Are you planning a thru-hike and searching for the best wind jacket for hiking to accompany you on your long-distance trek?
Look no further! I’ve compiled a list of the absolute best windbreakers for hiking, thru-hiking, and backpacking, with a focus on both lightweight and performance.
Whether you’re a seasoned thru-hiker or just starting out, having the right gear can make all the difference. A quality windbreaker is a must-have for any outdoor adventure, providing protection from wind and rain without weighing you down.
But don’t just take our word for it. Check out my list below of the best windbreakers for thru-hiking and find the perfect option to suit your needs.
As a lover of the outdoors, I deeply understand the fun a nice sunny day can give but also how important finding the best windbreakers for hiking is in those blustery areas like balds and peaks.
Having a windbreaker is an incredibly nice defense against these huge winds, helping to keep your body heat contained and not lost to air transference, keeping your core and extremities warm at all times.
Table of Contents
What Are Windbreaker Jackets?
Windbreaker jackets are lightweight, protective outerwear designed to shield the wearer from wind and many times also from light rain.
Typically made from nylon or polyester, they feature a tight weave that prevents wind from passing through the fabric.
Windbreakers are ideal for outdoor activities like running, hiking, and cycling, as they provide a layer of protection against the elements without weighing the wearer down or causing overheating.
They often feature a hood and zippered pockets and if lucky pit zips and are available in a variety of colors and styles.
Key Needs From a Windbreaker on Trail
When hiking or camping, a windbreaker is an essential piece of gear that can help you stay comfortable and safe in various weather conditions.
However, not all windbreakers are created equal, and there are certain key features that you should consider when choosing a windbreaker for the trail.
Overall Wind Resistance
The primary purpose of a windbreaker is to block the wind, and a good windbreaker should be able to keep you warm and comfortable even in strong winds.
Look for a windbreaker that is made of a tightly woven or laminated fabric that can effectively block the wind.
A windbreaker with a high wind-resistance rating will be more effective at blocking the wind, but keep in mind that it may also be less breathable.
While you want your windbreaker to block the wind, you also don’t want to overheat and get sweaty. Look for a windbreaker that is breathable and allows moisture to escape.
Mesh or vented panels can help with breathability, but they can also compromise wind resistance.
Water Resistance Performance & Rating
Depending on where you are hiking, you may encounter rain or wet conditions. Look for a windbreaker that is water-resistant or waterproof, and has a high water resistance rating.
However, keep in mind that a waterproof windbreaker may be less breathable than a water-resistant one.
Weight and Packed Size
When hiking, every ounce counts, so you want a windbreaker that is lightweight and easy to pack.
Look for a windbreaker that is made of lightweight materials and can be compressed into a small size for easy storage in your backpack.
Toughness & Durability
When you’re on the trail, your gear takes a beating, so you want a windbreaker that can withstand the elements and the wear and tear of hiking.
Look for a windbreaker that is made of durable materials, has reinforced seams, and can withstand abrasion and tearing.
My Choice For Best Windbreakers for Hiking
Each of these windbreakers offers a unique combination of features to meet your needs on the trail. Here’s some more information on each:
The ultimate wind-blocking solution for all your outdoor adventures! This jacket is designed with lightweight materials and innovative features to provide unbeatable performance and comfort.
Crafted from high-performance Ventum fabric, this wind shell is ultra-lightweight and breathable, making it perfect for hiking, running, cycling, or any other outdoor activity.
Its advanced wind-blocking technology provides exceptional protection against harsh winds, while the water-repellent finish keeps you dry during light rain.
The jacket features a close-fitting hood and a full-length front zipper with a zipper garage to prevent chin chafing. The elastic cuffs and adjustable hem ensure a comfortable and snug fit, while the zippered chest pocket allows you to keep small essentials close at hand.
Compact and packable, the Zpacks Ventum Wind Shell easily fits into its own pocket, making it easy to carry in your backpack or pocket. It’s the perfect addition to your outdoor gear collection, providing protection and comfort when you need it the most.
Upgrade your outdoor adventures with the Zpacks Ventum Wind Shell jacket today!
Do you ever get so cold from the wind that you want to wear a million layers, but then you start sweating and get too hot? Well, we have the perfect solution for you!
