Finding The Best Women’s Hiking Jacket | Buyer’s Guide
As a hiking enthusiast, you know how important it is to be prepared. You never want to hit the trail without the right gear and supplies. This can help you avoid being caught off-guard by severe or harsh weather conditions or challenging terrain. Readiness is about more than just staying hydrated and packing the right stuff, though. It also includes wearing the right equipment for your hike. If you aren’t equipped with a reliable hiking jacket, you may be left at the mercy of the elements.
You can avoid this and find the best women’s hiking jackets on the market by reviewing our in-depth guide.
Where Can I Buy the Best Women’s Hiking Jackets?
If you want to find the best hiking jackets for women, you need to know where to shop. There are a myriad of retailers both online and in brick-and-mortar stores that claim to sell the best products. Of course, not all of these sellers are reliable —you need to be discerning when you shop.
Arc’teryx has the best women’s jackets on the market and can be found in over 2,400 retail outlets around the world. These outlets included the following:
Local Outdoor Outfitters
You can start your search for the perfect jacket at your local outdoor outfitter. Many small stores have an impressive selection of hiking jackets for women, including designs from Arc’teryx. Some of the most popular selections stocked in outdoor stores include the Cerium Hoody, the Beta AR Jacket, and the Gamma SL Hoody. Your local outdoor store may also carry other Arc’teryx garments to supply you with a complete outfit.
When you shop at local outlets, you can feel good about supporting a small business. Authorized Arc’teryx Dealers partner with the company to offer a tailored selection of pieces that are ideally suited to the area and the season. Partner stores that are located in areas where hiking is a popular pastime will likely carry a wide selection of Arc’teryx hiking jackets as well as a range of additional hiking attire and accessories.
If you’re looking to score a deep discount on your favourite Arc’teryx gear, an Arc’teryx outlet is the ideal place to do so. In addition to a standard inventory of Arc’teryx classics, these stores offer low prices on styles that have been discontinued. This means you can snag the best hiking jackets for women for an incredible price. More importantly, you can be sure that you’re getting an entirely authentic garment, which you can’t guarantee when you go bargain hunting online.
An Arc’teryx outlet offers yet another benefit that can’t be found online —the ability to try on a jacket before you decide on a purchase. When you’re investing in something as important as your hiking jacket, you want to be sure that the fit is perfect. Shopping at any Arc’teryx retailer will offer the opportunity to browse a wide selection of hiking jackets and try them on until you find the right one.
Arc'teryx Retail Stores
The most reliable source of hiking jackets that you’ll find is one of the Arc’teryx brand’s dedicated stores. Here, you’ll discover an exclusive assortment of Arc’teryx gear, including the most popular women’s hiking jacket designs. Arc’teryx currently operates 159 of its own branded stores, with the biggest —a flagship retail space in Shanghai, China —spanning more than 8,000 square feet.
Arc’teryx stores are crafted to provide customers with an immersive experience. Rather than simply offering shopping, these stores replicate the most engaging elements of an outdoor excursion that consumers may experience. A soundtrack of nature sounds and visuals of various landscapes greet customers.
Some stores even offer specialized testing rooms that allow you to recreate extreme conditions and assess whether your hiking jacket will adequately withstand the pressure.
Arcteryx.com Online Store
If you can’t conveniently access an Arc’teryx store, outlet, or authorized retailer, don’t lose hope —you can still find the best hiking jackets at the brand’s online store. Shopping at Arcteryx.com offers more than just convenience, though —it’s also the source for the best selection of Arc’teryx goods. While brick-and-mortar stores have their benefits, they can’t match the array of designs that can be found online.
You may worry that buying online won’t allow you to try on your hiking jacket. Indeed, you will need to rely on detailed size charts to determine what size and style are best suited to your body. If your jacket isn’t the right fit, don’t fret.
Arcteryx.com offers free returns to all customers for up to 30 days after the original purchase. You can also return items purchased online at your nearest Arc’teryx brand store.
What Materials Are Used in the Best Women’s Hiking Jackets?
When you’re trying to find the best hiking jackets for women, where you shop isn’t the only important factor. You also need to research what exactly you’re shopping for—including what materials a high-quality jacket will be made of.
Look for hiking jackets that contain the following materials:
Coreloft™ Synthetic Insulation
Despite the many advantages of natural down jacket insulation, some people prefer to invest in hiking jackets for women that feature synthetic insulation —and indeed, synthetic insulation can offer many benefits of its own. In addition to the ethical advantage that a synthetic material may provide to vegans and animal lovers, synthetic insulation can effectively trap body heat just as natural insulation would, making it a viable alternative.
