front zip with micro corded zipper pulls and cuff adjusters. The jacket Stows away in its own chest pocket with attachment point, but won’t wrinkle up, and is reflective for nighttime visibility. Like any windbreaker, it does just that, breaks wind. It is not designed to be a warm winter jacket, but this jacket will keep you warmer than the rest of the list.

Water Resistance
This windbreaker jacket is made from 100% Nylon and is a durable ripstop fabric that is also durable and water resistant protection. The hoodie is known for featuring a high wind resistance.

6. Lentta Men's Casual Slim Lightweight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Lentta Men's Casual Slim Lightweight
Amazon Link
Materials
91
Breathability
92
Features
91
Water Resistance
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Great Fit

Durable Materials

Good Price

Cons:

Sleeves are a little small

This Lentta Men's Casual Slim windbreaker jackets are known for being lightweight and fully lined made from cotton. This jacket is great for a fall casual jacket that comes in several different colors including green, black, and cream.

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Materials
The Lentta Men's Casual Slim Lightweight comes in the material Polyester and is Machine Washable.

Breathability
The Lentta Men's Casual Slim Lightweight windbreaker jackets are great for all types of seasons including spring, autumn, and fall. It has a lightweight and slim fit for sportswear or known to be a great baseball jacket. This jacket is windproof and is great for allowing air and ventilation through the materials.

Features
Some great features for this Lentaa windbreaker jacket include having a zip-up closure to the neck for extra warmth, having two-sided zipper pockets for you to keep your belongings in, and even having one inside pocket for your cellphone or more personal items to store in. The jacket has two long sleeves with a ribbed hem circle collar and stylish cuffs that match the color of the jacket. There are many different size options for the jacket and are all US sizes.

Water Resistance
This Lentta Men's Casual Slim Lightweight windbreaker jacket is made from polyester and is well-known weather and water resistant material while still being stylish.

7. The Marmot Ether DriClime

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
The Marmot Ether DriClime
Amazon Link
Materials
90
Breathability
89
Features
90
Water Resistance
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$100.00
Pros:

Great breathability

Well made and durable

Lightweight

Cons:

Some find the chest to be tight

If you are looking for a great windbreaker jacket that will keep you very warm when the weather gets cold, then you might want to consider purchasing the Marmot Ether DriClime jacket. Made with a liner that adds a boost of warmth, this jacket is very comfortable and does a great job of blocking out the wind. Plus, you get good ventilation and weather protection as well combined into this jacket.

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Materials
Made from 100% polyester materials, this jacket features a DWR coating that adds to the weather protection build inside the jacket. With the DWR coating, you’ll be getting a jacket that can both repel water effectively and also help block out the wind. Also, this jacket features an interior liner that is soft and helps to boost warmth when you are in very cold weather. This jacket is slightly heavier than our other options, weighing 8.8-ounces.

Breathability
This jacket comes with a versatile liner that can block out the wind while still offering plenty of ventilation. The jacket breathes well while providing excellent warmth and also does a great job of wicking moisture away from the interior of the jacket. You’ll get great ventilation, but keep in mind, this jacket is made for the colder weather. If you wear it when the weather is warmer, you might feel too hot in this jacket.

Features
This jacket is designed to be very lightweight, and it also brings you a lot of versatility. You can wear it for a wide variety of outdoor activities when the weather is cold outside. The jacket features a DriClime-lined collar and chin guard and also has a wind flap behind the front zipper. You’ll also get elastic cuffs and zippered chest pockets with this jacket.

Water Resistance
This The Marmot Ether DriClime windbreaker jacket is known for resisting wind and repels water with its moisture-wicking DriClime lining that keeps you dry, cool and very comfortable.

8. Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie
Amazon Link
Materials
89
Breathability
88
Features
90
Water Resistance
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$75.95
Pros:

Underarm vents

Lightweight and packs well

Fits well

Cons:

Sizing can be off

If you’re looking for a very effective, high-quality windbreaker that is very air and water-tight, you’ll love the Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie. This is a great jacket but it is not quite as versatile as some of the other products on our list, mainly because it’s built for trail running while you are outside. It is an excellent trail running jacket, but it’s not designed to be as effective when you are performing other activities outdoors. However, it is very lightweight and could be an excellent choice for people planning to run on the trails.

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Materials
Comprised mostly of a paper-thin nylon material, this jacket is one of the lightest windbreakers you’ll find on the market today, but it is still very wind and water resistant. You’ll get a lot of weather protection from this jacket, and it keeps the wind out very effectively for something that is so lightweight. Plus, this jacket is also very packable and compressible and can fold down so small it can easily fit in your pocket. If you plan on carrying a jacket along with you when you complete your trail running, this jacket will probably offer everything you need. This jacket is very lightweight, only 3-ounces.