This is when you should consider the Nebo Windbreaker – the super cool and lightweight jacket that will keep you warm in even the most blustery conditions!
The wind can be a sneaky force that makes you feel chilly faster than you can say “brrr!” But the Nebo Windbreaker is specially made to stop the wind chill in its tracks while still letting your body breathe.
We made sure to use the best materials and technology to create this amazing jacket. It’s durable, breathable, and will block the wind so well that you won’t even notice it’s there.
The Nebo Windbreaker is so versatile that you can use it all year round, as part of any outfit, and in different ways. It’s like having a magic cloak that never goes out of style!
And the best part? It’s so light and compact that it won’t take up much space in your backpack. You can use it for more hours per year than almost any other item. It’s the perfect addition to your backpacking gear!
So don’t let the wind chill get you down, get your Nebo Windbreaker today and conquer the outdoors like a true adventurer!
The ultimate lightweight solution to combat the elements and elevate your outdoor experience! So compact, it practically disappears into your pack or pocket, making it the perfect addition to any adventure.
This incredible shirt is versatile and can be used on its own or paired with an insulating layer to effectively manage wind and trap warmth that would otherwise escape.
No matter if you’re hiking, cycling, or kayaking, the Copperfield Wind Shirt will provide unparalleled value and comfort to any outdoor enthusiast.
Weighing in at a mere 2.15 oz (61g), the Copperfield Wind Shirt is the definition of lightweight. Its weight won’t hold you back on any adventure, and its performance will exceed your expectations.
Don’t let the wind ruin your day, take control with the Copperfield Wind Shirt – the perfect companion for any outdoor adventure!
The ultimate wind shell that’s specifically designed to take on gusty runs, climbs, bike rides, and any other activity where you need reliable protection from the elements.
The Helium Wind Hoodie is powered by Diamond Fuse technology, the same durable and lightweight material found in their award-winning down and rain helium gear.
Crafted with a super strong Diamond Fuse exterior, this wind shell is engineered to withstand even the toughest of winds. It’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who demand the best quality and performance from their gear.
But that’s not all, the Helium Wind Hoodie is also equipped with laser-perforated underarm vents and a refined hood design that stays put even when you’re moving fast.
This means you can enjoy maximum comfort and ventilation during your outdoor activities, without compromising on protection.
Don’t settle for anything less than the best when it comes to your wind protection. Join the ranks of Backpacker Magazine and countless satisfied customers who have named the Helium Wind Hoodie as the “Best Windshell” in the market.
Invest in this wind shell today and experience the ultimate protection, comfort, and performance that you deserve!
Looking for the perfect windbreaker that can keep up with your active lifestyle? Look no further than the Teca Windbreaker!
Ideal for windy ridge hikes, breezy bike rides, and minimalist travel, this windbreaker is the perfect blend of fashion and function.
What sets the Teca Windbreaker apart from the rest is its unique repurposed materials. Each one is a limited edition, making it a truly one-of-a-kind addition to your wardrobe.
But it’s not just about style – this windbreaker is packed with features that will make it your go-to choice for outdoor adventures.
With elastic bindings at the hood, cuffs, and hem, the Teca Windbreaker ensures a snug and comfortable fit that won’t let the wind in.
The back panel vent provides added breathability, while the kangaroo hand pocket is perfect for storing your essentials.
And when you’re ready to pack up and go, the Teca Windbreaker conveniently packs into its own front zip pocket, making it easy to carry with you wherever you go.
Crafted from 100% repurposed polyester taffeta with a DWR finish and 600 mm PU backer, and shell 2 made of repurposed polyester ripstop with a DWR finish and 600 mm PU backer, the Teca Windbreaker is built to last.
It’s wind-resistant and designed to withstand the toughest outdoor conditions.
Don’t settle for an ordinary windbreaker – elevate your outdoor wardrobe with the Teca Windbreaker. Order yours today and experience the ultimate combination of style, comfort, and functionality!
Get ready to take on the toughest weather conditions with the Distance Wind Shell – the ultimate lightweight weather protection for the mountains.
This wind shell is engineered to deliver superior weather resistance and breathability in an ultralight design, so you can stay prepared for anything the mountains throw your way.