Arc’teryx has developed proprietary synthetic insulation called Coreloft™. This material is non-woven and made from high-quality polyester that’s been siliconized so that it can resist water. This feature means that a layer will retain its warmth even when wet, so it's a great option when you want to wear insulation during your higher output activities.
Coreloft™ synthetic insulation is also advantageous because it is manufactured in a sheet. This is a contrast to natural materials of down jackets, which are loose-fill and can thus become lumpy. The sheet design of Coreloft™ ensures that it offers comfortable and consistent insulation.
15D Arato™ Nylon
The interior of a hiking jacket is just one of the components you should consider. You also need to consider what materials a jacket’s exterior is made of, too. Many of the hiking jackets for women made by Arc’teryx feature 15D Arato™ Nylon on their exterior.
This material is bioengineered from plant materials to reduce the unnecessary use of petroleum in the manufacturing process. The result is an effective shell that will keep you warm.
When shopping for hiking jackets, you should also pay attention to the denier of nylon material. Denier refers to the measurement of a fabric’s thickness, and the higher the number, the thicker it is.
You want a nylon denier for your hiking jacket that will be comfortably warm but not too heavy. Arc’teryx offers women’s jackets with Arato™ Nylon ranging from 10 to 20 denier.
Recycled Dope Dye Nylon
The nylon used in an Arc’teryx hiking jacket isn’t just sustainably sourced —in many cases, it’s also recycled and dyed using sustainable methods, too. One of these methods, dope dying, has emerged as a popular alternative to typical dye processes that rely on harmful toxins. It involves adding pigments to the melted nylon-plastic solution and allowing the colour to set before the solution is made into fibres.
This process generates less wastewater than traditional techniques, and it also eliminates the need for additional chemical compounds that may hurt the environment. In addition to its eco-friendly reputation, this method produces better results —it allows colour pigments to be fully integrated into each fibre, thus improving its consistency and longevity.
In addition to nylon, some Arc’teryx hiking jackets are made using a recycled polyester shell. According to statistics, only 8% of polyester manufactured worldwide was produced from recycled material in 2008. By 2020, though, that figure had risen —and nearly doubled —to 15%. Arc’teryx has played a leading role in reducing excessive polyester production and proving the benefits of recycled fibres.
The material that’s used for women’s hiking jackets is specifically designed to offer a breathable and quick-drying exterior. It’s also a lightweight hiking jacket so that it’s easy to tote around, and it’s wrinkle-resistant so that you can look great even after a long day on the trail.
When Does a Down Insulated Layer Come in Handy?
Technical Down Insulation
The insulation of jackets might be the most important feature. This is the part of the jacket that’s responsible for keeping you warm by reducing the loss of body heat into the atmosphere.
Insulation creates a layered barrier that traps your warmth and shields you from the environment. Without insulation, if you encounter cold conditions, you can quickly become frigid.
Technical down is engineered to provide warmth that’s optimized for breaks when you step off the trail, at camp, or at the summit taking in the view.
The result is a down material that’s warm and durable but also conveniently lightweight and packable.
European White Goose Down
Technical insulation can be crafted from an array of materials, including natural down that is sourced from geese. Some Arc’teryx hiking jackets for women use European white goose down because of the superior durability and comfort this material provides.
Perhaps the most important advantage it can offer, though, is the ability to regulate your body temperature —an essential feature in environments that are cold or fluctuating in temperature.
All down insulation used by Arc’teryx meets the “Responsible Down Standard” (RDS). This standard was established in 2014 to encourage manufacturers to source down materials with respect for animal welfare and long-term sustainability. Products that bear the RDS certification are independently verified by Control Union Certifications and Textile Exchange.
How Do You Choose a Quality Women’s Hiking Jacket?
You know that the source of your jacket and the material it’s made from are both important factors in determining its quality. These criteria alone, though, are not enough to guide your decision —many other factors determine the quality and value of hiking jackets.
Choose a high-quality hiking jacket for women by considering these additional factors:
Sustainability of the Materials
As an avid hiker, you understand how precious the environment is. Indeed, the sustainability of the materials used to craft a jacket is a major factor in its overall quality. Companies such as Arc’teryx that invest in sustainable manufacturing often produce higher-quality products.