Breathability
The way the fabric of this jacket is woven means it is made to not allow a lot of air in. It doesn’t have a lot of great breathabilities, but it does feature a lot of venting options that should match up with what every runner will need when on the trails. You’ll get armpit vents and a button on the front so you can unzip the jacket and still keep it on. However, even with these features, this jacket can be a bit difficult to handle if you sweat a lot as you run since it doesn’t breathe as well as some of the other jackets on our list.

Features
This jacket doesn’t feature a lot of bells and whistles since its design is simple and focused on reducing the overall weight you’d have to carry if you were to compress and pack the jacket. You only get a small chest pocket, and you can also stuff the jacket into this pocket. You also don’t get a clip-in loop on the stuffed jacket. Most of the features that are designed into this jacket include waist and wrist enclosures, and an elastic hood. This jacket is offered in five different colors.

Water Resistance
This Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie windbreaker jacket is made from 100% nylon and is great for runners. It is wind protected and water protected and very packable as it is so lightweight.

9. Patagonia Houdini

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.5
Patagonia Houdini
Amazon Link
Materials
87
Breathability
86
Features
86
Water Resistance
83
best offer for today
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Pros:

Water-repelling

Adjustable hood

Durable

Cons:

Doesn't have underarm venting

The Patagonia Houdini windbreaker is a very durable, very lightweight jacket made to be easily packed down and carried with you when you are on the go outside. It is a versatile jacket and offers some great weather protection, but it is not quite as breathable as some of the other choices on our list. Still, if you do decide to purchase this jacket, you’ll wind up with a durable jacket that can work well for you depending on what you plan to do outside. So, it’s still a good jacket option to consider as long as you do less aerobic activities while outside.

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Materials
The Houdini is a Featherweight 15-denier 100% nylon ripstop fabric with a DWR finish, it reportedly even withstands the shower test for water repelling. So, you get not only fantastic wind protection with this jacket but also a jacket that can repel water very well. The hood adjusts easily with one pull and won’t block your peripheral vision for safety road biking or during other activities. A zippered chest pocket converts to a stuff sack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop. You’ll be safe and sound with plenty of weather protection anytime you wear this jacket outside. This is one of the lightest jackets on our list at only 3.3-ounces.

Breathability
Like most wind-specific jackets, the Houdini is not insulated, it should be paired with base layers for added warmth in cold winds. While it is not great in very cold situations, it is not great for very aerobic activities either. The jacket does not have underarm venting or mesh pockets to aid in ventilation. The non-breathable fabric can trap in heat and moisture making it too clammy for running or biking. While the venting is not great and the jacket is not insulated, if you use it for the right types of activities, it can still be a good jacket that provides you with what you need whenever you run into incremental weather conditions.

Features
This is the Perfect jacket to fold up and clip on as a weather precaution. It features durable cuffs, a closeable hem, and reflective areas for nighttime visibility. This jacket is great for rock climbing because you will not even notice it hanging on the harness at only 3.3oz. It is very lightweight, available in many colors, and is easy to pack down, which allows it to be a very good and versatile jacket for many outdoor activities that aren’t too aerobic or don’t cause you to sweat too often.

Water Resistance
This Patagonia Men's Houdini Jacket is known for being a water and weather resistant jacket and is great is the rainy season or even in weather such as hard winds.

10. Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go
Amazon Link
Materials
78
Breathability
79
Features
79
Water Resistance
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$36.00
Pros:

Compact

Durable

Great fit

Multiple color options

Cons:

Too lightweight

This Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go is known for its great weather resistant feature. It is great for any occasion and is known for being great for outdoor activities including camping, hiking, fishing, to the gym. It also goes great for all styles for men and boys whether you are wearing jeans, pants or even sweatpants. It is a pullover jacket that has one large pocket on the front for storage or keeping any personal items safe.

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Materials
This Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go is made from 100% Polyester and from water-resistant materials so it is very durable in all weather conditions. It is also machine washable so you are able to keep it nice and clean.

Breathability
Ventilated areas of this option allow air to flow through the jacket. This provides an outlet for body heat and a way to let the cool air in. Thus helping you regulate your body's temperature.

Features
This windbreaker the Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go is known for its amazing features including having a large variety of color options, elasticized cuffs, an open bottom hem that has a drawstring and is a flexible fit. All of these features help with the windbreakers durability and increase the longevity and uses of the jacket.

