The Best GORE-TEX Jackets | GORE-TEX Buyer's Guide

Exploring the world around us is a rewarding experience that can change your outlook on life. Every adventure starts with the desire to grow, and the right equipment. While you may have all the climbing and camping tools you need, don’t overlook your apparel. We’re looking at the best GORE-TEX jackets for your outdoor needs.

Why You Need the Best GORE-TEX Winter Jacket

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The right jacket can be a lifesaver in cold weather, so get the best. Extended periods outdoors can offer a chance for you to center yourself and reconnect with nature, but you can also face some tough conditions. Freezing wind and rain, sleet, and snow are all common when you are hiking or camping in the winter and cold climates.

No matter how much you try to acclimate yourself to these types of conditions, the body can only take so much. Prolonged exposure to cold conditions can affect your health. Being wet makes the cold even more dangerous, so you need to protect yourself. Your clothes are often the line of defense closest to your body, so they are worth investing in.

Taking a chance with outerwear that isn’t waterproof and lets wind cut through the fabric can make your outdoor time miserable. You want to be able to spend your time learning new things

and focusing on your surroundings, not worrying about how to stay warm. There is no point in taking a trip that you can’t enjoy because of your clothes.

The best GORE-TEX rain jackets will keep rain and cold air off your skin, reducing the chances of your body getting too cold or other problems such as frostbite. They are also built to last, so you can keep using them for years to come.

What Is GORE-TEX & Why Should You Get It?

And why is GORE-TEX such a good material for outdoor clothing? It’s all about what the material is made of and how it is manufactured.

GORE-TEX is well known as one of the best materials to use in outdoor clothing because it is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. At its core, GORE-TEX is a synthetic polymer that has been stretched thin. The result is a very strong, lightweight, and breathable fabric. Thanks to its nature as a plastic, it doesn't hold water, keeping everything under it dry.

The tight weave of the fabric also makes it windproof, letting negligible amounts of air through that could make a person chilly. You can see why a material that keeps wind and water away from you is a good option for outdoor wear. This is why some of the best jackets utilize GORE-TEX.

Types of GORE-TEX

When looking for the best GORE-TEX jackets, you may see different types of GORE-TEX listed in the product descriptions. The fabric can come in different layering styles, and in different construction styles which is indicated by labels such as “Pro” or “Paclite.” They all offer great elemental protection, but there are a few differences.

Original GORE-TEX can be made with two or three layers and is great for any outerwear that needs to be waterproof and/or windproof. When combined with a good lining, this layer of GORE-TEX will help keep you warm since you won’t get wet or have excessive airflow coming into the jacket. At the same time, it is still breathable to help keep you from overheating.

GORE-TEX PRO has added durability and weather protection compared to the original. It is always three layers and comes with an added micro-gridbacker. This construction method lasts longer because it snags less. GORE-TEX PRO shells are also built with tougher exteriors which make them even more durable.

While Pro sounds like it would always be the best option when compared to the original, this isn’t the case. Sometimes the GORE-TEX PRO can be bulkier, so if you value flexibility, the original GORE-TEX is the better option.

GORE-TEX Paclite is also a good choice when you need a light jacket option. It can give great weatherproofing with less weight and is usually a two-layer product. Paclite can also be integrated with GORE-TEX stretch technology to allow you the most flexibility while still wearing a weatherproof, waterproof jacket.

Any of these options could be right for you, depending on what you have planned and your individual needs.

Are GORE-TEX Jackets Good for Bad Weather?

The big question to ask before considering something as the best GORE-TEX jacket is how it stands up to bad weather. When you are out camping or hiking, the weather can turn on you in an instant. A sudden rainstorm, snowfall, or uptick in the wind could leave you cold and miserable. Worse, being wet in a cold area could lead to health problems.

GORE-TEX is great at protecting you from unexpected weather. The same lightweight GORE-TEX jacket you put on for a quick run will still be useful if you get caught in a downpour. The waterproofing in the fabric will keep you dry which means you stay warmer and more comfortable.

Having the added protection of a fabric that keeps the wind out will enable you to do more with your time outdoors.

Is GORE-TEX 100 Percent Waterproof?

In its new condition, GORE-TEX is essentially completely waterproof. This is because the pores in the membrane are 700 times smaller than a water droplet, so water can’t get through to your body. This also protects against the snow that gathers on your jacket in cold areas. As it melts, it can’t soak through to make you cold in rough conditions.

Most of the best men's GORE-TEX jacket choices also have extra waterproofing on the exterior layer. Water will form into beads that just roll off the jacket and will never make it to your skin. If the exterior layer starts to lose its resistance to water, you can restore it with a little bit of care.