This is because sustainable materials are typically synonymous with high-quality materials. When thought and intention are put into the production process, the results are better. Our products are high-performance, durable, and top-of-the-line—and we’re making steps in terms of sustainability.
Compatibility With Budget
Your budget is yet another important factor that will impact your choice of hiking jackets. Not all hiking jackets are created equal, and you may find that some are simply overpriced. A bigger price tag doesn’t always correlate to better quality. If you want to choose the best hiking jackets for women, then, you should consider their compatibility with your budget rather than just their price.
Adopting this holistic view allows you to approach your hiking jacket as an investment —not just another accessory you’ll be replacing soon. Remember that choosing a jacket that features higher-quality materials can make hikes more comfortable, which means that it may demand a greater portion of your budget than other hiking supplies and accessories.
Remember a jacket that’s sustainably made will often cost more due to the higher cost of manufacturing. It’s worthwhile to make room in your budget for this additional expense.
Style That Suits Your Life
An investment in function and durability should never come at the expense of aesthetics. Feeling great is important, and so is looking great. When you’re choosing which hiking jackets are right for you, consider styles that are suited to your lifestyle that are sleek, simple, and timeless. The best jacket is one that’s easy to tote along on your next hike or wear for daily errands when it gets cold.
Selections such as the Arc’teryx Gamma SL Hoody offer exactly this level of versatility. The SL signifies the garment’s superlight construction, making it ideal for an array of activities beyond hiking. The soft outer shell further adds to its adaptability, providing a woven exterior that resists abrasions.
All of these traits exemplify what makes Arc’teryx jackets ideal —a style that’s designed to fit into your life, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Perhaps the most important trait of all is the long-term durability that a jacket can offer. You don’t want to invest in a hiking jacket and find that it falls apart after a few washes or an intense hike. Your jacket needs to withstand impact, resist the elements, and endure wear and tear —and its ability to do so will depend on the materials it’s made of. Choosing the right hiking jacket means choosing a jacket that’s designed for durability.
What does durability look like for a women’s jacket for hiking? Durability means you won’t have to worry about repairs after you’ve worn your jacket a few times. It means you can look forward to years of use. Most importantly, it means that you’ve invested in a garment that’s designed with acute attention to detail.
The details and materials that comprise a high-quality jacket will ensure that it lasts.
Comfort in Any Conditions
Many hiking jackets for women are designed to protect wearers from cold weather, and indeed this is an important feature to look for in a jacket. It’s better, though, to look for a jacket that offers comfort in any condition —wet, dry, warm, or cold.
It can be difficult to predict what kind of climate you’ll encounter when you’re on a hike, but when you invest in a jacket that is part of a layering system, you never have to worry about whether you’ll be exposed to the elements.
Arc’teryx jackets come in a variety of specialty designs. Some of our jackets are designed with versatility in mind, and others are extremely purpose-built. In addition to the protection that some provide in cold climates, many are engineered to be breathable so that they are comfortable even in warmer weather, too.
The Right Fit for Your Body
High-quality materials and weather-resistant construction won’t benefit you if your jacket doesn’t fit properly. To be truly comfortable, a hiking jacket must move with your body as you navigate the terrain of the trail. They should be adequately insulated jackets without adding bulk to your profile —and your backpack.
Arc’teryx offers an array of jackets with various fits, ensuring that there’s a design for every hiking enthusiast. Before you invest in a hiking jacket, be sure to try it on in the store or thoroughly review the size chart online.
Finally, if you’re trying to choose the best women’s hiking jacket, you must look for a design that offers functional features. This includes designs that are made to accommodate layers, resist damage, and improve warmth.
Arc’teryx selections offer an array of functional features such as the StormHood™. The StormHood™ is a low-profile hood that increases the wearer’s warmth without impeding your vision or interfering with a helmet.
The No Slip Zip™ is a similarly attractive feature that makes your favourite hiking jacket easier to use. It’s designed to prevent your jacket from opening inadvertently. This ensures that you can achieve a snug, comfortable fit without worrying about any zipper malfunctions.
When you’re searching for the perfect hiking jacket for women, think about what kind of features you need the most in your expeditions.
How Much Is a Women’s Hiking Jacket?
Hiking jackets for women can range in price widely. Rather than expecting a single price point, you should consider what features you’re looking for.
These criteria will determine your budget and help you choose a jacket that’s a worthwhile investment:
Shop by Quality, Not Price
Instead of shopping for hiking jackets based solely on price, you should consider adjusting your criteria to incorporate quality. This is often a better lens to view products through —especially a product as important as your hiking jacket. When you start shopping based on the quality of a product, you’ll find that many Arc’teryx jackets emerge as contenders for the top spot.
