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Best Windbreaker Jacket in 2021


Getting the right windcheater for your outdoor adventures is no walk in the park. Although these jackets tend to be lightweight, they also offer moderate warmth and protection against light rain.

Windbreaker jackets serve to protect you from windy weather when it rains outside. They can be an excellent option for warm seasons and for layering in the colder months.

What’s the Best Windbreaker Jacket?

Picking out the best windcheater for you may be an uphill task because there are many to choose from in the market. After analyzing the features and materials used, I can confidently present the list below to help your decision-making.

Take a look at the frequently asked questions at the end if you are still undecided on which windbreaker to buy.

1. Columbia Men’s Watertight II Rain Jacket

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.8 Pounds (0.4 kg)
Shell Fabric 100% Nylon
Lining Fabric 100% Polyester

The Columbia Men’s Watertight II Rain Jacket is a lightweight windbreaker that is ideal for keeping you warm when outside. It features a water-resistant nylon outer shell with Omni-Shield treatment that allows it to dry quickly and a polyester mesh inner lining that wicks away moisture to prevent cold sweats.

The windbreaker jacket comes with velcro adjustable cuffs to keep it secure, and seam-sealed construction helps to prevent cold air from penetrating in. It has a front zip closure with zip flaps to protect water from penetrating the zippers and two side pockets with zips to store keys and phones. The jacket is also ideal for layering on top of other sweaters.

However, due to its popularity, there are several fake Columbia windbreakers in the market, but they are easy to spot. The fakes lack the packable tag in the inner side pockets, and they have a taped Columbia logo sticker on the sleeves instead of an embroidered logo.

It also features a generous adjustable hood with drawstrings to completely cover your face and hair. However, the sizes run a bit small, so make sure to get one size up to avoid returning it. The Columbia Men’s Watertight II Rain Jacket is my top choice for an effective windbreaker.

Pros

  • The Omni-shield repels moisture and dries quickly,
  • Water-resistant nylon shell with polyester mesh inner lining,
  • Features an abrasion-resistant chin guard,
  • Elastic cuffs and hem provide a snug fitting

Cons

  • There some fakes in the market,
  • It is not waterproof,
  • Zippers get stuck on the zipper flaps

2. MARMOT Men’s Minimalist Jacket

MARMOT Men's Minimalist Jacket
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.9 Pounds (0.4 kg)
Fabric 100% Polyester

The Marmot Men’s Minimalist Jacket is my premium choice for a lightweight windbreaker. It features Gore-Tex construction that is durable and windproof, while the Paclite technology allows the Gore-Tex fabric to have better breathability.

Gore-Tex is a waterproof material that delivers high performance in heavy downpours. However, some users have noted that their jackets are not waterproof, and it may indicate that there are low-quality fakes in the market.

The Marmot jacket also features a chest pocket with a water-resistant zipper to hold small items like phones and two zippered side pockets to keep your hands warm during the cold. It also comes with an adjustable hoodie with cinch cords to cover your head. This jacket is an excellent option for hiking, running, and camping.

Pros

  • Waterproof with Gore-Tex construction,
  • It is lightweight and foldable for easy packability,
  • Pit zips increase airflow and comfort,
  • Tapered seams prevent water from leaking through

Cons

  • It is not waterproof,
  • No inner lining for insulation,
  • The sizes run a bit small

3. Columbia Womens Arcadia II Jacket

Columbia Womens Arcadia II Jacket
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.8 Pounds (0.4 kg)
Shell Fabric 100% Nylon
Lining Fabric 100% Polyester

The Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Jacket is a light windcoat made of nylon material with an inner polyester lining to keep you warm. The nylon shell features Omni-Tech with three functional layers. Its first layer is the Omni-Shield that makes it stain-resistant, while the second layer is a 100% waterproof membrane to prevent leaking. The third layer is breathable to reduce sweating underneath. However, some users have noted that it is not waterproof but water-resistant.

The Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Jacket has an adjustable drawcord hem and adjustable velcro cuffs to fit you well. There is a front zipper closure with flaps and two zippered side pockets to keep hands warm. The windbreaker is packable and available in a wide range of colors.

Pros

  • Features Omni-Tech that is breathable and waterproof,
  • It has velcro adjustable cuffs for secure fitting,
  • Has an adjustable storm hood

Cons

  • There is no mesh lining on the lower sleeves,
  • The jacket is noisy,
  • No way to stow away the hood

4. Champion Packable Quarter-Zip Jacket

Champion Packable Quarter-Zip Jacket
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.2 Pounds (0.1 kg)
Fabric 100% Polyester Micro Poplin Fabric

The Champion Packable Quarter-Zip Jacket is a lightweight, thin and wind-resistant jacket. It is made with polyester material which is breathable to regulate your body temperature while outdoors. The material is water-resistant, despite the noise it makes when you move.

Unlike other windbreakers on the list, the Champion is a pullover jacket with a quarter zip closure. However, it is harder to take off than a full-zipper closure wind coat, especially if it is wet. The elastic cuffs on the sleeves provide a snug fit, while the two deep side pockets will keep your hands warm.

This windbreaker jacket is suitable for layering with other sweaters underneath to keep you warm since it lacks an inner lining. The Champion Packable Quarter-Zip Jacket is my budget pick and is ideal for hiking and running.

Pros

  • It features a hoodie for extra protection,
  • The pull-over front design prevents water from leaking through,
  • Large kangaroo pocket at the front,
  • It is compact and easily packable

Cons

  • No inner lining to keep you warm,
  • The jacket has a tarp-like feel that is noisy,
  • It has wide sleeves

5. Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Lined Windbreaker

Columbia Women's Flash Forward Lined Windbreaker
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.9 Pounds (0.4 kg)
Fabric 100% Polyester

The Columbia Women’s Flash Forward Lined Windbreaker jacket is a lightweight windbreaker that is excellent for layering with other clothes. It has two zippered side pockets with fleece lining to keep small items and your hands warm.

