With Autumn in full swing, it’s a good time to invest in a new tactical jacket. Whether you’re using it for hiking, hunting, fishing, or even in an undercover sting, a good quality jacket is worth the investment. And so we’ve prepared this list of high-grade tactical and outdoor jackets that will help you make the right decision.
Before diving in, let’s discuss what a tactical jacket is and how it’s different from a standard rain poncho. Tactical jackets have more features than a typical outdoor jacket. Often, they are composed of strong and durable materials in order to withstand harsh elements. An extension of that point is that they’re waterproof and windproof. Another common feature is the pockets; when hiking or camping it’s especially important to be able to have your gadgets and gear easily accessible.
Now that we’ve covered what a tactical jacket is, let’s compare them. You’ll also see we’ve peppered in some handy tools and gear to complete your outfit and ensure you’re adequately prepared for whatever situation you find yourself in.
#1 TruSpec 24-7 Series Tactical Softshell Jacket ($90)
Tired of running out of pocket room? Not with this jacket. TruSpec’s 24-7 Series Tactical Softshell jacket has plenty of storage space, with large chest pockets, sleeve pockets, interior pockets, and even dual pockets on the back. Whew! That’s almost too many pockets, but of course, it’s not hard to find a way to fill them. Another unique feature is the side zipper which allows you to reach into your pant pockets or have easy access to a utility belt if you’re wearing one. As for the weather resistance, this jacket is also effective in keeping out the rain and wind. Finally, it’s super affordable and has a sleek look that makes it appear a lot more expensive. Everyone wants to look good, let’s be honest here.
#2 Condor Summit Softshell Jacket ($90)
With the 3 layer design, Condor’s Summit Softshell jacket has a warm fleece interior, breathable film membrane, and high-density polyester exterior. For fall, this jacket will keep you plenty warm, but you may need to layer up in winter. One fantastic aspect of this jacket is the countless pockets. The jacket has over 10 different pockets to carry all your essentials. Also worth noting is that it comes in two versions: the Summit or the Summit Zero. The only difference is that the Summit Zero model is slightly less warm, so be aware of that while making your purchase. Also, as it is a softshell jacket, it’s not fully waterproof. You probably shouldn’t stand under a waterfall and expect to keep dry. Overall, it’s a great purchase for the price.
#3 Rothco Special Ops Tactical Soft Shell Jacket ($135)
Another great option is Rothco’s Special Ops Tactical jacket that has a ton of features. This tactical jacket has plenty of pocket space, from the high chest pockets along the arms to the pockets at the back. There are even pockets inside the pockets, as well as D Rings if you need to clip anything for easy access. With the 3 layer construction, the jacket is warm during fall months and can easily be layered during the winter. Another feature is the velcro on the shoulders, so if you have any patches or other flair, you can customize it to your liking. The hood is also removable and can be rolled up and stored inside the collar. Beyond that, the hood has a drawstring to keep it stuck to your head on an especially windy day. Finally, it has a fleece zipper cover flap which might seem unnecessary, but if you have a beard the cover will keep it from getting caught in the zipper. God forbid anyone lose strands of their beard. Ouch!
#4 Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket ($159)
This Patagonia Torrentshell 3L jacket is constructed out of 2.5 layers and offers superior protection in the rain. The hood is also capable of being folded up and stuffed into its handwarmer pockets, one of which has a helpful carabiner. Who doesn’t love carabiners? Of course, there is one downside which is that it’s a little less breathable than other jackets on this list and the mobility could be better. Still, overall it is another clean and simple design that Patagonia is known for. Plus, it’s made out of recycled materials that can help you feel great about your purchase and doing your part to keep trash out of our landfills. At $159, it’s fairly affordable if you’re on a budget, but want something to protect you from the rain.
Accessorize Your Adventures!
When out on the trail, it’s important to have a durable wallet. The MGear Gadget Wallet 2.0 has a clean cut look and tons of extra features you won’t find in any other wallets. It includes a 18-in-1 multi-tool, storage compartment, magnifying card, flashlight, RFID blocker and plenty more! Worth mentioning is that you can customize the wallet with your initials, favourite art or your company logo. It’s a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts that comes with a personalized touch.
#5 Marmot Minimalist Jacket ($189)
Marmot’s a recognizable brand you’ll see from the ski mountain to a winter day in the woods. The Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a popular design with lots of great features. This jacket is not just water-resistant, but fully waterproof due to its Gore-Tex technology. It’s ultra-light at only 14.9oz, meaning it can also be compacted down. While it doesn’t fold into itself in a pocket, you can use the hood to contain it. One downside is the lack of warmth, but with a good mid-layer, you will be just fine if you’re hitting the slopes. The last feature which is small but wonderfully helpful is the drawcord on the hood. After tightening the cord, you are able to turn your head around and the hood will move with you. Again Marmot has made a great jacket with a keen eye for detail.
#6 The North Face Apex Flex GTX 3.0 Jacket ($250)
If you’re looking to go a little higher-end and don’t care about weight then you’ll like The North Face Apex Flex GTX 3.0. Yes, it is somewhat heavier than many jackets on our list because of its 3 layer design. However, for everyday use or on a casual hike where weight isn’t a concern then this jacket is a solid choice. With the Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and weatherproof shell, you should find yourself plenty warm and dry no matter the weather. It’s also got three sizable pockets, velcro cuffs and armpit zips to allow for ventilation. We’ve all been there… no one likes sweaty pits. This jacket also has a slim fit and soft interior which allows a more comfortable experience.