But that’s not all – the Distance Wind Shell is launching in partnership with Green Theme International, featuring their revolutionary Breathable Water Protection Technology.
This PFC-free water-repellent finish is superior in performance compared to any other C-6, C-8, or C-0 DWR, making it the ultimate choice for eco-conscious adventurers who demand top-notch performance from their gear.
What’s more, the GTI technology is permanently hyper-fused to the individual fabric fibers, providing unparalleled durability without the need for additional sprays or wash-in finishes.
This means you can enjoy long-lasting protection from the elements without compromising on performance or the environment.
The Distance Wind Shell is ultra-packable, making it the perfect emergency piece for your mountain missions.
It features a chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack and clips to a harness with a carabiner clip loop. So, you can take it with you wherever you go and stay protected at all times.
Designed with air-permeable qualities for high-output activities and robust weather resistance, the Distance Wind Shell is tailor-made for fast and light mountain adventures.
So, whether you’re going for a hike or climbing a peak, this wind shell has got you covered.
Don’t let the weather hold you back from your mountain adventures. Order the Distance Wind Shell today and experience the ultimate lightweight weather protection that’s both eco-friendly and performance-driven!
Get ready to take on your outdoor adventures with the Men’s Houdini® Air Jacket, the ultimate choice for longer missions when breathability and weather resistance are essential.
It occupies the perfect space between their Houdini and Airshed jackets, providing the best of both worlds.
Crafted with an ultralightweight and breathable Pertex® Equilibrium double weave with a texturized back, this jacket allows for increased next-to-skin airflow, preventing that hot, sweaty feeling during high-output activities.
Plus, it features a PFC-free DWR finish that provides durable water-repellent coating without the use of perfluorinated chemicals, making it an eco-friendly choice.
The Men’s Houdini® Air Jacket comes with an integrated stuff sack and a zippered chest pocket that converts to a stuff sack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop. So, you can easily pack it away and take it with you on the go.
With minimal trim built into cuffs and hem, this jacket ensures low bulk, superior comfort, and fit while in motion. The adjustable hood can be easily adjusted in one pull, providing ease of use and clear peripheral vision.
Designed to layer easily over tech tees and baselayers, the Men’s Houdini® Air Jacket provides the perfect balance of protection and breathability for your outdoor adventures.
Plus, it comes with a reflective P-6 woven logo on the left chest, providing visibility in low-light conditions.
When you buy the Men’s Houdini® Air Jacket, you are also supporting the people who made it, as it is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. This means the people who made it earned a premium for their labor.
Made in Vietnam and weighing in at just 116 g (4.1 oz), this jacket is the ultimate choice for those seeking lightweight, sustainable, and performance-driven gear.
So, what are you waiting for? Order the Men’s Houdini® Air Jacket today and experience the ultimate balance of performance, comfort, and sustainability!
Are you looking for a fast-drying, ultralightweight, and breathable wind shirt that can keep up with your active lifestyle? Look no further than the Patagonia Airshed Pro!
This wind shirt is engineered with the best technology and features that will make it your go-to choice for outdoor adventures.
Crafted with ultralightweight Pertex® 100% nylon (54% recycled) body fabric with stretch for ease of movement, this wind shirt ensures optimal comfort and performance.
The integrated stash pocket in the hood converts to a stuff sack, making it easy to pack and stow away when needed.
The Patagonia Airshed Pro comes with a deep front zip with double zippers, allowing for added venting and easier layering while on the move.
The fitted hood fits snugly without reducing peripheral vision, providing just the right amount of warmth and protection for early-morning starts.
The lightweight, double-knit sleeves, made from double-knit Capilene® Cool lightweight fabric, can be pushed up on forearms for added venting and comfort.
Plus, the HeiQ® Pure odor control provides an anti-odor finish, ensuring that you stay fresh and comfortable during your outdoor activities.
When you buy the Patagonia Airshed Pro, you are also supporting the people who made it, as it is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. This means the people who made it earned a premium for their labor.
Made in Vietnam and weighing in at just 113 g (4 oz), the Patagonia Airshed Pro is the perfect choice for those seeking lightweight, sustainable, and performance-driven gear.
