Top 7 Best Bushcraft Jackets | 2020 Reviews (Arc’teryx, Columbia)

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The best bushcraft jacket for your outdoor adventures is not only about keeping you covered, protected, and warm. The right bushcraft jacket should also be able to let you pursue whatever adventure goals you have in mind. More than your style, choosing the best bushcraft jacket often consider your lifestyle and adventure goals more. But with all the options available right now, there is no reason that you have to forgo aesthetics altogether to achieve the best performance and functionality in bushcraft jackets.

Top 7 Best Bushcraft Jackets in Review

Buying the best bushcraft jacket can be a real minefield with so many options available, different brands, fabric, and features. But, you should cover the basics first when buying an outdoor jacket.

For one, it should be able to keep the heat of the sun off of your shoulders during the daytime, comfortable against your body and skin, keep you dry in case there are any unexpected downpours, and keep you warm at night. That pretty much covers what you need in a reliable bushcraft jacket that will give you protection day in and out and against outdoor conditions like rain, snow, mud, and wind. There are other features you would want to consider, too, as if a jacket is lightweight and packable.

But, there is no one size fits all when it comes to the best bushcraft jacket. With that in mind, here are some of the best choices for quality bushcraft jackets in the market right now in a variety of styles and top features.

  1. Arc’teryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex Bushcraft Jacket
  2. Outdoor Research Helium II Bushcraft Jacket
  3. Columbia Watertight II Bushcraft Jacket
  4. Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket
  5. The North Face Apex Bionic 2 Bushcraft Jacket
  6. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket
  7. Rab Microlight Alpine Bushcraft Jacket

#1. Arc’teryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex Jacket – Best Overall

Arc'teryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex Jacket

Specifications:

  • Type: Hard Shell Jacket
  • Material: Gore-Tex fabric and Paclite Plus
  • Weight: 10.9 oz
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex

There is nothing better than a bushcraft jacket that doesn’t get in the way of your adventure. The best bushcraft jacket would be so lightweight that you don’t even notice you are wearing it but still provides you with a lot of protection from the harsh outdoors. One great example is the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex jacket.

This hardshell jacket precedes the reputation that the Arc’teryx brand has been cultivating, mindful construction with features that every outdoorsy person will appreciate and want in a bushcraft jacket. The Zeta SL is a solid year-round jacket. It’s an excellent choice for hiking during the summer season or winter mountaineering.

The Zeta SL jacket is hardcore against any outdoor weather conditions with its waterproof, windproof, and snow-proof features. The specialty fabric material and technology this jacket is packed with make it a top-notch investment as well.

Plus, it is designed with several subtle details that add to its overall functionality. The jacket comes with lightweight velcro cuff adjusters and underarm gussets for an easier way to lock out moisture. The flattering and streamlined construction and design of the Zeta SL make it current and practical at the same time. It’s a bushcraft jacket that will last for a very long time and still never go out of style.

Overall, the Arc’teryx stands out when it comes to bushcraft jackets with its reliable fit and weight to performance ratio. Plus, it’s lightweight enough and packs down easily to fit any backpack size.

ProsCons
Year-round jacket, can be used for summer or winter
A bit on the expensive side
Made with specialty fabrics for extra durabilitySingle-stitched fabric
Waterproof, windproof, and snow-proof
Lightweight and packable

#2. Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket – Best Lightweight and Packable Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

Specifications:

  • Type: Hard Shell Jacket
  • Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 6.4 oz
  • Waterproofing: 2.5L Pertex Shield+

Lightweight bushcraft jackets are essential, especially if you are hiking long distances. And when it comes to ultralight jackets that can protect you from outdoor weather conditions, there is nothing that can beat what the Outdoor Research Helium II jacket can offer. With its 6.4 ounce weight, it’s hard and even impossible to find something more lightweight than this one.

Despite its light package, this hard shell bushcraft jacket offers excellent protection and is super comfortable as well. The 2.5L Pertex material of the jacket is also extremely effective in keeping yourself dry even in a heavy downpour. And aside from being light, the jacket is extremely packable as well that it will not take a lot of space inside your backpack.

