The 10 Best Survival Jackets to Keep you Warm and Protected

Benjamin Roussey

Introduction

When you are going to be in the wilderness under cold conditions, you need to make sure that you choose your clothing carefully – it is what will help you survive.

To survive cold temperatures, your body’s vital heat needs to be retained, and when you choose appropriate clothing, it prevents frostbite, hypothermia, and other cold-weather injuries. A must-have piece of clothing when you are out on your adventure in the cold is a quality survival jacket.

At a Glance: Our Choices for The Top 10 Survival Jackets

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each jacket.

How to Choose an Excellent Survival Jacket

If you are planning to buy a solid survival jacket, you should remember a good rule of thumb – buy better so you do not have to buy often. Also, keep a few factors in mind when choosing a survival jacket, such as:

The weather you will be exposed to: Obviously, the first thing you need to consider is the weather you are going to be exposed to when you go on your outdoor trip. You should pick a jacket that can withstand anything that the cold weather throws at you, like snow, icy winds, and sleet. Your survival jacket should have good weather resistance to help keep you warm no matter how cold it gets.

The type of activity you will do: Your survival jacket should be comfortable no matter what type of activity you will be doing on your outdoor trip. For high activity, a soft shell – a waterproof barrier for your jacket – is a better choice as it allows more mobility. You can stay warm and comfortable while hiking or performing tasks like chopping wood, etc. A hard shell jacket is a better choice for light activity. These jackets are more water resistant but can be an issue when you need to perform certain tasks that require a lot of movement.

The other garments you will wear underneath: Another basic factor to consider when choosing a survival jacket is the clothing you will be wearing underneath your jacket. This is crucial as it plays a role in insulation as well as ventilation.

Layers can help in managing body temperature while preventing overheating, which can lead to sweat saturating your dry clothing. First, choose a base layer that keeps moisture away from your skin and then an insulation layer for warmth. Your survival jacket should fit comfortably on top of these layers to protect you from the elements.

High-Quality Materials: The outer layer that protects the other clothing layers you are wearing and your body from the elements should be of the best quality you can find. Survival jackets made from Gore-Tex fabric are great as they are designed to offer protection against rain, snow, and wind while allowing moisture to evaporate from your body at the same time.

However, you will find jackets made with other fabrics that have similar properties. Keep in mind that a jacket that is made of high-quality materials will last longer and also provide you with the features you need to survive in the wild. They may cost more than you expected, but they are 100% worth the money you spend.

Waterproof: Having a waterproof survival jacket is critical when you are out on your wilderness trips. A waterproof rating of 5,000mm to 10,000mm is ideal as survival jackets with this rating are highly waterproof and will protect you against moderate to heavy rain. For extremely wet conditions, you will get the most protection from jackets with a waterproof rating of 10,000mm to 20,000mm. Higher-rated survival jackets are also breathable, so that is a major bonus.

Pockets: Another pretty important consideration when choosing a survival jacket is the number of pockets it has, and the depth of those pockets. Different outdoorsmen have different needs based on the activities they will be performing. For instance, climbers may need to choose a survival jacket that comes with drop pockets so that, if necessary, they can carry gear conveniently with them. Think about how many and what type of pockets you will need for carrying gear on your adventure and pick the one that has them.

Comfort: You will be spending your time in the wilderness doing all types of tasks, from chopping firewood to trekking. No matter what you are doing, your survival jacket should be comfortable. It should also fit well. You need to also think about whether the other layers of clothing you are wearing underneath will fit and how you feel after wearing a jacket over them. Survival jackets are also made from different materials, so you can choose one that feels most comfortable while helping you survive in the wilderness.

Breathability: Your survival jacket should be able to let perspiration escape – this is as vital as preventing water from getting in. If your waterproof jacket is not breathable, you will feel damp because sweat is not escaping. This is why many people often think that their jacket has “leaked” but what they are feeling is actually perspiration from inside. Your survival jacket should have a breathable membrane as well as other features like mesh-lined pockets and pit zips – these all contribute to the breathability of a jacket.

The Top 5 Survival Jackets for Men

 #1

Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket

Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket
Our Rating: (4.9/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Polyester with DuPont Teflon Coating
Pockets: 10 Pockets

Pros:
(+) 3-layered integrated shell fabric technology
(+) Double-layered reinforced forearm
(+) Waterproof and weather-resistant
Cons:
(-) Low-quality zippers
(-) Velcro sleeve sinches become loose

Overview

The Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket is one of the choices on the survival jacket market right now. With a 100% polyester outer layer, it is designed with 3 layers of integrated shell fabric technology, featuring reinforcement on the forearms.

