There are few things more important when choosing hunting apparel than the outer wear you decide to outfit yourself in. The best hunting jacket needs to serve several purposes that you need to consider before pulling the trigger on making a purchase, especially since a good hunting jacket will last you through years of hunting and treks in the great outdoors. We’ve broken down what you need to look for in a hunting jacket, whether you’re a seasoned vet or a newbie hunter looking for some advice. We’ve also outlined some of the best options for you out there, based on the most important criteria. After reading the following reviews, you should have found at least one item that’s suitable for your case, no matter what you plan to hunt.
The material in your hunting jacket matters for a number of reasons and all of them can be equally important. A lot of the jackets you’ll see below feature scentless material. Though you always need to keep track of your wind position in relation to your prey, having clothing that helps disguise your scent can be crucial and the material that goes into building your jacket can make or break that. You also want to make sure several other bases are covered too, like your own comfort, breathability and that your hunting jacket doesn’t make unnecessary sounds while stalking game. You’ll also want to have something weatherproof while you’re out in the elements. During hunting season conditions can be demanding and rough and a waterproof hunting jacket is a must have no matter if you go deer or duck hunting.
You might wonder why we didn’t mention insulation so far. The reason behind that is that we highly recommend using a 3-Layer-System while hunting. Consisting of a base layer a mid layer and an outer shell. While base and mid layer should be used to regulate insulation your hunting jackets (the outer layer) job is it to keep the rain and wind out. If you want to learn more about the 3-Layer-System you should have a look at our Hunting Clothing Buyers Guide.
Why Sizing Is Important
It seems obvious to pick a hunting jacket that fits, but what exactly is the right size? The jacket needs to be snug to help cut down on noise and excessive material causing some functional disabilities when it comes to actually firing your weapon. You also don’t want something so tight that it constricts your movement. If you do your own research you’ll want to check out reviews for the feel of the fit of a jacket as well as the tendency for sizes in any particular brand or line to run big or small. Along these lines is also length, you don’t want the sleeves pulling up and you don’t want the jacket hem to be too short. So pay attention to sizing charts, they tell the truth and can save you a headache or two. In addition to that, in the reviews below we will always tell you if a hunting jacket runs smaller or bigger than expected.
Price is always something you should look at last but not something you should ever discount when looking through the possibilities. Why should you get something that breaks the bank when you can get the same quality and features in a cheap hunting jacket that doesn’t break the bank. Just because it doesn’t come from a well known brand it doesn’t mean that it’s bad quality. Don’t pay for the marketing of a company, pay for the materials and quality of a jacket. Make it the last point on your checklist, but don’t ignore it completely. It can tell you a lot about a product or even help you decide between two that seem to be evenly matched.
The 4 Best Hunting Jackets
There are dozens of options out there and doing the research to find the best hunting jacket can take a lot of time. We want you to spend more time hunting and less time in front of a screen and therefore created this list of the best jackets for hunting on the market.
Yukon Gear Men’s Reversible Insulated Jacket
- Waterproof and breathable
- Double pockets with flaps on top
- Blaze Orange and Camo – Two in One
- Elastic waist and wrist cuffs
Starting with something special, a reversible hunting jacket made by Yukon Gear. It’s available in two camo patterns, fairly popular among duck hunters as well as deer hunters. Those features make it literally the perfect all around jacket. Many enthusiastic hunters don’t limit themselves to only one form of hunting. Why choose between bird and bigger game hunting if you can do both? One issue this brings with it though, is the need of special gear for both of them. With the Yukon Gear Reversible jacket you get something that is suitable for birds as well as for deer. While ducks have an incredible eyesight and would spot a blaze orange jacket immediately, deer can’t really see the color orange like we do. As a result of that it’s mandatory in most states to wear at least a percentage of blaze orange colors during bigger game hunts to avoid accidental shots. This hunting jacket lets you wear a perfect camo during duck hunting while is easily transformed to a safe blaze orange color once you enter the forest for deer or hog.
The jacket Yukon Gear offers here is water as well as windproof while at the same time remains fairly breathable. If you ever wore a rubber raincoat before you know how quickly you build up a sweat in there, even if it’s not that warm. The breathable material used here works perfectly in a 3-Layer-System in which it lets moisture escape but at the same time keeps rain and wind out. It should also be mentioned that this hunting jacket is warm! In combination with other layers you really don’t want to wear it during hot summer months.
The pocket design is the same on both side of the jacket and the bigger cargo pockets actually offer shot shell holders on the inside to prevent them from making unnecessary noises in case you don’t own an external holder. Besides that the material itself is surprisingly quite itself. No matter if you brush a tree or perform a quick sprint it’s almost completely silent.
If you consider all those features and then have a look at the price it’s pretty much a bargain. To be honest, we were skeptical at first since the whole reversible could affect the quality heavily- but it doesn’t at all! The price/ performance ratio is amazing and definitely beats most of the stuff you would find in your local outdoor store.
