With so many hiking jackets for women to choose from, finding the best option can be a challenge! Need a warm jacket for hiking in cold weather? An ultralight jacket that packs down small for backpacking? A reliable waterproof rain jacket? Or a lightweight option that won’t cause you to overheat? I’ve got you covered! In this article, I will give you all the details on my six favorite hiking jackets for women for every type of weather and situation. I will only recommend jackets that I personally own and love, so you can rest assured that this list is genuine (I’m not picking random jackets in an attempt to sell you something expensive…)!

Hi there! We’re Sarah and Matt, two nomads road tripping across the United States with our cat, Fitzgerald, making a new place our home month to month while working full time and adventuring as much as possible. We spend any free time we can get hiking, camping, backpacking, and exploring new places! We hope that our experiences will help you plan for your next adventure and inspire you to be an outlier!

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My story (why should you take my advice)

Hi there! I’m Sarah, and I’m an avid hiker, backpacker, trail runner and all-around outdoor enthusiast. Since 2020, I’ve been traveling around the United States full time, making a new place my home from month to month to seek out new adventure and hiking opportunities. This means three things:

  • I spend 99% of my weekends hiking or backpacking! Because I spend so much time on the trails, my gear is very important to me.
  • I’m selective about what I purchase! Everything I own (along with everything my partner owns and a disproportionate amount of stuff for my cat, Fitzgerald) has to fit in my mid-sized Subaru Forester. I am particular about what I buy, do tons of research beforehand and have only the essentials for hiking. This means my recommendations are well-thought out and include only truly essential items.
  • I’ve lived everywhere from the middle of the desert in southern California to the snowy mountains of Idaho. I have a hiking jackets that work perfectly for all climates.

In this article, I will lay out my 7 favorite hiking jackets along with the honest pros and cons about each, and tell you what type of weather and activity each jacket is most suitable for.

P.S: You can read more about us here and check out the top highlights of our Western USA road trip adventures.

Best Hiking Jackets for Women

This list of the best hiking jackets for women will be broken down by superlatives! I’ll tell you what type of conditions each jacket is best for, give you all the details on the good and the bad about each jacket and help you decide which jacket is best for you.

wearing my Patagonia Nano Puff, my favorite all-around hiking jacket for women

Details | Best Hiking Jackets for Women

Without further ado, let’s get into the details!

Best Hiking Jacket for Cold Weather & Backpacking

Product Image of color Wander

Arc’tyrx Cerium LT Hoodie | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $380
  • Weight | 9.8 ounces
  • Insulation Type | 850-fill-power down
  • Fabric | Nylon
  • Water resistance | DWR (durable water resistant) finish repels water but is not water-proof
  • Best for weather | Cold temperatures, I would say best for below freezing temperatures (this thing is seriously warm!).
  • Activities | Hiking, backpacking, camping

Buy it on REI: Arc’tyrx Cerium LT Hoodie

I am the type of person who is always cold, whether it’s a chilly morning in the backcountry or sitting inside with air conditioning on a summer day. So I take my warmth while hiking and backpacking very seriously.

I debated for weeks on whether to purchase this jacket. Was it really worth the high price tag? Would the ultralight-weight materials hold up? But then I checked the weather on an upcoming backpacking trip I had planned. Lows in the 20’s. Decision made!

I bought my Arc’tyrx Cerium LT Hoodie and it quickly became my all-time favorite jacket! With 850-fill down (most down jackets range between 600 and 750), this hiking jacket is so incredibly warm. In fact, it’s so warm that I usually end up stripping it off only a few minutes into a hike, even if temperatures are freezing. On that note, this jacket is great for hiking in very cold weather and for chilly nights camping or backpacking.

Better yet, the jacket weighs less than 10 ounces and packs down to about the size of a water bottle. The small pack size, low weight, and unbeatable warmth that this jacket provides make it perfect for backpacking trips!

Pros

  • Very warm – great for cold weather!
  • Lightweight and packs down small – perfect for backpacking!
  • Long length doesn’t ride up during activity
  • Hood for extra warmth

Cons

  • It’s not cheap!
  • Can be too warm for moderate temperatures
  • Outer fabric is thin (this is how it’s so lightweight) and can snag
staying nice and cozy on a fall morning hiking in the Smokies with my Arc'tyrx Cerium Hoodie
Staying nice and cozy on a fall morning in the Smokies with my Arc’tyrx Cerium Hoodie

Best All-Around Hiking Jacket for Women

Product Image of color Regen Green

Patagonia Nano Puff | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $150 – $200
  • Weight | 10 ounces
  • Insulation Type | Synthetic
  • Fabric | Polyester
  • Water resistance | DWR (durable water resistant) finish repels water but is not water-proof
  • Best for weather | Moderately cold temperatures (upper 30s to mid-50s)
  • Activities | Hiking, backpacking, everyday wear
  • Other things to note | Also comes with a hood

Buy it on REI: Patagonia Nano Puff

I mentioned above that the Arc’tyrx Cerium Hoodie can sometimes be almost too warm for hiking when temperatures are above freezing. For a more versatile and all-around great hiking jacket for women, check out the Patagonia Nano Puff.

