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Best Windbreaker of 2024

Gabe Richards

Written by Gabe Richards

Gabe has tackled peaks throughout BC and Alaska, amassing over 15 years of mountaineering and backcountry experience.

This post was last updated on April 23, 2024.

Best Windbreaker of 2024

A windbreaker is a niche piece of gear, but when you need one you really need one. The ideal windbreaker disappears in to your backpack and you forget it's there until you hit that ridge and get blown over.

We've scrambled up gusty mountains and ran across open plains. These are the windbreakers we trust to keep us comfy when moving in the mountains.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.2 /10
Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket Windbreaker
Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
8
Packability
10
Weather Resistance
7
Weight
9

The Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket clinches the top spot owing to rave reviews about its feather-light weight and incredible breathability, setting it leagues apart from its rivals.

Runner Up #1

8.0 /10
Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody Windbreaker
Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
8
Packability
9
Weather Resistance
7
Weight
9

Men love the Arcteryx Squamish Hoody as their go-to windbreaker because of its exceptional wind resistance and its compact design that can easily fit in a backpack, setting it a notch above the rest based on user reviews.

Runner Up #2

8.2 /10
Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody Windbreaker
Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
7
Packability
10
Weather Resistance
8
Weight
9

The Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody snags our top pick spot for its wildly praised knack for blocking gusts, coupled with its barely-there lightweight and compact design, making it an adventurer’s favorite based on hundreds of user reviews.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Comort

Maybe this is obvious, but a good windbreaker will be comfortable. There's nothing worse than gear that you dread pulling out of your backpack.

Breathability

A good windbreaker should not let wind in, but it also shouldn't keep sweat and heat in either.

Fit and Mobility

Choose a windbreaker with a roomy cut that moves with you. Look for features like articulated elbows and gussets under the arm.

Packed Size and Weight

Get for a windbreaker that packs down small and light and disappears in to your bag until you really need it.

8.2 /10

Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket

$179.00
The Best Windbreaker

Based on our research and testing, we think the Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket is the best Windbreaker on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket Windbreaker
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
8
Packability
10
Weather Resistance
7
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Highly wind resistant
  • Packs down small
  • Excellent breathability
  • Water resistant

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as durable as some rivals
  • Fit could be snugger
  • Higher price point

The Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket has earned its reputation as one of the top windbreakers for men. It strikes the right balance between breathability and wind resistance, making it ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities. Light as a feather, yet durable enough to withstand rugged outdoor adventures, this jacket proves itself as a go-to garment for the outdoor enthusiast.

Starting with its materials, the jacket is made from a nylon-polyester blend, providing toughness without sacrificing comfort. Additionally, the fabric is designed to resist water, offering solid performance in light rain showers. But bear in mind, it's a windbreaker, not a raincoat.

Users also rave about the jacket's breathability, often saying it's like their second skin. Although it's highly protective against the wind, it doesn't trap heat inside, making it an excellent choice for active pursuits. The venting attributes of the Houdini Air stems from its 'double-weave' texture that allows the fabric to breathe much better than its counterparts.

The design of the Patagonia Houdini Air also receives a lot of positive feedback. It boasts a convenient full-zip design, allowing for easy temperature regulation. The low-profile hood does an excellent job of providing coverage without compromising visibility. Plus, the whole jacket can be folded into its own pocket, making storage and transport a breeze.

While many customers applaud the jacket for its lightweight design and top-class breathability, a few did point out that the durability might not be at par with heavier, robust jackets. Some customers also mentioned that it runs slightly large, so it might be a good idea to size down if you're in between sizes.

As far as color options are concerned, the Houdini Air offers a diverse range, from understated neutrals to vibrant outdoorsy hues, accommodating a broad spectrum of personal styles.

In terms of price, while the Patagonia Houdini Air isn't the cheapest windbreaker on the market, it certainly offers value for money given its top-notch features and brand reputation. Indeed, a majority of customers felt that the jacket was worth every penny, citing its adaptability to varying weather conditions as a strong selling point.

