The 8 Best Men’s Windbreakers of 2024, Tested by Experts

Best Overall

Patagonia Houdini Full-Zip Jacket

Best Tested

Houdini Full-Zip Jacket

Best Overall

Patagonia Houdini Full-Zip Jacket

Pros
  • Soft, comfy liner
  • Great breathability
  • Packs into chest pocket
Cons
  • Seams not taped
  • Not as wind-resistant as alternatives

The Houdini Air windbreaker is worthy of the Patagonia moniker, and it’s our hands-down pick for the best windbreaker jacket. At $109, it’s one of the pricier options on the market. But, for our money, there’s no better option for hikers, runners, alpinists, and every type of outdoorsmen in-between. It’s arguably the most breathable windbreaker available.

For the latest iteration of this much-loved wind jacket, Patagonia ups the ante with a double-weave liner with next-to-skin comfort that trumps every other jacket on this list. The featherweight construction means you sacrifice some wind and rain protection. But, for hikers and runners looking for a near-perfect balance of packability, wind resistance, and price, it doesn’t get any better.

Read more: Best Patagonia Jackets

Weight 4 oz
Water resistance DWR coating, seams not taped
Fit Slim

Best High Performance Windbreaker

Arc’teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody Men’s

Gamma Lightweight Hoody Men's

Best High Performance Windbreaker

Arc’teryx Gamma Lightweight Hoody Men’s

Pros
  • Quick adjustable storm hood
  • Highly breathable fabric
  • Four large pockets
Cons
  • Expensive for a windbreaker
  • Cuffs are not adjustable

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line performance, this lightweight windbreaker from Arc’teryx is decked out. The multi-layer fabric system has an abrasion resistant outer layer and mesh lining that allows airflow while blocking moisture. It is treated with a DWR, making it truly waterproof. The adjustable storm hood has a very high neck and visor-like panel that can be pulled back with an elastic drawstring, so you can keep water out during those torrential downpours. Stretchy cuff bindings and a drawstring adjustable waistband further create a wind-tight seal.

Along with protection from the elements, this jacket offers exceptional carrying capacity. Two hand pockets provide plenty of space for items like a wallet and keys, while two large zip-closure chest pockets are double the size compared to other windbreakers we tested. All four pockets are equipped with water-tight zipper seams to keep your stuff dry.

Weight 11.5 oz
Water resistance DWR treated
Fit Form fitting

Best Budget Windbreaker

Columbia Flash Challenger Windbreaker

Flash Challenger Windbreaker

Best Budget Windbreaker

Columbia Flash Challenger Windbreaker

Pros
  • Easy to pack
  • Great for layering
  • Breathable fabric
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Unlined

If you need an easy grab-and-go jacket for transitional weather and the occasional rainy, blustery day, Columbia has you covered with the Flash Challenger Windbreaker. Built from a thin polyester fabric, we found that it can handle light rain and a heavy breeze, but is not ideal for severe weather. Without a DWR treatment, water can seep through the fabric in heavy rain. Since there are no vents and the fabric isn’t super breathable, we do not recommend this one for high intensity or endurance workouts.

What this windbreaker lacks in technical performance, it more than makes up for in every-day functionality. With single layer construction, it packs up easily into any bag. There is ample carrying capacity from two zipper hand pockets and two interior mesh pouches. Since it has the loosest fit of any windbreaker we tested, you can easily layer anything from a hoodie to a blazer underneath.

Weight 7 oz
Water resistance Water resistant fabric, no DWR treatment
Fit Loose

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Best Mid-range Windbreaker Jacket

RAB Vital Ultralight Hoody

Vital Ultralight Hoody

Best Mid-range Windbreaker Jacket

RAB Vital Ultralight Hoody

Credit: Courtesy of retailer
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Lots of pockets
  • Elastic, brimmed hood
Cons
  • Not as breathable as more premium options
  • Sacrifices some water resistance without a DWR coating

Rab’s Vital Ultralight Hoodie is arguably the most functional windbreaker on this list. Thanks to the unique Hyperlite nylon fabric, it blocks even the strongest winds. At just under five ounces, it’s incredibly packable for everything from day hiking (with a chance of showers) to afternoon trail running when you want to be prepared.

Elastic around the adjustable hood and the low-profile cuffs ensures a tighter, more wind-resistant fit. Perhaps best of all is the wealth of zippered pockets—a welcome change from most streamlined windbreaker designs.