Don’t let the wind hold you back from your outdoor adventures. Order the Patagonia Airshed Pro today and experience the ultimate balance of performance, comfort, and sustainability!
Introducing the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody, the perfect choice for those seeking wind protection in mild shifting conditions.
Named after Squamish, British Columbia, a unique place where mountains meet the coast and home to climbers, hikers, and skiers, this jacket is built to withstand the elements and keep you comfortable during high-output activities.
Crafted with Tyono™ 30 nylon, a highly wind-resistant fabric that offers surprising strength for its weight, this jacket also features a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish that repels moisture.
The Squamish Hoody is compressible and packable into its own chest pocket, making it easy to transport on the go.
With an articulated fit and gusseted underarms, the Squamish Hoody allows for unrestricted mobility and comfort.
The adjustable StormHood™ with a soft brim gives you extra protection when needed, while the dual lower hem adjusters ensure a perfect fit.
Exceptional breathability during high-output activities is provided by the Squamish Hoody, allowing you to stay comfortable and dry even during intense workouts.
The No Slip Zip™ front zipper and elasticized cuffs ensure a secure fit, while the mechanical stretch allows for even greater dexterity.
Whether you’re hiking, climbing, or skiing, the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody is the perfect choice for your next adventure. Don’t let shifting weather conditions hold you back.
Order the Squamish Hoody today and experience the ultimate balance of performance, comfort, and style.
Introducing the Black Diamond Deploy Wind Shell – the ultimate fast and light piece for emergency wind protection!
Weighing in at just 48 grams, this wind shell is the world’s lightest, making it the perfect choice for weight-conscious climbers and hikers.
Crafted with an exclusive Japanese 5 denier fabric, the Deploy Wind Shell offers unparalleled performance and durability.
The world’s first YKK® Super Lightweight zipper shaves valuable grams for FKT’s or ultralight missions, while the weather resistance ensures breathability and comfort during high-output activities.
The Deploy Wind Shell also features an adjustable hem and stows into a stuff pocket integrated into the collar, making it easy to pack and stow away when not in use.
With a front length of 29.5 inches from the high shoulder point, this slim-fit wind shell is available in sizes S-XL and the primary fabric is Bluesign approved, ensuring it meets the highest environmental and safety standards.
Made in Indonesia, the Black Diamond Deploy Wind Shell is the ultimate choice for those seeking the ultimate balance of performance, comfort, and sustainability.
Don’t let shifting weather conditions hold you back on your next adventure.
Order the Deploy Wind Shell today and experience the world’s lightest and most reliable wind shell on the market!
Looking for the ultimate protection against ridgeline gusts and light weather on your next climb? Look no further than the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody!
This ultralight softshell is designed to shield weight-conscious climbers, providing highly breathable and highly packable weather resistance.
Crafted with Schoeller stretch-woven fabric, the Alpine Start Hoody offers unparalleled protection and performance.
The adjustable hood fits over a climbing helmet, while the gusseted construction provides unrestricted freedom of movement.
Plus, it stuffs into its own chest pocket, which features an internal carabiner clip loop for attaching to your harness.
The Alpine Start Hoody comes with a YKK-Zippered chest pocket and lightweight stretch cuffs, ensuring a secure fit and easy access to your essentials.
The drawcord hem provides extra protection against the elements, while the Schoeller Eco-Repel Bio® PFC-free DWR Technology makes it an eco-friendly choice.
The primary fabric of the Alpine Start Hoody is Bluesign approved, ensuring it meets the highest environmental and safety standards.
With a front length of 28 inches from the high shoulder point, this slim-fit jacket is available in sizes S-XL and weighs just 210 g, making it the perfect choice for weight-conscious climbers.
Made in Vietnam, the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody is the ultimate choice for those seeking the ultimate balance of performance, comfort, and sustainability.
Order yours today and experience the ultimate protection on your next climb!
Windbreaker Jackets Comparison Table
Once I have a comparison table it will show up on my main thru-hiking backpacking gear comparison tables. These are all built to allow you maximum flexibility in tweaking the gear to find your perfect piece.
Check Out My Other Best Clothing Related Gear Content
Check out the best thru-hiking clothing to help you make the best choices while on your journey to prepare for your thru-hiking trip.