The Helium II jacket is a necessity if you are looking for a basic bushcraft jacket that will do the job well. The design and fit of the jacket is also impressive, something that can be used casually. However, there isn’t a lot of extra features in this one, aside from the essentials like waterproofing, breathability, and functionality. One downside of this jacket is that there isn’t a lot of pockets you can store your things into. You will only get one chest pocket with zipper, cuffed sleeves, and a single-pull cord for adjusting the hood for better protection during a rainstorm.

Overall, the Helium II jacket is a minimalist option for maximum storm protection.

ProsCons
Waterproof and can keep you dry in a rainstormNot enough pockets
With cuffed sleeves for more protection
Slim cut and fit suited for casual use
Ultralight and packable

#3. Columbia Watertight II Jacket – Best Budget Option

Columbia Watertight II Jacket

Specifications:

  • Type: Rain Jacket
  • Material: Nylon Shell and Polyester
  • Weight: 13.5 oz
  • Waterproofing: DWR coating

A quality basic bushcraft jacket doesn’t have to be expensive, and the Columbia Watertight II jacket proves that. It is a simple, entry-level, and an affordable rain jacket that has a lot t offer. While it’s cheaper than most bushcraft jackets out there, this one looks very sharp and is made of quality material. Most of all, it does the job very well of protecting you and keeping you dry in wet weather. Furthermore, this rain jacket offers good mobility.

The Watertight II is made with two layers of fabric technology with a mesh liner to offer waterproofing but with good breathability and comfort. The jacket also includes a hood, although the cinching feature in very limited, which often causes it to feel loose and floppy. It also has two handwarmer pockets, and one pocket features a reversal zipper. Although the jacket is not as lightweight as other bushcraft jackets, its 13.5 ounces of weight is understandable with its two-layer construction.

Overall, with a total of three layers, including the mesh lining, the Columbia Watertight II will keep you incredibly dry and warm at a very affordable price.

ProsCons
Athletic fit with good wrist cuffs
The hood adjustment is limited
Excellent price for the quality
Provides good mobility
Waterproof breathable

#4. Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket  – Best Rain Jacket

Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket

Specifications:

  • Type: Hard Shell Jacket
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 10.1 oz
  • Waterproofing: 2.5 Nanoproof

The Marmot PreClip Eco Rain Jacket is one of the lightweight hardshell jackets there is. But more than that, this bushcraft jacket packs every feature that you’ll need to keep yourself protected, especially when the rainy weather hits. To make it even better, the value you have to pay for this jacket is so affordable compared to the tremendous amount of features and functionality you are going to get from this rain jacket.

This eco rain jacket boasts excellent features such as a quality nylon fabric with a fully-waterproof coating to keep you completely dry under the sudden downpour. It also features a hood drawstring, and armpit zips to make the jacket more breathable. There is also a slight hi-lo design that also protects your back and covers the part below your waist when carrying a backpack.

Most Marmot rain jackets boast value, packability, and function, and the PreCip Eco Rain Jacket is the same. It has two deep pockets in the front with snap buttons. However, that are the only two pockets you’ll have with this rain jacket, although it has deep enough pockets than can hold more things than any regular pocket can.

And if you are looking for an economical and earth-friendly bushcraft jacket, this Marmot rain jacket is perfect as it is made using 100% recycled nylon fabric and 100% polyester fabric for the lining.

ProsCons
Eco-friendly, made with 100% recycled nylon and polyester
It’s short on pockets
Weatherproof especially under a heavy downpour
Excellent value for money
Lightweight and packable

#5. The North Face Apex Bionic 2 – Most Durable Jacket

The North Face Apex Bionic 2

Specifications:

  • Type: Soft Shell Jacket
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 24 oz

The North Face Apex Bionic 2 is a softshell jacket with excellent features such as durability and weather resistance, enough to be the best bushcraft jacket. The casual styling of this jacket also adds to the advantages of having this one as it allows you to use it anywhere, from the airport to the backcountry.

The Apex Bionic 2 Jacket is a very thick and cozy softshell jacket that provides excellent warmth and protection from any outdoor elements if you can do without the extra hood for the jacket. This outdoor gear is excellent protection from the string breeze, especially with the Apex WindWall Fabric used to make this one. It blocks all wind, and you cannot feel any chilly breeze going through the thick and stretch-woven material. The fleecy interior adds to your comfort and warmth as well.

The thickness and warmth feature of the jacket has a downside as well, and that is lesser breathability. But, you can always open the zipper at the front to help vent some heat. The design of the Apex Bionic 2 jacket to be weather resistant has also made it a bit bulky and heavy. Its thickness has also given the jacket less mobility, which can be an issue when you are doing vertical sports such as ice or rock climbing.