Indeed, Arc’teryx jackets are often named the best hiking jackets on the market by consumers and critics alike. The following are some of the most popular designs for women, along with their prices:
As you can see, prices can range widely even within one brand. Shopping only by price can reduce your options and limit you to a jacket that doesn’t meet your needs.
Shopping by quality, on the other hand, gives you the option to choose the jacket that’s best suited to your needs. This will make for a much more enjoyable hike when you take your jacket out on the trail.
Why Is a Quality Hiking Jacket Important?
If you’re still unconvinced of the value of a high-quality hiking jacket, you might be wondering why quality is so important. Wearing a cheaper hiking jacket might seem like a simple way to save money.
There are several reasons, though, why a high-quality hiking jacket is more than just a wise investment —it’s an essential piece of gear. You don’t want to be caught in unpredictable conditions with a jacket that offers inadequate protection.
Consider these reasons why high-quality hiking jackets are important:
Safety & Security
While our jackets won't stop people from injuring themselves, they are abrasion-resistant meaning that the garment can withstand the wear and tear of friction caused by instances of repetitive scraping or rubbing during your hike.
Sunburns are another common source of injury. Contrary to popular belief, it’s wise to wear a hiking jacket even when it’s warm or sunny. Doing so can shield your sensitive skin from the invasive rays of the sun. UBA and UVB rays can damage your skin cells, and excessive exposure will increase your risk of skin cancer, so you must shield your skin.
A thin, low-quality hiking jacket will provide insufficient protection against this risk, but a high-quality jacket with breathable insulation can prevent sun exposure while ensuring that you stay comfortable.
Protection From Weather
The threat of sun damage from warm weather is a serious issue, but the risk imposed by cold weather may be even greater. Many people mistakenly associate the risk of hypothermia with subfreezing temperatures, but according to the National Weather Service, it can happen any time a person’s body temperature drops below 95°F. At this point, it can be fatal, and anybody who survives will typically sustain critical damage to organs such as their kidneys, pancreas, and liver.
This illustrates the essential need for protection in cold weather. Cold weather isn’t always predictable, many hikers have found themselves suddenly caught in blizzard conditions. If this were to happen, a cheap jacket without ample insulation would cause you to lose body heat more quickly —and increase the likelihood of injury or death.
When your life is on the line, you need to be confident that you have the right attire for whatever weather might strike. Investing in hiking jackets is important because it might just save your life.
Comfort Throughout Your Hike
Although life or death situations certainly can emerge on a hike, most of the time you don’t have to worry about such critical situations. No matter what the weather is, though, you’ll always be concerned about comfort. A bulky or heavy hiking jacket can slow down your hike, burden your back, and generally make your endeavor less enjoyable. Unfortunately, though, this might be the experience you’re stuck with if you settle for the cheapest hiking jacket.
A high-quality hiking jacket, conversely, will allow you to move with ease and precision —bending, stretching, and traversing the trails without the feeling of any extra cargo weighing you down. If you love hiking, your jacket should complement your experience —not compromise it. The best women’s hiking jacket will provide both the coverage and comfort that you need.
What Other Clothing Should I Pair With a Hiking Jacket?
Hiking jackets are an important part of your hiking preparedness, but they’re the most effective when paired with other hiking gear, too. The most essential gear is your outfit.
If you’re unsure how to dress for a hiking expedition, there are a few pieces of clothing that you can pair with your hiking jacking to ensure that you’re as safe —and comfortable —as you can be.
Hiking Boots for Women
Hiking-related injuries can affect any part of the body, but research shows that the most commonly injured area is ankle injuries comprise 42% of all injuries that occur while hiking. A hiking jacket unfortunately cannot benefit your feet, so you must complete your outfit with a pair of hiking boots that will provide the necessary protection and support.
Hiking boots like the Acrux GTX are designed specifically for women hikers. They are crafted to provide consistent comfort even on multi-day hikes, thanks to their lightweight materials and Vibram® Megagrip outsole.
These features ensure that you’ll never feel slowed down by your boots, but you’ll still be able to achieve the traction you need to trek for hours and days at a time. Most importantly, they offer arch support that will prevent injuries and discomfort throughout your hike.
A Solid Base Layer
Your hiking jacket is likely the last garment you’ll put on before you embark on your hike. Everything that’s underneath it is just as necessary, though. Staying comfortable on a hike is all about layering strategically —especially if you are anticipating cold weather.