Moisture is wicked from the body by its breathable shell, preventing water penetration while ensuring that body heat is maintained. The jacket also features an underarm vent zipper to control temperature and multiple pockets for storage and utility. The Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket also comes with a lined stand-up collar and stowaway hoodie.

Conclusion

If you are on the hunt for a superlative survival jacket for the money, then the Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket is one of the best choices on the market. The jacket is effective in keeping you warm as long as you layer your clothing underneath.

It has quite a few pockets for storage – some are not as practical as others, but they do come in handy for most situations. The high-quality material it is made of makes it very warm and water repellant. The jacket is comfortable and durable. The Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket is a poignant buy, but it would be a much better jacket if its zippers and Velcro were redesigned or improved.

 #2

Bear Grylls Men’s Mountain Jacket

Bear Grylls Men's Mountain Jacket
Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Polyamide PU coated
Pockets: 4 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Well-built jacket
(+) Durable
(+) Comfortable
Cons:
(-) Not very warm
(-) Tight on the shoulders for some

Overview

This is another well-made survival jacket for outdoor enthusiasts. The main fabric is 100% PU-coated polyamide, the upper sleeve/lower body lining is 100% polyamide while the lower sleeve/upper body lining is 100% polyester.

The Bear Grylls Men’s Mountain Jacket features a double storm flap and waterproof zips. It comes with multiple pockets including O/S and security pocket, inner drawcord and adjustable cuffs. This is a lightweight, comfortable and functional survival jacket with Aqua Dry waterproof protection – a definite must-buy for men who love the outdoors.

Conclusion

The Bear Grylls Men’s Mountain Jacket is a magnificent, lightweight jacket that is amazing for all types of outdoor trips. It is lightweight and designed to ensure that you are dry at all times. Although it might not be as warm as you want, you can add a base layer and you are good to go in colder weather.

It has several pockets that come in handy. If you are looking for comfort, then you will appreciate this jacket as it is one of the most comfortable survival jackets around right now. The Bear Grylls Men’s Mountain Jacket is worth the money you spend as it does keep you dry and made of high-quality materials that make it highly durable.

 #3

Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket
Our Rating: (4.6/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Pertex® Shield+
Pockets: 5 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Striking quality
(+) Lightweight and durable
(+) Packs down small so easy to pack away
Cons:
(-) Needs bigger chest pocket
(-) Does not have a double-sided zipper

Overview

The Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket is another prolific survival jacket made of 100% nylon. It is highly breathable, lightweight, and waterproof. It comes with 2 zippered hand pockets and an adjustable wire-brimmed hood with a halo closure. The proprietary Halo Hood is an excellent feature that preserves peripheral vision and seals out bad weather.

The jacket features pit zips and a water-resistant full center-front zipper, a drawcord hem as well as a loop/hook cuff closure. The zippered Napoleon pocket doubles as a stuff sack for conveniently carrying or storing gear that you need to access easily.  If you are looking for a lightweight, waterproof jacket for the outdoors, then the Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket is definitely a magnificent pick.

Conclusion

If you are in search of a suitable survival jacket to protect you from the rain, the Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket is for you. It is lightweight and not to mention, extremely waterproof while being breathable. You can stuff it into its own pocket and stow it away in your backpack, making it easy to carry around.

The wire-brimmed Halo Hood is a great feature that offers improved vision. One thing that would make it better is a double-sided zipper – but this, to be honest, is not a major issue. Get the Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket – it is worth every dollar.

 #4

Arcteryx Atom LT Jacket

Arcteryx Atom LT Jacket
Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Polartec® Power Stretch®
Pockets: 3 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Stylish design
(+) Light and easy to pack
(+) Coreloft insulation makes it warm
Cons:
(-) Need to layer clothing for more warmth
(-) Needs an adjustable hem drawcord

Overview

Made of 100% polyester, the Arcteryx Atom LT Jacket is an awesome survival jacket to have when you are out on your adventures. It is stylish with a moisture-resistant outer face fabric with DWR finish. It features a low profile stretch side panel to give you a trim fit and 2 zippered hand pockets. The Arcteryx Atom LT Jacket is highly compressible, making it easy to pack.

The jacket is light, pretty warm and very comfortable. If you are in a windy or low-temperature area, then you should layer your clothing to make it more water and wind resistant.  It would be an even better survival jacket if it came with double-sided zipper. For those looking for a lightweight, water-resistant jacket for outdoor adventures, this is the right pick.

Conclusion

When it comes to lightweight survival jackets, the Arcteryx Atom LT Jacket is definitely one of the top ones out there. It provides excellent insulation, breathability, and comfort. Lightweight and waterproof, the jacket’s temperature maintains a nice, comfortable level, which is great. It looks and feels great, with its stylish design and fantastic quality.

