3 Great Lightweight Hiking Jackets

By Lora Keleher , last updated January 21, 2012

Technology has made today’s lightweight hiking jackets warmer and lighter than in past years, making them easy to carry in a backpack or wear while navigating steep trails and rock terrain. Jackets from The North Face, L.L. Bean, and Eddie Bauer are all excellent choices. When planning your next hiking or camping trip, consider wearing one of these three great, lightweight hiking jackets.

The North Face Thunder Jackets

The North Face has built a solid reputation for selling quality outdoor performance gear and apparel. Keeping up with this tradition, The North Face Thunder Jacket is a thermal jacket designed for hiking and camping in cold weather. It’s manufactured out of nylon, and insulated with 800 fill down feathers for warmth. The thin material creates a slim fit that won’t hinder your range of motion, and the entire jacket can be stowed inside a single pocket, making it easy to carry. Thunder jackets also feature raised collars, two side pockets, and elastic cuffs. Men’s Thunder jackets are available in lime, cobalt, navy, grey, brown, and black. Women’s Thunder jackets have a tapered fit, and are available in pink, purple, black, grey, olive, and teal. You can purchase both men’s and women’s styles for just $229.

L.L. Bean’s Insulated Fleece Jackets

L.L. Bean’s Apex award-winning insulated fleece jackets can keep you warm in temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. These jackets are specially treated to repel rain and snow, and incorporate a layer of Thinsulate insulation, which makes them four times more wind-resistant than standard fleece jackets. The construction is thin and breathable, and these jackets can wick away sweat as you hike. Jackets are slightly tapered for fit, and incorporate three zippered front pockets. Men’s jackets are sold in three different color combinations, which are red and burgundy, royal blue and navy, and black and grey. Women’s jackets are also available in three separate color combinations, which are blue and teal, raspberry and pink, and grey and black. All styles and sizes retail for $149.

Eddie Bauer MicroTherm Down Shirts

Despite the name, Eddie Bauer MicroTherm Down shirts can be worn as performance jackets, or as part of a complete set beneath a MicroTherm shell. These 800 down filled jackets are the lightest pieces Eddie Bauer manufactures. Built-in stretch panels provide added room for movement, making them ideal layers for adventurers who hike and climb. The elastic cuffs combined with treated nylon fabric are designed to trap heat and repel water. For carrying convenience, the jacket fits into a single, hidden pocket. Men’s jackets are available in neon yellow, cobalt, red, brown, and black, while women’s jackets are available in pink, purple, red, light green, and black. Because of the form fitting design of these jackets, if you plan on wearing thick layers, such as sweaters, underneath them, Edie Bauer recommends that you purchase them a size larger than you normally wear. Women’s petite and regular jackets cost $169, while tall sized coats retail for $189. Men’s regular sized jackets are $169 and tall sized jackets are $189 as well.

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