Be Prepared for Winter: The Best Hiking Coat 2023

When picking the right waterproof hiking coat, you need to consider the weather conditions, your activity level, and personal comfort. This article will provide tips for choosing a hiking coat that will keep you dry, protected, and comfortable on the trail. We’ll cover key features to look for, fabric technologies, and provide top picks for 2023. A good hiking coat is a critical part of any outdoor enthusiast’s gear.

Choosing the Right Fabric for Weather Protection on Your Hiking Coat

When selecting a hiking coat, one of the most important considerations is the outer fabric. The right fabrics will provide the waterproofing, breathability and durability you need to stay comfortable in diverse weather conditions. Here are some of the top technologies to look for:

  • Gore-Tex – This popular membrane fabric is both waterproof and breathable thanks to its porous construction. Gore-Tex jackets keep rain out while allowing internal moisture vapor to escape. They are also windproof and durable. However, Gore-Tex can be less breathable during strenuous activity.
  • eVent – Similar to Gore-Tex, eVent uses a thin membrane for waterproof, breathable performance. It offers excellent ventilation and air permeability, making it a great choice for aerobic activity. Not quite as durable as Gore-Tex.
  • Hardshell – These jackets use tightly woven, non-membrane fabrics treated with a durable water repellant (DWR) finish. They are waterproof and windproof but not as breathable as membrane fabrics. Hardshells excel in cold and dry conditions.
  • Softshell – Softshells use stretchy woven fabrics to resist wind and light rain. They are more breathable than hardshells but not fully waterproof. Ideal for highly aerobic cold weather activities.

Consider a waterproof rating of at least 20,000mm and 20,000g/m2 breathability rating. Make sure the DWR finish helps water bead up and roll off. For extreme wet weather, 3-layer constructions add an inner lining for greater water protection. And don’t forget wind proofing to block out icy gusts! Insulated “puffy” coats aren’t waterproof, so look at hardshells or softshells instead for winter hiking.

Features to Look For in Your Waterproof Hiking Coat

When shopping for a hiking jacket, you’ll want to look closely at the various features included. These features go beyond just keeping you dry – they ensure your jacket is adaptable, protective, and user-friendly for all your outdoor pursuits. Carefully examining the features and construction will help you select a coat that aligns with your specific hiking needs and environment.

Start by looking at the waterproofing and breathability ratings, seam sealing, and fabric technology as discussed earlier. These provide the baseline weather protection.

Then, turn your attention to the additional features that enable ventilation, weather adaptability, and convenient access on the trail. Subtle differences in pockets, cuffs, hems and hoods make each hiking coat unique.

Consider when and where you’ll use your new hiking coat. Are you traversing rainy mountain passes or breezy ridges? Do you move fast or slow? Will you be climbing with a harness? Let your hiking activities guide which features deserve focus.

Here are some of the top features to keep an eye out for:

Hood – Look for a hood that is helmet-compatible if you’ll be climbing. Adjustable drawcords and brims allow you to seal out weather while maintaining visibility. Some jackets have stowable hoods that pack away.

Pockets – Handwarmer pockets should be fleece-lined for comfort and warmth. Interior pockets keep valuables secure, while chin or chest pockets allow quick access to essentials.

Cuffs – Velcro, elastic or adjustable cuffs prevent precipitation, wind, and snow from creeping in. Integrated cuff savers protect sleeve hems from backpack straps.

Hem – An adjustable hem provides extra coverage and weather protection as needed. It can also tighten the jacket against your body to lock in warmth.

Ventilation – Pit zips allow cooling airflow to regulate temperature during aerobic activity. Core vents across the upper back also improve airflow and breathability.

Harness Compatibility – For climbing and mountaineering, ensure the coat fits over a harness. Look for features like minimal seams and adjustable hems.

With the right blend of weather protection, convenient access, and adaptability, these features will keep you comfortable no matter the conditions on the trail.

waterproof hiking coat womens

Matching Your Hiking Coat to Your Activity

When selecting a hiking coat, it’s crucial to match its design and features to your intended activity. This will ensure you get a coat tailored to your unique needs.

For highly aerobic activities like fast-paced hiking and backpacking, focus on lightweight and breathability. Look for minimal features to reduce weight, and waterproof-breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex that vent well. Pit zips and venting are also useful. The perfect coat for all-day trekking provides weather protection without compromising airflow.

For less aerobic activities in frigid weather, choose an insulated coat instead. Down or synthetic fills will keep you warm even when not generating heat. But they sacrifice waterproofing, so pair them with a water-resistant shell when needed. Adjustable hoods, cuffs and hems lock in warmth.

Mountaineers and climbers need a coat that allows dynamic movement while protecting from elements. Seek harness-compatible coats with articulated cuts. Helmet-compatible hoods and full weatherproofing are a must.

Don’t forget everyday winter wear as well. Seek weatherproof, insulated coats with stylish aesthetics for urban use after hiking.

Consider your pace, climate, terrain and personal hiking style. Then choose coats with the specific features and construction to match, and your adventures will be comfortable in any conditions.