Arc’teryx produces some awesome stuff and the Atom LT Jacket is definitely one of them. If you are looking for a top-notch survival jacket to take to the wilderness, then this jacket is easily one of the best choices available on the market today.

 #5

Columbia Men’s Antimony IV Jacket

Columbia Men's Antimony IV Jacket
Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Polyester with Microtemp
Pockets: 5 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Superb insulation
(+) Highly functional
(+) Waterproof and comfortable
Cons:
(-) Not as thick as some would like
(-) Needs better zippers

Overview

Made with a 100% polyester shell and 100% lining with 100% polyester insulation, the Columbia Men’s Antimony IV Jacket is a well-made survival jacket for outdoor enthusiasts.

This is a quality zip-front jacket that features zippered side/chest pockets and adjustable hook-and-loop wrist cuffs. It also comes with a removable storm hood that you can remove if you need to. The Columbia Men’s Antimony IV Jacket has several inner and outer storage options, including goggles, security, and earphone-accessible pockets. Functional and well made, this is definitely a great survival jacket for men to consider.

Conclusion

If you want a lightweight, waterproof jacket that keeps you warm, the Columbia Men’s Antimony IV Jacket is a nice one. Soft and comfortable, this is well designed and made with top-notch materials. The zipper quality could be better, but it is not as bad as you think. All in all, it is a really awesome jacket for all types of outdoor adventures.

It comes with multiple pockets that are functional and useful in the great outdoors. What is so awesome about the Columbia Men’s Antimony IV Jacket is that it is actually waterproof. It is a really great buy – great value for your money, so anyone looking for a great survival jacket should go for this one.

Top 5 Survival Jackets for Women

 #6

Columbia Lhotse Interchange Jacket

Columbia Lhotse Interchange Jacket
Our Rating: (5/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Nylon Omni-Shield Legacy Twill
Pockets: 4 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Impressive quality
(+) Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining
(+) Omni-Tech waterproof
Cons:
(-) A little too short
(-) Small “hardware” like clasps and elastic are a tad flimsy

Overview

Made from polyester and nylon, the Columbia Lhotse Interchange Jacket is one of the top choices for women’s survival jackets. Fully waterproof, seam-sealed and breathable, this is a stylish and comfortable jacket that you can wear anywhere and be protected from the elements. It features a snug zip-liner that gives you versatile warmth whenever you need it.

It has Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining and Omni-Tech waterproof with zippered hand pockets, interior security pocket, underarm venting and silicone grippers on powder skirt. The Columbia Lhotse Interchange Jacket also comes with a zip-in interchange system – pretty cool

Conclusion

The Columbia Lhotse Interchange Jacket is a top-notch survival jacket for women that has everything you need in one. Fully waterproof, breathable and seam-sealed, it comes in different colors so you can stay warm, dry and stylish.

While some may consider it a tad short, it is not a major problem. The jacket has great functionality and you can get a large to layer under it. The only thing that would make the Columbia Lhotse Interchange Jacket more impressive is better quality zips, elastic, etc. However, all in all, this is a salient buy and definitely one of the top survival jackets for women available today.

 #7

The North Face Arctic Parka Jacket

The North Face Arctic Parka Jacket
Our Rating: (4.7/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: DryVent 2L—52% polyester, 35% cotton, 13% nylon
Pockets: 2 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Profound quality and flattering style
(+) Light and very comfortable
(+) Extremely warm
Cons:
(-) Dry clean only
(-) Pockets wear a tad easily

Overview

If you are looking for something to beat the cold in the harshest conditions, then the North Face Arctic Parka Jacket is the women’s survival jacket for you. It is designed to keep you warm and dry with its waterproof, fully taped, breathable, and insulated shell made with HyVent nylon fabric outside with thermal 550-fill down insulation inside.

It comes with a removable hoodie with zip-off faux fur trim as well as an easily adjustable webbing with a buckle on the back of the hood. The reverse entry hand pockets have zips to keep your hands snug and warm. With plenty of pockets, this jacket has plenty of space for you to stash essentials. For women looking for a remarkable survival jacket, this is an awesome pick.

Conclusion

The North Face Arctic Parka Jacket is a stylish, well-made survival jacket for women. Waterproof and breathable, it is comfortable and the ultimate apparel to wear on your outdoor adventures in cold or wet conditions.

Its flattering design ensures that you look good in the wilderness. The removable faux-fur hood looks nice and gives you that extra warmth you need in windy or snowy conditions. The North Face Arctic Parka Jacket comes with plenty of pockets so you have ample space to carry your essentials and have easy access to them. This is a marvelous jacket on every level.

You will not have to worry about losing your car keys! Or your utility knife!