#7 Salomon Bonatti Pro WP JKT ($220)
If you’re looking for something light and bright, then the Salomon Bonatti Pro might be the best choice for you. This jacket comes in 3 colors that make you pop while you’re wearing it out and about. With the Pertex Shield technology, it’s also highly breathable while still ensuring you’re waterproof and wind-resistant. Because of the lightweight design, it can be easily compacted and stored into its own chest pocket. The MotionFit technology also enables a comfortable experience while running. On the back, the designers also left extra room for a hydration vest if you’re wearing one. Another great feature are the reflective inserts to ensure you’re visible at night. The only downside is the lack of pockets, so this jacket is best used for daily and local activities.
#8 REI Co-Op Rainier ($249)
Looking for that perfect jacket to tackle your next hiking adventure? Then you might like the REI Co-Op Rainier. Thanks to the Gore-Tex technology, this 3 layer jacket has a breathable, waterproof fabric that is light and durable for any backcountry adventure. Weighing 10.5oz, it’s definitely a competitive choice when heaviness is a concern. Looking at the interior pockets, you’ll notice they’re lined with mesh which helps improve ventilation. The sleeves are also capable of being tightly secured to prevent water from getting inside. Unfortunately, the jacket is lacking in pit zips, so be aware of that if you plan to use it during more intense workouts.
Accessorize Your Adventures!
Need something you can put in the many pockets of your new jacket? One practical tool you can use is the FlashPen by MGear! This is a great combination of a pen and a flashlight that’s sturdy and waterproof. On one end it has a powerful LED flashlight with 3 different modes: high setting (130 lumens), low setting (15 lumens) and a strobe flash. Then on the other side you’ve got a well concealed bolt-action pen. Cartridges are refillable and easily found at local stores.
#9 5.11 SABRE JACKET 2.0 ($249)
Using feedback from their customers, 5.11 crafted this popular tactical Sabre Jacket 2.0. In fact, many police forces across the U.S. love it, so you probably will too. It’s warm and repels wind and water no problem. With their patented Quixip System, this jacket provides a superb performance while traversing difficult terrain and easy access to a sidearm or just a granola bar. There are also a total of 8 pockets and 3 hidden ID panels. You probably won’t need an ID panel, but it’s fun to have them. Another stellar feature is the detachable hood since it can be quite bulky. Because of its simple design, the jacket is perfect for day-to-day use as well. The only drawback is that the jacket can be a bit snug. If you’re buying it, keep that in mind as you may want to purchase a size up for extra room to add layers.
#10 Amabilis Responder Tactical Jacket ($279)
Amabilis is known for selling products used by everyone from navy seals to emergency first responders. If you’re looking for something composed of premium materials, then you’ll love the Amabilis Responder Tactical Jacket. Most of the coat is made of a NYCO material, which is a combination of nylon and cotton. This means it’s durable and breathable. Throughout the jacket you’ll notice lots of heavily reinforced rivets and the Neoprene Armor Plating to ensure this jacket is long lasting. One more feature we love is that there’s also a total of 10 different pockets. On the sides, there are also zippers allowing you to easily reach for your gun if you’re on the shooting range. It’s clear that whether you’re using it for hiking, on the range, or to help you carry all your camera equipment, this jacket is both practical and tactical. Not to mention, it just looks dope.
#11 Outdoor Research Interstellar ($299)
If you’re in need of a jacket with a hood that’s compatible with a helmet, you’ll enjoy the Interstellar jacket by Outdoor Research. The hood is fully adjustable and designed to work well if you need a durable jacket to wear while mountain biking. This high-performance jacket is waterproof, windproof and highly breathable. Another great benefit is the elasticity of the fabric. Because of their proprietary AscentShell membrane, you’ll experience superior flexibility and mobility when wearing it. Since it only weighs 11.8oz, it’s also light and won’t weigh you down. One downside to this jacket is that bulkiness of the hood, so if you need a jacket for everyday use you’ll want to consider that.
#12 Arc’teryx LEAF Alpha Jacket LT ($629)
It’s no secret that Arc’teryx is one of the most expensive brands on the market. That’s for good reason. The Arc’teryx LEAF Alpha Jacket LT has every feature you need. For the exterior, they use the Gore-Tex material that will allow the user to keep dry while facing all the elements. It also weighs 14.8oz, making it exceptionally light. One of the ways they’ve managed to do that is by gluing in the zippers instead of stitching them together. The hood can also be rolled into the neck and has the ever so popular design with the drawstring to keep it secured on your head. It’s got plenty of pockets on the arms and chest to allow you to hold everything you need, as well as internal ports to route your headphones from your phone in your pocket to your ears. It’s difficult to find a flaw as Arc’teryx combined decades of research and technology to create this jacket.
And there you have it, our top 12 tactical and hiking jackets to help you conquer any mountain or go for a brisk jog in your local bog. If you’re a fan of outdoor gear and innovative gadgets, feel free to check out the MGear Shop and find some other awesome products!