The 5 Best Lightweight Jackets to Get You Through Fall

When the weather starts to turn a bit cold, a lightweight jacket is an ideal accessory that will support your active lifestyle. The accessory offers an ideal degree of protection from the wind and rain, without suffocating your skin. The protective aspects aside, the jacket can also make an impressive style statement with new models experimenting with cool colours. To make the decision easier for you, we have compiled the best lightweight jacket list.

Our Recommendations

Our Recommendation

The North Face Venture 2 Jacket brings all the quality and attention to detail of the brand, if slightly expensive.

Premium Pick

The Marmot PreCip Jacket packs in cool technology, a cool style, and an ultimate level of protection. All this comes at a price, though.

Best Bang for Your Buck

The Charles River Apparel channels the old school vibe impressively, but offers limited rain protection.

Mini Shopping Guide

Lightweight jackets need to walk the tight line between protection and weight. The outer shell should be tough and durable enough to repel the elements, while the inner lining should offer a comfortable, warm feel. If the jacket gets too bulky, it will not serve its purpose. We have taken into consideration these very features while drawing up our list.

Best Lightweight Jacket – Top 5

An excellent, if expensive, jacket 

It should come as no surprise that The North Face heads our list. The brand has developed a near-maniacal following among jacket enthusiasts who consider it the holy grail of the segment. And not without reason. The attention to detail and obsession with quality makes the popular brand one of the foremost choices when it comes to a lightweight jacket. The Venture 2, you will be happy to know, follows in the prestigious lineage of the brand’s rich history.

Constructed from an outer shell that is a triple combination of nylon, polyester, and polyurethane, the jacket offers a lightweight feel, almost like a feather, while simultaneously providing a sleek, smooth surface that repels light rain and moisture. Why the Venture 2 feels like one of the best lightweight jacket lies in the interior twill construction that provides you with a comfortable, almost warm blanket-like feel. Wear it during the fall season, and the jacket is more than adept at keeping you comfortable while keeping the cold, wet elements away.

Because it is The North Face you can always expect the brand to offer a cutting edge; and they impressed us with the Stay Dry technology. The outer skin is made from the DryVent shell that features the very practical Durable Water Repellent Finish (DWR). In other words, if rain were to suddenly pour, you will stay protected until you find a dry spot.

Because the Venture 2 is such an excellent choice, it is hard to find a negative trait; but do that we must. The jacket does not come cheap and may present a sizeable investment for the budget conscious.

Pros
  • Cool style
  • Custom fit
  • Exterior pockets to store phone and valuables
Cons
  • Price

A highly portable jacket; loose-fitting cuffs

You will be hard pressed to find a jacket as lightweight as the Helium II. In fact, the name itself gives a hint of how light the accessory is. The obvious advantage here is that you can simply roll it up and take it with you wherever your sense of adventure takes you: To the hills, to wild rivers, to calm beaches, to wooded forests; or even for a simple stroll around your neighbourhood on a wet evening. The lightweight outer skin will act as a handy repellent against rain and moisture.

Speaking of the outer skin, it comes bolstered with a Pertex Shield that offers a high degree of waterproof protection that has impressed us. The other highlight of the lightweight shell is that it can easily fold itself into the outer pocket, saving you space and providing you with maximum portability. Some may wonder whether such a lightweight jacket can in fact withstand the rigours of regular use and the outdoor elements. The answer, in a word, is yes.

Thanks to the 30D ripstop nylon construction, you can be rest assured of a durable jacket that will stay tough through all the adventures you take it through.

Another feature that ranks high on the practical usage list is the zippered outer pocket. It provides a safe haven to store phones and valuables in wet conditions, while doubling up as storage for the jacket itself that folds into it.

Because of its feather-like weight, the Outdoor Research Helium II will impress you even more with its protective abilities. The jacket can keep even strong, cold winds – a common feature during the fall season – away from you. The tapered seams that run along the sides of the jacket offer added protection from the wind and rain. The only issue here, and a negative trait of the Helium II, is that the somewhat loose-fitting cuffs may let in a bit of water and wind.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Extremely portable
Cons
  • Loose-fitting cuffs

Top of the line accessory that is a bit expensive

When it comes to protection from the elements, the Marmot rates as one of the best lightweight jacket that keeps you warm, comfortable, and dry.