Overall, the Apex Bionic 2 softshell jacket is ideal for outdoor adventures that aren’t very technical like skiing or mountain climbing. It’s an inexpensive bushcraft jacket option for looking good and being extremely warm at the same time.

ProsCons
Cozy and warm with excellent protection from outdoor elementsNot very breathable
Casual style that allows you to use it anywhere
Made of extremely durable materials
Water and wind resistant

#6. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket – Best Stylish Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket

Specifications:

  • Type: Down Hiking Jacket
  • Material: 100% recycled ripstop nylon
  • Weight: 8.3 oz
  • Waterproofing: DWR

Style is not on the top priority when it comes to choosing the best bushcraft jacket. However, with the lots of options for protection when enjoying your preferred outdoor adventures, you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics to get a quality bushcraft jacket that meets the basic specifications of your adventure goals.

Now, there are a lot of stylish options for a bushcraft jacket that can protect you from the cold weather, especially when you are hiking during the winter season. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jacket is one of the most stylish in terms of outdoor gears out there. If you want something that you can wear from the mall to the backcountry, this one will fit nicely. It is a leading class in down hiking jackets that offers both style and functionality with its low-profile quilt pattern, two zippered hand pockets, single-pull hem drawcord, and elastic binding on the cuffs.

The Ghost Whisperer jacket features a slim cut style that snugs to your body. It is also very lightweight at just 7.7 ounces. Plus, the warmth you can get from wearing this down hiking jacket is impeccable. The jacket is made with 100% recycled ripstop shell fabric. The durable water repellant coating of the fabric effectively sheds unwanted moisture and protects you from light rain.

The only downside of this jacket is that it has no technical waterproofing features, and you will not be much protected when there is a sudden rainstorm. But overall, it remains an excellent choice if you are only looking for a high-quality and stylish outdoor jacket you can use during the cold season.

ProsCons
Excellent slim-cut style and constructionNot waterproof
Design is snug and comfortable
Lightweight and compressible
Keeps you exceptionally warm

#7. Rab Microlight Alpine – Best Weather Resistant Jacket

Rab Microlight Alpine

Specifications:

  • Type: Down Hiking Jacket
  • Material: Pertex Quantum face Microlight outer fabric
  • Weight: 15.7 oz
  • Waterproofing: DWR coating

A weather-resistant bushcraft jacket is often the best option if you are constantly facing unpredictable wet weather on your outdoor adventures. These types of jackets are usually lightweight, offers great packability, and long-lasting. And if that is something you are looking for in the best bushcraft jacket, then you should look no further than the weather-resistant Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket.

This down hiking jacket is an excellent choice for wet weather with its Pertex Quantum face microlight fabric that is down-proof. The excellent DWR coating the jacket fabric comes with also puts extra protection on you during a sudden downpour. All these waterproofing features combined with the Nikwax treated hydrophobic, the Microlight Alpine Jacket is the best water-resistant down jacket there is. The tightly woven fabric of the jacket also makes it down and wind-proof.

It is also an excellent choice if you are looking for a packable and compressible jacket in wet weather. Moreover, the jacket offers a comfortable slim fit and decent warmth. It’s also a very feature-packed bushcraft jacket that makes you disregard that its 15.7 ounces in weight. The Microlight Alpine jacket is one of the well-features down jackets you can find. It has a hood with dual drawcords, one for each side of the face, that are easy to adjust to seal you from the bitterly cold weather.

Overall, the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket is a high-quality option for a down jacket with excellent insulation against a wet climate.

The jacket also features a small soft fleece chin guard, elastic cuffs to keep the breeze out, and a chest pocket with a zippered exterior. There are also handwarmer pockets with zippers as well as a two-way zipper for when you want to use it as a belay jacket.

ProsCons
Excellent slim-cut style and constructionNot waterproof
Design is snug and comfortable
Lightweight and compressible
Keeps you exceptionally warm

Top Pick – Best Bushcraft Jacket

The best bushcraft jacket has to have all the necessary features that can keep you dry and protected while enjoying your favorite outdoor activities and more. That includes keeping you dry, warm, and comfortable no matter what the weather condition is, day in and out. Something that isn’t going to break the bank but has excellent quality would make the best bushcraft jacket as well.