Water Resistance
This Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go is a windbreaker jacket that is wind as well as water resistant. It is also known as a rain jacket so is great for all types of weather conditions to help keep you warm, dry and cozy.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

A big roadblock with sports windbreakers is by blocking air movement like wind, it also blocks important movement out for ventilation. Without a way for air to leave the jacket, moisture will have no way to escape leaving you with condensation trapped in the jacket alongside you. The Wind will only worsen the effects of the moisture and still make you feel chilled and cold. Basically, without proper technology to block the wind but still allow some air movement a windbreaker jacket can be virtually useless at reducing convection heat loss.

Every company utilizes different innovations, features, and fabrics to cater to different activities all with the goal of blocking the wind. Some ventilation features may be well suited towards biking or running, while others specifically for climbing or backpacking. It is important to know which features you expect out of a jacket before buying one so that you can find the jacket suited to you and all of your activities. Jackets can be labeled as specialized for rock climbers, but still not be perfectly tailored to where you climb, but another running jacket may be. Even such different activities like triathlons and bird watching can be combined into a jacket’s features to suit your needs.

Breathability

If you would like a personal sauna instead of a swimming pool, then consider a jacket with no ventilation. Long gone are the days of sweaty abrasive windbreakers. Venting comes in countless shapes and sizes, mesh pockets allow for air to escape through open pockets without having to open the jacket completely or lose function of the jacket. Another option is underarm zip vents where a zipper controls the exposure of an area of mesh fabric which increases airflow.

On the other end of the spectrum, you also want to consider insulation. While a windbreaker can help cut the wind chill, most are not designed to help with particularly cold air temperatures. Wind breaking jackets are a thin layer of material that solely breaks the wind and provide some level of water protection. They can always be paired with base layers and other layers to keep warm.

Features

Depending on use, the features of a windbreaker can make or break a product. A few of the features we considered are listed below:

Packable
Can the jacket fold and store in a small area to save space backpacking or to hang it on your harness while rock climbing?

Moisture-wicking
Especially useful for highly aerobic activities, moisture wicking is a necessity. The wrong jacket can turn into a personal swimming pool without the ability to pull moisture away from the body.

Quick drying
For any activity outdoors, a quick dry option could be crucial. Once you already get stuck in a rainstorm, staying in a sopping wet jacket is very uncomfortable and can even be lethal if temperatures drop or heat is lost from the body too quickly. During sweat-inducing activities, it is fundamental that the material will not stay saturated and moist to keep you comfortable throughout the duration of the activity.

Hood
Our heads contain so many important factors to our health and performance and safety that it just makes sense that a jacket should also protect the head from the wind. Hoods can have full adjustability for customization and comfort, as well as fit comfortably under or over helmets. When not in use there are a variety of ways that they can be stored on/in the jacket which keep them out of the way. Some hoods are stored in the collar while others are buckled down, there are aesthetic and functional pros and cons to each hood storage style. In the collar, a hood is nicely hidden and is totally out of your way but can be hard to access when wearing the jacket, and hard to return to the collar. A Buckled hood may not be as pretty for a casual jacket to work or traveling, but when you need to access your hood quickly in sudden rain, a buckle will be the fastest and easiest method out there.

CFM rating
Wind resistance can be measured by the amount of air that can pass through the material per minute. CFM is in cubic feet per minute, a 0 rating or lower is considered to be 100% windproof. Not many companies report a jackets CFM rating, but where it is available, it is an invaluable tool for comparing jackets.

Pockets
It may seem silly to be factoring in how many pockets a jacket has and where they are located, but for certain activities or uses it is crucial. While cycling, things like energy bars, water, and sunscreen need to be front and center with very easy access. No one would want to stop biking every time to reapply sunscreen or grab a bite of electrolytes. Or for everyday use, it is handy to have pockets that can hold at least your phone and keys if not more. Windbreakers can range from three exterior pockets and two interior pockets to a single chest pocket that the jacket will fold into. It is better to take the time and really think about what kind of pockets you need rather than be stuck without them down the road.

Jacket Storage
Almost all of the top wind breaking jackets now have the ability to fold up and store in its own pocket. For some, this may seem useless in a casual use jacket, but for rock climbers or backpackers it couldn’t be more important. A jacket with the ability to store itself in a small pocket will pack easily for travel, camping, etc. and can be taken along as a precaution without added weight or space.