Constructed from patented NanoPro fabric, the jacket provides a near impregnable outer shell for the wind and the rain, and at the same time, gives your skin a breathable layer. The end result is enhanced comfort, without compromising on the protective aspects.

At first glance, the Marmot may look like a simple, stylish addition to your wardrobe. Look a bit closer, and you will find an exquisite attention to detail that places the jacket ahead of the chasing pack. The outer skin is covered with the Precip Dry Touch that enables the jacket to repel even heavy rain while keeping you bone dry. The sides have an ‘Angel Wing’ movement that allows for a full extension of your arms without the sleeves rolling up.

The feature that impressed us the most is the chin guard. Unlike other lightweight jackets that zip until your throat, the Marmot goes all the way to the chin, giving you extra protection from the cold, the wind, and the rain. The cuffs offer a similar level of high-degree protection where you can adjust them to your specific comfort.  

It is indeed hard to find fault with the PreCip, except for the price that may seem steep for some.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Easy to carry around
  • Superior waterproof tech
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Expensive

Another top product from Nike; bulky hoodie

Nike is known for producing some of the best footwear on the planet. They are not too far behind when it comes to lightweight jackets as well. The Windrunner is an excellent example of Nike applying their exhaustive knowledge and coming up with a product that is high on style and high on function too.

The jacket is constructed from ripstop material that delivers a high degree of durability while keeping the overall feel as light as possible. The inner skin is lined with a breathable layer to keep your skin fresh and comfortable, even when conditions outside are not. The hood of the jacket, modelled on scuba gear, provides complete protection from wind and rain. The attached toggle allows you to adjust to your specific comfort.

The Windrunner makes an ideal companion for outdoor activities and should appeal to those of you who prefer to stay active even when the weather gets a bit challenging.

One issue with the jacket is that the hoodie feels a bit bulky.

Pros
  • Brand Nike
  • Style
Cons
  • Bulky hoodie

Rocks the old school vibe; limited rain protection

The Charles River Apparel is sure to get the attention of those of you who have a soft spot for the old-school classics. The jacket features a pullover design that is reminiscent of sweatshirts and jackets that we wore back in high school and college. The styling makes it a great choice as a fall jacket for men. The inner lining is made from pure cotton that provides an optimum level of warmth and comfort from the cold season. The outer shell features lightweight nylon that acts as a rain repellent. The combination of the two materials makes the Charles Apparel one of the best lightweight jacket.

Where the jacket also makes a mark is in its simple maintenance. It is indeed a blessing that the Apparel can be straightaway junked into the washing machine and washed like your regular clothes. No need for special care.

Where the fall jacket falls a bit short is that it may not repel heavy rain as some of the other jackets in the segment.

Pros
  • Cool style
  • Folds into front pouch
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • Limited rain protection

Best Lightweight Jacket – Expert Speak

There are three important factors to consider while buying a lightweight jacket. They are:

Protection

One of the most important attributes for a jacket is to be able to offer a certain degree of protection from the elements: wind and rain. The higher the protection the better. The experts suggest that you check the protective ability before investing your money. The outer shell needs to keep you warm from the cold wind and dry from the wet rain. This is where materials such as nylon and polyester come into play, offering optimum protection.

Breathability

While the outer shell of the jacket needs to protect you from the elements, the inner lining needs to let your skin breathe. Otherwise it may not be the rain that makes you wet, but your very own sweat. Cotton lining is good enough, but you also have the option of choosing dry climate technology that whisks away excess sweat build up, especially when you are out for a run or a hike. 

Weight

When talking about lightweight jackets, the weight becomes an important criteria as well. The more active you are, the lighter you would want your jacket to be, while offering protection from the elements. The weight of the jacket will also determine how easy it is to carry the accessory around. Ideally it should fold into its own pocket.

Best Lightweight Jacket – The Winner

All the jackets on the list offer an ideal blend of form and function. But when it comes to picking a winner, the Marmot PreCip Jacket comes well ahead of the rest. It offers a higher degree of protection without compromising on the style. An ideal combination for a lightweight jacket.

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