The Arc’teryx has been producing high-end outdoor gears since 1989, and their Zeta SL Gore-Tex jacket offers everything you will ever need to complete your outdoor goals. While it might not be the most lightweight jacket in the market, it’s a very stylish technical jacket. For a few extra ounces, you get a 100% waterproof and weatherproof hardshell jacket made with special fabric that doesn’t feel clammy or sticky to your skin. Plus, the Zeta SL jacket also offers freedom of motion, which means it flows with you whatever you do, whether you are biking or hiking.


Getting the Best Bushcraft Jacket – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

A bushcraft jacket is an essential part of your outdoor kit, and you need to have the best bushcraft jacket that can protect you from any outdoor elements while you are doing your favorite outdoor activities.

However, with the different brands and styles of bushcraft jackets available in the market right now, choosing the best one can be a real chore. But, this ultimate buyer’s guide should be able to help you make an informed decision, especially with the detailed guideline on what specs and features you should look for in the best bushcraft jacket.

Types of Bushcraft Jackets

A high-quality bushcraft jacket is reliable and effective in protecting yours from the elements of the outdoors. But, there are different types of bushcraft or outdoor jackets, and they serve different functions and comes with different sets of features and specs.

Hardshells

Hardshell bushcraft jackets are made thin and lightweight. They are waterproof and windproof, designed to protect you from wind, snow, and rain. Different hardshell jackets will vary in technology, waterproof rating, the material used, design, and weight. But, hardshell bushcraft jackets are usually flexible and light.

Softshells

Softshell jackets are usually stylish, form-fitting, and offers a great deal of comfort. This kind of bushcraft jacket is designed to provide wind and water-resistance as well as insulation to a certain degree. Softshell jackets are ideal for use in more active outdoor activities such as cycling, mountain and rock climbing, and skiing.

Insulating Jackets

Insulating bushcraft jackets are usually used in a blend with a hardshell jacket or as a standalone insulating layer. This type of bushcraft jacket is ideal for use in cold weather.

Down Jackets

Down jackets are also often called puffer jackets. It features a quilted and padded texture filled with a feather to offer insulation. They are often a bit bulky in design but excellent in keeping you warm during outdoor adventures in the winter season.

Windbreakers

Windbreakers are lightweight jackets usually made for running. They are moderately waterproof but provides excellent protection from the wind. Usually, lightweight windbreaker jackets will also offer light insulation, and hikers, cyclists, and runners often use this type of jacket.

5 Common Bushcraft Jacket Fabric Options

Material or fabric is one of the essential specs that make the difference from the best bushcraft jacket from others. The material of the jacket is the first feature to allow you to distinguish the quality of the jacket.

Here are five of the primary materials used for bushcraft jackets.

Gore-Tex

Gore-tex is a breathable and waterproof fabric membrane. It can repel water and is designed to be lightweight and for all-weather use. Compared to ordinary synthetic fabrics, Gore-Tex stops water from seeping in but allows water vapor to go out to avoid perspiration.

To get more technical, Gore-Tex is a brand name to a type of waterproofing done in fabrics. There are two main waterproofings, the coating and laminating, and Gore-Tex is under the laminating method of waterproofing. Laminating waterproofing is much more expensive than coatings, like DWR, but is a more effective way of waterproofing.

Polyester

Polyester is among the cheap materials used for bushcraft jackets, although its one of the common fabric being used. When it comes to distinguishing, which jacket is high-end and which is the more affordable option, you can easily spot the cheaper one, which is often made using polyester. Usually, this type of fabric needs a coating to be water-resistant, although coatings can break down over time.

Nylon

Nylon is an excellent fabric, and you will often see it used for a lot of bushcraft jackets and other outdoor clothing. It has an excellent weight to strength ratio. Nylon fabrics are also quick-drying, breathable, and water-resistant, which are excellent features for a material used for bushcraft jackets.

Cotton

Cotton is a classic fabric. However, when it comes to outdoor gears like bushcraft jackets, it’s not the best option. Cotton absorbs moisture, which is terrible when you use it in wet and cold weather environments.

Canvas

Canvas fabric is also often used for making bushcraft jackets. And while they can be of good quality, it also needs coating or wax to be weather resistant and waterproof.


