Destinations Magazine

The Best Hiking Jackets for Every Season

By Monkeys And Mountains Adventure @Laurel_Robbins

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When hiking, the type of jacket that you choose with you can make a world of difference. But with all the options out there how do you choose the best hiking jacket for the type of hiking you plan to do?

Choosing the best hiking clothes for you needs can be difficult. Well, let's be honest, its a gnarly business to say the least. The shopping bit is my least favourite in fact, but without a doubt it is also one of the most important aspects of hiking. Having the wrong gear can really wreck your trek. I have found that one of the most important items of clothing for hiking is a jacket. So here is a look at what you need to know that will help you choose the best hiking jacket.

What you Need in a Hiking Jacket

First things first... What type of hiker are you? Do you hike in warm or cold weather? Is the area you hike in prone to rain or is it perhaps known for being windy? The climate in which you plan on hiking in makes a big difference in what you need and want from a hiking jacket. For instance, as I live in Europe, as a rule of thumb I keep one good quality and warm winter jacket for those snowy hikes I love to take in winter. And I keep one good lightweight, waterproof summer jacket that I will usually carry in summer not only to protect against wind or rain but also against UV rays.

Now if you live in a warmer place such as Guatemala or South Africa, you may want to consider what your seasons are like before choosing your hiking jackets.

Another very important thing to consider is fit. This, of course, is entirely up to you. I prefer a snugger fit so that jackets don't look bulky and can still pass for stylish if I decide to wear them when I am not hiking. Why not multi-purpose every item if you can right? But I know a few fellow hikers who prefer loose-fitting jackets that are slightly longer. It all comes down to your preference in comfort.

I always recommend buying jackets that are more durable, even if you aren't planning on hitting rugged terrain. You never know when your jacket will be put to the test on a trail.

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Rain Jackets for Hiking

Having a good waterproof jacket is really important, especially when hiking in tropical and rainy areas. Keeping dry is really important as it can save you a lot of discomfort, including saving you from getting sick, which is something you really wouldn't want while hiking.

Rain jackets have to be resistant and durable and have to offer you good protection from the elements. They should also fit well and be lighweight enough to easily keep with you no matter where you are hiking.

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Softshell Jackets for Hiking

Softshell jackets are a great addition to your hiking gear. They are lightweight and durable and easay to pack. They are also really comfortable and easy to pack and carry with you on your travels. Soft shell hiking jackets are really versatile and I usually choose ones that are more stylish so that I can wear them in my downtime and even when I am doing other activities such as cycling.

They are perfect for most weather conditions, either worn as a layer on their own. Depending on the type of hiking that you are doing, you want to make sure to choose a lightweight jacket that is easy to pack and durable to take on any hike in any weather.

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Hardshell Jackets for Hiking

Hardshell jackets are an excellent addition to your hiking gear if you hike in extreme terrain. They are designed to offer protection from the most extreme weather conditions and are perfect for mountaineering and similar types of hiking.

They offer you great protection without taking away your mobility. These jackets are also really breathable, which makes it perfect for high intensity activities. The Hardshell jacket is the perfect hiking jacket to layer under so make sure you have the right size, you don't want to purxhase one that is too snug or too baggy as it could get uncomfortable.

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Fleece Jackets for Hiking

The fleece is a must-have for hiking. You won't necessarily only use it for hiking. If you're planning a multi-day hike you will want a fleece jacket for hanging at the campsite in the evenings. Feelce jackets are great as layers because they are comfortable and offer you great mobility. If you are into hardcore hiking though, make sure to check whether the fleece you choose is breathable and not too dense. You should also keep in mind that they are not water proof, so before you pack it for your chosen hike, check the weather.

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Down Jackets for Hiking

What I consider the best thing about purchasing a down jacket is that it is super versatile. To be honest, when I purchase a down jacket I always look for something that works for hiking but still looks great for everyday wear. That way I get more out of my investment, especially since these don't come cheap. Like most jackets, there are many different options and you will have to consider what type of weather conditions you will be hiking in.

Top Tip: Make sure to check whether a down jacket is waterproof or not before purchasing. This is especially helpful if you live in a wet or humid area.

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Wind Jackets for Hiking

I honestly believe that everyone should have a good quality windbreaker (wind jacket). This is the perfect jacket to have in any season and I love using mine to not only protect against windy conditions but also to protect against sunburn. These jackets come in incredibly lightweight and breathable options which won't break the bank and can be used any time on any type of hike. They are also so easy to pack, you can roll them up and put them in your backpack without losing much space.

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Choosing the right hiking jacket for your needs doesn't have to be difficult. What is your favourite hiking jacket?

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