Mens Hiking Coat vs Womens Hiking Coat Fit

When evaluating hiking coats, it’s important to consider how the cut and fit are tailored to your body type and gender. Men’s and women’s coats have some notable differences:

Men’s hiking coats are shaped to accommodate broader shoulders and narrower hips. They ensure freedom of movement while reaching higher on the torso for greater coverage. Since men are typically taller, their coats also have longer backs and sleeves.

Women’s coats are designed for a curvier silhouette, with more shaping through the bust and hips. They taper at the waist and flare over the hips. To accommodate shorter torsos, women’s coats have a shorter back length. The sleeves are also cut shorter to align with female arm lengths.

Be sure to select the appropriate gender-specific coat to get the right size and proportions for your body. Women may need to size up in unisex or men’s coats to get the right fit. Consult sizing charts, and focus on coats designed specifically for your gender.

Here is a comparison of how men’s and women’s hiking coat fits differ:

FeatureMen’s FitWomen’s Fit
HipsNarrowerCurvier flare
SilhouetteStraight, boxyShaped, tapered
Fit comparison mens and womens hiking coats

Getting the optimal fit makes your coat more comfortable, keeps the elements out, and allows you to move freely on the trail. Choose a coat tailored to your specific body type and gender-based needs.

Top Picks for 2023 – Men’s Hiking Coats

When selecting a hiking coat for men, you want optimal blend of weather protection, breathability and mobility. The right jacket keeps you dry without overheating, while allowing full freedom of movement on the trail. After extensive research, here are our top 5 men’s hiking coat picks for 2023.

1. Marmot Precip Eco Jacket

Sustainable updated version of a classic rainy day jacket, made from recycled fabrics. Good for light hiking and everyday use.

A solid lightweight rain jacket made sustainably, though not as technical as premium options
marmot precip hiking coat mens in black

2. Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket

New for 2023, a stretchy softshell that’s wind and water resistant yet breathable for highly aerobic activity

 Impressive breathability and movement, but water resistance could be better.
Outdoor research interstellar hiking coat in orange

3. Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket

Lightweight Gore-Tex hardshell that’s slim fitting but durable for alpine environments.

Very lightweight Gore-Tex shell with exceptional weather protection and packability
Arcteryx Zeta SL Jacket

4. Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

A long time top choice using Patagonia’s latest 3-layer H2No Performance Standard waterproofing.

Versatile for varied conditions but not a premium technical jacket.
Patagonia torrentshell 3L hiking coat mens

5. The North Face Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT Jacket

Utilizes breathable FUTURELIGHT fabric and has bold colours and style for urban wear.

Stylish everyday jacket with decent waterproofing but fit may be boxier.
The North Face Dryzzle hiking jacket

Top Picks for 2023 – Women’s Hiking Coats

Finding a hiking coat specifically designed for a woman’s frame is crucial for comfort and performance outdoors. We analysed the latest women’s-specific jacket options and selected the top 5 for 2023. These coats combine weather protection, flattering feminie fit, and technical features to empower active women on the trail.

1. Marmot Minimalist Jacket

Iconic lightweight Gore-Tex shell updated for 2023 with angel-wing movement design.

Iconic GORE-TEX classic tailored specifically for female fit and movement.
marmot minimalist hiking coat womens

2. Arc’teryx Alpha Jacket

Versatile hybrid GORE-TEX jacket performs across a range of alpine conditions and mountain pursuits.

Super minimalist climbing shell, durability could be improved.
Arcteryx Alpha FL hiking coat

3. Outdoor Research Aspire Jacket

Award-winning hardshell for climbers, updated for 2023 with enhanced breathability

Feature-packed hardshell great for highly aerobic pursuits, though pricey.
Outdoor research aspire womens waterproof coat

4. Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody

A favourite rain shell using advanced recycled nylon ripstop fabric.

Versatile for varied conditions but not a premium technical jacket.
patagonia tropic comfort hoody womens

5. OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Hooded Shell Jacket

This shell jacket for women won’t let you down, even in extreme conditions thanks to its advanced waterproof technology. The breathable material allows excess heat and moisture to escape for added comfort..

his waterproof shell jacket is packable into its own pocket so you can take it everywhere with you.
Columbia Outdry extreme hiking coat womens

Hiking Coats in a Nut Shell

A reliable hiking coat is a critical piece of outdoor gear. With the wide range of fabrics, features, and fits available today, it’s important to carefully evaluate your options and choose the right coat for your needs.

Start by considering the weather conditions and hike difficulty you expect to encounter. This will determine if you need a lightweight shell for active pursuits or an insulated coat for colder temperatures.

Then, analyse the specific features and construction. Waterproof, breathable fabrics, ample ventilation and pockets, and a gender-specific fit ensure your coat performs and feels great on the trail.

While performance and protection are key, don’t forget about style and sustainability. Many hiking coats now blend outdoor functionality with attractive aesthetics for all-purpose use. And eco-friendly fabrics help minimize environmental impact.

By taking the time to research and select the coat tailored for your hiking activities, climate and personal needs, you’ll be equipped to explore the outdoors in total comfort. The right coat makes any hike more enjoyable. And with the tips provided in this guide, you can find that perfect hiking jacket for your next adventure.

For more reviews and tips on hiking gear you can check out our Clothing blog and Equipment blog.