This is my favorite all-around jacket for hiking. It’s dependable, comfortable, lightweight, and perfect for a range of weather conditions. Similar to the Arc’tyrx Cerium Hoodie, it is quite lightweight and packs down small, making it a great option for backpacking in moderate temperatures.

Pros

  • Versatile – good for a range of temperatures
  • Reasonably priced
  • Lightweight and packs down small
  • Durable and good quality

Cons

  • Not great for very cold weather
  • Can fit snug around the hips, depending on body type
The Patagonia Nano Puff is my favorite versatile women’s hiking jacket!

Best rain jacket/hard shell for hiking

Patagonia - Torrentshell 3L Jacket - Women's - Roamer Red

Patagonia Torrentshell | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $100 – $150
  • Weight | 12.5 ounces
  • Insulation Type |None
  • Fabric | Nylon
  • Water resistance | 3-layer waterproof protection (Patagonia H2No Performance Standard)
  • Best for weather | Rain and wind, or layered with a down jacket for snow
  • Activities | Hiking, backpacking
  • Other things to note | Comes with an adjustable hood and armpit vent zippers

Buy it on Backcountry: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket

The Patagonia Torrentshell serves multiple purposes and certainly deserves a spot as one of the best hiking jackets for women! It’s a 100% waterproof jacket and great for hiking in the rain. The adjustable hood helps keep the jacket in place and ensures you stay dry, even while on the move. It also works great as a hard shell, to be worn over a warmer down jacket in cold and/or snowy weather. Lastly, this jacket also serves as a windbreaker to keep you warmer in windy conditions!

The Patagonia Torrentshell jacket is comfortable and roomy enough to layer for hiking in colder temperatures. Although the jacket can feel a little heavy hiking in warmer weather, the zippered armpit vents make it more breathable and give you some extra airflow.

Pros

  • Waterproof and windproof
  • Dependable and durable materials
  • Packs down small
  • Armpit zippers allow for breathability in warm weather

Cons

  • No insulation (needs to be layered for colder weather)
  • Can feel heavy/hot in warmer temperatures
  • Slightly heavy (12.5 ounces) for a rain jacket
Staying dry high in the clouds with my Patagonia Torrentshell

Best lightweight windbreaker for hiking

Asics Packable Jacket | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $30-$60
  • Insulation Type | None (very thin)
  • Fabric | Polyester
  • Water resistance | PA coating (water repellent)
  • Best for weather | Light rain or wind at warmer temperatures
  • Activities | Hiking, backpacking, everyday wear, running
  • Other things to note | Although this jacket is water repellant, it is not 100% waterproof.

Buy it on REI: Asics Packable Jacket

The Women’s Asic’s Packable Jacket is perfect for hiking on windy or rainy spring and summer days. It’s ultralight-weight so it doesn’t add a whole lot of warmth, but it will give you an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Because the Patagonia Torrentshell is a bit heavy for hiking in warmer weather, I love my Asics Packable Jacket as an alternative windbreaker during the summer. It’s also great to have as extra protection in case of unexpected or light rain (however, it’s not 100% waterproof like the Torrentshell, so I wouldn’t bank on it in heavy rain).

Since it’s so lightweight and thin, it adds hardly any weight to your backpack, making it easy to throw in your bag for a hike.

Pros

  • Windproof – great as a lightweight windbreaker for hiking in warmer weather
  • Very lightweight
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No insulation
  • Will keep you dry in light rain, but is not 100% waterproof
best lightweight hiking windbreaker jacket for women

Best lightweight hiking jacket for women

On Body Image of color Black/atomic Orange/reflective

Nike Therm-Fit Hybrid Running Jacket | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $150 – $175
  • Insulation Type | Synthetic (Eco-down polyester fibers)
  • Fabric | Polyester, nylon & spandex
  • Water resistance | Not water resistant
  • Best for weather | Moderate temperatures or layered with down jacket in colder weather
  • Activities | Hiking, backpacking, everyday wear, running
  • Other things to note | Insulation is only around the chest

Buy it on REI: Womens Nike Therma-Fit Hybrid Running Jacket

I originally purchased this jacket for running in cold weather, but it turns out to also be great for hiking. The same problems you face during a run in cold weather – you start out cold but almost immediately get too hot once you start moving and then you start to sweat which makes you cold again… also apply to an intense hike.

The hybrid design of the Women’s Hike Therma-Fit makes it the perfect middle ground for keeping you warm, but not too warm, during a chilly hike. Furthermore, mesh-lined venting on the back of the jacket helps let warm air out, preventing you from overheating.