Water Resistance

Rather than having separate rain and wind jackets, a water-resistant wind jacket can kill two birds with one stone. Windproof and water resistance commonly go hand in hand. The tight weave and/or coating for a windproof jacket can easily double as protection from precipitation as well. Windbreakers are already being outfitted with a durable water resistant (DWR) finish or coating.

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expert tips icon
A Secure Hood

An adjustable hood is incredibly important when looking for a windbreaker. If the hood doesn't feature a drawstring closure, the hood is likely to be blown down and be completely useless. Even with the drawstring feature, your hood may fall down at times, but some jackets feature back up features, such as velcro strips.

The Fit

Depending on the weather that you will encounter with your windbreaker, you may want to order a size up. For a cold climate, you will need extra room underneath for a warm jacket. However, if you will be in a warmer (but windy) climates, a slim fitting windbreaker with a soft inside material will be more comfortable.

Other Factors to Consider

Use

Never let inclement weather ruin you recursion by being prepared and purchasing the right gear at the right price. Always take into consideration what features will be most important to you, and what features you can live without. If you are shopping for a jacket to use for a specific activity, it is never a bad idea to branch out and look at many options across other specialties also.

Why not get more bang for your buck with a windbreaker for trail running, by picking a versatile jacket that also can be used for mountain biking or everyday wear. It is much more budget friendly to buy a single more expensive jacket that can do it all, rather than a separate jacket for each activity. Not to mention having the jack of all trades windbreaker will be like your new little black dress, you will know what to pack before you even pick the destination.

Fit

A slimmer tailored jacket can keep you looking stylish as well as warm by reducing cold air trapped inside the jacket. On the other hand, a loose fit allows for more layers to be added underneath and is less restricting to movements.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Why do I need a good windbreaker jacket?

a:

Windbreaker jackets are a great product to have if you like having a jacket that is versatile for all of your outdoor activities. Windbreakers are known to be very versatile as well as very beneficial, offering a lot of excellent features that protect you from the weather and also give you good ventilation. Windbreakers are usually designed to give you plenty of flexibility so that the jackets move with you as you move, and don’t restrict your movements while you are active. So, if you are wanting to get a versatile jacket that can help you perform a wide variety of outdoor activities with ease, you should consider purchasing a good windbreaker jacket.

q: What are the advantages of a high-quality windbreaker jacket?

a:

A high-quality windbreaker jacket can give you a lot of advantages and benefits over other types of clothing, including thermal layers, for many reasons. First, windbreakers are designed to be very lightweight and easy to carry, and most of them are designed to pack down easily. In fact, most windbreakers feature pockets you can pack the jacket into, and also allow you to clip the jacket onto various items to more easily carry it. Windbreakers are also very affordable when you consider how expensive rain jackets and hardshell jackets that provide both wind and water protection can be. Plus, you can use windbreakers almost any time of year, and they are a great option if you enjoy layering.

q: How often can I use my windbreaker?

a:

Windbreakers can be used for almost any purpose—of course, however, it does depend on the type of windbreaker and style of jacket that you buy. Still, to generalize about most of them, you’ll be able to wear your windbreaker almost any day, and you can usually wear it for a wide variety of activites. All of the products on our list are decent windbreakers, and most of them can be used for a wide variety of activities as well as during various seasons. Windbreakers can handle just about any outdoor activity you decide you want to put them through, and you’ll also be able to more easily pack your windbreaker and carry it along with you than you could with other styles of jackets. Plus, windbreakers will give you a lot of weather protection, so you can wear them just about any time you want to.

q: What is a single layer nylon jacket?

a:

The windbreakers on our list include a few that are single layer nylon windbreakers. Windbreakers that are comprised of single layer nylon are usually made to be used with just one layer of protection. They also are typically more flexible and stretchy and fit tighter to the body. They are designed to move with you as you move, and most of them won’t let you layer underneath them. So, if you like layering, you might want to stay away from this type of windbreaker. On the other hand, if you are looking for something that can keep you warm when the weather is cold, they might be the option.

q: Do windbreakers come with insulation?

a:

No, not all windbreakers come with insulation, but some of them do. We’ve included a couple of choices of windbreakers on our list. You’ll get a liner with these types of jackets that are made to help with wind resistance, and also helps to wick away moisture so that the jacket stays breathable. You’ll get decent insulation from windbreakers that have liners in them, and many of them also help bump up the amount of wind and water protection you get in the jacket.

q: What do I need to know about outer shell jackets?

a:

Outer shell jackets work well as lightweight outer shells, but shouldn’t be your only protection from the weather. They tend to fit large and resemble lightweight rain jackets. However, not all of them offer all of the weather protection you’ll want out of a windbreaker.

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