8.0 /10

Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody

Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody is a great choice if you're looking for a windbreaker to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody Windbreaker
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
8
Packability
9
Weather Resistance
7
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Highly versatile - perfect for a variety of outdoor activities
  • Excellent wind resistance
  • Superior breathability and ventilation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lacks water resistance
  • May not be the best in extreme weather conditions
  • Pricey compared to some other options

The Arcteryx Squamish Hoody is one of the top-notch windbreakers in the market built for men who love an outdoor lifestyle. Constructed with a tough and lightweight material, users have praised this windbreaker for its durability, even when faced with unforgiving weather conditions. This hoody stands up to the test of time and offers great investment for any outdoors enthusiast.

A popular aspect noticed by users is the versatility of the Squamish Hoody. It handles the wind and a light shower like a pro, making it perfect for those who venture out in unpredictable climates. It's an ideal companion whether you're hiking a rocky trail or simply taking a jog in the park on a breezy day.

Buyers have mentioned the comfort provided by the Squamish Hoody. The soft inner fabric ensures it sits comfortably on the skin, while the adjustable hood stays in place even during sporadic gusts of wind. Not only this, but the athletic fit allows for a greater range of motion — no more feeling restricted while maneuvering through tricky terrains.

The Squamish Hoody also knocks it out of the park in terms of packability. Hikers and backpackers have expressed their satisfaction with how compactly it packs away, making it a space-saving addition to any backpack. This coupled with its lightweight nature proves to be a winning combination for longer treks.

However, not all reviews about the Arcteryx Squamish Hoody are of praise. Some users have pointed out the lack of insulation, finding it inadequate for colder temperatures. Though it does a commendable job in blocking out wind and light rain, it might need to be paired with thermal layers when the mercury plummets.

No prices found. Check back later!

8.2 /10

Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody

$129.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody is a great choice if you're looking for a windbreaker to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody Windbreaker
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
7
Packability
10
Weather Resistance
8
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent water resistance
  • Top-notch wind protection
  • Ultra-light and well-packable
  • Impressive durability
  • Comfortable fit

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pricey compared to some rivals
  • Lack of ventilation options
  • Some find it a bit noisy in the wind

The Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoody is undeniably a standout in the men's windbreaker market. The first thing you notice is its ultra light material weighing just 6.4 ounces. It's compact enough to stow away in your backpack and you’ll barely notice it’s there until you need it.

The primary job of a windbreaker is to shield you from blustery conditions and this, the Helium Wind Hoody performs with top-notch efficiency. The Pertex Diamond Fuse fabric is both windproof and significantly water-resistant, providing a solid barrier in unpredictable weather.

It's an ideal choice for a multitude of outdoor activities including hiking, climbing, or simply walking the dog. The adjustable hood adds an additional element of protection while its plenty of movement and visibility. It also fits well over a helmet, a distinguishing factor any climber will appreciate.

Regarding durability, there have been some mixed reviews. Most users report that it holds up well over time, even when scrambling over tough terrain. However, a handful of people have noticed minor wear and tear after extensive use.

Its breathability is one more area that appeals to many users. The Helium Wind Hoody does a commendable job of releasing body heat – a crucial point for uphill hikers. But, in more strenuous scenarios like high-intensity trail running, some users felt it lacked a tad in the ventilation department.

Another area where it scores big points is its packability. It folds into its own pocket seamlessly, which is invaluable when you're trying to conserve pack space.

But it's not all sunshine and roses: some buyers called out the absence of hand pockets as a downside. True, this omission helps maintain the jacket's light weight, but it does mean sacrificing a bit of practicality and comfort.

Lastly, it’s particularly pleasing in the style department. It looks slick and comes in a variety of vibrant colors. However, there were a few comments online about sizing issues, with a consensus suggesting it runs a bit large. So, you might want to consider going a size down.