 #8

Marmot Women’s Minimalist Jacket

Marmot Women's Minimalist Jacket
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Polyester with Gore-Tex
Pockets: 2 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Very well-made and breathable
(+) Blocks rain and wind
(+) Well-shaped hood for rain
Cons:
(-) A tad stiff
(-) Makes a bit of noise when moving

Overview

The Marmot Women’s Minimalist Jacket is another superb choice for a survival jacket. It is made of Gore-Tex with Paclite Technology and 100% polyester. This jacket is 100% seam taped and has an attached adjustable hood.

The Marmot Women’s Minimalist Jacket features PitZips – underarm zippers that provide aggressive venting by extending into the body.  The design is simple, ideal for the minimalist adventurer. It is lightweight, reliable, and durable, and is a stellar piece of clothing for any type of outdoor activity, whether it is hiking, trekking, or hunting.  You can choose from an array of beautiful colors, and look good and stay well protected against the elements.

Nick Nolte’s character in A Walk in the Woods would have loved to have this jacket!

Conclusion

The Marmot Women’s Minimalist Jacket is a well-designed women’s survival jacket – it has almost everything you need. It keeps you dry and warm in rain and snow. Its waterproof is extremely effective and it is lightweight, making it judicious for those tough adventures you go on. It drapes well, is breathable and does not wrinkle.

This is definitely a survival jacket of superb quality. It is tough and durable, as it made with wonderful materials. The Marmot Women’s Minimalist Jacket is a little stiff and noisy, but it is mostly because of the sturdy material it is made with. This is a definite must-have for ladies who love the outdoors.

 #9

Helly Hansen Crew Midlayer Sailing Rain Jacket

Helly Hansen Crew Midlayer Sailing Rain Jacket
Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Polyester with DWR
Pockets: 3 Pockets

Pros:
(+) Helly Tech Protection for excellent protection against the elements
(+) Polartec fleece lining for extra warmth and comfort
(+) High quality, durable
Cons:
(-) Looks a little boxy
(-) Some do not come with a hood

Overview

Made of 100% polyester, this is a fully seam sealed survival jacket that has Helly Tech protection to keep you well protected from the elements no matter where you are. The Helly Hansen Crew Midlayer Sailing Rain Jacket is waterproof, windproof and highly breathable, ensuring comfort.

Its Durable Water Repellancy (DWR) treatment makes it extremely waterproof, so you never have to worry about water slowly seeping inside. The Polartec fleece lining keeps you warm and snug. The 2-ply fabric construction gives you a durable, tough survival jacket. For a top quality survival jacket for women, this is the real deal.

Conclusion

The Helly Hansen Crew Midlayer Sailing Rain Jacket is a great survival jacket for women who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, whether it is hiking, trekking, hunting, or camping. It actually keeps you dry with its excellent Durable Water Repellancy (DWR).

You will like the Helly Tech protection that ensures you stay warm and dry even in extreme conditions, as well as the Polartec fleece lining which keeps you snug and warm. It is very lightweight and comfortable – both important for outdoor clothing. The Helly Hansen Crew Midlayer Sailing Rain Jacket is a fantastic purchase – no buyer’s remorse with this one.

 #10

The North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket

The North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket
Our Rating: (4.2/5)
Water Resistant: Yes
Materials: Nylon with Micro-twill HyVent 2L
Pockets: 2 Pockets

Pros:
(+) HyVent hard shell keeps moisture away
(+) Protects well in all types of conditions
(+) Stylish and comfortable
Cons:
(-) Fluffy fleece sheds
(-) Gaps between jacket and hood that lets drafts in

Overview

The North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket is made of nylon and features a waterproof micro-twill HyVent shell as well as zip-in Raschel fleece liner. The jacket is zip-is compatible with other North Face complementing garments.

The North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket is waterproof and breathable, not to mention, extremely comfortable. The seam-sealed construction effectively keeps exterior moisture away. The North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket is a fabulous buy for anyone who needs a reliable survival jacket that protects them from the elements in a variety of conditions.

Conclusion

For women who need a survival jacket that actually works, the North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket is one of the best options on the market. Lightweight and comfortable, it actually keeps you dry in wet conditions and also snug and warm.

This high-quality survival jacket not only looks good but performs extremely well in actual outdoor conditions. You never have to worry about moisture getting in with the jacket’s HyVent hard shell, plus it is not too bulky. To keep warm and dry in extreme conditions, you should have this jacket with you. The North Face Boundary Triclimate Jacket is a superb purchase and gives you great value for your money.

Final Thoughts

You cannot go wrong with any of these jackets. It just comes down to your budget and proclivities. Have fun!

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