The 7 Best Windbreakers to Buy in 2018

Stay protected from the elements with this smart buy

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Whether you plan to traverse a new city or a rugged mountain, a windbreaker can make any outdoor activity more enjoyable. Anyone who runs outdoors will appreciate both the wind resistance it provides as well as protection from those unexpected downpours. Whatever your needs, there are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a windbreaker. Price, style, comfort, and warmth are all worth taking into account, and we’ve considered them all when narrowing down the options.

Starting at just around $30, we have the best windbreakers you can buy right now—so that all you have to do is focus on soaking in the great outdoors.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall for Men: The North Face Men's Resolve Jacket

The North Face is a company that wins over devoted fans year after year, and it’s no mystery why. We picked The North Face Men’s Resolve Jacket as our overall best choice because it’s sold in over 20 colors and styles, is waterproof, all-season, and incredibly lightweight, and retails for an affordable price. It’s made from the brand’s own “HyVent” material, a polyurethane-coated fabric that is waterproof, breathable, and acts as a barrier against the elements. The Resolve jacket has a zipper enclosure and a full hood (which can be stashed away in the collar) as well as internal and external pockets for all your stuff. It runs slightly large, so you’re free to layer up in cold weather, and is available in men’s sizes from small through xxx-large.

From skiing to walking around in the rain, owners love The North Face Resolve Jacket. It gets high marks for being lightweight-yet-protective, and for the wide variety of styles you can pick from. No matter your activity, the Resolve jacket is a great choice.

Best Overall for Women: Columbia Women's Switchback II Jacket

Columbia is another company that’s well-respected for a reason, and the Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket is our pick for best overall for women. With over 20 styles and colors to choose from, the Switchback II jacket suits every woman for almost every outdoor need. Made from waterproof nylon with Omni-Shield (a material that repels moisture), this windbreaker is a great choice for layering when it’s cold, or on its own during a bout of rain. It has a stowaway hood and a zipper enclosure to keep you warm (and safe from the elements). It also has zippered and vented pockets to keep your stuff safe and your hands comfortable. The windbreaker comes in women’s sizes x-small through 3-XL, and can even fold up into its own pocket for easy storage and travel.

Amazon reviewers say it fits true to size—and with over 2,000 positive reviews, it’s clearly a fan favorite. They all give it high marks for water resistance, though some do note that it gets very warm—so keep it in mind if you plan to wear it in a hot climate. All in all, the Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket is a great jacket for a great price.

Best Travel, Men: SCOTTeVEST Pack Jacket

The SCOTTeVEST Pack Jacket is a nifty and powerful little jacket that holds everything you need on vacation and packs up small so you won’t have to sacrifice those nice shoes in your suitcase. Most windbreakers are lightweight, making them the natural jacket to bring along on vacation—but the SCOTTeVEST jacket is a one-of-a-kind choice, offering 13 different thief-proof pockets to hold everything you need for a day out exploring. Made from a lightweight poly fabric that’s both stain and water resistant, the SCOTTeVEST can securely hold an iPad, a camera, a passport, or your cell phone without weighing you down. You can even route charging cables through the jacket to securely power your phone on the go.

Reviewers say it’s incredibly lightweight and packable, though some mention it’s too thin for cold weather. It’s useful for exploring and keeping everything you need secure without weighing yourself down, making it our choice for the best men’s travel windbreaker.

Best Travel, Women: Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Insulated Jacket

Sometimes traveling from one climate to another is a pain, especially when you’re packing strategically. The Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Insulated Jacket is a smart choice for travel because it’s highly lightweight and packable, but will still keep its wearer warm. Whether you’re planning that trip to Iceland or need a spare jacket for unpredictable weather, it will protect you from the elements without adding weight to your bag. Made from polyester with a weather-proof treatment, the Nano Puff is a mix between a typical “puffer” and a windbreaker. It folds up into a small pocket so you can store it in a suitcase, and has a drawstring hem to keep warmth in. It comes in a variety of colors and ranges in size from x-small to x-large.

Owners love that it stays warm, even when wet, and rave about its packability. If you’re looking for a travel windbreaker that’s warm enough for a cold environment but waterproof to the elements, the Nano Puff Jacket is well worth the money.

Best for Running, Mens: Adidas Men's Running Response Wind Jacket

When it’s cold or rainy outside, it can be easy to stay inside and hibernate—but with the right gear, you can run outside comfortably. The adidas Men’s Running Response Wind Jacket is a lightweight polyester jacket that has a Climalite fabric to wick sweat and resist wind during your run. Its reflective details help to keep you safe when it’s dark and the half-collar keeps you warm without getting overheated. The Response jacket also has a thumb hole, so your sleeves won’t work their way up your arm during your run. It comes in blue and black, and men’s sizes small through x-large.

Owners say it’s a great choice for running in weather as cold as 30ºF. While the adidas Response Jacket is best for outdoor runs, it’s waterproof and windproof no matter the activity.

Best for Running, Womens: The North Face Women's Illuminated Reversible Jacket

The North Face Women's Illuminated Reversible Jacket is a running jacket that won’t let you make excuses when Mother Nature gets unruly. Made from 100 percent polyester fabric that’s reversible (it’s woven on one side and knit on the other), the jacket has full ventilation to keep you cool during your most strenuous runs. It also features 360-degree reflective graphics for increased visibility when you’re out and about at night. The jacket is available in women’s sizes running from small through x-large, and owners say it fits true to size.

The North Face Illuminated Reversible Jacket can help you keep running, even in single-digit weather. Owners say the reversibility is a great feature during long runs, and remark that it stays remarkably dry even during downpours.

Best Pullover, Women: Mountain Classic Anorak

Mountain Classic Anorak
Courtesy of L.L. Bean

The Women’s L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Anorak is a great buy whether you’re out and about or hiking up a mountain. It’s made from water-resistant nylon fabric and has a half-zipper for an easy pullover look. Its design is vintage-inspired, but still modern enough to look fashionable in those important post-hike photos. It comes in xx-small through x-large and black and olive colors and packs down into a handy pouch so you can store it for travel. The jacket’s kangaroo pocket also keeps your stuff secure without weighing you down.

L.L. Bean has been a trusted outdoor company since the early 20th century, and their great return policy makes buying one of their products risk-free. Like our choice for men’s pullover, the L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Anorak is a style-forward choice that’s perfect for any activity.

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