Additionally, the Therma-Fit is thin and form-fitting, making it the perfect mid-layer to wear under a down jacket or hardshell during colder weather or once you stop moving. For winter hiking or backpacking/camping, I usually wear a Smartwool quarter-zip base layer, my Nike Therma-Fit, and my Arc’tyrx for the perfect amount of warmth and ability to de-layer once I warm up.

Pros

  • Perfect for challenging hikes in cold weather – keeps you warm without overheating
  • Comfortable and thin enough to layer under a down jacket or hardshell
  • Stylish, fitted design

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Not fully insulated
Nike Therma-Fit adds extra warmth on the summit of Corkscrew Peak in Death Valley

Best Fleece Hiking Jacket for Women

Cotopaxi Abrazo Half Zip Fleece | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $120
  • Weight | 8.9 ounces
  • Insulation Type | Fleece
  • Fabric | Recycled polyester jacquard fleece
  • Water resistance | Not water resistant
  • Best for weather | Moderate-cold weather
  • Activities | Hiking and backpacking

Buy it on REI: Patagonia R1 Air-Zip Pullover OR Patagonia R1 Air-Zip Hoodie

I love a cozy fleece, but had never been one for hiking in them because I’d always found them to be bulky and uncomfortable to layer. Furthermore, I felt that they take up way too much space in my backpack after I inevitably get hot a few minutes into the hike.

That is, until I discovered the Patagonia R1 Air-Zip! This fleece comes in either a pullover or a full zip-up hoodie.

The Patagonia R1 is the perfect extra layer of warmth for both hiking and backpacking. The fabric is thin and the style is form-fitting, making it super easy and comfortable to layer underneath a heavier jacket. But don’t be fooled by the thin material – this fleece is warm! It’ll keep you cozy at the summit or while taking a snack break even on those chillier days.

Additionally, because it’s lightweight and packs down reasonably small (for a fleece), it’s also awesome for backpacking. It’s great to have to throw on at camp and keep you warmer sleeping in the backcountry.

Pros

  • Great as an extra layer for added warmth.
  • Thin material and fitted style makes it perfect for layering. Surprisingly warm given how thin it is!
  • Lightweight and packs down reasonably small, making it good for backpacking!

Cons

  • The pullover version doesn’t have a hood.
  • Runs a bit on the slim side, so you may want to size up.
  • It’s so popular that the best colors are often out of stock.
Making dinner in the backcountry in my Patagonia R1

Best Cozy Pullover for Women

Product Image of color Graphite/black

Cotopaxi Abrazo Half Zip Fleece | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $75-$110
  • Insulation Type | Fleece
  • Fabric | Polyester fleece/nylon spandex
  • Water resistance | Not water resistant
  • Best for weather | Moderate-cold weather
  • Activities | Hiking, camping, everyday wear

Buy it on Backcountry: Cotopaxi Abrazo Half Zip Fleece

I don’t know why I had never heard of a half-zip jacket before purchasing this one. Rather than zipping down just a quarter of the way, the half zip makes this jacket so easy to take on and off. Gone are the days of getting your hair stuck in a zipper while trying to wrestle with a quarter-zip. Further, the Cotopaxi Abrazo features an oversized fit, which means it’s super comfortable and the fleece material is warm and cozy.

I love to throw on my Cotopaxi Abrazo at the summit for a little extra warmth once I stop moving. It’s also great for lower-effort hikes in cool weather. For more intense climbs, you’ll work up a sweat in this! The Cotopaxi Abrazo is also perfect for cozying up beside the campfire and wearing around camp on chilly evenings and mornings.

The natural drawback to the amount of comfort in the relaxed fit of this jacket is that it is not very form fitting. This means it isn’t great for layering, although I do sometimes wear it under my Arc’tyrx Celium in really cold weather. It also doesn’t pack down super small, so it isn’t ideal for backpacking because it takes up just a bit too much space in your backpack.

Pros

  • Comfortable, relaxed fit
  • Half-zip makes it easy to pull on and off
  • Warm and cozy for cooler temperatures

Cons

  • Relaxed fit makes it a bit bulky – doesn’t pack down small
  • Not great for layering
Staying warm with my Cotopaxi Abrazo in White Sands National Park

Where to purchase hiking jackets for women

For each of the hiking jackets for women reviewed above, I’ve provided direct links to purchase the product. In the event that the jacket is sold out on one of the links I provided, you can always search for them on one of these sites:

  • REI (P.S. if you aren’t a member, you should be! You can yearly dividends, basically cash back, based on how much you spend each year)
  • Backcountry | I’ve found that Backcountry is more likely to be sold out of things, but if you can find the product you’re looking for here, they often have great deals!
  • Direct from the producer | Patagonia, Cotopaxi, Arc’tyrx, Nike

Other useful resources

Looking for more hiking, backpacking, and camping gear recommendations? Check out the resources below!

Questions about any of the hiking jackets for women on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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