Are GORE-TEX Jackets Good for the Winter?

GORE-TEX jackets can help keep you warm in winter weather, especially in places where there is significant winter precipitation. The fabric will keep you dry even in the face of rain, snow, and ice. This is important since you lose body heat more quickly when you are wet. By staying dry, you can prevent hypothermia and other cold-related illnesses.

Even in dry winter climates, GORE-TEX offers crucial protection against wind. If you’ve ever felt an icy winter breeze cut through your clothing, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Wind won’t get through GORE-TEX easily, so you can stay outdoors longer.

Thanks to all these features, GORE-TEX will keep you more comfortable and ultimately safer during your time outdoors. Some of the items made with this material can represent a sizable investment but it will be worth it if you are ready to make the most of every trip and exploration you get to go on.

How To Take Care of GORE-TEX

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If you invest in the best GORE-TEX jacket, it has the potential to last for a decade or more. However, this will start with buying a quality product like the ones from Arc’teryx that are built to last. You also have to take care of your jacket the right way to make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced prematurely.

Step One | Prepare For Washing

  • Close the main and pit zippers.
  • Open pocket zippers
  • Release tension on all elastic drawcords.
  • Loosen and secure the cuff Velcro®.

Step Two | Wash

  • Put your garment in the machine and add a cleaning agent.
  • Wash on medium heat (40°C/104°F) at a regular cycle setting. It is advised to use a second rinse cycle to remove any residual soap which will compromise DWR and garment performance.

Step Three | Re-Apply DWR (If Necessary)

If your garment is no longer beading water, it is time to re-apply DWR.

A spray-on DWR treatment will offer superior performance and the ability to target high-wear areas. We recommend:

  • Arc’teryx Nu Care Products
  • ReviveX® Durable Water Repellent
  • Fibertec Blue Guard Spray-On
  • Grangers® Performance Repel
  • Remove your garment from the machine and shake off any excess water.
  • Close all zippers.
  • Hang the garment and spray DWR on the face fabric –concentrating on high-wear areas.
  • Turn the garment inside out for maximum uptake by the face fabric before placing it in the dryer.

Step Four | Dry

Place your damp garment in the dryer on medium heat for 40 to 50 minutes (or until dry to the touch)to effectively activate DWR.

Boosting the Waterproofing

DWR is a polymer coating that increases surface tension and helps water to bead and roll off. Applying DWR to your garment’s face fabric increases its hydrophobic properties and repelling water.

If your garment is no longer beading water even after it has been washed and dried, it’s time to re-apply the DWR. A spray-on treatment offers the ability to target high-wear areas on your garment, encouraging its optimal performance.

  • Arc’teryx Nu Care Products
  • ReviveX® Durable Water Repellent
  • Fibertec Textile guard Pro X
  • Grangers® Performance Repel

Once washed, remove your garment from the machine and shake off excess water. Close all zippers. Hang the damp garment and spray DWR evenly on the wet face fabric of the garment, concentrating on high-wear areas.

Next, place the garment in a tumble drier on a medium heat setting (40°C / 104°F) for 40 to 50 minutes. We do not recommend using a wash-in DWR. Before drying, turn the garment inside out for maximum uptake by the face fabric.

How To Choose The Best GORE-TEX Jacket

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Shopping for a jacket seems like a simple thing, but when you are taking this jacket into the backcountry and counting on it to perform, the stakes are a bit higher. You already know to look for a great GORE-TEX jacket. However, what makes a jacket the best for you will depend on what you plan to do with it.


For climbers, versatility is an important feature to have in a jacket. You may start your climb with temperate weather. As you get higher in elevation, it’s not uncommon for conditions to change. The air gets colder, the wind gets stronger and you may start to encounter snow and ice.

A jacket for a climbing expedition should have good insulation to keep you warm as the temperatures drop as you scale the mountain. It should also be able to keep biting winds away from you. This is where it pays to have the best GORE-TEX jacket. You can count on it for warmth in the gusty weather.

Your climbing jacket also needs to be relatively lightweight. If you are pulling yourself up a steep elevation, you don’t want anything weighing you down unnecessarily. A lighter hardshell should be a part of your gear.

Look for pockets that zip as well as ones that are in the interior of the jacket. These little compartments will give you the ability to keep vital items on you during a climb, such as a cell phone, extra clamps, and small first aid items.

Make sure your climbing jacket gives you plenty of room to move your arms freely and has cuffs and hoods that can be tucked away so they don’t get caught on jagged rocks.