The windbreaker features a polyester construction with a soft fleece inner lining to keep you warm during cold seasons. It comes with an adjustable hood with cords and elastic cuffs that allow for a perfect fit. The jacket has a front zipper closure which does not come with a zipper flap. However, it is water and wind-resistant.

Pros

  • The inner fleece lining for cold seasons,
  • Adjustable details for secure fitting,
  • Available in various colors

Cons

  • The sizing runs small,
  • No zipper flap to prevent leaking

The Columbia Men’s Watertight II Rain Jacket is my best pick for a quality windcheater. It is water-resistant with a nylon material construction and sealed seams and windproof to serve as a shield. The abrasion-resistant chin guard paired with zippered front closure keeps you warm in the cold.

It also comes with elastic cuffs and hem for a snug fit. It is packable and comes in several designs.

What You Should Know Before Buying Windbreaker Jackets

There are several factors to consider when buying a windbreaker. These jackets are made with light material to protect you from the wind and light rains, and they often come with elastic bands at the wrists and waist to secure it on your body.

Below are some features that will help you make the right choice when purchasing a windbreaker jacket.

What Is A Windbreaker Jacket?

A windbreaker is a lightweight coat that protects you from wind and light rain by preventing heat loss from your body, thus keeping you warm. Unlike most rain jackets, you can wear a windbreaker jacket all year round.

Wind Resistance

Windbreakers are also known as windcheaters due to their wind-resistance abilities. The wind-resistance is measured in terms of CFM- cubic feet per minute per square meter.

A lower CFM rating means a higher wind resistance performance. However, elevated wind resistance also means reduced breathability because the fabric will be less air permeable.

The typical softshell windbreaker will have a CFM rating of between 10 – 5 CFM to be considered very wind resistant.

Water Resistance

Quality windbreakers not only protect you from strong winds but also light rains. The outer layer of a windcheater jacket is made of softshell material coated with DWR – durable water repellent coating.

This water- repellent treatment causes rainwater to bead up and fall off the coat when it rains, leaving you dry. Over time, the DWR coating may wear off and diminish the water-repellent capability. However, washing and drying your jacket will reactivate the DWR, and you can reapply the treatment using DWR sprays in the market.

Warmth

Most windbreaker coats are made of light softshell materials. Although these materials make the jacket suitable for all seasons, they do not provide much warmth.

However, insulated windbreakers made for cold seasons feature an outer polyester material with an inner cotton lining to keep you warm. These windcheaters are also heavier and bulkier due to the lining.

Weight And Packability

When buying a windbreaker jacket, consider lightweight materials such as nylon for running or carrying in a hike in case of heavy rains. They are foldable and fit in small backpacks without adding extra weight. For alpine environments, it is necessary to stay warm, and tricot coats are the most ideal because of their heavy materials.

Breathability

The best windbreakers should be breathable to reduce sweating inside your coat while you are active. Most windbreaker jackets feature a single thin nylon layer of material that easily lets air through while keeping you dry.

Tricot fabric is a soft and breathable lining material that allows air flow while keeping you warm.

On the other hand, polyester fabric is an absorbent material that makes for a breathable windcheater with a cooling effect. It is ideal for running and mountain climbing.

Features

Most windbreaker jackets come with extra features depending on their functionality. Some coats have adjustable hoods to protect your hair, face, and ears, while others feature elastic hems and cuffs for a secure fitting.

Generally, windbreakers feature a chest pocket that doubles up as the storage bag, and bright colors for visibility. However, hiking windbreakers come with multiple pockets for small items and have many adjustable features.

Fit And Sizing

To find the best windbreaker for your outdoor activities, consider checking out a size chart. If you are tall, you can measure your chest and body length to determine if you fit in a size small, medium, or large according to the size chart.

When trying on a windbreaker, make sure the jacket’s sleeves are right above your wrists, and the hem ends at the waist. Moving your arms around should be effortless to allow room for any activity you will be doing outdoors like hiking and running.

Questions and Answers About Windbreaker Jackets

Are Windbreakers In Style?

Yes, windbreakers are popular, especially among campers, cyclists, and hikers. These jackets are lightweight, windproof, and water-resistant, which are useful for wind and light rains. However, modern rain jackets also come with the same features and they are more stylish than windbreakers.

Can I Wash A Windbreaker?

Yes, you can wash your windbreaker when it needs a deep cleaning. You will put it in the washing machine and run a gentle cycle. Put the jacket inside a lingerie bag when washing it so that it does not get messed up. Generally, you can wipe down your jacket after use and only deep clean it when necessary.

How Do I Clean And Maintain My Windbreaker Jacket In Good Condition?

Avoid washing your windbreaker with bleach and fabric softener, so that it lasts longer. To reactivate the DWR coating for waterproofing, tumble dry for 20 minutes after the machine wash. Make sure not to mix with other colors when washing and air dry after the wash.

Are Windbreakers Good For Summer?

No, windbreakers are not ideal for the summer seasons. However, they can be suitable for chilly summer nights and light summer rains when out on excursions.

Is A Windbreaker Similar To A Rain Jacket?

A windbreaker jacket’s primary function is to protect against strong winds. On the other hand, the rain jacket’s purpose is to protect against light and heavy rains. However, some windcheaters like the Arcadia II Jacket can perform both functions at once because it is both water and wind-resistant.


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