Under Armor Men’s Storm Scent Control Barrier Jacket
- Special Stormgear technology
- UA Scent Control technology
- ColdGear Infrared technology
- 3 pockets and padded elbows
This jacket will keep you warm and dry without sacrificing breathability. Under Armour Stormgear technology is used in most of their outdoor equipment and includes a special DWR coating that’s also used for GORE-TEX products. This technology does not only sound nice, but is proven to be effective and not just fancy marketing. The other great part about Stormgear is that it remains breathable, a feature that’s often sacrificed for complete waterproofness. During a hunt short distance sprints are more than common and trapping sweat and moisture inside your hunting jacket is a no-go. Most synthetic fabrics lose all of their insulation once they get wet, so that’s definitely something you want to avoid.
That being said, while Stormgear lets moisture escape, their ColdGear technology allows for some inner convection, using your own body heat to create more and keep you warm and comfortable even on a cold winter morning in a duck blind. UA also made sure to include decent scent control with another of their “exclusive technologies” and although by now it almost sounds like a little bit of too much marketing all their stuff actually works and has quite a good reputation among hunters of all kinds.
In terms camouflage you can choose between several options of camo patterns of big players like Realtree and Mossy Oak. Under Armour made sure that every hunter should be able to find a pattern that blends decently into their environment. Besides that the materials used and design aims to stay quiet during most of the activities you perform.
Ultimately, this hunting jacket is the entire package wrapped up into one and will solve a lot of problems that can arise on a hunt. In our opinion this item is also the best duck hunting jacket you can get in terms of price/ performance ratio. It’s fairly popular all over the US and can be found in every second duck blind.
Rothco Special Ops Soft Shell Jacket
- 100% polyester material
- Detachable hood
- Lightweight moisture fleece inner lining for warmth
- 3-layer construction deflects wind, moisture, and retains body heat
Though it might not be as ready to tackle every facet that goes into a hunting jacket as the Under Armor option, this is still a valuable option for most types of hunting. This jacket combines water resistant outer polyester material with inner wicking. The result is a barrier outside and a soft inner layer on the inside which provide warmth and comfort. Another great benefit here is knowing Rothco has a history of not only supplying hunting and general outdoor gear, but some of the foremost military grade outerwear and tactical gear as well. They’re a reliable and excellent choice for fighting the weather while out on a long hunt. Yes, it doesn’t come with popular camo patterns like Realtree or Mossy Oak but you would be surprised how little of a difference this makes when you go after deer for instance. Ungulates for instance have an incredibly bad eyesight and on a distance a brown or olive color won’t let them spot you.
While this jacket offers no interior pockets it comes with 5 exterior pockets and especially the ones on the chest provide quite some room. In addition to that the jacket offers venting zippers on the armpits for great body temperature control. Keep in mind, although this jacket already provides some layers it doesn’t replace the classic 3-Layer-System. Go for slightly thinner base mid layers and you have an incredibly good setup that will perform well under a broad range of conditions.
This jacket is ideal for cold, wet weather and long term hunts and quality wise you can expect to use it for quite a few seasons.
Scent Blocker Knock Out Jacket
- Xtreme Lightweight Technology Construction
- Early season fit for layering in early to mid-fall
- Two snap flap pockets and one chest pocket
While most of the jackets above are ideal for some winter wear, this is the jacket for anyone looking for some layering options while out in warmer weather in the early days of fall. It’s designed to be the go-to piece for hunting in warmer climates while performing all the essential functions of any good hunting jacket. It’s lightweight, very breathable, and contains moisture wicking to keep you cool and dry. The stretch fabric used here provides freedom of motion in any direction and doesn’t limit your movement at all. The Knock Out jacket works well in combination with a safety harness since it provides the necessary slit and is therefore the perfect option if you plan on hunting from a treestand. It’s lightweight and slim design makes climbing as easy as possible while the material itself remains completely silent during most movements.
This jacket is the answer for those who hunt in warmer climates and still don’t want to miss out on the benefits of a layered system. Even when combined with a base and a mid layer you shouldn’t have any issues with extensive sweating while still being decently insulated. That being said, it doesn’t sacrifice any of the essential elements required for a solid hunting jacket you find in heavier items like shown above. The scent proof material is still doing its job and you’ll still be protected from rain and wind. The snug fit is designed to not be too tight but avoids having an excess of fabric that could cause a distraction, noise or discomfort which makes it one of the best bow hunting jackets out there
So you’ve seen the options, now what? Go through our checklist. Do you want a jacket to keep you snug and warm during a winter hunt? A jacket that can keep out even the most inclement weather while you’re out hunting? Is your main focus on scent blocking? On price? Do you want something you can wear and layer in warmer weather? One of the jackets above will definitely serve this purpose. So think about what you are going to do with it and pick accordingly, it’s not rocket science. We tried to make it as easy as possible so you can get back to hunting as fast as possible!