When selecting the best GORE-TEX jackets for hiking, look for lightweight options. Because you will be traveling extensively, you don’t want a bulky jacket on your back or in your bag.

Even when you are hiking in winter, you have a pretty good idea of what kind of weather you will be dealing with during your day, so you can decide if you need a jacket that has a lot of insulation or just a bit.

Something that becomes very important when hiking is a waterproof jacket. Trails often include water features such as creeks or waterfalls, so you want to make sure no water penetrates your jacket if you stop to take a look. When you hike through dense forests, there is also a chance the vegetation will be wet. You can quickly become soaked if your jacket isn’t a waterproof material such as GORE-TEX.

Hoods are important features for hiking jackets as well since they keep falling leaves and rain out of your eyes. Get a jacket with good pockets to keep a few emergency items on your body in case you drop or lose your pack and can’t retrieve it.

Make sure your jacket doesn’t have an excessive amount of flaps or loops on the exterior of the garment. These can catch on trees or rocks during your hike, increasing the risk of you falling and getting hurt as well as the risk of ripping your jacket. Keep your sleeve cuffs tucked away for the same reason.


Winter camping is all about staying warm, so the best GORE-TEX jacket for you will be big on insulation. Look for multiple layers that make sure body heat stays in while the GORE-TEX keeps the cold rain, snow, and wind out.

When you look for a camping jacket, consider the conditions at your site both during the day and during the night. The most beautiful places to explore often have drastic temperature drops once the sun goes down. A comfortable daytime temperature can plunge to near freezing in some climates during certain parts of the year. You should have a jacket to handle both ends of the spectrum.

As you compare features for camping jackets, look for ones that make it easy to bundle up for the cold nights at the campsite. You want hoods that cover your ears and neck and can be pulled tight, and sleeves and cuffs that work well with gloves so you can keep your extremities warm.

Camping is usually a slower-paced affair once you get to your site, so you probably don’t have to worry much about making sure the jacket is ultra-lightweight. You are likely carrying more stuff anyway, so it’s not as much of a hassle to pack a larger jacket.

You may also want to increase the length of your jacket. Getting an option that comes down a bit past your hips can help you stay warm while you are outdoors. When using a hardshell jacket during cold-weather camping, you may also need to layer it with other pieces. Get a size that gives you enough space to put on lighter layers underneath.

Skiing & Snowboarding

The best GORE-TEX jackets are perfect when you have a big day on the mountain coming up. The protection they offer on the slopes is perfect to keep you comfortable.

Although it is cold, you will do well with a lightweight jacket that can be layered with other insulating pieces. Make sure they are all well-tailored to your body so you can maintain your freedom of movement down the hill.

As you ski, you are getting hit with cold rushing air and snow spray. That’s the great thing about having a GORE-TEX jacket: it’s made specifically to block the wind and moisture before it gets to your body. You won’t be distracted by the chilly conditions on your runs since you have the right protection.

Check out the different collar and hood options on different jackets. For riders who wear helmets and goggles, make sure the hood can comfortably fit over this equipment. If the hood is too small, it will tug and pull the entire jacket up a bit.

As for your collar, getting a jacket with a high collar that has structure is a good way to protect your neck from the wind, snow, and sun.

Since you will be moving so much as you ski, get a jacket that will allow a good range of motion, particularly in the waist and shoulders. You want to avoid anything that restricts you and makes it harder to navigate downhill turns.


A winter run can be refreshing, as long as you have good protection from the elements. To find the best GORE-TEX jacket for long runs, prioritize lightweight, breathability, and wind resistance.

As you hit your stride, you will want a full range of motion, so a light jacket with an articulated fit will be extremely valuable. To protect your ability to move freely, get a jacket that is a bit on the shorter side so it doesn’t constrict any parts of your hips or legs.

For a running jacket, it may not be a benefit to have deep pockets. With larger pockets, items inside could bounce around as you run and become a distraction. Your pockets should hold items tightly and you want them to be able to zip closed so you don’t lose anything.

Something you may not have considered when looking for a jacket is noise. Think back to vintage tracksuits and windbreakers that were made of Nylon and made a “swish” sound with every motion.

When you get into the zone during a run, that noise is not what you want to hear. At Arc’teryx, our designers consider things like this so you have the best experience.

Not only should the actual fabric be quiet, but there should not be any flaps or fasteners that rattle or jingle as you run.

You will likely work up a bit of a sweat during your run. GORE-TEX lining easily lets water vapour out while preventing water droplets from getting in, so you can stay dry no matter how many miles are on your path. This also makes a GORE-TEX jacket a great choice to wear at your next cold-weather marathon or long-distance run.