To make the most of your hiking jackets, then, you should start with a solid base layer. This includes leggings, a comfortable bra, and a first-layer hoodie to keep you warm.
Because they are the first layer of your outfit, these garments are designed to be tight-fitting and thin while still optimizing your body’s warmth and offering high performance in all weather.
Arc’teryx base layer garments are constructed from unique Phasic™ polyester material. This material is engineered to minimize moisture and maintain breathability even when layered under other attire.
As is the case with your torso and arms, if your legs get too cold, you could be at risk of hypothermia. You may also find that the cold limits your movement and slows down your progress on your hike. Luckily, a good pair of hiking pants can minimize that possibility and ensure that you’re comfortable.
The Proton Pant by Arc’teryx, for example, is not only lightweight but provides light insulation as well. Designed to be both warm and breathable thanks to Octa® Loft knit insulation paired with performance stretch for efficient movement, these pants work as a mid layer or standalone.
When paired with a great hiking jacket, pants like these will keep you comfortable in nearly any weather.
Gloves and Beanies
Finally, you need to keep all of your extremities protected, and gloves and beanies are essential for this purpose. Hands are often highly susceptible to frostbite, and it only takes 15 minutes for it to set in. If you may face freezing temperatures while on your hike —or if wind chill temperatures fall low enough —you are at risk. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of gloves in your backpack at all times, even if you don’t think that you'll encounter extreme cold.
Beanies are just as important as gloves for similar reasons. When pulled over your ears, they protect the delicate skin on your earlobes from cold weather.
Look for a beanie that’s made from 100% recycled material, such as the Arc’teryx Word Toque beanie that’s manufactured entirely with recycled polyester.
What Weather Conditions Should a Hiking Jacket Protect Against?
Hiking jackets serve many purposes, but their most essential task is to shield you from the elements. Many inexperienced hikers make the mistake of only bringing their jackets in cold conditions, but hiking enthusiasts know that jackets are essential in any weather.
There are other weather conditions that the best hiking jackets should protect you against, too, including the following:
Your rain jacket must offer a waterproof or water-resistant exterior. Without this, moisture from rain will easily permeate the rain jacket exterior, seep into its lining, and cause you to get cold.
In addition to the obvious discomfort of a soggy hiking jacket, this can cause your body temperature to drop, which could increase your risk of aforementioned ailments like hypothermia. If your skin stays wet, it could also cause blistering and irritation.
An Arc’teryx rain jacket is equipped with a signature GORE-TEX exterior. This patented material is entirely waterproof, and it’s a proprietary form of polytetrafluoroethylene that retains flexibility while repelling moisture.
Since its invention in 1969, it’s become one of the most popular materials for rain jackets. Unlike other similar materials, this rain jacket is impenetrable to liquid while still retaining breathability. Look for a waterproof GORE-TEX jacket so that you’re protected from moisture.
Snow is yet another common threat that hikers may face on the trail. In addition to the aforementioned threats of frostbite and hypothermia, snow may increase the risk of injuries that are caused by slipping and falling —which is why it’s essential to pair your warm jacket with a good pair of hiking boots. You need to ensure that your jacket is also equipped to handle snowy weather.
The Beta Jacket is one of the most popular Arc’teryx selections, and it is both a rain jacket and snow-proof jacket due to its GORE-TEX fabrication. This garment has an adjustable StormHood™ feature that can be easily activated by pulling on the hood’s single string, and it can help shield your face from any incoming snow.
Hikers should never overlook the serious havoc that a wind storm can wreak. High winds can easily endanger hikers, contributing to increased cold when temperatures are already low and dramatically increasing the likelihood of cold-related injuries.
The right women’s hiking jacket can protect you from wind by providing a windproof barrier between yourself and the environment. Windproof garments are specially engineered to feature very tightly-woven fibres, which in turn, minimize the wind’s ability to penetrate the exterior of the jacket.
A hiking jacket that features a windproof exterior will protect your skin and minimize the chance of injury.
Invest in the Best Hiking Jackets for Women in Your Next Expedition
When you’re getting ready to hit the trail, you probably have a list of supplies that you’re taking with you. Food, water, and emergency gear are at the top of the list —and a high-quality hiking jacket for women should be, too.
Hiking jackets are imperative to protecting you and keeping you comfortable. Find the top-rated women’s hiking jackets by shopping at Arc’teryx.
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