When it comes to a jacket to take backpacking there are a few different, excellent options out there to choose from. Backpacking does present a few unique challenges, however, that you will need to account for when picking out a jacket. Unlike most other outdoor activities you can spend quite a few days backpacking, for instance, and you need a backpacking jacket that will not stop functioning well after just one day of rain, for example.
Backpacking JacketWhat to look for when buying a backpacking jacket.
- Reinforced – If you spend enough time wearing a backpack over top of a backpacking jacket you will likely begin to notice the jacket taking a little damage in the shoulders and the waist, which are the two areas where backpack straps tend to rub. Many jackets come with these areas reinforced, to prevent this damage.
- Ventilation – Backpacking is hard work, and you will end up sweating even without a stuffy jacket on. Which is why it is important to get a backpacking jacket with plenty of ventilation. Pit zips are one of the most effective areas to have ventilation, though there are other options, like ponchos, that offer more than enough ventilation.
Best Backpacking JacketSome of the better jacket options to take backpacking with you.
- Marmot Super Mica Jacket - If you want something that is waterproof and will keep you dry, the Super Mica is an ideal choice. It uses Marmot's proprietary waterproof / breathable membrain fabric, which is a lightweight and compact option, making this a great option for stuffing in to a backpack. Reinforced patches on the shoulders and waist will prevent backpack straps from rubbing, and damaging the jacket, and high hand pockets are positioned to be accessible even when your backpack waist belt is done up. And finally, pit zips offer plenty of ventilation if you start overheating. A really great rain jacket option for backpackers.
- Arc'teryx Epsilon SV Hoodie Jacket - Soft shell jackets make ideal backpacking jackets because they're good at just about everything. The polyester exterior will help to cut wind and shed a limited amount of rain or snow, but will also breath well. You also get a hood, with a drawcord that you can secure down when the temperature starts dipping. And finally, 2 zippered hand pockets, plus a few more for storing small gear items make this a versatile option for taking backpacking. There's also a women's version.
- Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Tarp-Poncho - A poncho isn't the kind of thing you would wear around town when it starts raining, but on the backpacking trail a poncho is an excellent option. It keeps both you and your backpack dry, and provides you with far more ventilation than any other jacket could. And you don't need to take your backpack off to get it on, in fact you probably wouldn't even need to stop walking, as long as it was stored somewhere handy. This poncho from Sea to Summit uses the excellent silicon coated nylon to keep you dry, and even doubles as a tarp, for either lightweight backpacking or as an emergency shelter. A fantastic, if somewhat unusual backpacking jacket option.