The Best GORE-TEX Winter Jacket Options

You will have quite a few choices as you look for a great GORE-TEX jacket for your expeditions in the winter and throughout the year. However, there are a few that could be better suited for your needs, especially if you need reliable protection in the winter. Check out these options.

1. Alpha SV Jacket

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For one of the top contenders for the title of the best GORE-TEX jackets, the Alpha SV is an easy choice. It is one of the most durable, weatherproof, and long-lasting jackets you can get. Designed to be a durable shell in severe alpine conditions, it is built to withstand some of the harshest weather and still keep you feeling dry and comfortable.

This jacket is made with substantial materials. The GORE-TEX Pro lining is paired with extra waterproofing finishes on the exterior of the jacket, keeping any moisture far away from you. This is a jacket built for climbers in alpine conditions, so it has to stand up to snow blasting all over the place, as well as block wind from cutting through the fabric and making you cold.

In addition to being waterproof and windproof, the Alpha SV is also resistant to scrapes and abrasions. This is thanks to the heavy-duty fabric which is 100d, or 100 Denier units. This measures the weight of each thread of fabric, and such a high number shows you that each thread is strong and durable.

The seams, hems, and zippers on the Alpha SV are also built to be tight and block out water and wind. Often, outdoor jackets have areas of vulnerability in these spots, giving you a less-than-great experience. With every gap sealed, you can trust that you will avoid random cold spots.

Even with all of the weather protection this jacket offers, it is not restrictive. It also has a useful pocket configuration so you can carry small items with you.

2. Beta AR Jacket

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The Beta AR from Arc’teryx is another great option for the best men's GORE-TEX jacket thanks to its versatility. It is designed with GORE-TEX Pro and also has an extra waterproofing treatment on the exterior fabric to ensure that you stay as warm and as dry as possible when you are out in the elements.

An outstanding feature of the Beta AR is its ability to stand up to tough conditions while still being very lightweight. It weighs in at just one pound, making it easy to include in your pack even if you aren’t sure that you will need it.

This jacket has three-layer GORE-TEX construction which keeps it flexible. This allows you to feel good as you move through your environment while wearing this shell.

The collar and helmet-compatible hood are specially designed to adjust to helmets. Perfect for skiing, climbing, or any other activity that may call for protective headgear, the collar and hood are designed to accommodate the extra bulk without getting in your way.

The jacket is built to last, with reinforced construction in areas that may experience extra wear and tear. Even the sleeves and cuffs are made to let you move freely. They are designed not to catch on objects and rip, which is critical if you are climbing rocky terrain or moving through dense forest.

With the Beta AR, you can get protection in a range of seasons and weather conditions. It is light and breathable enough for hikes and explorations in the late fall and early spring while still being warm enough to protect you through the winter. All you have to do is layer for a wearing experience that will take you through many months and climates.

3. Norvan LT Hoody

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For an even lighter GORE-TEX jacket that is still weatherproof and warm look to the Norvan LT Hoody. The “LT” means lightweight, so you know you are getting a product designed to work well on the go. It weighs less than a pound, making it an easy option for taking on any trip or excursion without having to be concerned about carrying extra weight.

The jacket has GORE-TEX fabric with GORE C-KNIT backing. How does this help you? It makes the jacket very quiet. For runners or people who will be doing a lot of moving, you won’t be distracted by the noisy rustling of other jackets.

When you are looking for the best GORE-TEX jacket for long and short expeditions, the Norvan LT Hoody is a great option. You can wear it in cool and cold weather and count on it to keep the wind out while keeping you warm. Like all quality GORE-TEX jackets, it keeps water out while remaining breathable.

The Norvan also has added weather protection in the form of a hood with a front brim to keep rain or snow out of your eyes. The sleeves are built with movement in mind so your stride won’t be restricted as you move. A zippered pocket easily stores small items so you can keep essentials on you during a long run.

This is the perfect shell for year-round running and training, working well on its own or layered with other warming pieces during the winter.

4. Therme Insulated Jacket

rain jacket -Arc’teryx

When your top priority is warmth without being weighed down, you can also turn to the Therme Insulated jacket. It has a warm two-layer GORE-TEX lining that keeps you cozy in the harshest conditions without adding a ton of bulk to your pack.

This is one of the best GORE-TEX jacket choices because of its extra insulation. In addition to the GORE-TEX liner, it also has Coreloft™ synthetic insulation built in. This keeps you warm while still keeping the jacket relatively light. It only weighs slightly more than 12 ounces so it can go where you need it.