Specs to Consider When Buying Bushcraft Jackets

Choosing the best bushcraft jacket is not easy, especially with countless choices in front of you. But to get the best there is, you need to cover the basics. Here are the critical specs that differentiate the best bushcraft jacket from lesser quality options.

Material

The fabric of the jacket or the material plays the most critical role in determining the quality of the bushcraft jacket. Choose the kind of fabric that serves the technical functions of the jacket as you intend to use it, as well as the style and look you prefer.

Construction

Another thing that is non-negotiable when buying the best bushcraft jacket is the quality of the construction. Make sure the stitches are tight with the seams taped to avoid the rain from getting in.

Waterproofness

The weather can be very unpredictable. Waterproofness is a feature that will come in handy if there is a sudden downpour while you are traveling.

Breathability

Although you want to keep yourself warm, breathability is still important in a bushcraft jacket. The best bushcraft jacket should be able to keep the cold air from coming in but still giving you maximum airflow.

Style

When it comes to bushcraft jackets, especially with a lot of options available in the market, there is no reason that you cannot find something stylish as it is high-quality and functional.


Bushcraft Jacket Features to Look For

Different brands, price points, and styles of bushcraft jackets will have different features. Here are some useful features you need to look for in the best bushcraft jacket.

Hood

When an outdoor jacket comes with a hood, that is much better, especially when there’s a sudden downpour. However, when choosing a bushcraft jacket, you should also be mindful of the size and fit of the hood. It would be much better if it can be adjusted to the size and fit that is ideal for you without it covering your head or feeling too loose. And if you are using a helmet, like when mountaineering, make sure that the size of the hood can accommodate the size of your climbing helmet.

Pockets

Pockets in bushcraft jackets can be very convenient for strong the things you want to have easy access to during your outdoor adventure. The number of pockets that you need to have in a bushcraft jacket, one the other hand, will be largely dependent on how you intend to use the jacket. Also, don’t forget to look if the front pockets have storm flaps that cover the zips, so whatever you put inside the pocket will remain dry no matter what.

Zips

Zips is one feature of a bushcraft jacket that is usually taken for granted. But in times of emergency, like sudden bad weather, it would be very inconvenient if you can’t fasten your jacket quickly. The zips of the jacket should be made with quality and should run smoothly. If you are getting a waterproof bushcraft jacket, the zips should have a storm flap covering them, so you stay dry inside the jacket, and no rain can get in.

Adjustable Cuffs

Cuffs with elastics or any adjustable cuffs are ideal for keeping the sleeves of the jacket down and over the gloves. It helps especially when you need to keep yourself warm during a breeze.

Chin Guard

Chin guards don’t make or break a bushcraft jacket. However, this soft piece of fabric goes a long way in avoiding any discomfort in your face from constantly rubbing in it the waterproof fabric or the zipper of the jacket.

Taped Seams

A bushcraft jacket will not be 100% water-resistant or waterproof if it doesn’t feature taped seams. Even if the jacket fabric has a waterproof coating, water will still get in through the stitching in the fabric, which is why you need to make sure that there are heat seals to prevent it from happening. This feature is especially crucial if you happen to use your jacket while there’s heavy rain.

Drawcords

Drawcords are not the end game when it comes to bushcraft jackets, but everybody has different preferences. However, having drawcords in the jacket will allow you to adjust it in what feels fit and comfortable to you.


Conclusion

With tons of options, it’s hard to choose, which is the best bushcraft jacket. The key takeaway when it comes to buying bushcraft jackets is to look for the features and specs that make a particular jacket reliable for whatever outdoor adventure you usually enjoy.

If you often go outdoors during the winter, a bushcraft jacket that offers impeccable insulation is perfect. On the other hand, if you are looking for a jacket that you can use against common outdoor elements, you’ll need a weather-proof bushcraft jacket, something that can protect you against the rain, wind, and snow.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Will Gore-Tex jackets keep you warm?

Q: What is the best fabric for a waterproof bushcraft jacket?

A: Polyester and nylon jackets are usually great when it comes to water resistance. Some coatings and special fabrics add to the jacket’s waterproofness as well.

Q: Will Gore-Tex jackets keep you warm?

A: Gore-Tex fabric doesn’t provide warmth or insulation. It is a shell garment that is more in line with protecting you from snow, wind, and rain. Most bushcraft jackets made with Gore-Tex fabric features an insulation layer to provide warmth.

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