8.0 /10

Rab Vital Hoody

$95.00
Best Budget Windbreaker

Based on our research and testing, we think the Rab Vital Hoody is a great pick if you're looking for a windbreaker that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

Rab Vital Hoody Windbreaker
Breathability
9
Comfort
8
Fit
8
Packability
10
Weather Resistance
6
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Significantly affordable
  • Lightweight & easily packable
  • Water-repellent finish is pretty handy
  • Multiple color choices to suit individual preference

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not completely windproof
  • Fit might be a bit loose for slim users
  • Tends to wrinkle after folding

When faced with the unpredictable weather that outdoor adventures often bring, the Rab Vital Hoody is a handy staple to have in your backpack. Offering a great bang for your buck, this windbreaker is a solid choice for anyone seeking protection without emptying their wallet.

Made from Hyperlite, a lightweight mini-ripstop nylon material, the Vital Hoody offers good resistance to both wind and water. The jacket's Pertex Quantum material has a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, and it's impressive in bouncing off light rain and snow, and dries quickly. Although it won’t hold up against a full-on downpour, it will manage well in passing showers.

The Vital Hoody boasts an easy packability. When not in use, it can be cleverly packed into a small integrated stuff sack that comes with a loop for clipping to your backpack. This feature makes it perfect for hiking, skiing, or running when you want to minimize your load.

In terms of warmth, the Vital Hoody isn't lined, so it won't offer much insulating power on its own, but it does a decent job at blocking wind and preserving body heat. It's best used as part of a layering system, and easily fits over a mid-layer. Also sliding on easily over a helmet, it makes a good companion for rock climbing and mountaineering.

In customer reviews online, wearers have highlighted the jacket's durability and weather resistance, as well as its packability. A few reviewers have cited the lack of an internal pocket as a downside, while others wish it had a full length zip, instead of the half-zip design that it comes with.

The fit and feel of this jacket are also popular among reviewers. It's non-restrictive, allowing for great range of motion even with layers beneath. The elasticated hood and cuffs work well to keep out the wind, and the hem drawcord is adjustable for better fit.

7.7 /10

Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover

$139.00
Best Windbreaker for Trail Running

Based on our research and testing, we think the Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover is a solid choice if you want a windbreaker that's really well suited to Trail Running.

Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover Windbreaker
Breathability
7
Comfort
8
Fit
8
Packability
8
Weather Resistance
6
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Highly breathable
  • Comfortable fit
  • Environmentally friendly materials used

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Slightly more expensive than competitors
  • Doesn't have standard pockets

The Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover is an example of what happens when everything aligns in a product. The key focus here seems to be a balance between weather protection and breathability, successfully making it a go-to choice for trail runners.

Online buyers frequently rave about the product's wind resistance. The Pullover is made of lightweight nylon and merino wool materials, offering just enough cover to keep the chill off without making you overheat. It's designed to keep the wind at bay without sacrificing breathability, and by all accounts, it does this brilliantly.

In terms of comfort, customers applaud the durability and no-nonsense design. It does not chafe, even during long runs, and it has an adjustable, fitted hood that stays in place even in strong wind. The pullover also features a deep chest zip for additional ventilation, a feature that many runners have found handy.

Its packability also attracts rave reviews. It's lightweight and easy to roll up, fitting effortlessly into compact hydration packs or the smallest compartments of backpacks. This is a gem for trail runners who might need to stow away their outer layer midway through the day.

How about durability? This windbreaker also scores high. Customers report that even after several uses, the Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover still looks brand new. The fabric doesn't pill or show signs of wear, which is pretty noteworthy for an outdoor garment.

However, not everyone's feedback is rosy. Some buyers have mentioned that while the windbreaker protects against light shower, it is by no means a rain jacket. There were also a few complaints about the size – some found the pullover to be a bit baggy, detracting from its otherwise sleek aesthetic.

Moreover, a few users felt it was too costly. It’s true that it leans towards the pricier end, but fans of the pullover felt that the cost was justified considering the product's quality, durability, and special features.

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