The Therme jacket is built for warmth in every way, including the design of the sleeves. The cuffs are specially made to keep heat in.

Its waterproof finish adds to the weatherproofing you get from the GORE-TEX, keeping you dry even in snowy weather.

You also have a hood that is designed to keep your field of vision clear but is also insulated to keep your head and neck warmer in extremely cold weather. This is a heavy-duty jacket without the bulky design that is perfect for everyday adventures on icy days.

5. Ralle Jacket

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This jacket is a great item to use in tandem with other cold-weather layering pieces to stay warm in winter conditions. The cut of the jacket is made to fit your body while still allowing you to have more clothes underneath.

The Ralle Jacket features a three-layer GORE-TEX to provide complete resistance to the weather. It is windproof and waterproof, and made with durable fabric.

Designed to allow you to move freely, the Ralle isn’t too heavy, weighing in at less than a pound. That makes it easy to put in a bag and carry it until you need it, or wear it all day without getting too hot. A trim-fit style also helps with breathability, making sure you don’t feel suffocated.

This is one of the best GORE-TEX jackets for mobility as well.

This jacket also has great pocket space. There is a chest pocket, an internal dump pocket, and two hand pockets. You can keep a lot of essentials on your body without carrying a bag if you want to travel a bit lighter.

In case of a sudden rain shower, the large hood will help keep you dry. It’s specially cut in a way that will not impede your vision.

6. Beta SV Jacket

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If your adventures will take you into extreme mountain conditions, the Beta SV is a smart choice for your next jacket. It is built to withstand harsh elements while keeping you protected.

At the heart of this jacket is GORE-TEX PRO lining, offering some of the best windproofing and waterproofing you can find. Even with such strong protection, this jacket won’t weigh you down. It is one of the heavier options on this list at a little over 1 pound, but it is still light in comparison to the protection it offers.

The construction of this hardshell is what lands it on the list of best GORE-TEX jacket choices. It is made with rugged and ultra-durable fabric that is heavyweight, so it stands up to wear and tear. Nothing is overlooked, even the seams. They are micro seams to reduce the bulk of the jacket, and they are sealed with tape to increase weatherproofing.

You get a slightly longer hem with this jacket for added protection in tough environments. The jacket also has a helmet-compatible hood that easily goes over helmets without impacting your vision. You can adjust the hood without taking off your gloves, thanks to a unique design. The tall collar comes with a chin guard for added comfort and protection.

A reflector built into the jacket can help with search and rescue during an emergency. You can also keep a lot of emergency supplies on you thanks to ample pocket space throughout the jacket. If you need to cool off, there are built-in vents such as the pit zips (underarm vents), zippered hand pockets, and more that you can unzip for extra airflow.

7. Alpha SL Anorak

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For one of the lightest and best GORE-TEX jackets, you can find, look to the Alpha SL Anorak. It weighs just over 7 ounces. This means there is no reason not to throw it in your pack so you have it when you need it and store it away easily while you are camping or hiking. Its construction also makes it quiet as you concentrate on your climb.

This jacket is light in weight, but not in protection. This type of rain jacket blocks the wind and rain just like the rest of the GORE-TEX family so you can count on it during climbs and treks that take you into rough weather. The three-layer GORE-TEX will block wind while remaining breathable, allowing you to scale high peaks without getting overheated.

The helmet-compatible hood accommodates helmets as well as ball caps with brims. The jacket isn’t a full zip, but the front zipper goes lower than many other jackets so it’s easy to get the Alpha SL Anorak on and off as you are out and about.

Your pockets will feature water-tight external zippers to protect the things that you carry with you as you hike, climb or run. An adjustable hem cord and adjustable cuffs make sure that you are always comfortable in your jacket.

If you find that you need more insulation, this is a great jacket to layer over other warm items so you can use it well into the fall and winter, as well as use it during more temperate times of the year.

These are just a few of the great choices you have when looking for the best GORE-TEX jackets, so compare them all to see which will work best for your needs. You can also get some insight with the Arc’teryx jacket finder tool.

Explore Your World With the Best GORE-TEX Winter Jacket

The moments you experience out in nature, exploring the world, and testing yourself are priceless. They help enrich your life and allow you to appreciate the environment around you. Investing in the right equipment is worth it to make sure you have no regrets or distractions when you plan out your adventure in a remote location.

Just like you would want the best tent or hiking boots or climbing rope, you should also want the right clothing to protect you. Check out Arc’teryx to find the best GORE-TEX jacket for you, and start exploring every place your imagination can take you.