    Read more: Best Running Jackets for Men

    Weight 4.7 oz
    Water resistance Tightly woven fabric, no DWR
    Fit Form fitting

    Best Waterproof Windbreaker

    L.L. Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket

    Trail Model Rain Jacket

    Best Waterproof Windbreaker

    L.L. Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket

    Pros
    • Fully taped seams
    • Water sealed zippers
    • Three point adjustable storm hood
    • Easy to pack
    Cons
    • Not very breathable
    • Pockets are small

    If protection from the rain is your primary concern, this is the windbreaker for you. L.L. Bean’s proprietary DWR treatment, known as TEK shell, is on the outside and all the seams are taped on the inside. We didn’t see a drop of water get through on multiple wears in heavy rain. Equipped with three-point elastic drawstring adjustment, as well as a velcro adjustment in the back, this is the most adjustable storm hood of any windbreaker we tested.

    This lightweight, high performance windbreaker is ideal for life on and off the trail. Thanks to three exterior zip pockets and two interior mesh pockets, it has some of the best cargo space of any windbreaker we’ve tried. Coming in at just over 13 oz, it packs easily into a work bag, carry-on luggage, or trail pack. Any time heavy rain is in the forecast, this is the windbreaker you want to have on hand.

    Read more: Best Rain Jackets for Men

    Weight 13.4 oz
    Water resistance DWR treatment, full taped seams, bonded layers
    Fit Form fitting, available in tall sizes

    Best Heavy Duty Windbreaker

    Fjallraven Abisko Lite Trekking Jacket

    Abisko Lite Trekking Jacket

    Best Heavy Duty Windbreaker

    Fjallraven Abisko Lite Trekking Jacket

    Pros
    • Stretch panels under the arms and along the back
    • Ventilation under the arms
    • Very high neck on hood
    Cons
    • Not very packable
    • No DWR treatment

    Tipping the scales at just over one pound, this heavy duty windbreaker from Fjallraven sacrifices packability for durability. Panels covering the hood, front, and outer arm are made with a rip-stop fabric—with cross hash reinforcement running through it. That means the most exposed areas of your jacket are covered from the elements, as well as any snags. A lighter fabric, which has some stretch to it, is used on the back and inner arm panels. This cuts down on the overall weight and adds flexibility.

    Off all the options we tested, the relatively heavy weight of this burly jacket offered the best protection against strong wind. However, it is not treated with a DWR, so it can get damp if you get stuck in a real downspout. As an alternative, Fjallraven designed this jacket so that it can be upgraded with a wax treatment, including the in-house Greenland Wax or any other variety. Just be aware, this will add a few extra ounces to the already heavy design.

    Weight 1 lb, 1.6 oz
    Water Resistance Water resistant fabric, No DWR treatment
    Fit Form fitting

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    Best Abrasion-resistant Windbreaker Jacket

    Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hooded Jacket

    Helium Wind Hooded Jacket

    Best Abrasion-resistant Windbreaker Jacket

    Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hooded Jacket

    Credit: Courtesy of retailer
    Pros
    • Highly abrasion-resistant fabric
    • Underarm ventilation
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Lackluster water-resistance

    Hard-charging hikers and backcountry adventurers demand a lot from their gear. Outdoor Research’s latest Helium Wind Hooded Jacket is up to the task with its Pertex Diamond Fuse fabric. This unique form of ripstop nylon is extremely abrasion-resistant against brambles, branches, accidental tumbles, and repeated washes for years of use and abuse.

    The fabric weave makes this windbreaker both thin and highly wind-resistant. Without a proper DWR treatment, it sacrifices some of the water resistance of its competitors. But, the packability, breathability, and durability—coupled with a roughly $120 price tag—make this one of the best windbreakers for budget-conscious outdoorsmen.

      Weight 5.3 oz
      Water resistance No DWR, perforated underarms
      Fit Slightly relaxed

      Best Casual Windbreaker

      Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker

      Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker

      Best Casual Windbreaker

      Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Budget-friendly
      • As breathable as more premium options
      • Kangaroo pocket with internal stash pocket
      • Packs into own zip pocket
      • Made from 100% eco-friendly remnant fabric
      Cons
      • Not great for high-intensity activities
      • Relatively heavy

      Cotopaxi crafts outdoor gear and apparel for the everyman, and its bold Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker is no exception. It’s a no-frills, non-technical option for windy morning jogs, blustery day hikes, or gusty afternoon beach walks.

      Cotopaxi skips the typical nylon construction in favor of polyester taffeta with a PU backer. It offers solid wind resistance and decent water resistance, making it ideal for casual, low-key activities where you’re not planning on working up a serious sweat. We especially dig the brand’s bold, color-blocked style and very affordable price point at around $80.

      Weight 8 oz
      Water resistance DWR with polyurethane backer
      Fit Slightly relaxed

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