During colder climates priorities for the type of walking clothing and equipment needed so you can more effectively and comfortably function can change, especially if chill factor and wind shear brings the temperature down. Walking Jackets are one garment in particular that can make a lot of difference to any outdoor experience and as the years have progressed the varying demands of weather and terrain conditions have allowed many innovations from brands to create outerwear for specific uses. Once such type is Windproof Jackets that are the result of fabrics, weaves and treatments for materials developed to keep the elements away from you.
There are numerous Windproof Jackets currently available and each one can provide different elements such as waterproofing, insulation, flexibility and factors such as hoods, external attachment options and varying combinations of pocket amounts and types. While having plenty of choice is brilliant if you know exactly which specifications you need in a windproof or wind resistant jacket, you may be unfamiliar with a lot of them due to being new to walking or trekking outside of the summer months or at higher altitudes on mountain trails and Alpine hikes or just want to know which of the best around stacks up against each other. To help you find the right Windproof Jackets for Walking we’ve shortlisted our Best 5 for 2015.
Our Best 5 Windproof Walking Jackets 2015
Snugpak Venture Search and Rescue TS1 Smock Jacket
The Snugpak Venture S&R Jacket range was developed in conjunction with the UK’s Search and Rescue community to give them functional outerwear that would protect against the elements without compromising on movement. The TS1 Smock has Paratex Micro on the exterior which dries fast and has a DWR coating to keep moisture and light rain at bay while the interior has a Thermal Suede (TS) lining which in addition to giving some insulation is also breathable while combined the layers effectively keep out the wind. The Snugpak Venture TS1 jacket has pockets, pouches and a D-Ring torch attachment for plenty of options for carrying essential gear, plus full adjustment at the collar and hem and a quarter length YKK zip which all work well at keeping warmer air inside, or alternatively letting it out if you get too hot. A great factor is that despite the high level of function and performance, this Snugpak jacket if not needed can pack down into the chest pocket to roughly the size of an orange so adds very little weight at all.
The North Face Animagi Jacket
Primarily designed for running, The North Face Animagi Jacket is ideal for walking on more active routes as it features stretch material in the arms and is extremely lightweight. The core of the Animagi combines PrimaLoft Eco with a durable Nylon Ripstop with a Durable Water Repellent coating so insulates well in colder weather and affords some protection from light moisture while weight very little at all. Besides giving a lot of motion, the stretch panelled arms are fully breathable and protect up to UPF 30 and due to the ‘hybrid’ design of both main elements it enables body-mapped insulation so is very effective at keeping you warm. To help keep the warmth in and for a nice fit that lets you take advantage of the TNF Animagi’s flexibility, the cuffs and hem have a stretch binding. If you do need waterproof protection, or further insulation it works well as a mid-layer so is ideal for combination with a shell jacket for example.
Montane Slipstream Quantum GL Jacket
Montane have utilised a number of great technical fabrics for their garments in recent years much like the Pertex Quantum GL used in their Montane Quantum Jacket. This version of the coveted Pertex fabric is quite tough to take on plenty of active use and is windproof while providing some protection from moisture all while weighing just 65 grams. The extremely surprising lightness makes the Montane Slipstream Quantum GL Jacket ideal for walking, hiking and trekking with it adding little noticeable weight to your overall attire and gear. It is easy to pack down into a relatively small size when not needed as well. The Slipstream does allow for plenty of motion as you go but the cut is almost fitted in terms of cut and construction so it may be beneficial to go for a size larger than normal depending on your build and height.
OMM Sonic Smock Jacket
Similar to the previous windproof walking jacket from our Best 5 for this year, the OMM Sonic Smock is quite light considering what it can do and can easily be packed down to a small enough size so can fit into a pocket until you need it. Being very lightweight also means that if you quickly need that little extra coverage you can wear the OMM Sonic Jacket on top of insulating layers. In addition to preventing wind chill from getting through the fabric, the exterior has been treated with a Durable Water Repellent coating and a light polyurethane one on the interior so that light moisture or if a brief shower occurs water can bead away from the fabric. This is great for active trails when you want some protection against the elements without the weight or bulk of a coat.
Rab Aurora Pull-On Jacket
The women’s specific fit Rab Aurora Pull-On Jacket was designed for giving protection against both the sun and wind while on mountain trails and does so quite effectively. The fabric is fairly stretchy so you can keep plenty of mobility as you go and besides being resistant to the wind in mild conditions it protects to UPF 50+ and has DWR and anti-microbial treatments as well. Having a half-zip means that if you get too warm you can simply unzip for rapid cooling and as it is a YKK zip it gives better durability than a standard one and is ideal for keeping the elements out. The Rab Aurora Jacket also has a hood that besides ensuring the obvious advantage of keeping the elements away from the head has been designed to be worn with a helmet as well so is ideal for climbing as well.
Whether it’s a windproof jacket for colder temperatures that needs to have a lasting durability, to a more moderate, ultra-light version that can be carried just in case your favourite trails become a little chilly, we hope that our Best of Windproof Walking Jackets for 2015 has something to meet your needs on you next walk or hike. In case you require a little more information to help find your ideal jacket our 5 Best of guide also includes three awards for value, performance and looks.
Best Value: Montane Slipstream Quantum GL Jacket
While not the least expensive of our 5 best windproof jackets, the Montane Slipstream Quantum GL we feel has the most to offer in terms of value as not only do you get a windproof and water resistant garment, but one that is very easy to pack away to a small size, is extremely light all while being quite durable as well so if looked after can last for quite a while.
Best Performance: Snugpak Venture Search and Rescue TS1 Smock Jacket
All of these windproofs certainly perform well and do the job of giving lightweight protection well, but we had to choose an overall ‘winner’ which we thought was the Snugpak Venture S&R TS1 Smock. It may not be the most stylish of the best 5 but it certainly performs well undoubtedly due to it being designed with the input of professionals who need a functional windproof jacket on a daily basis. It works well at keeping out the wind, prevents light rain from quick showers getting through and gives a decent amount of insulation, plus the pocket and attachment options make it versatile and handy.
Best Looks: The North Face Animagi Jacket
Any garment like a windproof jacket isn’t specifically designed for the sake of fashion as any walk or hike sensibly requires function and performance as a priority but that doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish at all. Out of our five top windproofs we have chosen The North Face Animagi Jacket as the best looking as it offers a different style with two colours that nicely contrast each other, plus the stitching on the chest area while functional in the equal distribution of insulation makes it stand out much more.